Enslaved Studio Updates

After receiving critical acclaim for their last opus “Vertebrae,” Enslaved is back with a new unnamed album. Since late January, Enslaved has been hard at work and kind enough to present fans with not one, but three studio updates. Each update contains hints as to the fluid approach Enslaved is taking with this exciting new release.

Mind you, these updates are not one-dimensional. Ivar and the Enslaved gang also include other interesting tidbits regarding their album art, birthday parties, and “behind the scenes” filming. Check this stuff out, because it is thoroughly good. – Cameron Davis

Studio Update I

“This is a short blog from the studio where we – ENSLAVED – have started to record our new album. We are doing the drums in Duper Studios here in Bergen – this time around we are recording everything in our hometown, something we last did with [2004’s] Isa. Iver Sandøy (Trinacria, Manngard, Emmerhoff & T.M.B.) is engineering the drum recording; and we feel we are in very good hands.

“The remaining instruments will be recorded in Herbrand [Larsen, keyboards] and [lead guitarist] Ice Dale’s Earshot Studio, with a few small exceptions done in Peersonal Sound (my own studio). We’re starting off as we always do: with me and [drummer] Cato [Bekkevold] going in first. The session started out beautifully with the perfect starting point for the drum sound and the first song being laid down by Cato. This song is a musical and lyrical contemplation on a rune – one associated with travel… We’ll get back to more on the songs later!

After Vertebrae, it has been a hectic period, with shows, tours and everything that is going on around the band. Yet it has been a remarkably self-energizing process making this new album. For starters, the dynamics have never been better, both literally in the music – and metaphorically, meaning the working climate within the band. Writing music is rewarding when you know the other members will take your ideas seriously and give everything they’ve got to make the best out of every single idea.

“The amazing feedback we’ve gotten after Vertebrae hasn’t exactly made us more modest: We picked up some very valuable confidence from that. A third pillar of inspiration is the continuing ideological struggle against the dogmas: political, monotheistic, moral dogmas that keep getting a stronger and stronger chokehold on man. Some dangers are growing while others are on the rebound (for now). ENSLAVED is an ongoing project to channel alternative currents; resistance to those trying to force-fit the mind into the tiny squares of one-doms and tyrannies.

After all that hot air, I’ve asked Cato to provide some thoughts on the new material and the recording process:

“Hi there! We started yesterday to set the sound, and from there on the drums for two songs were nailed. Today, on the second day, we started at noon and worked our way through three more songs. Ivar is very easy (to work with) and we are really getting payback for the work put in advance of the recording. I am, in other words, getting close to finishing my part of the album, and that’s fine by me – I would climb the walls if the whole session would take anything more than a week. The songs are, like always, pretty varied both in mood, speed and style. The cool thing is that none of us actually know how it’s gonna turn out in the very end. What ideas Ice Dale has for guitar solos, only he knows. –Cato

There’s a long journey ahead before the release, we’ll try and keep you posted on how it is coming along; including information about album title, track names, artwork, dates etc.

On the turning-away,


Studio Update II

“First of all I would like – on behalf of the whole band – to thank everybody out there for the massive feedback and support you’ve shown since we started spreading the news of recording a new album. A lot of interesting questions came in for the video Q & A.  People have commented both on Facebook and Myspace –  we’ve chosen to take that as a compliment and an inspiration!

There will be another round of Q & As compiled from questions sent in by everyone wishing to do so – it will be announced when another round of question-harvesting is due. Also, someone mentioned that they would like to see these studio reports in a video version. We have something for you too! As we are recording, we are also filming quite a lot – from the actual recordings in the studio, as well as around the studio discussing gear, bringing along the camera for the occasional trip to the pub for beer sampling, celebrating [keyboard player] Herbrand [Larsen]’s birthday with Demonaz [of IMMORTAL] and other friends, filming trips to festivals, and on tour while the album is being made. It is all going to be some kind of ‘behind the scenes’ thing that we will release in connection with the release.  More details on that later.

We are at the stage where things are starting to really take shape. All ‘basics’ are in place: drums, bass and rhythm guitars. [Lead guitarist] Ice Dale and I have been through a round of adding some dubs, melodic leads and effects; we’ll do some acoustics next before the keyboard, organ and vocal departments overtake the studio for a while before [adding] additional percussion.  Ice’s leads and my wacko-effects will be the last thing to be added. Parts of April will have other focuses: we are artists in residence at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg (NL) and will do a short week’s worth of supporting Arch Enemy on the ‘Metal Hammer Meltdown’ Tour of the U.K. Coming back from all that, we will be heading for Örebro and Jens Bogrens Fascination Street for the mixing.

We are pretty confident that we have found a golden ore in terms of the production. It can be a hassle setting up the recording ourselves, but having the technical competence of Herbrand combined with the really strong convictions on how we should sound within the band is the best combination for the recording at the point we’re at. I am not sure it is the right way to go for every band.  It probably wasn’t the right way to go for us some years ago – but now we’ve come to the point were certain aspects of the creation needs to be fully controlled by ourselves in order to take that extra leap forward. Again it will be me and Grutle [Kjellson, bassist & vocalist] doing the lyrics.  Grutle’s the first one to have complete lyrics ready and they look great. Again, we have deeply resonating and multi-layered, metaphoric lyrics with his unique mythological references. My own scribbling is slowly taking shape, and I feel we have found our strongest, most ambitious and most challenging concept so far.  It should be interesting both as just words to music as well as trigging more ‘philosophical’ contemplations. You chose.

“Oslo, Norway – February 2010: Religious fundamentalists are giving speeches where they openly threaten society with terror and death for not living by certain dogmas – including punishing homosexuals with death. The Norwegian Black and Extreme Metal artists chose to…?” (to be continued…)

Studio Update III

It has been a while, hasn’t it? Again, I would like to start off by thanking everybody out there for the feedback that keeps pouring in! It is highly motivating to see that so many more than just us guys in the band are enthusiastic about the making of the new album.Vocals should be more or less done by today; I stopped by the studio earlier this morning where Herbrand were warming up to do some clean vocals. I’ve so far only heard two of the tracks with complete vocals, and that was totally amazing to hear. It was last Tuesday, and a very important day for the album: Truls Espedal, the brilliant artist that has made every Enslaved front cover since “Monumension” forwards – came to Bergen to go through the concept and lyrics with me and Grutle. We are always looking forward to these meetings, where Truls is making rapid sketches as we talk about the overall structures and listen to rough mixes made so far. This time was no exception – we found a common red thread more or less immediately and worked out the whole plan for the upcoming cover and the various formats. Truls is reaching an almost ridiculous technical level – he changed from pencil drawings to painting some years back (if I am not mistaken, “Isa” was the last to be done with pencil, and “Ruun” the first in paint) and he has worked extremely hard to develop his painting. Or those who haven’t seen his work outside Enslaved, go check out http://www.truls-espedal.com, and in the member sections of http://www.deviantart.com. Anyways, Herbrand prepared some rough mixes we could listen to also – which Truls seemed to find very inspirational. I ended up drinking wine and listening to the two completed tracks over and over again until the early hours of Wednesday. It has been some years since a new album got to me that intensely like this new one is. Time will tell if it affects others as much. The vocals are simply brilliant, to sum it up. Grutle’s scream- and growl vocals are surely at some new level also; something is definitely going on here hehe.

Last weekend Grutle and I took a trip to the county of Sveio; three hours south of Bergen; where Grutle is from, approximately. They have a lighthouse there that has been restored into a cultural centre/ museum. The Norwegian artists Olaf Storø (a large part of his art is focused on sculptures and prints of Polar bears) and Anne B. Ragde (one of Norway’s most popular contemporary authors) were opening their joint exhibition, and we were asked to come and show Enslaved’s four music videos (“Isa”, “Path to Vanir”, “Essence” and “The Watcher”) and have a chat about the history of Enslaved and the ideas behind the videos inside the museum. So we did, and it was truly a great day. If you’re in the neighborhood, check out Ryvarden Lighthouse (www.ryvarden.no) – it is the prime definition of the harsh Norwegian shoreline. To the coast!

Well, we’ll finish up the actual recordings sometime this week, with Ice Dale’s leads as well as laying down the vocals for a weird track that is more towards 70’s electronic (Schultze, Tangerine Dream) than Metal. Then there will be a shift of focus for a while to prepare for both Roadburn where Yours Truly will be performing 4 shows during the three days (Enslaved, Trinacria, Dream of an Opium Eater and Enslaved/Shining-The Armageddon Concerto), and supporting Arch Enemy in the UK in the end of April. After that we’ll finally be mixing and mastering. Also I am really looking forward to start revealing some song titles and the album title itself.

Then and now,
Ivar & Enslaved

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