Tributes to Enslaved and Emperor
Two of the classic Norwegian metal bands recieves tributes in the form of records this month. Hear exclusive songs here.
Emperor and Enslaved are two of the most well-known bands in the history of Norwegian extreme metal, and June strangley enough brings tributes to both bands. On June 25th the album A Tribute To Emperor-In Honour Of Icon E will be released, and a week before Önd-A Tribute To Enslaved will se the light of day. Which maybe tells us something about the status of Norwegian metal abroad.
Raphael Henry and Pictonian Records are the ones releasing the tribute to Enslaved, which amongst others include Wodensthrone from England, and Norwegian bands Vreid, Ribozyme and Krakow.
- Enslaved was one of the first black metal bands I listened to when I discovered the genre. It was through the first Blackend compilation, that had many great songs by many great bands, and among them was “Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor”, from Hordanes Land. The track hit me real hard, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Never disappointed. Challenged and surprised, but always in a good way. Every album the band have released influenced me in a way, musically or not, so I figured I had to pay homage somehow.
How hard was it to get the bands involved and how did you pick the bands?
It wasn’t really hard, but it took some time. We had a pretty good idea what kind of bands we wanted to be involved and we handpicked almost all of them. We did not want to put an ad somewhere on the internet and collect songs until we got the right amount. We wanted to be in charge of the whole project and shape this tribute in a way that fits our taste. We wanted it to be timeless, not trendy. We also wanted to have different types of bands on it, to get a wide and rich tribute. And I think we really succeeded doing this, because we have songs from “very respectful of the original recording” to “wow, is it really this song they’re covering?”, with everything in-beetween. And we also have a song from every release from the Yggdrasil demo to the Vertebrae album.
One of the Norwegian bands on the Enslaved-tribute is Ribozyme. Cato Olaisen from the band explains why they wanted to be involved with the record.
- We’re all fans of Enslaved, especially the later records. So when the opportunity came we jumped on board. We saw it as a challenge, to do a cover of a song and a band that’s pretty far away from what we usually do. We did the song “To The Coast” from Vertebrae, and the whole point was to do our own version instead of just doing the song the same way Enslaved did it.
LISTEN: Ribozyme doing” To The Coast”
Ivar Peersen is honoured that other bands have done their versions of the music he has been making with Enslaved through the years.
- It’s almost overwhelming. I was pretty surprised when I realised that they wanted to do this. The music of Enslaved is the most important non-human aspect of my life, but I don’t take it for granted that the rest of the world feels that it’s important. So it’s both overwhelming and inspiring. That our whole catalogue is represented on the record is really a massive pat on the back that we really appreciate. And it was a nice walk down memory lane, as well. Back to the early nineties when the Norwegian bands actually backed each other.
How involved has Enslaved been in the record?
-They asked us early on if we had any thoughts and rules regarding bands and songs, but apart from that we didn’t want any bands with extreme political or religious views on there, we haven’t had much to say about it. I’ve actually heard all the songs on the tribute, and I’m immensly impressed. From the most poppy song from Ribozyme, through over-authentic contributions from Wodensthrone, who actually found the same synth that we used in 1992 on Ebay, to pretty avantgarde contributions from As Light Dies that do such a cool version of “As Fire Swept Clean The Earth” that it’s hard to understand how they did it. Who knew that song could be done as math-metal with violin and bossanova?
What does this tribute mean to Enslaved? It maybe says a thing or two about recognition, history and importance?
- Just what I thought. It says a bit about recognition, history and importance for other musicians. We’re from Norway, and that might be why we’re a bit extra flabbergasted about this, I mean here it’s important not to be to overtly supportive about other music. Personally though, I hope I give positive feedback and support the bands that I like, so it’s really nice that someone was nice to me and Enslaved in the end as well…. Pompous? Maybe, but I actually play guitar on the song that Taake do on the Emperor tribute, so I walk the walk, not only talk the Taake…. Haha!
LISTEN: Vreid doing “Lunar Force”
Which brings us over to the second Norwegian band that gets the tribute treatment in June. Emperor split many years ago, but the symphonic black metal that they made still inspires musicians and fans all over the world. A Tribute To Emperor-In Honour Of Icon E will be released by Candlelight and Metal Swamp/Tryzna Productions. Nocturnal from Tryzna Productions tells us about the record.
- It can be stated as a fact that Emperor influenced black metal immensely. They were one of the main pillars of the Norwegian black metal underground. And though there have been many tributes dedicated to various black metal bands there was none dedicated solely to Emperor. Therefore we decided it was time to pay homage to these titans of the black arts for their musical contribution and message. As we have written in the booklet: “For fans and for us, Emperor are a legend whose work shall never be forgotten and with strength it shall burn forever in our hearts”.
How did you get bands to participate?
- The title of the album says it all: In Honour of Icon E. To honour Emperor was the motivation of the chosen bands. It was quite simple. We asked them whether they wanted to be a part of the tribute and we have to say that their response was instantaneous and positive. We have managed to put 16 projects from 8 different countries together on this tribute. It was absolutely great to see such dedication and we are very proud to be a part of the collective effort that was put into this release.
Do you know what the members of Emperor feels about this release?
- The album was heard by all members of Emperor and also Candlelight records. They liked the album, approved it and allowed us to call this tribute official. Also we are very grateful because Candlelight greatly helped us with promotion, distribution and marketing. That speaks for itself we suppose. So now it may be stated that we are very proud to present the “First official tribute to Emperor”.
There are four Norwegian bands on the tribute to Emperor, Taake, Troll, Svartalv and Helheim. Ørjan Nordvik from Helheim explains their decision to participate.
- We were contacted by the record company and didn’t hesitate. This is our first contribution to this kind of a record, and Emperor really deserves a tribute. We wanted to do something new and exciting and at the same time the whole band has always held Emperor dear. They are one of the most important and influential bands in black metal. Emperor have never had any direct influence on our music, but they are a band that we really appreciate.
How difficult was it do do the song?
- Pretty easy, really. We picked an early demo (Witches Sabbath), and those early Emperor songs is not that difficult to play. We also wanted to add our own feel on the song, not just copy it like other bands often do. So we translated the lyrics to Norwegian and put on some kettledrums and stuff on it so that it has the same kind of sound that’s on our latest album.