Heimdal by Enslaved

Release date: March 3, 2023
Label: Nuclear Blast

To the die-hard metal fans, we’re definitely too experimental, too proggy, whatever you want to call it. And we might be too heavy for the equivalents on the proggier side of the music scene. We just want to make our own contemporary, favorite music and that obviously changes. Your musical horizon hopefully expands.

Grutle Kjellson was being brutally honest when Enslaved was interviewed by David West in issue 137 of PROG Magazine, talking about the band’s latest album, Heimdal. For nearly 33 years, Norwegian’s own Enslaved had had various line-up changes, different forms of black, Viking, and progressive metal. And believe me, they’re still growing stronger, every year.

That and their sixteenth studio album is like a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any second. Taken its name from Norse mythology, Heimdall is the son of Odin and nine Mothers. He keeps an eye-out for invaders who want to attack Ragnarok from his dwelling of Himinbjörg where the burning rainbow bridge of Bifrost, reaches between Midgard (Earth) and Asgard, the realm of the gods.

And we ain’t talkin’ about Marvel comics ladies and gentlemen, Enslaved know their mythology structures very well. And this bad boy has hit the mother lode like a giant wolverine who’s high on angel dust!

The beginning of ‘Behind the Mirror’ act as an introduction to the story with a canoe, paddling across the river as the sound of a Bukkehorn, cries from a distance before the attack comes in full swing. Bjørnson plays with his heart, going into a snarling vocal line and brutal-like riffs that’ll chill you to the bone.


It has an ‘80s synth-metallic twist that makes it very futuristic, setting up ideas on what is to come in the 33rd century. The quintet really up their levels by taking in some bloodthirsty beats that speaks of the 2019 video game, Blasphemous.

Once Sandøy pounds those drums like a motherfucker on ‘Congelia’ he transforms into a machine gun, sweating bullets! You can hear the Mellotron in the background, setting up this wasteland of the nightmare worlds of Cvstodia and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

Having to go through a tidal waving structure, ‘Forest Dweller’ walks into a classical middle-eastern atmosphere with an acoustic crisp for the band to take a break from their cookie-monster vocals. It makes it a visual experience by witnessing someone who’s on the brink of collapse as all hell has broken loose to make them go mental with an organ driven routine!

‘Kingdom’ on the other hand, is like walking through a spiralling staircase as Bjørnson and Isdal duke it out with their improvisations. It becomes a massive gore fest that’s waiting over the horizon, yet the bloody sequences are detailed over the powder keg riffs, and the impending doom that awaits us.

‘The Eternal Sea’ starts off in a post-punk, gothic-metal approach. Which is their nod to Joy Division, Alice Cooper, Candlemass, and the Noise years from VOIVOD. Kjellson sets sail on his Viking Bass, taking his fellow travellers into the damned human race.

‘Caravan to the Outer Worlds’ makes the earth’s crust go into a mid-rumbling earthquake and ambient landscapes with another attack that’ll make you head bang, 24/7. With Enslaved, they know their Metal textures well by letting out the six-headed beast, going on this cannibalistic run, eating a shit load of human flesh!

The closing title-track uses an alarming guitar roar, making it sound like a warning for the small city to lock their doors and burn the candles by keeping a look-out for the evil spirits coming to life. Heimdal will make you go to the bathroom and shit your pants, nonstop.

Because this is a killer release that is out of this world. It is like a movie inside your head, and breathes a new story told through incredible structures. And it’s quite clear that Heimdal will be talked about in the years to come.

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