Enslaved was one of the bands I was looking forward to seeing because they’re such a legendary band who raised the bar for black metal. After shooting my one song, I had to stay back and watch. When people think of Viking metal or folk metal, they think more on the melodic side, and I’m guilty of this. But Enslaved has always kept their music raw. It being my first time seeing them, they definitely proved why they’re such legends.
Their live set was absolutely incredible and incorporated a combination of aggression with passion — something that’s not easy for metal. Their crowd reaction was definitely one full of energy and excitement. Overall, Enslaved was one of the most memorable performances I saw at Hellfest.
In the realm of both black and Viking metal, Enslaved stands as one of the most unique bands. Their 1994 release Frost is by far one of the rawest and aggressive albums I’ve ever heard. And just a few years after that, Enslaved does a 180 and releases Eld. It’s a beautiful masterpiece combining melodic songwriting with raw structure. And today Enslaved follows this same path. Their newest album In Times incorporates all of the aggression from classic black metal, but their prominent Viking influences call for more progression and melody in the song structure. Tracks such as the “In Times” title track balances the perfect amount of melody, with guitars causing ruination and vocals that roar with malignancy.
In a live performance, you get both of these influences. At Hellfest, they mainly performed new material (with the exception of “Fenris”) but these clashing influences call for an unforgettable performance. All I hope is I either go to Europe soon and see Enslaved again, or they come to America.
The Age of Metal was able to speak with guitarist Ivar Bjornson. In the interview, we discuss Hellfest, their touring for the rest of the year and what he can say about new music.