enslaved.intimesENSLAVED get straight to the point with their most straight forward and catchy album in years.  Incorporating a strong influence of their early era, In Times is the band’s most direct and blackest work since Isa and Ruun, or even Blodhemn.  Don’t worry, their trademark prog stylings, instrumental interludes, and ice cool guitars remain intact.

What also stands out about In Times is the lack of meandering song sections or weak material.  It’s all lean and optimized.  Six flawless and dynamic songs, each clocking in at a minimum of 8+ minutes, are all that is necessary to make their statement.  The great part is that ENSLAVED glide through each song with ease.

If you wanted to introduce someone to ENSLAVED, “Building With Fire” might be the first song you play for them.  It showcases their dynamic range and songwriting strengths.  The transitions and hooks are excellent.   The group chants in “One Thousand Years of Rain” conjures up nostalgia for the early sword-wielding ENSLAVED.  The title track has a great building and release of tension in epic fashion.  Album closer, “Daylight,” has sweet nods to PINK FLOYD.

It should be noted that vocalist/bassist Grutle Kjellson‘s bass lines are wonderfully audible and find a great place in the mix.  Also, drummer Cato Bekkevold‘s performance here (as well as previous ENSLAVED records) should never be taken for granted.  His great sense of feel, tasty fills, and Mikkey Dee-like power help make In Times special.

Most bands are a shell of themselves by a 13th album…not ENSLAVED. (Nuclear Blast Records)


Preview a Second Track from DJEVEL’s Besatt av Maane og Natt

The good folks at Aftermath Music have posted another track from DJEVEL‘s upcoming album, Besatt av Maane og Natt.   The band featuring vocalist Erlend Hjelvik (KVELERTAK) and drummer Dirge Rep (NETTLECARRIER, ex-ENSLAVED).  By the sounds of it, Besatt av Maane og Natt seems like it’ll have that great classic mid to late 90’s Norwegian black metal feel.

Tickets for Extreme Metal Cruise, Barge to Hell, on Sale Now

The world’s first extreme metal cruise, Barge to Hell, featuring 40 bands of extreme metal’s best bands is set to depart from Miami, Florida on December 3, 2012 for Nassau, Bahamas and back on December 7, 2012.  Tickets are now on sale.  The luxury cruise will feature two performances from each band on three different stages, karaoke, and more.

So far 21 out of a total of 40 bands on board are known:


Concert Memories: ENSLAVED @ The Whisky, Los Angeles, CA (3/21/99)

Back in 1999, Norway’s finest bands were just making their first visits to the U.S. ENSLAVED were set to play LA for the first time in order to promote Blodhemn and roycifer, big johnson, and I were excited. This was back before the band evolved into their proggy style and were more or less pure BATHORY-influenced Viking black metal. Despite not having any of their early albums properly released in North America, us ravenous underground metal fans had no trouble finding their import-only releases at those painful import-only prices.

We arrived at The Whisky early and there were some local pay-to-play bands (as usual) up first. Some members of ENSLAVED and crew were outside hanging out and scoping out the turn out. I spotted guitarist Ivar Bjornson inside at the bar having a beer and chatting with someone. I went over and said hello and he was in a good mood. This was back when he was skinny and had short hair.

Unfortunately, the turn out for the show was really poor. The club closed the upstairs area and attempted to corral us all closer to the stage. The band finally took the stage and stood in ominous poses wearing Viking-themed tunics as the intro track played. As soon as the band went into their first song, things went wrong. Dirge Rep‘s drumming sounded just godawful. He was not only playing too slowly but was also sloppy as hell. I looked over at roycifer and big johnson to see if I was the only one who felt that way. I got the vibe that many people in the crowd were confused about the drumming. The sound was pretty bad as well but that’s nothing new, it’s The Whisky after all.

Despite the less than ideal conditions, ENSLAVED tried their best to deliver a great performance. However, the crowd wasn’t really getting into it, including me. The pit was largely vacant and the crowd wasn’t really expressing their enjoyment. Perhaps, it was the fact that both guitarists had super short hair while wearing Viking tunics that didn’t quite convince the crowd that they were Viking, black metal, or brutal enough. Perhaps, it was the fact that the show was in the middle of the week. Frontman Grutle Kjellson had a really nice Rickenbacker bass and perfectly hit his falsettos though.

As the night wore on, you could see the disappointment in Grutle‘s eyes and in his gentle face. This was the not LA debut that they were looking to make. Near the end of the set, he said to the crowd, “C’mon, LA! Let’s go fucking nuts!” Sadly, there was little, if no, response.

I remember hoping the show would end quickly because I was just bored and completely disengaged. I’m sure ENSLAVED felt the same way. But redemption came on their next visit to LA for the Los Angeles Metal Fest in 2000 where they not only played better with better sound but played to a much larger audience who had finally heard of the band.

Check out screen shots of a bootleg video of the show here.

GHOST Forced to Pull Out of U.S. Tour with ENSLAVED, ALCEST

Sweden’s GHOST have just announced that they are dropping out of the U.S. tour with ENSLAVED and ALCEST, which is scheduled to start later this month (see our previous post).

Here is official word from the band:


“Due to some last minute complications with our visas, we have been forced to cancel our North American tour.

“We are sorry towards the other bands on the tour, ENSLAVED and ALCEST.

“And we are most of all tremendously sorry towards all of our fans.

“This is truly beyond our control and we are making everything within our (His) powers to be able to come back to the US as soon as possible and perform for all of you.

“Our most malicious of wishes

“/A Nameless Ghoul”

ENSLAVED 20th Anniversary Tour Coming September 2011 with GHOST & ALCEST

Norwegian progressive/psychedelic black metal band ENSLAVED will be returning to North America this Fall for a headlining tour marking the band’s 20th anniversary. Support will come from Swedish sensation, GHOST, as well as France’s ALCEST.

ENSLAVED had the follow comment:

“Listen; the sun is setting, but I still see the twinkle! The support we’ve been getting from North America throughout our latest releases and tours is unparalleled, and for that we are eternally grateful. It is therefore an undivided pleasure for us to announce that when autumn sets, we will be back to tour the U.S. and Canada; this time for a full headliner tour with a full headliner set. 2011 marks the 20th anniversary for ENSLAVED, so we will be underlining both the deep past and blazing present of our musical universe to celebrate. It is also with a sense of intense pride that we can present the bands that will be travelling with us for the tour: GHOST and ALCEST. Yes, you read that right! I don’t think I need to elaborate more on that; it will be a package for the books. See you then!”

Tour dates:
09-23-11 Jaxx – Springfield, VA
09-24-11 Mr. Small’s Theatre – Pittsburgh, PA
09-25-11 Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
09-26-11 Middle East (Downstairs) – Boston, MA
09-28-11 Imperial de Quebec – Quebec City, QC CANADA
09-29-11 Café Campus Montreal, QC CANADA
09-30-11 Opera House – Toronto, ON CANADA
10-01-11 Outland Live – Columbus, OH
10-02-11 The Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
10-03-11 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN
10-05-11 West End Cultural Centre – Winnipeg, MB CANADA
10-06-11 The Exchange – Regina, SK
10-07-11 The Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB CANADA
10-08-11 Dickens Pub – Calgary, AB
10-10-11 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, B.C. CANADA
10-11-11 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
10-12-11 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
10-13-11 Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
10-14-11 The Troubadour – Hollywood, CA

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2010

December is here, so it is time for us, the APESHIT goons, to share with you our list of metal albums that made an impression on us in 2010. Meaningful and meaningless, but sharing is caring. Bang your head and enjoy!
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Norwegian heavyweights, DIMMU BORGIR, ENSLAVED, and BLOOD RED THRONE are teaming up to destroy North America on their just announced Darkness Reborn Tour. Support will come from Los Angeles’ DAWN OF ASHES.

The 32-stop tour kicks off November 5th in Worcester, MA. Advanced tickets go on sale Wednesday, September 15th.

Confirmed dates as follows:
11/05/10 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
11/06/10 Northern Lights – Albany, NY
11/07/10 Recher Theater – Towson, MD
11/08/10 Terminal 5 – New York, NY
11/10/10 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
11/12/10 Mr. Smalls – Pittsburgh, PA
11/13/10 Royal Oak Music Theatre – Detroit, MI
11/14/10 House of Blues – Chicago, IL
11/15/10 The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
11/16/10 Cabooze – Minneapolis, MN
11/18/10 MacEwan Ballroom – Calgary, AB – CANADA
11/19/10 Edmonton Events Center – Edmonton, AB – CANADA
11/21/10 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, B.C. – CANADA
11/22/10 The Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
11/23/10 Roseland Theatre – Portland, OR
11/24/10 Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
11/26/10 The Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
11/27/10 The Fox Theater – Pomona, CA
11/28/10 The Regency Grand Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
11/30/10 House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
12/01/10 Rialto Theater – Tucson, AZ
12/02/10 Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
12/03/10 Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
12/04/10 Gothic Theater – Englewood (Denver), CO
12/06/10 House of Blues – Dallas, TX
12/07/10 House of Blues – Houston, TX
12/09/10 Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
12/10/10 Electric Factory – Philadelphia, PA
12/11/10 Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY
12/12/10 Sound Academy – Toronto, ON – CANADA
12/13/10 Metropolis – Montreal, QC – CANADA
12/14/10 Imperial – Quebec City, QC – CANADA

Visit DIMMU BORGIR‘s official site for all the latest tour info: http://www.dimmu-borgir.com

ENSLAVED Begin Recording New Album

ENSLAVED guitarist Ivar Bjørnson has sent in the following studio update about the band’s new album:

“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,