The following is the seventh of eight installments where rhythm guitarist/songwriter/lyricist Ivar Bjørnson and bassist/vocalist/lyricist Grutle Kjellson of the Norwegian progressive extreme metal band ENSLAVED offer insight on the tracks to their twelfth studio album, RIITIIR, due out in Europe on September 28th and in North America on October 9th.
Bjørnson on RIITIIR Track #7, “Storm Of Memories”:
“Alright, much like ENSLAVED’s career, this song could be described with the sports term ‘a working victory’ (it might surprise some that we didn’t get where we are just because of our strikingly good looks and a talented costume designer). It was the first song to be written for this album but the last one to fall into place completely. Obviously, I’m talking about the first section of the song – the second half is more ‘normal ENSLAVED’ (okay, that is funny) and it more or less worked itself out during the rehearsal sessions. On the other hand, I wasn’t completely getting the right atmosphere from the first rounds of the band adding their instruments in the studio on the first part: the demos from the previous year still had more of a ‘vibe’ to them than we were getting in the studio. Luckily, co-producer Iver [Sandøy] had an equally wholehearted belief in the song and really dived into the task of getting the best out of the song. His ideas – for the arpeggio that Herbrand [Larsen, keyboard player & clean vocalist] wrote out on his keys, along with his ideas for percussion and some effects – became the spark that ignited the song in the end, which turned out to be one of the best we’ve done! The last pieces were the somewhat disturbing chanting by yours truly and of course Jens Bogren’s perfect mix. Obviously, he’s done a fantastic job on the entire album, but I feel the need to point out how integral he is particularly on this (working victory of a) song. Lyrically, we might be looking at some weird mix of a literal interpretation of the title and the inner/physical workings of the rituals and/or mental processes (depending on whether you’re wearing a wizard’s hat or a lab coat) intended to cause willed change on either or both sides of the ‘reality border.’ This is the song where abstracts and concretes meet in the hope of conjuring up a storm…”
Kjellson on “Storm Of Memories”:
“This song sounds like the title strongly indicates: a storm of memories! Intense like a storm from within. This was the first song Ivar wrote for the album, actually just a few months after the release of the Axioma album. The funny thing is that where the first song written for a new album tends to sound like the previous album, this one doesn’t! In fact, this one does not sound like either Axioma or Riitiir. This song is something like a deserted island in the ENSLAVED ocean (okay, that sounds cheesy). Anyway, this is (at least the opening) the closest we will ever get sounding like a Krautrock-band! Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it´s kind of special since none of us have been digging particularly deep in Amon Düül or early Kraftwerk. The direction of this song, particularly in the mixing session, is perhaps the biggest debate we’ve ever had on the production side in the band. We are a bunch of nerds that live and breathe for the art of making music and we shared the production between four different minds (Bjørnson, Kjellson, Larsen & Sandøy) with four different ways of approaching music. So, some arguments (very healthy in a retrospective aspect) occurred. But, all of us ended up thinking this was a very refreshing yet different song. This process opened up the eyes for all of us on the production team and this collaboration is something I will always remember and be deadly proud of.”
Read past song commentaries on the ENSLAVED Facebook page.
RIITIIR will be released in Europe this Friday, September 28th and in North America on October 9th. The iTunes pre-order is available for $8.99 to all U.S. residents (special pricing also extends through the week of release). Visit iTunes to preview 90 seconds of every single thought-altering new song.
Nuclear Blast USA’s pre-order bundles include an exclusive album artwork t-shirt + an exclusive 1-inch pin. The deluxe digi-pak edition includes a bonus DVD featuring: The Making of RIITIIR, The Band, The Studios, The Artwork.
RIITIIR’s North American 2 LP bone & charcoal splatter vinyl double-gatefold version – limited to 1,000 copies – can be pre-ordered beginning October 9th.
ENSLAVED will fly to Miami, Florida to perform on the Barge To Hell cruise on December 3rd. Vikings on a plane only to land on a boat… that’s an adventure waiting to happen.
Living on either or both sides of the reality border at: