ENSLAVED Members Discuss Upcoming Tour

September 17, 2010

Progressive/psychedelic Norwegian black metal band ENSLAVED will soon be returning to the western hemisphere as direct support for fellow countrymen DIMMU BORGIR. The 32-date "Darkness Reborn World Tour" across the U.S. and Canada launches on Friday, November 5 in Worcester, Massachusetts and ends Tuesday, December 14 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The tour also includes BLOOD RED THRONE and DAWN OF ASHES.

Nuclear Blast caught up with rhythm guitarist/songwriter Ivar Bjørnson and bassist/vocalist Grutle Kjellson to ask a few questions about the upcoming trek:

Q: There are three Norwegian bands on one North American bill. Why does this tour make so much sense?

Ivar Bjørnson: "Norway has always offered a varied selection of extreme metal bands — something this bill clearly showcases! There seems to be a two-way affinity between Norwegian musicians and North American listeners, and we're sure this tour will solidify this bond. We've known DIMMU since the early days and are sure we'll have a blast on the road with these guys!"

Q: Will ENSLAVED be playing any new North American markets that you haven't played in before?

Grutle Kjellson: "We will be playing in some areas that we've never been before, and we are particularly looking forward to perform in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in Canada. We've only been playing in Ontario and Quebec before, and we always meet some fans that travel a long way from other provinces in Canada when we are playing in Toronto and Montréal. It will be nice to travel around a little bit more in Canada, too — plus the metalheads there are really nuts!! Heh, heh. Also, we have never been to Las Vegas and I'm looking forward to see [lead guitarist] Ice [Dale] go apeshit with gambling."

Q: Given that you'll be supporting your new album, "Axioma Ethica Odini", what sort of process will the band undertake to come up with a set list? Will it be democratic, totalitarian, via dictatorship, or a coupe?

Ivar Bjørnson: "ENSLAVED has a unique form of internal government; we call it 'contributocracy.' The more you know about something (example: playing drums, singing, writing lyrics),the more your vote counts in questions directly relating to your field of 'expertise.' This is also adjusted by the good old 'effort' measurement: If you take time off from your hobbies / social life and work hard with preparing a tour, you will have more to say in the decisions made for that tour. We have a few guys in the band that really know a lot about the live-format (particularly Ice Dale and Grutle) from their life-long interest in live albums, videos, and going to shows, so perhaps they have a little more leverage in our discussions; we know they know what they're talking about. Then there's the labor of planning and execution; that's where my vote gets fattened up, heh heh."

Q: You'll be touring during the holidays. Any requests from family members or friends for U.S. or Canadian souvenirs?

Grutle Kjellson: "Maybe I'll buy my father a Canadian police uniform? Or a Boston lobster hat? That would really be something, huh? Last year I got him an Elvis shirt from Graceland and he seemed to enjoy that one. Well, let's hope they do not ask for full-size statues of John Candy in bronze or a 'Build Yourself A Washington Free Mason Temple Kit." I would rather prefer CDs, vinyl, books, etc. Father, are you reading this?"

"Axioma Ethica Odini" is scheduled for release in Norway on September 20, in the rest of Europe on September 27 and in North America on September 28. The CD's cover artwork was created by the Norwegian artist Truls Espedal, who has painted every ENSLAVED album cover since 2001's "Monumension".

"Axioma Ethica Odini" track listing:

01. Ethica Odini
02. Raidho
03. Waruun
04. The Beacon
05. Axioma
06. Giants
07. Singular
08. Night Sight
09. Lightening

"Axioma Ethica Odini" will be made available as a special edition in gatefold seven-inch format with the entire album on CD and a seven-inch vinyl single as a bonus, as well as a regular jewel case and double vinyl. The bonus seven-inch single will include the songs "Jotunblod (Doom)" and "Migration".

ENSLAVED's eleventh studio album was recorded at three different studios in Bergen, Norway: 1) Duper; 2) Earshot (belonging to ENSLAVED members Herbrand Larsen [keyboardist/backing vocalist] and Ice Dale [lead guitarist]); and 3) Peersonal Sound (owned by rhythm guitarist/songwriter Ivar Bjørnson). It is the follow-up to 2008's "Vertebrae", which sold over 1,100 copies its first week of release in North America and debuted on the American Billboard Hard Music chart at #11 and on the Billboard Heatseekers chart at #49. In ENSLAVED's native country, "Vertebrae" entered the official chart at #20 and earned the band its third consecutive Spellemann award (the largest and oldest Norwegian music awards show, which is often referred to as the country's equivalent to the American Grammy Awards). "Vertebrae" also won Terrorizer magazine's coveted "Album of the Year" award for 2008.

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