Enslaved and Wolves In The Throne Room
with Myrkur and Khemmis
From the Promoter
Lineup: Ivar Bjørnson (guitar), Grutle Kjellson (vocal & bass), Cato Bekkevold (drums), Håkon Vinje (keyboard & vocal), Ice Dale (solo guitar)
Enslaved was formed in 1991 by Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson, and did their first demo “Yggdrasill” in the summer of 1992, while the legendary mini-album “Hordanes Land” was released the year after in 1993. Enslaved’s debut “Vikingligr Veldi” came in the spring of 1994, while the successful second album “Frost” was released already winter 1994. In many ways “Eld” (’97) marked the opening of a horizon-widening era for the band, with a small detour on “Blodhemn” the following year: Enslaved’s most furious and black-edged effort to date. “Mardraum (Beyond the Within)” was released in 2000; taking on an experimental and innovative approach for Extreme Metal. The band followed up with “Monumension” in 2001; receiving more (pleasantly) surprising positive response to their “no rules” approach to Extreme Metal. Many see an important milestone being “Below the Lights” (’03) – where the progressive yet darker Enslaved emerged. A new line-up was put together after the recording of “Below the Lights”, marking the opening of a new, shimmering chapter.
The new line-up released the album “Isa” in late 2004, and the album put Enslaved at the very forefront of contemporary Extreme Metal; both as a recording and live artist – proving the latter with the release of acclaimed live-DVD “Return to Yggdrasill”. “Ruun” was released in 2006, and received numerous great reviews from fans, magazines and websites worldwide. Early 2007 Enslaved sat out on their first full tour through USA and Canada since the late 90s; following up with treks all over Europe and more North America. Back in the studio the band conjured up “Vertebrae” (’08) together with mixer Joe Baresi – an album that spread across the globe like fire with extensive promotion and extensive touring. More inspired than ever the band worked on a new album throughout 2009, and started recording during the first weeks of 2010. The band’s first co-operation with mixer Jens Bogren; “Axioma Ethica Odini” received Enslaved’s 4th consecutive Norwegian Grammy in the Metal category (“Isa”, “Ruun” and “Vertebrae” receiving the three previous awards).
Enslaved continued to tour Norway, Europe and North America – and in 2012 they inked a worldwide deal with leading label Nuclear Blast Records. This all resulted in Enslaved’s groundbreaking 2012-album “Riitiir”, followed up throughout 2013 – with North American and European tours, and of course more festival appearances around the world. It also became the year when Enslaved finally made its way down under to Australia, a highly memorable and successful endeavor. 2014 were set to be the year when Enslaved took yet another step up, out, forward and whatever directions there are. The year started with supporting Amon Amarth. Then the summer and autumn saw the delivery of two highly public commissioned pieces in Norway, and the recording a new album. 2015 was one of the band’s busiest years; festivals were being played en masse, Enslaved’s own Ivar Bjørnson curated Roadburn 2015 (where Ivar and the band were involved in no less than four performances), and the new album “In Times” and its accompanying tours has set a new precedence for what progressive Extreme Metal can be. True Norwegian Innovation, in short.
2016 was the band’s 25th anniversary – which the band celebrated with tours, festivals and special 2- and 3-night shows (where sets were based on divisions of songs by timeline). It was also the year when debut “Vikingligr Veldi” and collection of rare material “The Sleeping Gods” was released through By Norse Music (co-owned by Ivar Bjørnson). At the end of the year, longtime keyboard Herbrand retired as a performing musician. The train that is Enslaved does not stop for anything though, and their new album “E” will be released in 2017.
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
Wolves in the Throne Room is an American black metal band formed in 2003 in Olympia, Washington. The main members of Wolves in the Throne Room are brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver.
From the darkness of Scandinavia emerges MYRKUR. Hailing from Denmark, the one-woman project signed to renowned independent label Relapse Records in 2014 off the strength of just one EP, its eponymous debut (released September 2014). Envisioned and realized by classically-trained multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Amalie Bruun, MYRKUR combined the rawness of second-wave black metal bands like Ulver and Darkthrone with a natural, ethereal sonic beauty. MYRKURintroduced a wholly unique perspective on the genre of black metal, one that immediately put her on the map and caught the attention of listeners and publications worldwide.
Though the word "myrkur" means "darkness" in Icelandic, Bruun's music encompasses far more than just that one dimension of music: with its distinct sense of Nordic isolation, MYRKUR is a definitively brutal creation, yet also a delicate and feminine one. Choral and folk elements abound, lending the music a mystical, legendary quality and an untouchable equilibrium between dark and light. MYRKUR’s influences range from nature to traditional Scandinavian folklore to Norse mythology and far beyond. Bruun elaborates, "I always dreamed about becoming a Huldra, an Elver girl, a Valkyrie, the goddess Freja. These powerful women in Norse Mythology have an element of beauty and mystique, but they are also deadly.”
That power was more than evident on MYRKUR’s EP, but fully came into its own on Bruun’s first full-length M, released via Relapse in August 2015. Featuring production and guest appearances from renowned metal legends such as Krystoffer “Garm” Rygg (Ulver), Teloch (Mayhem/Nidingr) and Christopher Amott, M showcased Bruun’s learned and mature perspective on black metal alongside her prodigious compositional and vocal talents. As Decibel Magazine put it in its 8/10 review, M is “a black metal record that respects tradition without drowning in it.” Publications including NPR, Stereogum, Pitchfork, Spin and dozens of other outlets worldwide have shared this sentiment, hailing M and MYRKUR as the very thing they stand for - not a drastic reinvention, not an atavistic homage, but a unique, timeless, and true expression of black metal. Now with two acclaimed releases and several live performances (including one at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival) under her belt, nobody but MYRKUR is in a better place to help Scandinavia reclaim its rightful throne as the global leader of extreme music.
Amalie Bruun - all instruments & composition
Slow, loud, heavy – this is Khemmis, a four piece doomed heavy metal outfit from Denver, Colorado.
Their debut, Absolution, was released by 20 Buck Spin in July 2015 and slowly but surely steamrolled all that came in contact with its unforgettable heaviness and classic melodicism. Virtually unknown outside Denver upon release, the band gathered acclaim over the ensuing months and by year end had landed in the #9 spot on Decibel Magazine’s annual top 40 albums of the year, not a small accomplishment for a band on its debut album.
The new album Hunted reveals a Khemmis fortified in its purpose and vision, forging an unrivaled synthesis between immense Doom riffs and Maiden-esque harmony. Overall song length has increased yielding more expansively arranged and dramatic storms of elegance and melancholy.
And yet Khemmis are not content to plod through a sea of tears, they are always a rock band first, in service to the movement of the song, even approaching a High On Fire like pace to open the pummeling “Three Gates.” The lauded singing of vocalist Phil Pendergast reaches ascendant new heights on tracks like “Candlelight” and “Beyond The Door,” while the tasteful use of harsh vocals remains, providing a dark foreboding contrast. The 13-minute title track once again closes the album with an epic stunner.
Undoubtedly Hunted is an album that will solidify Khemmis’ place at the vanguard of doom’s most notable modern manifestations, in large part because they transcend the label itself. They’ve seamlessly blended their influences into an extraordinarily listenable album worthy of countless spins. With such a glut of music released today, this album stands apart, rewarding repeat listens with songs seared straight into the heart.