Welcome to Prog, Metal Hammer and Louder’s exclusive Enslaved online event Utgard - The Journey Within in conjunction with Nuclear Blast Records. Thank you for joining – you are going to be one of the lucky ones who gets to hear some tracks from Enslaved’s brand new album Utgard, which is released tomorrow on Nuclear Blast.
You join us for a stream of a unique online event in which the premier Norwegian prog metallers will play a selection of material from their new album. Utgard is the band's fifteenth album, and one that’s been garnering great reviews. Prog Magazine hails Utgard as “a masterful work from start to finish”, and Metal Hammer calls the album “limitless and life affirming".
Enter a record brimming with northern magic. Let all those other bands sing about Thor’s mighty hammer and poor Odin hanging from that tree in miserable weather conditions. Enslaved are looking behind the mirror, tracing the origins of the well-known fables of the northern world back into each and every one of us. Their new album is a journey into and through scary Utgard. Sounds dark? You betcha!
Utgard shows Enslaved both unleashed and thought-through, a lethal combination unfurling a potential that’s easily rekindling the furore of their early works while dancing gracefully through their most ambitious, most haunting and most musical tunes yet. A contradiction? Life itself is a contradiction. And yet we all live to prove it wrong. “Utgard can be a very scary place, but that’s exactly what this album is about,” Grutle says. “Conquering fear and living with the beings found in this place.”
The unusually rollicking rock’n’roll touch of Urjotun or the archaic voice from the deep that is Utgardr, the raging force of Flight Of Thought And Memory or the elegiac final curtain Distant Seasons show Enslaved more open, more focused and simply more brilliant than ever. Also to Bjørnson, Utgard is truly special. “We have albums that are steps and we have some that are milestones,” he says and Grutle nods in agreement. “I personally think Utgard is a milestone along the lines of Frost or Below The Lights.”
Time will tell, of course, but hearing a 42 year old veteran of the Norwegian metal scene talk that fondly and enthused about his 15th studio record is restoring a lot of faith in the concept of long-running bands. Maybe that’s why even after 30 years, Enslaved still refuse to lower their standards. Quite the contrary, in fact: They always find new ways to surpass themselves by looking back at their career. “During the recordings I had to think of the time when we went to the studio with only 25,000 Norwegian kroner to record Frost,” Bjørnson fondly remembers. “We had like five days to record it all. And we did it. Maybe I needed that reminder think too much and just play the best you can.” Boy, it sure helped!
This is the third and final show on Enslaved’s three date digital Cinematic Summer Tour, in conjunction with respected German festival Summer Breeze who have been long-time friends and supporters of the band.