By now, the legend of Norwegian progressive black metal act Enslaved is well known, but back in 1994 it was still in its infancy, with their 1994 release Vikingligr Veldi being their debut full-length and showing the seeds of the greatness that would quickly unveil itself and continue right up to the present day. Norse Music is now issuing Vikingligr Veldi on vinyl for the first time ever, with remastering being done by Iver Sandøy, the whole package complete in a limited 2xLP gatefold edition that includes a stunning new layout design by Z. Bielak (Ghost, Mayhem etc.) as well as four brand new illustrations specially made for this reissue.
You can safely say that this debut release from Enslaved has never sounded better, giving these epic songs the sparkling majesty they always deserved. Grutle Kjellson's gravelly rasps battle massive riffs, blazing drums, and a smattering of keyboards & horns on the titanic opener "Lifandi Lif Undir Hamri", the progressive side of the band already creeping in, while the raging "Vetrarnótt" is pure venomous black metal, Trym Torson's acrobatic blast beats undercutting manic tremolo picking courtesy of Ivar Bjørnson, creating a brutally cold & icy musical landscape. The frosty mountains of Norway become ever apparent on "Midgards Eldar", with yearning horns floating over the chilling atmosphere before the crushing riffs and powerful drumming kicks in, the 11+ minute epic journey taking the listener through many twists and turns, some keyboards here, pulverizing blast beats there, and Grutle's evil, menacing shrieks present to send a chill up and down your spine. The shortest track here is the bludgeoning "Heimdallr", classic old school Norwegian black metal at its core, and the lengthy, mid paced "Norvegr" sees the bands love of prog once again creep out, mixed with some doom and bruising NWOBHM styled menace.
Certainly groundbreaking at the time and still mesmerizing to this day, Vikingligr Veldi is an important piece of Enslaved's history that still holds up very well today. Though they would go on to refine and progress from here, this is basically where it all began, and an album truly worthy of this type of reissue.
1. Lifandi Lif Undir Hamri
3. Midgards Eldar