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ENSLAVED

Current Members

Past Members

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Biography

ENSLAVED, hailing from Haugesund, are probably the foremost exponents of 'Viking Metal'. Drawing deep from the well of Nordic folklore and heroic mythology, ENSLAVED ally the ancient sagas with music as crushing as a death knell from Thor's own hammer. Although relatively Spartan in delivery, ENSLAVED's off track brand of Black Metal summons up an epic quality. The band has consistently strove forward, even attaining a near progressive persuasion in later works.

Previous to ENSLAVED, vocalist Grutle Kjellson and guitarist Ivar Bjørnson operated under the title of PHOBIA, the drummer for which act, Hein Frode Hansen, would later found Gothic Metal leaders THEATRE OF TRAGEDY.

ENSLAVED, introducing Trym Torson (a.k.a. Kai Johnny Mosaker) on drums, debuted with a demo recording entitled 'Nema'. This was distributed to record companies, but without success. They followed later that same year with their 'Yggdrasill' demo. The late MAYHEM leader Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth) offered the group a deal through his custom label Deathlike Silence Productions and the blizzard like 'Vikingligr Veldi', cut in April 1993, duly emerged in March 1994. However, prior to this a further deal was struck with UK label Candlelight Records and the group's first real available product was a split CD, emerging in October 1993, with country mates EMPEROR entitled 'Hordanes Land'.

This period was one of turmoil for the band, this chaos triggered by the fact that the very day after Euronymous despatched the finalised contracts to Ivar Bjørnson, August 9th 1993, he was murdered by BURZUM leader Count Grishnackh (a.k.a. Varg Vikernes). As such, ENSLAVED found themselves signed to a label that had ceased to exist due to its founders untimely death. The Voices Of Wonder label offered to take up the deal for 'Vikingligr Veldi' but matters became confused when an apparent option for further albums was challenged by ENSLAVED's fresh signature to French label Osmose Productions.

With the legal documentation clarified ENSLAVED set about recording their Osmose debut and 'Frost' emerged in 1994. ENSLAVED was to later issued a split album with SATYRICON in 1996 titled 'Yggdrasill'. That same year the group donated their rendition of CELTIC FROST's 'Procreation (Of The Wicked)' to a Dwell Records tribute collection 'In Memory Of Celtic Frost' and further cut a take of DARKTHRONE's 'Natassja In Eternal Sleep' for the 'Darkthrone Holy Darkthrone' set compiled by Moonfog.

Drummer Trym Torson departed for EMPEROR giving former ZENO MORF man Harald Helgeson a brief tenure behind the kit. A permanent replacement was found with Dirge Rep, in actuality Per Husebø of GEHENNA, as ENSLAVED also welcomed second guitarist Richard Kronheim. The band undertook a mammoth European tour during 1997 to promote the 'Eld' ("Fire") album alongside ABSU and INFERNO. The following 1998 album 'Blodhemn' ("Vengeance in blood") was produced by HYPOCRISY's Peter Tägtgren.

Helgeson meantime forged a union with EINHERJER's bassist Stein Sund to found THUNDRA issuing the 'Blood From Your Soul' album in 2000. ENSLAVED responded with 'Mardraum: Beyond The Within' in October, licensed out to Necropolis Records for US release. Again laid down at Abyss Studios, this album witnessed ENSLAVED, bar the raucous headbanger 'Daudningekvida' and groove driven 'Det Endelege Riket', in experimental free flight. The band toured Europe in December 2000 as part of an almighty Death Metal package that included MORBID ANGEL, THE CROWN, BEHEMOTH, HYPNOS and DYING FETUS. Ivar Bjørnson is also a prominent member of BORKNAGAR. Rep would announce in mid 2001 that as well as remaining drummer with ENSLAVED he would be bashing the skins for AURA NOIR. The ENSLAVED production line spat out 'Monumension' in November that year, this seeing guest lead vocals courtesy of Trygve Mathiesen on the track 'Hollow Inside' and the warrior chanting of 'Sigmundskvadet'. 'Monumension', light years ahead of the Enslaved debut, dove headlong into atmospheric, even Floyd-ian, progressive metal, naturally outraging a large sector of die hard fans. Still retaining the Viking elements, the record pushed the band's aspirations further than any previous outing.

Upon completion of UK dates in 2002 guitarist Richard Kronheim was asked to leave the band. ENSLAVED duly drafted two temporary replacements for live work in guitarist Arve Isdal of MALIGNANT ETERNAL and keyboard player Oyvind. During December drummer Dirge Rep opted out, prioritising his ORCUSTUS band project, a union featuring the GORGOROTH duo of Tormentor and Infernus. Rep also committed to sessioning drums on an album for GAAHLSKAGG.

The new look ENSLAVED released their 'Below The Lights' album in North America through The End Records. US dates had the band united with USURPER, EPOCH OF UNLIGHT and ENFORSAKEN for a tour of the Midwest and East Coast commencing July. ENSLAVED put in a one off London show at The Underworld in Camden during January of 2004, support coming from THE ENCHANTED and SKALDIC CURSE.

The band signed with Tabu Recordings in May and would enter Grieghallen Studios with producers Jørgen 'Sir Duperman' Træen and Eirik 'Pytten' Hundvin to cut a new album 'Isa' shortly after, these sessions seeing drums now delegated to the RED HARVEST and DEMONIC credited Cato Bekkevold. Meantime, ex-drummer Dirge Rep enrolled into the ranks of GORGOROTH in September 2004 as stand in musician for their Mexican and European dates.

As ENSLAVED toured Europe with VREID in February of 2005 the 'Isa' album won the prestigious Norwegian Spellemannprisen award in the 'Best Metal Album' category. Broadcast live on national television, Ivar Bjørnson's father accepted the award. The band's 4th May gig in Bergen would be filmed for DVD release, 'Return to Yggdrasil â?? Live In Bergen'. Cato Bekkevold joined Oslo Progressive Metal band ASHES TO ASHES in June.

In October of 2005 Arve Isdal, going by the name of Ice Dale, joined forces with former IMMORTAL frontman Abbath Doom Occulta (a.k.a. Olve Eikemo), original IMMORTAL drummer Armagedda and GORGOROTH bassist King Ov Hell, as TC King, in a project simply entitled I. Grutle Kjellson guested on the DARKTHRONE EP, 'Too Old, Too Cold', adding vocals to the track 'High On Cold War' whilst Ivar Bjørnson sessioned for experimental Noise outfit JAZKAMER's 'Metal Music Machine' album.

ENSLAVED ensconced themselves in Amper Studio in Oslo during January 2006 to record new album 'Ruun'. The group teamed up with ZYKLON, 1349 and INSOMNIUM for a UK tour in September. The group announced a run of January 2007 North American dates backed by DARK FUNERAL and ABIGAIL WILLIAMS. On the 27th of that month the group was awarded a prestigious Spellemann award for 'Ruun' in the "Best Metal album" category.

In early 2007 ENSLAVED members Ivar Bjørnson, Arve Isdal and Grutle Kjellson were found to be involved with TRINACRIA, along with vocalist Maja S. K. Ratje and Hild S. Tafjord, both from FE-MAIL, plus bassist Espen Lien of BARBIE BONES and SLUT MACHINE and MANNGARD drummer Iver Sandøy.

ENSLAVED headlined the 'Great Indian Rock Festival XI' in February 2007 in New Delhi, India. In April the band formed up with the MARDUK headlined 'Excess Of Evil' European tour backed up by PANTHEON I, KEEP OF KALESSIN, MELECHESH and GOATWHORE. An adventurous side project for Ivar Bjørnson came with DREAM OF AN OPIUM EATER, a UK/Norwegian Horror Metal collaboration featuring Benny Calvert from KILLING JOKE, Reuben Gotto from TWINZERO and JOHNNY TRUANT plus Julia Ruzicka from MILLION DEAD. This unit debuted at the 2007 edition of the Danish Roskilde Festival.

The band played the THIN LIZZY, SAXON, UFO, MOTÖRHEAD and HEAVEN AND HELL headlined August 2009 'Wacken Open Air' festival in Germany. 

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