The original text source for Yggdrasil – ENSLAVED (Frost) – Hávamál (Codex Regius scan)

As posted yesterday, Frost was released on this day in 1993. The song Yggdrasil takes it’s lyrics from part of the Hávamál poem. The poem is presented in the Codex Regius, an Icelandic collection with many Old Norse poems dating from the late 13th Century. FALKENBACH are another band that used this poem as inspiration.

Here is a detail of the manuscript containing the section of the poem used for Yggdrasil (parts 138 – 141). This source is Finnur Jónsson’s Facisimile Edition of 1891.

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And here is the full page (bottom, starting at II, ending just before the last line)

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An English translation of this section by Olive Bray, published 1908:

I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.

Nine mighty songs I learned from the great
son of Bale-thorn, Bestla’s sire;
I drank a measure of the wondrous Mead,
with the Soulstirrer’s drops I was showered.

Ere long I bare fruit, and throve full well,
I grew and waxed in wisdom;
word following word, I found me words,
deed following deed, I wrought deeds.

You can find the complete reproduction of the Codex Regius manuscript here.

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22 Years Ago: ENSLAVED release Frost (New Limited 2016 Vinyl LP in Stock)

I also sometimes add plain pieces of poetry (ex. “Isøders Dronning”/”The Queen of the Vast Icelands” which will be on our next album “Frost”).

Released on this day in 1994, the classic debut full-length album by ENSLAVED!

New vinyl edition now in stock! See all ENSLAVED vinyl.

Released 2 May 2016, limited to 500 worldwide. Hotfoil blue stamping on 350g jacket, printed innersleeve.

Several Enslaved t-shirts also available.

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Grutle: All our lyrics, and has always been written out of basic “Viking concept”. Manly they have sprung out of old Norse mythos, and then we develop them further with our own thoughts and points of view.
Ivar: Yep, that’s right. I also sometimes add plain pieces of poetry (ex. “Isøders Dronning”/”The Queen of the Vast Icelands” which will be on our next album “Frost”). This is more mood based stuff springing from my dark and sometimes melancholic moments. But the Viking concept is something that comes natural to us. We don’t give a shit about all this pretending that some bands deal with.
– Slayer Zine #10, 1994

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London By Norse – ENSLAVED and WARDRUNA 4 Day Norwegian Cultural Festival

17 – 20 MARCH

London By Norse

A series of concerts including: ENSLAVED (playing 3 separate gigs over three nights each covering separate periods of the bands history!), WARDRUNA, SKUGGSJA, HELHEIM, VULTURE INDUSTRIES, BARDSPEC.

Also featuring a workshop by Einar Selvik (‘the thoughts and tools behind Wardruna), an art exhibition by Gaahl, key note and talks.

17. MARCH 2016 – ENSLAVED + VULTURES INDUSTRIES @ The DOME
Of Frost And Fire represents the quintessence of Enslaved roots. From the legendary Hordanes Land with its soundtrack-esque musical long players, via the vast geomythological canvases painted on Vikingligr Veldi, the revolutionary Frost that lifted us out of the strict underground and finally the odd pair – Eld, which pointed forward to a progressive future, and Blodhemn, where we had a last blowout of Black Metal-tempos and inspiration. For anyone curious about where such an eclectic band like Enslaved came from, this will be a first-hand guided tour through the primeval landscapes that shaped us.
18. MARCH 2016 – EINAR SELVIK & IVAR BJØRNSON @ The FORGE
18. MARCH 2016 – ENSLAVED + HELHEIM @ The UNDERWORLD
From The Runic Depths will explain the unlikely yet logical transition from then until now. From the nightmarish flirt with death and black on Mardraum, the spaced-out balancing act that is Monumension, the milestone and futuristic beacon Below The Lights, the second break for the band Isa and finally the refined prog-vs-extreme monument Ruun.
19. MARCH 2016 – SKUGGSJÁ, ENSLAVED, WARDRUNA + Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal exhibition @ The Coronet

Full program with times here.

Here are the flyers for each night:

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Enslaved play their third night under the ‘Enslaved 25’ banner marking the 25th anniversary of this iconic artist. Enslaved’s Ivar Bjørnson says: “Spinning Wheel Ritual is where the band wields together the dark roots with the psychedelic fabrics of the newer days – bringing to the surface the true potential of our songwriting and musical abilities. The focus is the same as it has always been – to bring to life our personal vision of whatever ‘good and meaningful music’ means to us, to create a vessel for atmosphere, deep association and simple enjoyment of music.

Wardruna is a Norwegian music group founded by Einar Kvitrafn Selvik. Wardruna uses the oldest of Nordic instruments and poetic metres as well as lyrics written in Norwegian, Old Norse and Proto-Norse tongue. In the ensuing years the group have spent a lot of time on adapting their music to a live format and establishing a live band. This resulting in a handful of very special concerts, one of the being at London By Norse in March 2016.

Skuggsjá is a musical piece written by Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik. Arranged to be performed by Enslaved and Wardruna and was originally initiated as a commissioned concert piece for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and premiered in September 2014 at the Eidsivablot festival, Eidsvoll where the constitution was written. Shortly after its debut Skuggsjá was announced as one of the headliner acts of the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival 2015. The growing desire to present Skuggsjá to a broader audience has ultimately led the Bjørnson and Selvik to record the piece in its entirety. There will be an album in March 2016 and details regarding its release will follow soon.
Skuggsjá translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’ in the Norse language, and the piece not only contextualizes harder music’s role in the democracy in Norway in 2014, but also joins threads from the country’s ancient musical history and solidifies harder music’s position as Norway`s most important cultural export.

Collection: Deathlike Silence Productions

collection-deathlike-silence

View Available Releases from the Collection on Todestrieb Distro

I sign only the best bands in the world, in my opinion. I WILL NEVER sign a band which exists because of a trend. All the DSP bands will be something special. Most of the labels just spread around a lot of mass produced shit, but we will stand above all that. When people buy a DSP release they will know they buy a ultimate in blackness and quality, with only bands who believe 100% in what they write, I dont sign a band if I like the only, I must think they are best in the world before I sign them. – Euronymous (Kill Yourself! Magazine)

Through struggle and conflict, Deathlike Silence managed to release many of the most essential releases from early nineties Scandinavia during 1990-1994 (the year following Euronymous’ death). Remaining fiercely underground and independent, it never managed to become the home for all important Norwegian Black Metal (though there were strong possibilities Emperor and Darkthrone’s post-Soulside albums would be released by DSP), but from the black thrash of Merciless, Satanic Ritual of Abruptum, Sigh’s pinnacle to genre-defining works by Mayhem and Burzum, every DSP release is an intrinsic part of Black Metal history!
DSP releases have been reissued numerous times by various labels (though Deathcrush and De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas remain in print on the DSP label to this day), all available reissues and related items will be listed here!

  • Anti-Mosh 001: Merciless – The Awakening (1990)
  • Anti-Mosh 002: Burzum – Burzum (1992)
  • Anti-Mosh 003: Mayhem – Deathcrush (1993)
  • Anti-Mosh 004: Abruptum – Obscuritatem Advoco Amplectere Me (1993)
  • Anti-Mosh 005: Burzum – Aske (1993)
  • Anti-Mosh 006: Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)
  • Anti-Mosh 007: Sigh – Scorn Defeat (1993)
  • Anti-Mosh 008: Enslaved – Vikingligr Veldi (1994)
  • Anti-Mosh 009: Abruptum – In Umbra Malitiae Ambulabo, In Aeternum In Triumpho Tenebraum (1994)

Planned but unreleased:

  • Monumentum – In Absentia Christ
  • Mysticum – In the Streams of Inferno (planned as Where the Raven Flies)
  • Tormentor – Anno Domini

Review: Fornost Arnor – The Death of a Rose

Review by: Meriel Longmore
Review score: 4/5

While the debut release from FORNOST ARNOR showed great promise, “The Death of a Rose” proves with no uncertainty that the band is one of Britain’s most talented and professional young bands. Debut “Escaping the Abyss” was an impressive release; technically precise, emotionally stirring & confident among many outstanding qualities. However, “The Death of a Rose” takes the already successful FORNOST ARNOR formula to another level.

Whereas “Escaping the Abyss” tended to draw more upon outside inspiration & influences, “The Death of a Rose” sees the band begin to develop their own identity & sound further when it comes to technicality which is even more awe-inspiring on this release. Therefore the original influences are still detectable, but to slightly less of a degree and work more to compliment the overall sound. So yes, there are still obvious comparisons to bands such as OPETH and ENSLAVED to be made as the compositional style & progressive nature of FORNOST ARNOR does bear resemblance to these bands. The comparison to OPETH is still by far the most striking and in particular to their early material such as “Blackwater Park”. Though it would be fair to say that FORNOST ARNOR err more on the technical side of things as this element is what really stands out as a strength throughout “The Death of a Rose”. The band also experiment more with the use of clean vocals, both female and male which add a neo-classical edge at times. The female vocals are sung in an angelic, folky style and work well to create an atmosphere full of both beauty and lamentation. The clean male vocals are also more varied in their delivery than on the previous release and this adds to the overall depth of the release, especially when laced into the heavier sections of songs. The schizophrenic approach to song structures also seems more pronounced for this release; the acoustic sections, heartfelt song & dark piano melodies appear more poignant when combined with the extra cold, fast blackened riffs, lead guitar wizardry, brutal death growl and a whole battalion of blastbeats!

“The Death of a Rose” comprises of eight epic compositions of which you can expect extremely high quality from all angles; both in terms of creative content and production. FORNOST ARNOR have achieved the sort of results equal to those of OPETH and basically carry on the progressive tradition from this Swedish band whilst also building elements from different genres into their sound so it ranges from Black Metal, Doom, Death, Jazz and nature-inspired Pagan / Folk Metal. The capability to equal OPETH in the skill stakes deserves great credit, however, for future releases it would be good to see FORNOST ARNOR develop their personal approach / techniques further. They certainly have the ability to do so and building on originality may just achieve perfection.

Review: Fornost Arnor – Escaping the Abyss

Review by: Meriel Longmore
Review score: 4/5

“Escaping the Abyss” is the debut release from UK band FORNOST ARNOR, it is also the first release for new label Witch King Records. Although this is the band’s first release, they have already had reasonable coverage in well-known publications such as Zero Tolerance magazine and it is easy to see why. It’s hard to believe this is a debut release due to its mature approach, technical precision, effective production and overall professional quality. Although the band name references J.R.R Tolkien, that’s as far as it goes, in fact the most obvious influences that may be heard when listening to “Escaping the Abyss” are OPETH and ENSLAVED. FORNOST ARNOR combine elements of Black Metal, Folk, Pagan Metal, Doom, Technical Death Metal and of course progressive extreme Metal.

The similarity to OPETH is striking, though it’s obvious FORNOST ARNOR have incorporated a myriad of influences into their sound due to the complexity of the eight epic compositions on offer here. The growled vocals are the element most reminiscent of OPETH plus there is also often a clean vocal present which is sung in the same style of delivery as OPETH but is perhaps slightly smoother and more melancholic than OPETH. There are also a few elements that FORNOST ARNOR use that will surely intrigue the listener. For example; “The Tragedy of Delusion” features some beautiful female vocals that compliment the harsher elements of the album. There are also some complex scales and solos present that strangely bring to mind bands such as RED CHORD, MORBID ANGEL, GOJIRA or perhaps DECAPITATED which surely adds interesting and unexpected twists, these elements also contrast nicely to folky acoustic passages and ensure that the attention is always well and truly grabbed. Musically, FORNOST ARNOR is also close to later ENSLAVED in terms of progressive song-writing, inspiration coming from the natural world, ice cold atmospheres and a strong sense of dark, turbulent emotion.

Overall this is a band that shows great promise having achieved such excellent results at such an early stage in their musical career. Make no mistake, this is one to watch and it would be no surprise if great success and respect greets FORNOST ARNOR in the near future. For fans of AGALLOCH, IRONWOOD, ENSLAVED, OPETH, later EMPEROR, INSOMNIUM, MOURNING BELOVETH, NOVEMBER’S DOOM, MORGION, RUSH, PINK FLOYD, MYRKGRAV, HELRITT, etc.

Review: Velnias – Sovereign Nocturnal

Review by: Meriel Longmore
Review score: 3/5

“Sovereign Nocturnal” consists of three epic nature-inspired tracks of Pagan / Down-tempo / Folky Black Metal. Although this looks like an EP (and is also priced as an EP), it is actually more like a full length album as the tracks are such lengthy compositions. However, it is easy to see why the tracks had to reach such proportions of length. The emphasis here is most certainly on gradually building towards Post-Rock / Post-Metal style crescendos whilst also creating a sombre and majestic atmosphere. The subtle development of the shadowy atmosphere here is something that certainly can’t be achieved through break-neck speeds or crudely thrown together melodies.

VELNIAS use mature song-writing techniques (border-lining on progressive), making use of many moody acoustic passages and slow, sorrowful riffs that gradually build and shift throughout each track. Although it is possible VELNIAS may appeal to those who follow bands such as ENSLAVED, DRUDKH, AGALLOCH, OPETH, and suchlike, the formation of the songs on offer here actually have more in common with the techniques used by bands such as later ISIS and PELICAN, though VELNIAS offer a more melancholic approach to this style and of course a strong Pagan flavour. The Pagan sensibilities and themes are evident throughout the release, from the roughly performed vocals, to the aesthetics, track titles, band name, warm-sounding guitar and bass and also the unobtrusive samples taken from the natural world. This is basically a risk-free release as you know what should be expected, there is little doubt of this. It would be fair to say that this release is an ideal choice for those who are dedicated and perhaps obsessive followers of the Pagan / Progressive / Folk area of Black Metal as “Sovereign Nocturnal” is a more subtle offering than most in this genre though it is not without intensity, due to this fact the release may also be a good choice for those who follow Post-Rock and are looking for something a little different to their usual choice of music.

Overall “Sovereign Nocturnal” is a very promising and sensitively composed release from VELNIAS, however it is likely their very best output is yet to come (with “Sovereign Nocturnal” being their first official release following a demo recording). The band have well-established and strong ideas when it comes to the inspiration behind their work and so this focused attitude will no doubt continue to yield interesting and hypnotic results. VELNIAS are certainly what may be considered an “outsider” Black Metal band along with acts such as the arty and serene WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM who also base their works on nature. To sum it up; “Sovereign Nocturnal” is a superb choice for environmentalists, experimental Metallers and modern-day heathens.