The artwork by Norwegian artist Truls Espedal for Axioma Ethica Odini, the eleventh studio album by Norway’s highly renowned progressive, psychedelic black metal band ENSLAVED, is now up on the band’s MySpace page. The album will be released in Europe via Indie Recordings on September 27th and in North America on September 28th via Nuclear Blast Records.
ENSLAVED bassist & vocalist Grutle Kjellson has this to say about collaborating with the man who has painted every ENSLAVED album cover since 2001’s Monumension:
“On every new album cover, me and [rhythm guitarist/songwriter] Ivar [Bjørnson] come up with the idea of what the cover art shall include in terms of elements, symbolism and so forth. After that, we contact Truls and tell him about our ideas for the cover art. Then we arrange a meeting where we sit down for a couple of hours making sketches. Truls also has the opportunity to come up with his own ideas of how we can transform our original ideas the best possible way. He has made a masterpiece this time as well! The cover art is simply amazing! Amazing…”
Artist/painter Truls Espedal reveals how much black paint was used for the artwork’s creation and shares his thoughts on being back in action with ENSLAVED:
“I’m always excited about working with ENSLAVED, which is the reason I feel that too much time goes by between releases – ha, ha! But once again I sat down with Ivar and Grutle, and their ideas were more complex and interesting than ever. Also, their expectations and confidence that I’m able to come up with something better than before pushes me to set the bar even higher. This time around, we set out to expand further what we have done on earlier works: adding more textures and mixing the figurative paintings with the ‘symbolic’ design even more. By doing this, I feel that we are able to convey a lot more atmosphere, story, and a visually more interesting cover throughout. Hopefully, other people will think the same. It’s really important for me that the artwork is handcrafted and that the printed images on the CD and vinyl versions really show the brush strokes and have that feel to them. That is a big issue! And about the amount of black paint I used – a lot. Good times.”
Produced by Bjørnson, Kjellson, and keyboardist/backing vocalist Herbrand Larsen, the groundwork for Axioma Ethica Odini was recorded at three different studios in Bergen, Norway: 1) Duper Studios; 2) Earshot Studios (belonging to ENSLAVED members Larsen and lead guitarist Ice Dale); and 3) Peersonal Sound (owned by Bjørnson). The album was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Bloodbath, Amon Amarth, Eluveitie) at Fascination Street Studios in Orebro, Sweden and mastered by Chris Sansom (Mortiis) at Propeller Music Division in Oslo, Norway.
Axioma Ethica Odini is the follow-up to 2008’s Vertebrae, which sold over 1,100 copies its first week of release in North America according to Nielsen SoundScan and debuted on the American Billboard Hard Music chart at #11 and on the Billboard Heatseekers chart at #49. Vertebrae also won Terrorizer Magazine’s coveted “Album of the Year” award for 2008. In their native Norway, Vertebrae entered the official charts at #20 and earned ENSLAVED their third consecutive Spellemann award (the Norwegian equivalent of a Grammy).
ENSLAVED will embark on a 7-show “Circling Above and Within Tour” of Europe beginning October 15th.
View a recent interview with ENSLAVED guitarist/songwriter Ivar Bjørnson here.