ENSLAVED guitarist Ivar Bjørson has written an article in Norwegian as a blog for the national newspaper Aftenposten. The English-language translation follows here:
"6.6.2006, the metal date above all! I don't take it too seriously, but it is a good-looking number. It looks like there's a lot of celebration today, with numerous gigs here in Norway and there is the re-issue of 'Omen'.
"Let's ask the first big question: Has Norway gone mad? Yes, thankfully it seems to be a movement in that direction. Extreme metal is in the newspapers, the radio, on TV, and last but not least; on the big festivals.
"The second big question: Is there a difference between extreme metal and black metal? Yupp! In my band, which plays extreme metal, the Satan-factor is zero, meaning no black metal.
"Thirdly: Has extreme metal finally bent its neck and become mundane? No, and I want to be clear here; it is the folks out there that have gradually opened up for it! I have to add that the genre itself has learnt a thing or two about production, communication during the course of the years. What is more natural than seeking art forms expressing the dark, the frightening, the aggressive, death and the great beyond/ the metaphysical? Isn't this also a part of (our) nature? Why should the happy and positive feelings be the only ones allowed to be expressed in art? No one can argue that it is good mental health to suppress integral parts of the human mind? Well, I guess there are some people do, and while I'm at it:
"Isn't it about time abolishing the (Norwegian) state church once and for all? To be honest, I find it quite embarrassing to be a part of a system where people are locked up for believing that they are Napoleon, while at the same time there's hassle becoming Prime Minister even though you believe the world was 'created' in six days by some huge guy with beard that also decides everything and knows what we're all thinking all the time.
"It is of course important to have something to believe in, but what about believing a bit more in ourselves? We should be giving ourselves some credit for the creative abilities, spirit, stamina, guts and strength required to survive in a brutal world! It is scary to read descriptions from totalitarian regimes and hearing about Islam and terror, but we should not forget our own backyard. Some of our Christian newspaper editors have a more complex motivation than just pure humanity in their dealings with Islam. Their actions to ensure 'our' freedom of speech can be described as an injection of pestilence as a vaccine for cholera.
"The problem with the monotheistic world religions is the lack of philosophic, moral, ethic flexibility, and the absence of balance. The way good, old Christen-Norway views women is worth a blog on its own (we'll get back to that sometime!)
"6.6. 2006 is a day in the name of metal, and it will be celebrated with beer, loud and brutal music and some deep thoughts around 1000 years of suppression.
"The next thousand years are ours!"