ENSLAVED: Making Of ‘RIITIIR’ Artwork (Video)

“RIITIIR”, the twelfth studio album from Norwegian progressive extreme metallers ENSLAVED, will be released in Europe on September 28 and in North America on October 9 via Nuclear Blast Records.

The band has now released video footage of Norwegian artist Truls Espedal‘s creation process for the CD artwork, featuring a narration by ENSLAVED vocalist/bassist Grutle Kjellson. Check it out below.

Espedal previously stated about his creative process for “RIITIIR”‘s album artwork, his seventh cover for ENSLAVED: “This process has become a tradition; a tradition that works very well for me, with a lot of artistic freedom. First, an e-mail or text from the band asking if I’m ready, and then a phone conversation with Grutle and Ivar a week prior to us having a meeting. On the phone they give me an album title, some insight into the theme and their ideas, then a brief talk about different visual symbols/elements, which will be incorporated. A week later, I’m on a plane to meet them. We spend a day where we discuss the visual ideas I’ve come up with, eat good food, drink and listen to some of the new music. Before I leave, we have agreed about the sketches made during the day. Back home, now with a deadline, I get to work and don’t talk to them before the artwork is finished.

ENSLAVED‘s music is constantly evolving and expanding, and we early on decided that the artwork should reflect this. From my first collaboration with the band on [2001’s] ‘Monumension’ and forward, we have slowly merged different aspects into the work; what we wanted to do now was to further expand and change things up a bit, without losing the connection to earlier work. It still has a strong sense of symbolism, symmetrical compositions and references to Norse art. But there is an even bigger emphasis on realism on ‘RIITIIR’, which hopefully adds atmosphere to the finished work.

“This was the first time I had the whole album to listen to from the get-go. So for more or less 90 percent of all the hours spent in my studio, ‘RIITIIR’ was on constant repeat on the stereo and I truly believe that had a major impact on both the process and the finished result. The music influenced both the whole dynamics in the studio as well as choices made in color palette and atmosphere; it more or less dictated the mood of the paintings.

“Another difference this time was that I switched from acrylic paint to oil painting. So the front and back cover will be my first official ones in oils. This change gave me a challenge when it came to the deadline because of the drying rate and so on, but it felt right for the visual ideas we had decided on.

“The collaboration with Ivar and Grutle feels even more organic and natural than ever. Even though it is something that is a few years in-between, it always seems like we are on the same page. There are a lot of the thoughts and ideas in their work that I feel can be found in my own private paintings.”

Added ENSLAVED guitarist/songwriter/founding member Ivar Bjørnson: “The collaboration between [Truls], myself, and Grutle [Kjellson, vocalist and bassist] was closer, more understanding and powerful this time than ever before in our more than decade-long cooperation. The album concept and our feelings connected to it hit home instantly with Truls, in the same way that his initial ideas resonated intensely with us from the second he shared them with us.”

A track-by-track review of “RIITIIR” is available at Terrorizer.com.

“It has been only two years since we last released an album [2010’s award-winning ‘Axioma Ethica Odini’], and we’ve been touring Europe and North America several times since then,” reflects ENSLAVED guitarist, songwriter, and founding member Ivar Bjørnson. “Some might think that this schedule, and the fact that we celebrated our 20th anniversary last year, should result in some time off in the end. Nah. Like a space vessel that gains momentum by entering slingshot-orbits on its way through space, we seem to gain speed, direction, and strength on our journeys, through new releases and subsequent tours.

“Describing the sound on the new album is both easy and hard,” Bjørnson continues. “It is easy because it sounds like ENSLAVED, whatever that means. It is hard because there are so many layers and different focal points. I have a feeling that it has a deeper complexity than our previous efforts, but at the same time, I do find it more catchy and moving. Then again, I am the opposite of objective in this, so again I’ll leave it up to the people outside the band to make up their mind.”

The track listing for the “RIITIIR” European and North American digipak is as follows:

01. Thoughts Like Hammers
02. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn
03. Veilburner
04. Roots Of The Mountain
05. Riitiir
06. Materal
07. Storm Of Memories
08. Forsaken

The track listing for the “RIITIIR” 2LP double-gatefold is as follows:

Side A:

01. Thoughts Like Hammers
02. Death In The Eyes Of Dawn

Side B:

01. Veilburner
02. Roots Of The Mountain

Side C:

01. Riitiir
02. Materal

Side D:

01. Storm Of Memories
02. Forsaken

ENSLAVED‘s last two CDs — “Vertebrae” (2008) and “Axioma Ethica Odini” (2010) — were released via Indie Recordings in Europe and Nuclear Blast in North America.

 

 

 

 

 

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