"Vertebrae", the new album from Norwegian masters of progressive/experimental metal ENSLAVED, sold around 1,100 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard Hard Music chart and at No. 49 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
ENSLAVED guitarist and founding member Ivar Bjørnson shares his thoughts on this accomplishment and the upcoming 2009 North American tour: "We were on the first day of our European tour in Copenhagen when we got the update from the U.S. on the 'Vertebrae' release. We've been told the first sales figures are very good!
"We are very grateful for the reception 'Vertebrae' has received in America; and now to see the first-week sales being doubled compared to those of 'Ruun' is nothing short of amazing.
"We wish to thank the fans for backing the release, the media for the in-depth reviews and features, and everybody at Nuclear Blast for getting 100% behind ENSLAVED on this release.
"The new songs sound like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and we can't wait to take this album on the road — luckily, the wait is over! The confirmation of the North American dates in May 2009 is the best news we could get. The two tours over there in 2007 were fantastic; the response was overwhelming and we got to meet and know so many dedicated fans and followers of ENSLAVED all over North America. Going back now, with the massive welcome 'Vertebrae' has received, is something we can't wait to do. Having SWALLOW THE SUN and KEEP OF KALESSIN as support is absolutely great. We can't wait!”
Tickets are on sale now exclusively through EnterTheVault.com until November 26. On November 27, tickets will go on sale through normal ticketing outlets.
"Vertebrae" was recorded during the first months of 2008 — then mixed by Joe Barresi (TOOL, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) and mastered by the legendary George Marino in Sterling Sound. Produced by Ivar Bjørnson, Herbrand Larsen and Grutle Kjellson, "Vertebrae" is "one of the strongest albums to emerge from the extreme metal scene," according to a press release. "The sound, songs and atmosphere mark a great leap for the band and genre as a whole."