In the sixth of eight installments, ENSLAVED bassist/vocalist/lyricist Grutle Kjellson and rhythm guitarist/songwriter/lyricist Ivar Bjørnson offer song commentaries on their trademarked Norwegian strain of progressive extreme metal that will be unveiled with their twelfth studio album, RIITIIR, due out on September 28th.
Kjellson on track no. 6, “Materal”:
“I have to admit that I got a little dazed and confused (pardon THAT pun) the first time I listened to the tunes on this one. I just could not see how this one could turn out to be a great song! But then again, I remembered a couple of occasions similar to this one where Ivar have had some sort of a subtle plan. The thoughts went back to the days when I received the demo for the ‘Isa’ song: the riffs made no sense until we started to work on the vocal arrangements! It is almost like Ivar knows that I and Herbrand [Larsen, keyboard player & clean vocalist] are somehow clever enough to work out something that reveals the potential of the riffs. I feel very honored by his trust, and after trying out a few things, we unveiled the ideas that master sorcerer Bjørnson had in mind. I just love this song, although it was a very challenging piece to work with in the beginning. This was also my first acquaintance with the wonderful instrument Moog Taurus bass pedals. I felt that something was lacking in the bass lines on the third theme in the song, and [co-producer] Iver Sandøy suggested (again) that we could try to boost the bass with the use of some pedals. I instantly fell in love with this piece of sound-magic and ended up using it on several songs on the album, sharing the duties with Mr. Sandøy.”
Bjørnson on “Materal”:
“We always start talking about the music – that’s neither coincidence nor lack of inventiveness. We are musicians; music comes first. At the same time, the lyrics do mean a lot to us… who’s written them… so we keep talking about them. But let’s begin with the sounds. This is a song that works as an anchor on the album; it’s heaviness grounds the album at the exact right time in my ears. I guess the riffs of the song come from wildly different places within my musical personality yet they have a certain essence in common. For me it was a bit of a gamble: I needed the rest of the band to ‘get’ the song from equally different musical places. This song is a good example of just how wide a river of various influences and opinions composing for ENSLAVED sometimes needs to bridge in order to bring out the best in the band. The challenge was not only taken up; everyone has added their unique signatures to pull the song in the best possible direction(s). This was a song that came and presented itself – there’s no point in elaborating on what that means. I do not question such things myself. All I will say is that it came with directions and it was really just about trying to follow them. The lyrics could be seen as the feminine shadow side to the opening track, ‘Thoughts Like Hammers.’ While the latter leans towards a certain masculine creative destructiveness, this one might have a certain ritualistic inclination towards feminine ‘destructive destructiveness’ (how metal is that?). It is a song about total death and pure birth! Let’s go nuts!”
Read their commentary on the tracks “Thoughts Like Hammers”, “Death In The Eyes Of Dawn”, “Veilburner”, “Roots Of The Mountain” and “RIITIIR” on the band’s Facebook page.