Total Time: 48:17
Label: Nuclear Blast
How many years do you think that Ivar Bjornson and Grutle Kjellson have been together artistically? If we include their years in PHOBIA band, hopefully they are 32 years together and apparently, the flame of productivity still feeds the spirit of their restlessness. Heimdal, one of the most fascinating and archetypal characters of Norse Mythology (we met him for the first time in 1992 in the demo “Yggdrasill” as a song) is still here as ENSLAVED decided to dedicate an entire album to him. And it is the album No.16 please! A fact quite astonishing for two countrymen from rural western Norway…
The sound of the past, the future and of course the present are here, captured in “Heimdal” with the lyrical part of Norse Mythology forming the umbilical cord with the realms of mysticism and inner worlds beyond. The progressive searches intersect with the frozen Black Metal of their youth, besides, they were and are of course one of the pillars of the scene. “Congelia” has to be one of the darkest songs they’ve written in a long time, but at the same time it beautifully juxtaposes progressive ideas with the basic Norwegian riffing we’ve come to know in its heyday. In “Forest Dweller” the progressiveness of PORCUPINE TREE comes to complicate things with the folk Norse tradition, while in “Eternal Sea”, an elegy of sadness, BATHORY’s epic tradition of “Twilight Of The Gods” comes to mind.
The artwork is dark, hazy and subconsciously brings to mind the epic “Frost”, while the sound has become more organic, warmer and the duo Kjelson/Bjornson as well as the infamous Jens Bogren have clearly put their hand in it. Vinje’s cosmic keys in “Kingdom” and the mellotron combined with the free bordering fusion leads with the atmospheric interludes in the middle of the last song «Heimdal» show us that these guys haven’t reached saturation point yet, that their passion for telling us stories, writing good music and exploring the human through music and myth, remains unquenchable in 2023!
I wanted to write a lot more about a band that is a monument to consistency and seriousness. But it’s not about what I write to help someone listen to “Heimdal” since many of you have already heard and bought the album. It is the vibrations created by such a record that will speak to your heart. An old friend about 20 years ago, sitting with me at a bar drinking his beer, looked at me intensely and with a look that didn’t want to raise objections made the following statement “ENSLAVED is the PINK FLOYD of Black Metal!”…. May it be the opposite?
Editor: Dimos Karadimos
Related Link: ENSLAVED – Official Page