355: ENSLAVED

Coming up in the same scene as many other black metal legends, Enslaved’s early sound was one of proficient black metal, drawing heavily from Norse history. But in their thirty year career, Enslaved have followed their own path. That path is one that has seen them not only push, but destroy, the boundaries and preconceptions of what black metal is.

Enslaved have increasing incorporated more progressive elements into their music, and in doing so have been through an incredible metamorphosis. Their music still bears a few hallmarks of the scene that birthed them, but with a far less direct sonic lineage than many of their peers.

The Enslaved of today offers an expansive and often nuanced sound, utilising clean vocals and far more varied instrumentation. Clear influence from prog rock, as well as touches of jazz and acoustic performances are found throughout now. Though, make no mistake, for all the deeper intricacies to their compositions, Enslaved are still an extreme metal band.

Frontman and bassist Grutle Kjellson’s vocals are as recognisable as any of his fellow icons in the black metal sphere, and they remain a touchstone of Enslaved’s sound. Musically, though the term fits more loosely these days, they remain one of the best black metal bands on the planet. And that’s the most important thing.

For thirty years Enslaved have been at the cutting edge of the black metal sound – firstly at its birth, and now forging a more progressive and dynamic take on the sound. While the style has changed, the quality has been consistent.