HistoryThe Norwegian black metal entity Enthral was formed in the summer of 1995 by Kjetil Hektoen and Gunnhild Bratset under another name. The band moved to Oslo in October of 1995. Gunnleik "Ask" Fjellseth joined the band on bass for a brief period.
In March 1996 the band, having now found its name (the band existed under a different one earlier), prepared to record a four-track demo. Demo 1996 featured Thomas Kjørnes on bass. Magnus Krogsveen (guitar) and Martin Løchsen (keyboards) soon came and went.
In 1997 the band contributed the song Awaiting The Rise Of The Forestgod to the Dimmu Borgir-owned Hot Records compilation CD The Rape of the Holy Trinity. An album called Prophecies Of The Dying was recorded at Stovner R.F studio in May 1997 in 4 days! A second guitarist (Espen Simonsen who was a former member of the death metal act Tshe Flesh with which Kjetil had pounded the skins for a brief period) soon joined the ranks.
Espen Simonsen left Enthral in November 1998. The band signed to Necropolis Records in 1999 hoping to record an album called The Relinquishment And The Renascence in early 2000. This album was not released due to the financial problems of Necropolis Records. Enthral appeared on the King Diamond Tribute released by Necropolis Records in 2000 covering the song The Portrait however. The band issued a four-track demo in late 2000. They signed to the Dutch Displeased Records in 2002 and issued a third album in July of 2003. Subterranean Movement featured three songs from the 2000 demo. This release featured Ronny Hansen on guitars. It was recorded at MLP studio and self-produced.
In 2015, Necrostable Records announced that the band had agreed to release its album The Mirror`s Opposite End (1998) digitally through the label.
ENTHRAL - SUBTERRANEAN MOVEMENT - DISPLEASED
Writing a review for the new Enthral album is relatively difficult. The Norwegians have always been or are - this being my first encounter with the act's musical output - a band with a diverse sound. That is to say that the band likes to keep the listener, and presumably itself, on its toes by varying the tempo, speed and structure of the songs consistently.
Enthral is more complex than the average Norwegian band. Elements of Emperor occasionally rule Enthral, but the band is more multi-faceted than those disbanded trend masters. Then again, the rhythms and actual riffs used by the band are deceptively simple, even when riding on top of a synthesized screech or accompanied by the grumble of backing vocals resembling a lizard waiting to strike. Yes, the menacing vocals, a dangerously buzzing guitar sound and a variable pace of both medium and fast tempos exist here, but unfortunately several songs feature the damned keyboards ever so loathed very much by metal fans. Still, these are short and wither quickly. Songs like Earth Left Behind, for instance, completely ignore the offending heavenly instrument and are all the more effective because of it. Unfortunately, several songs have the damned keyboards loathed so very much by metal fans. Still, these are short and wither quickly. The album clocks in at near fifty minutes, which is above average, but while most of the album (as mentioned) is interesting by virtue of its variety the album occasionally drifts like the ending of To The Bone. The band knows how to construct a good melody as heard on the harmonic twin guitars of Charge Of The I, but there needs to be more of it. So, here is the scoop. Complex in structure, yet straightforward in actual approach, Enthral would do even better were it to incorporate more solos and banish the keyboards and advance the way it currently Enthrals the audience. Ali "The Metallian"
InterviewsNorwegian heavy metal band Enthral has not reached the same level of
popularity as a Dimmu Borgir or Emperor. Furthermore, the band was
recently sidetracked with internal and external problems, yet things
about to change somewhat with the recent release of the Subterranean
Movement full-length on Displeased Records. Ali "The Metallian"
a call from drummer Kjetil Hektoen who was eager to shed some light on
the band's situation and plans. - 01.09.2003
METALLIAN: Kjetil, thank you for calling Metallian Towers. Enthral
should probably figure larger in the minds of metal fans than its
current status allows. Do you care to shed some light on the band's
HEKTOEN: First of all, thank you for your interest in Enthral. Guitar
player Gunnhild Bratset and I formed the band in April or May of 1995.
We come from the same little town called Sunndalsøra and we also went
to school together. Sunndalsøra is not exactly the place to find
who are interested in extreme music, but fortunately we shared the same
ideas and goals and decided to form a band. At first we called
Fimbulvinter. We chose Enthral as our band name later. During that
summer we had our first rehearsals in Sunndalsøra. As autumn
we moved to Oslo to attend school and after a little while found a
to rehearse. Later that year we got in touch with a bass player called
Gunleik Fjellseth, but he only lasted for about three or four
rehearsals. He wasn't dedicated at all, and we got tired of waiting to
see if he showed up to rehearsals. Anyway, that didn't stop us and we
continued to compose material for what was to become our first demo,
simply named Demo 1996. It was recorded and released in March of 1996.
Only fifty copies were ever distributed. A good friend of the band,
Thomas Kjørnes, took care of the bass on the demo. We had offered him
place in Enthral, but as his musical taste was more in the fields of
traditional heavy metal he kindly declined our offer. He was, and still
is of course, a very talented musician. We also had two other members
included in the lineup for a while, but they didn't last long either.
The main ingredient missing was dedication.
In August of 1996 Gunnhild and I went into Hov Studio in our hometown
record the track Awaiting The Rise Of The Forestgod. It was later
featured on the Hot Records' Compilation Vol. 1, The Rape Of The Holy
Trinity. It was released in 1997. First and foremost, it was meant to
examine how the band would function in the recording environment. The
pleasant outcome was that the track turned out very well and we decided
to record a video for the song as well. In October or November of 1996
we finally got in touch with a bass player, a very dedicated, talented
and like-minded individual, called Martin Rafoss. Finally, a piece of
the puzzle was in place. To this day he is still with the band. We put
our minds together and came up with a lot of material that eventually
led to the songs featured on our first album Prophecies Of The Dying.
For the record, many of our riffs had been composed earlier, but some
them were rearranged for this session. We finally secured a two-album
deal with Hot Records in the winter of 1997 and in May of the same year
recorded Prophecies Of The Dying. It was recorded and mixed at Stovner
Rockefabrikk in four days and released in July.
Shortly after two new members were added to the ranks. Guitarist Espen
Simonsen, and Stian Aarstad joined the band which meant that the sound
of the band grew further. Sadly, the production on The Mirror's
End album didn't show it at all. That was due to the incompetent main
engineer we worked with, one Mr. Saehle. Despite the rough production,
the album received great reviews. In August of that year we started
recording demos for what was to be our third album The Relinquishment
And The Renascence. The songs were very heavy metal- oriented, but with
a dark aura and the typical twists and turns we have in our music.
that year Espen left the band due to his education which took much of
his time. He didn't want to be in the way. A few months later we lost
our rehearsal room. The search for a new one lasted for almost a year.
That was a very difficult period for the band, but we stuck to our
By the time we found a place we were in contact with Necropolis
We appeared on their tribute album to King Diamond. After that bad
experience, we decided we had had enough of the music business for a
while and mostly kept to ourselves.
The Demo 2000 was recorded, but we didn't care to send it out to
We felt we needed more time to develop our sound. In 2001 we got in
touch with guitarist Dan Ola Persson, formerly of the Ancient's Rebirth
and Cardinal Sin. We started to rear our ugly heads again, and planned
many shows together with different underground bands here in Norway,
due to many bands' unprofessional attitudes they all fell apart. It was
all work and no play! Dan was later forced to leave the band due to
shitloads of work and we were once again searching for a second guitar
player. Luckily we got in touch with Ronny Hansen who impressed us a
with his skills and musical ability. We started to contact different
labels and ended up with Displeased in December of 2002. We recorded
mixed Subterranean Movement during a period lasting from February to
April of this year. I guess there is more to mention, but that's about
most of Enthral's history.
METALLIAN: How about The Flesh? Isn't that band integral to Enthral's
HEKTOEN: The Flesh was a very good, and also a very technical, death
metal band which was formed in 1994 by Enthral's former guitar player
Espen Simonsen and guitarist Morten Vaeng. Other members were bassist
and singer Einar Fredriksen and drummer Anders Eek. They both were from
the doom metal band Funeral. The Flesh released one demo called Ice
Macabre Lust and the mini-CD Storming The Heaven's Gate. By the end of
1996 I saw an advertisement in a music store which said that The Flesh
was searching for a drummer. I gave Espen a call, turned up at an
audition and I was in. Sadly, the band didn't last much longer because
both Morten and Einar didn't see any future in performing death metal.
The band fell to pieces in the summer of 1997. Consequently, I offered
Espen a place in Enthral. The rest is history.
METALLIAN: Why was the name Fimbulvinter changed earlier? Was it
of the band with the same name on Hot Records?
HEKTOEN: We felt that such a name didn't represent the whole spectrum
the band's sound. We didn't feel that name represented the band or our
music. As you can see, the other Fimbulwinter didn't have anything to
with it as they have a different spelling. In Norse mythology
Fimbulvinter, a three-year long winter, represents the beginning of
METALLIAN: Elsewhere, had Enthral not signed with Necropolis Records?
What happened to the album announced for that label?
HEKTOEN: Enthral never signed a contract with Necropolis. They told us
we had a deal and we also appeared on their Tribute To King Diamond. We
were then pretty sure that things were going our way. We recorded the
song The Portrait for the tribute album, but they never paid for the
time we spent in the studio. Anyway, we paid for the recording and we
were told we would get the money back. That never did happen and we
didn't even receive a copy of the album! We bought it ourselves! I
actually view that experience as a positive one because imagine what
would have happened if we had signed to that rip-off label. We are very
happy to be on Displeased Records.
METALLIAN: How did you hook up with Displeased Records?
HEKTOEN: It was through the Norwegian metal magazine Scream. I had read
that Displeased Records was searching for new bands to sign. I decided
to get in touch with them, and later on they received our Demo 2000.
Luckily they found the material satisfactory and we signed a deal with
METALLIAN: For how many albums have you signed to Displeased?
HEKTOEN: We have signed a two-album deal with Displeased Records.
Hopefully both band and label will grow together. Their distribution
not be the best at the moment, but we hope that things will work out
METALLIAN: Did the material from your most recent demo end up on the
HEKTOEN: The Demo 2000 consisted of three tracks and all three of them
are included, in re-recorded versions, on Subterranean Movement. The
tracks are Slaves Of One Tongue, Charge Of The I, and Our Justice Be
Done. Actually, with that demo the fundamentals of our future direction
METALLIAN: Can you address the current album? Additionally, why was the
title changed from The Relinquishment And The Renascence to the
HEKTOEN: Subterranean Movement is an album that carries a lot of our
roots. It also dares to experiment in the more progressive fields of
metal. We are not the kind of band that limits itself with rules. From
the opener Earth Left Behind to the ending of Charge Of The I one will
find an album that travels from the very extreme, to more traditional
metal and on to doom metal. The title wasn't changed. The
Relinquishment... is a completely different album. Sorry if I have
you on that point.
METALLIAN: Actually, the misunderstanding might have been at this end.
What happens with the material from The Relinquishment... album?
HEKTOEN: To be honest, I have no idea at all! Some of the tracks are
very good, and it would be cool to perhaps include some of these
recordings on a mini-CD or something. They were very important in the
sense that we, with those tracks, more and more developed the musical
style we have today.
METALLIAN: Regardless, how about an overview of your lyrics?
HEKTOEN: The lyrics deal with topics ranging from angst, madness and
herd mentality to anti-religion sentiments. I try to view those themes
from different views and in many ways they work as a kind of therapy. I
focus on what I see as wrong in this society. Religion is but one of
those topics. The most fascinating theme of all must be the human mind.
Nothing can work so much against you, or bring you so much happiness
that matter. Most of all I want people to make up their own minds. If I
told you too much, I may destroy their interpretation of them. We are
not here to tell people what they should hear or see when they listen
METALLIAN: One has to wonder why Norwegians would sing about angst,
madness and other similar issues. The country is widely recognized for
being socially progressive.
HEKTOEN: Well, perhaps that is the reason. People don't like to talk
about their real problems. I guess you agree when I say that everyone
has something against which they struggle. I wouldn't speculate too
regarding what the cause may be, but most of us are living a very
life; trying to be at least in two places at the same time.
METALLIAN: One thing you can discuss is the dynamics and limitations of
a drummer-cum-singer. Is this arrangement by design or a last
HEKTOEN: Good question. If you practice enough, then there should be no
limitations at all! That's the way I see it. Enthral have performed
with me as a singer and drummer and it has gone well. I agree though
when people mention that it looks a bit strange without a frontman and
for future performances we will have one. I will be doing backing
Our vocal situation isn't by design, nor is it a last resort. I only
knew that I wanted that role. And it is a role in which I feel very
METALLIAN: What is your time-line for recruiting a new singer? Do you
have any candidates?
HEKTOEN: We will not recruit a new singer for the future albums'
recordings. For the upcoming gigs we will use Lloyd Hektoen from
Koldbrann. They are a very 'Norwegian'-sounding black metal band in the
vein of Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, and others. They are really harsh,
brutal, and sometimes fast as hell. I advise everyone to check them
Their website is at www.koldbrann.cjb.net. I believe that the vocal
situation can sometimes alter depending on the gigs in the future. I
only do the lead vocals at some shows and other times I will do the
drums and backing vocals.
METALLIAN: Speaking of other Norwegian bands, can you talk about your
relationship with Dimmu Borgir?
HEKTOEN: We don't know the guys from Dimmu Borgir personally, but
Shagrath was the one who decided to include us on the The Rape Of The
Holy Trinity compilation. The owner of Hot Records, Sture Hegstad, was
the person who gave us a record deal. When Stian Aarstad was fired from
Dimmu Borgir, I decided to give him a call to check if he would be
interested in joining Enthral and luckily he was. We had been searching
for a keyboard player for a long time so we were very happy when we
recruited him for the band. He is a very talented musician.
METALLIAN: Why was Stian fired from Dimmu Borgir?
HEKTOEN: Stian was fired from Dimmu Borgir because of his lack of
dedication. This is also the case with Enthral, where we gave him two
choices. That is, either he committed himself to the band one-hundred
percent or he had to leave.
METALLIAN: What is your take on today's Dimmu Borgir?
HEKTOEN: I have nothing but total respect for what the band has
- especially Shagrath and Silenoz. They have put so much time, money,
and dedication into Dimmu Borgir. I may not enjoy all of their
but there is no doubt that they are a great band comprised of strong
individuals. I don't agree when people claim they are sell-outs. They
always had their sound and as they grew as musicians, they naturally
began seeking more challenges. It may be a symphony orchestra, more
melodies or speed. People who attack them must be leading truly boring
METALLIAN: Where do you go from here and what are your future
HEKTOEN: We are now concentrating on live performances and at the same
time also concentrating on new material. I guess the live material will
be a fine mix between our old and new songs, but we will mainly focus
the latest release of course. We also have to sit down and think about
stage show, but we need money for that of course. We have five tracks
ready for an album which follows the path of the material on the latest
album, but with a slightly more brutal and cynical edge. We also would
really like to release an EP, but that's up to our record company of
METALLIAN: Can you say a few words about your other side-project? There
are few details available regarding it.
HEKTOEN: If you're thinking of Sjodogg, nothing has happened yet. In
time we will record a demo, but as my schedule is very tight at the
moment we will have to wait a little while. Espen Simonsen is the man
behind all compositions. I will write the lyrics, do the drumming plus
all the vocals.
I don't consider Crest Of Darkness a side project. I am a full-time
member of that band. We have now finished the recording and mixing for
the new album Evil Knows Evil. The Italian label My Kingdom Music will
release it. It is scheduled for release in November. We will do some
touring in support of the album, but no countries or cities have been
METALLIAN: Thank you for your time, Kjetil.
HEKTOEN: Thanks a lot for your support, Ali. Thanks for doing this
interview with Enthral. I wish you all the best at Metallian! Please
make sure to check out our website once in a while at www.enthral.org .
Also make sure to check out the forthcoming Crest Of Darkness album,
Evil Knows Evil. For more information look at
Enthral is signed to Displeased Records of The Netherlands. The band is
comprised of my interview partner Kjetil Hektoen (vocals/drums),
Gunnhild Bratset (guitar), Ronny Hansen (guitar) and Martin Rafoss
(bass). Subterranean Movement is now out and available at most heavy