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Enslaved is a progressive black metal band formed in June 1991 in Sveio, Norway, and currently based out of Bergen, Norway by Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson (also known as Kjell Grutle) when they were 13 and 17 years old, respectively. The band name was inspired by an Immortal demo track, "Enslaved in Rot". After many line-up changes throughout their career, Bjørnson and Kjellson are the only remaining original members. By 2004 the line-up solidified with guitarist Arve "Ice Dale" Isdal, drummer Cato Bekkevold, and keyboardist/vocalist Herbrand Larsen.
Bjørnson and Kjellson had been playing in a death metal band called Phobia, but like many in the burgeoning black metal movement, they were looking for new sources of inspiration and expression. Though Enslaved began as a prototypical Norwegian black metal band, they always incorporated song structures unusual for the genre, with several of their early songs expanding past the ten-minute mark. The album Eld (1997) is often considered to be the beginning of the band's shift towards progressive metal. The band's shift toward progressive viking metal was rendered complete with Mardraum (2000), which contained several multi-part epics such as "Større enn tid - Tyngre enn natt" and "Entrance - Escape"; from that point onward, the band's influence from progressive rock became stronger on each successive record, with several tracks (most prominently, "As Fire Swept Clean the Earth" from Below the Lights) even using mellotron. Mardraum, Monumension (2001), and Below the Lights (2003) can be regarded as having somewhat similar styles, although there is a clear progression of sound between the albums regardless; however, Isa (2004) and Ruun (2006) show a marked departure from previous sounds, most notably, with inclusion of sharp dynamic shifts.
Although the band has used mainly English lyrics since Monumension, their albums before that were mostly recorded in Norwegian except on their first full-length album, where three songs had Icelandic lyrics, while the lyrics on Heimdallr was an Old Norse excerpt from Gylfaginning by Snorri Sturluson. Most of their lyrics relate to Norse mythology.
In 2007-2008 Bjørnson, Kjellson, and Isdal collaborated with the Norwegian noise duo Fe-Mail, under the name Trinacria. Enslaved released the album Vertebrae in September 2008. On this particular album, many of their techniques, particularly harmonies, have been compared to Pink Floyd. After touring Europe extensively, Enslaved embarked on a North American tour with the progressive death metal band Opeth in May 2009. Enslaved released their eleventh studio album, Axioma Ethica Odini, on September 27, 2010 in Europe and the following day in North America
After making a small stir in the Black Metal underground with their 2005 mini-CD, "Le Secret", ALCEST have left their origins in that scene far behind them. Their music manages to evoke a spring-like atmosphere full of beauty, intense joy and light, but also filled with yearning and nostalgia. It brings to mind memories of the innocence and bliss of a childhood long past as well as impressions of a fantastic fairyland of perfect harmony.
With his application of Slowdive and Yann Tiersen to Burzum, multi-instrumentalist Neige has created a musical concept for himself that is nothing less than revolutionary – and the actual realization of this concept on "Souvenirs d’un autre monde" has made for a peerless landmark. No other title would have done justice to this debut album, as ALCEST's songs really are souvenirs from another world. (read less)
Alcest is a French band created by Neige in early 2000. He began writing songs on his own but a few months afterwards Argoth (bass) and Famine (lead guitar) joined him and his solo project became a real band. "Tristesse Hivernale" Alcest's first demo which was composed by
Neige and Famine, was released in 2001 by Drakkar Productions. At the time, the band played cold and melodic black metal inspired by the mysterious and melancholic atmospheres of the wintry landscapes. Just
after the release of "Tristesse Hivernale" Alcest turned into a solo project again since Neige decided to change of direction and concept in order to explore more intimate themes.
Alcest is now Neige's testimony of the evanescent visions/memories he had as a child about a fantastic faraway world : a plane of existence bathed in a pearly light, beyond all terrestrial beauties, which could
perhaps be described as a sort of "intermediate stage" ; the soul would rest there between two earthly lives and would for some time be freed of the burden of incarnation. The first chapter of this journey
was "Le Secret" EP, which was released in 2005 by Drakkar Productions.
In 2007, Neige agreed to a contract with the German label Prophecy Productions and released Alcest's debut album "Souvenirs d'un autre monde" the same year. In 2010 the drummer Winterhalter joined the band, Alcest released their second full length "Ecailles De Lune" and
started to perform shows in Europe and U.S.A. with a complete live line-up.
All music/lyrics/artwork are deeply linked to Alcest's concept and aim at depicting that "place" and the ecstatic feelings one can experience there. This project is a real quest, a perpetual wandering through unknown regions, the hope of which is to shed some light on some
mysteries of this esoteric experience.
After touring solidly across North America, the UK, and Europe for the last several years, the bearded men of Junius are currently working on the follow-up to their critically acclaimed The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist (on The Mylene Sheath worldwide and Make My Day Records in Europe).
The past year has seen Junius touring extensively in support of both The Martyrdom and their new split 10” with Juarez (Us Two Records), recently touring and playing with the likes of Valient Thorr, Howl, Orbs, Rosetta, Battlefields, Tombs, City of Ships, Caspian, Irepress, Mastodon, Bad Religion, and many others.
Junius has been electrifying rapt audiences with its spellbinding walls of reverb-drenched guitars, haunting vocals and self-made lights since 2003. The band’s music is both cinematic and accessible, building to crescendos which echo some of Post Rock’s most epic moments, but with vocals, hooks, and lyrics creating focus throughout. While Junius can be tough to categorize (they’ve been called a hybrid of Neurosis and The Smiths by Rolling Stone), band members have cited such artists as Bedhead (Junius singer/guitarist Joseph E. Martinez’s uncle Trini was their drummer), Philip Glass, Hum, and M83 among a long list of inspirations.
Shortly after releasing their first EP, Forcing Out The Silence, in 2004, Junius began a tireless touring regimen to fan the flames of an already blazing press. Among its accolades, Disclosure Magazine declared the debut “one of the most engaging Dark Rock albums to come out since Joy Division last graced a stage.” Junius toured for over 9 months and played over 200 shows in the first year alone, embracing a DIY ethic which remains at the core of the band’s ideology.