"In Times", the thirteenth studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metallers ENSLAVED, will be released on March 6, 2015 via Nuclear Blast. The CD's hand-painted artwork was created by longtime collaborating artist and "sixth ENSLAVED member" Truls Espedal.
The band has just released the first album trailer detailing the development of artwork. Watch the clip below as Truls walks you through the painting process.
Says Espedal: "Working with oil paint and a deadline can be somewhat aggravating, and I learned that red paint takes really really long to dry! But I almost made the deadline finishing three paintings and layout, all the time with 'In Times' on the stereo.
"I've played the album closer to two hundred times by now, and I find it to be more in every way. It sounds potent and fresh, and the tracks are just fucking inspirational. So, I went for more as well. I wanted the cover to have more atmosphere, starker contrasts and be more subtle yet dramatic.
"Ivar and Grutle's concept allowed me to add new elements and be more experimental, without wanting to leave the familiar. It also allowed for more diversity through the cover, especially the vinyl.
"The three paintings for this release range from figurative work to very stylized, almost abstract, expanding upon the front cover. The process was also a bit different; more dynamic. A lot of the artwork was improvised, which is not typical me. I enjoyed it. And I feel I'm getting the hang of the oil paint now, so I'm really excited for next time."
Frontman Grutle Kjellson adds: "I just love the album cover. I honestly think this is the best artwork I have ever seen. That is, of course, because Truls has developed the ability to transform me and Ivar's often surreal concepts and ideas into an actual painting.
"This painting is the perfect projection of our lyrics; it even extends the written words.
"This is a picture of mythology, life, death and time.
"Truls has made a masterpiece, we have made the soundtrack."
The main recording sessions for "In Times" took place at Duper Studios and Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings sessions at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by ENSLAVED members Herbrand Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson's Peersonal Sound Studios. Additional experimentation and sonic exploration was conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where a mobile studio recorded additional sounds.
"In Times" was produced by bandmembers Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson and Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy. Mixing was completed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.
ENSLAVED guitarist and composer Ivar Bjørnson stated the following about the band's latest creation: "I was so deep into the songs and ideas for such a long time (or have my head so far up my own ass, if you prefer more direct language) that it is hard to have any 'opinions' about them that is anything else than the high-flying mumbo-jumbo of the introvert songsmith. The songs are extensions of my inner and outer life, the thoughts I am aware of having, as well as those that lie too deep to register in everyday consciousness. The songs are the resounds of grandiose altered states and mundane tiny micro-events. In addition, they are, of course, also the result of inspiration from other music and art. I do think this new album is the most consistent body of work we have so far: It incorporates our 'blacker' past with our influences from prog rock, our present sense of absolute freedom, and the joy of being in this band, if that makes any sense… Ha, ha, ha. It is higher in energy, more aggressive, yet more beautiful and subtle. It simply sounds inspired."
"In Times" track listing:
01. Thurisaz Dreaming
02. Building With Fire
03. One Thousand Years Of Rain
04. Nauthir Bleeding
05. In Times
The new album’s total running time is fifty-three minutes.