ENSLAVED's Ivar Bjørnson: 5 great non-metal albums for metalheads | Revolver

ENSLAVED's Ivar Bjørnson: 5 great non-metal albums for metalheads

From world-ruling World Music to "Involuntarily Very Metal" rockabilly
ivar enslaved GETTY 2019, Per Ole Hagen/Redferns
photograph by Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

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Take one listen to Enslaved's latter-day progressive metal and it should be clear that they take inspiration from plenty of music outside of the usual headbanging fodder. Pink Floyd. Genesis. David Bowie. The list goes on.

Such non-metallic influences loom large on the Norwegian juggernaut's latest opus, Heimdal, a concept album about what the band has described as "one of the most fascinating characters of [Norse] mythology."

With this mind, we asked guitarist and composer Ivar Bjørnson to recommend five great non-metal albums for metalheads, as part of our continuing series. Check out his picks below.

Sigur Rós - Ágætis Byrjun

A journey through Icelandic mysterious, foggy landscapes. It is beautiful and unique and, I feel, very spiritual. Don't take my word for it — go listen yourself.

Swans - Soundtracks for the Blind

A colossal album that changed my life forever when I heard it played on Swans' farewell tour, with this album, in 1997. Pretty, ugly, massive, fragile, insane and insightful beyond words, violent and tender. Inhumanly human — or the other way around.

Dead Can Dance - Towards the Within

The new wave of Norse music. World Music ruling the music world today has its sources of inspiration like every other genre. Dead Can Dance could be the origin of the whole thing — of course, along with others. The mix of ambient, deep pulses, historical instruments and ethereal and spiritual concepts is perfected on this album, recorded live in 1993. The female front figure, Lisa Gerrard, is one of my favorite singers of all tine.

Klaus Schulze - Timewind

A constant favorite and inspiration for Enslaved since the first days of the band. [Mayhem founder] Euronymous was a friend of us but also a musical mentor for me — to this day, my playing and writing is still very colored by his mentoring. This album by the Creator of Ambient Music, Klaus Schulze, was one of the first albums I bought upon his insistence, at Helvete back in the days. Magic.

Hot Snakes - Automatic Midnight

I was recommended this band by Erlend from the now defunct hardcore outfit JR Ewing. I am intensely appreciative of this recommendation still. Hot Snakes is some kind post-hardcore-rockabilly-guitar rock or something, but for me, they will always be the definition of the concept "Involuntarily Very Metal." The guitars are unbelievably great, somewhere between hardcore and American rock with a lot of rockabilly and I don't know what. If I feel a little too much like a tough metal guy, I will put this on and get reminded of the fact that there is a bunch of rockabillies out there out-metalling us all.