Photo by Thor Broedreskift

The Norwegian black metal band Enslaved have always had a progressive element to their sound. Although their earlier material is raw and primal, the music has distinct sonic elements that set them apart from others in the genre. Beginning with the 2001 album Monumension these element began to become far more pronounced. With the help of some lengthy melodic jams and ethereal keyboard passages, Enslaved began to be perceived as the sort-of “Pink Floyd of black metal.”

Their latest album In Times brings them closer to this idea than ever before. The album is comprised of six epic tracks that use equal amounts of extreme abrasiveness and delicate melodies. During their last pass through Toronto (the first since they were waylaid by a blizzard in late 2013) I sat down with Ivar Bjørnson (guitar/vocals) and Grutle Kjellson (vocals/bass) for an in-depth interview about how they have arrived at their current sound, the role Norse culture plays in their music, and how the post-nineties perception of black metal in Norway has helped their profile at home.

Shot and Edited by Aaron Mandel at Boke Productions

Enslaved are currently on tour in North America with Between the Buried and Me with two dates in Canada: December 10th in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall, and December 11th in Ottawa at the Bronson Centre. In Times is available now on Nuclear Blast Records, and you can listen to the track “One Thousand Years of Rain” here.