Monday, June 26, 2006


Norwegian Black Metal has been in a bit of a strange place for a while now and the reasons for this are a bit scattered. Bands like Dimmu Borgir took the genre to an over the top extreme with their last release 'Death Cult Armageddon' with songs that were so bloated that they almost developed a genre of their own, sort of an Indiana Jones Metal. It didn't take long before a backlash began and people started to complain that Black Metal had drifted too far from it's roots and bands began to lose sight of what made it distinct to begin with. Whether or not the tides will shift remains to be seen but when Darkthrone releases new material with lyrics like 'Nothing to prove/ Just a hellish rock n' roll freak/ You call your metal black/ It's just spastic, lame and weak', you know that some are calling for a change.

This brings us to Enslaved, a band that has certainly justified their brand of Norwegian Black Metal but has since chosen to evolve in a way that elevates them into far more interesting territory. Like Opeth, Enslaved has in a way evolved by seemingly de-evolving, or digging up the past. Lately these two bands have recorded music that easily could have been found on 70's psychedelic or prog records adding organ instrumentation and taking more time to focus on dynamics and groove based riffs. This isn't to say that they've abandoned their black metal foundation, just listening to Grutle's vocals is enough to distinguish them in that sense but they've clearly made a shift on their two most recent releases (Isa and Ruun) that proves their willingness to take chances.

Here's a video of the first 'single' from Ruun called Path to Vanir. It's proof alone that Vikings are no longer myth and have traded in their swords and clubs for Les Paul's, SG's and Rickenbacker's. Watch the video now, then again tomorrow and I swear you'll be hooked. Like all good music it requires patience and after a few listens you will find yourself rewarded. For those of you complaining about David Gilmour and Roger Waters not making up don't worry, Enslaved are happy to be your friends, as proven in this song.

Sidenote: Although I am not Norwegian I will do my best to justify naming my children Norwegian names, Grutle?? Ivar?? Awesome. 

Please listen to more of their songs at their MYSPACE.

Indiana Jones John Williams Metal


Metal Mark said...

I used to listen to Venom and Bathory back in the 80's and have not heard much black metal in years. Just like death metal, I just can't imagine how much can really be done in this sub-genre. Both death and black metal always seemed very limited to me. Then again I am an old dinosaur who prefers old style thrash.

Chaosbeard said...

Well, you missed some fires and murders but there was some good music mixed in there. I'm not so interested in the BM stuff either but I like the direction that some are taking with it.