Drott’s ‘The Return’ Long-Awaited Album Reshapes Norwegian Black Metal

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Drott is a progressive metal band hailing from Bergen, Norway, that has been praised for their unique blend of black metal, folk metal, and progressive metal. Comprised of Arve Isdal from Enslaved, Ivar Thormodsæter from Ulver, and Matias Monsen. Their early albums, including their debut EP, ‘Orcus,’ in 2021 and their first album, ‘Troll,’ in 2023, showcased their unique blend of dark folk and progressive metal, and their thematic exploration of old myths and trolldom.

Arve Isdal, also known by his stage name Ice Dale, is a renowned figure in the Norwegian black metal scene. Best known for his work with the band Enslaved, Isdal has made significant contributions to the genre with his unique guitar style and musical creativity. He has also played with a number of other bands, including Borknagar, Gorgoroth, and Immortal. Isdal is a respected figure in the Norwegian black metal scene, and his contributions to the genre are significant.

Arve Isdal joined Enslaved in 2002, bringing with him a fresh perspective and a unique guitar style that would come to define the band’s sound. With Enslaved, Isdal has released numerous albums that have been critically acclaimed for their innovative blend of black metal and progressive elements. His guitar work, characterized by its intricate melodies and atmospheric tones, has been instrumental in shaping Enslaved’s musical identity.

Over the years, Isdal’s musical style has evolved, reflecting his growth as a musician and his willingness to experiment with different sounds and genres. His work with Enslaved showcases this evolution, with each album representing a new phase in his musical journey. From the raw intensity of their early releases to the more progressive elements of their recent work, Isdal’s guitar work has consistently pushed the boundaries of black metal.

Isdal’s contributions to the black metal scene extend beyond his work with Enslaved. He has also collaborated with various other bands, including Audrey Horne and I, further showcasing his versatility as a musician. His unique guitar style and innovative approach to black metal have influenced a new generation of musicians, cementing his status as a pillar of the Norwegian black metal scene.

Ivar Thormodsæter, known in the music world as Ivar Bjørnson, is a pivotal figure in the Norwegian experimental music scene. As a founding member of the band Ulver, Thormodsæter has consistently pushed the boundaries of musical expression, blending elements of black metal with a wide range of other genres.

Ivar Thormodsæter co-founded Ulver in 1993, and the band quickly gained recognition for their unique approach to black metal. Thormodsæter’s role as a guitarist and primary songwriter has been instrumental in shaping Ulver’s sound, which has evolved significantly over the years. From their early black metal releases to their later forays into electronic and experimental music, Thormodsæter’s creative vision has been a driving force behind Ulver’s musical evolution.

Thormodsæter’s musical style has undergone significant evolution throughout his career. While Ulver’s early work was rooted in black metal, the band has since explored a wide range of genres, including folk, electronic, and ambient music. This willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of musical expression is a testament to Thormodsæter’s creativity and versatility as a musician.

Beyond his work with Ulver, Thormodsæter has had a significant impact on the broader experimental music scene. His innovative approach to songwriting and his willingness to blur the lines between genres have influenced a new generation of musicians. Thormodsæter’s contributions to music extend beyond his own work, as he has also collaborated with a variety of other artists, further showcasing his versatility and creativity.

Matias Monsen, while a newer name in the Norwegian metal scene compared to his bandmates in Drott, has quickly established himself as a musician of note. His work with Drott showcases his talent and versatility, contributing to the band’s unique blend of black metal, folk metal, and progressive metal.

Matias Monsen is a key member of Drott, contributing to the band’s distinctive sound. Working alongside seasoned musicians like Arve Isdal and Ivar Thormodsæter, Monsen has demonstrated his musical abilities and his capacity to collaborate effectively within a band setting. His contributions to Drott’s music have been instrumental in shaping the band’s identity and their place within the Norwegian black metal scene.

While Monsen’s career is still in its early stages compared to his bandmates, his musical evolution is evident in Drott’s discography. From the band’s early releases to their more recent work, Monsen’s musicianship has grown and evolved, reflecting his ongoing development as a musician. His work with Drott showcases his versatility and his ability to blend different musical styles, from black metal to folk and progressive metal.

Drott’s debut album, ‘Orcus,’ released on May 19th, 1921, was a critical and commercial success. The album established Drott as a leading band in the Norwegian black metal scene and showcased their unique blend of black metal, folk metal, and progressive metal. The album was released by By Norse Music, a record label known for its support of innovative Norwegian bands.

Prior to the release of ‘Troll,’ Drott unveiled the first single from the album, ‘Våkenatt’ on March 8, 2023. The song features guest vocals by Kristian Espedal, who is known for his work with the band Ulver. ‘Våkenatt’ is a dark and atmospheric song that showcases Drott’s unique blend of black metal, folk metal, and progressive metal. The song’s release was met with positive reviews from critics, who praised the band’s evolving sound and Espedal’s guest vocals. The release of ‘Våkenatt’ served as an exciting preview of the band’s evolving musical style and thematic focus.

On February 14th, 2023, Drott announced that they would be reuniting for a series of live shows in Europe in the summer of 2023. These shows, scheduled to take place in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands, mark the band’s first live performances since 2003, signaling a significant moment in their career.

The tour kicked off on May 25th, 2023, in Oslo, Norway, and concluded on June 18th, 2023, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The band played a mix of songs from their two albums, ‘Orcus’ and ‘Troll,’ as well as some new material. The shows were met with positive reviews from fans, who were excited to see the band back in action.

Drott released a new single, ‘The Summoning,’ on March 8th, 2023. This was followed by the release of two more singles, ‘Troll’ in May and ‘The Arcanum’ in June, from their upcoming album, also titled ‘Troll.’ These releases have served to build anticipation for both their live shows and their new album.

Drott announced on April 14th, 2023, that they would be releasing a new album, ‘The Return,’ in September 2023. This album is expected to mark a return to the band’s more traditional black metal sound, showcasing their roots while also demonstrating their musical evolution.

The album will be released by Norse Music, the same label that released Drott’s first two albums, ‘Orcus’ and ‘Troll.’ It will be produced by Arve Isdal, who is also the band’s lead guitarist. The new album is expected to be a critical and commercial success.

Drott’s reunion, their upcoming live shows, and the release of their new album, ‘The Return,’ mark a significant resurgence in their career. Their unique blend of black metal, folk metal, and progressive metal continues to influence many other bands and captivate fans around the world. As Drott continues to evolve and experiment, they remain a beacon of innovation in the Norwegian music scene, pushing the boundaries of genre and thematic content.

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