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Enslaved Part Ways with Keyboardist Herbrand Larsen

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Enslaved had quite the weekend celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band: their New York by Norse event, which saw a reception hosted by the Norwegian Consulate and a special Enslaved show at the Gramercy Theatre, was a smashing success according to all those who attended. The band seemed to have a stellar time, too.

Unfortunately it was bittersweet for the band members and their keyboardist Herbrand Larsen, who yesterday announced he’d be parting ways with the group after 13 years of service. More than just a keyboard player who “filled in the cracks,” so to speak, Larsen’s parts have become an integral part of Enslaved’s music over the past decade plus. Even more integral: Larsen handled clean vocals, which have become an increasingly important part of the band’s sound during his tenture. As MetalSucks reader Ranpal C. put it in the email alerting us to Larsen’s departure, he had “the voice of an angel.”

The band announced the news in a Facebook post. Vocalist/bassist and founding member Grutle Kjellson comments:

“Friends of Enslaved, brothers and sisters! Nothing lasts forever, and we have something to announce. Our keyboardist and vocalist for the last 13 years, Herbrand Larsen is leaving the band. There is no drama in connection with his departure, it was entirely his own decision, and we part ways as friends and with no bad blood in between us.

“We want to thank Herbrand for his duties in Enslaved in all these years, for standing alongside us on our adventures all over the world. We had some really good times on the road, in the recording studios and in our practice space. We raise our glasses, and wish you all the best on your next voyage! Thank you friend!”

Larsen comments:

“After 13 years of being a part of this amazing band it saddens me to say that I will be leaving Enslaved. It was not an easy decision to come to! I love Enslaved and will always do. There is no drama or anger involved in this. I think we all understand why this is the best decision both for me and the band.

“I don’t have that 100% drive anymore, the drive you need to be in a band like Enslaved. Only 99% and that is not enough. It’s hard to explain but this is how it is. I remember all the shows we have done together. All the places we have been and all the fans that we’ve met. I remember meeting fans, telling me that our music really means something to them. I remember traveling places I never thought I would see. I remember working with extremely talented people. I remember tough times, sad times but most of all, all the good times. You have all been a huge part of my life and will still be.

“For that I’m truly grateful! I’m looking forward to spend more time in the studio. Recording, producing and mixing music. That’s where I want my focus and my drive to be. To Arve, Cato, Grutle and Ivar, thank you for your friendship, your creativity and your support. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for you guys. I am sure you will be even better, stronger and more successful in the future. And you will still continue to be my friends and a big part of my life. Thank you!”

Enslaved will perform tomorrow night, December 16th, in their hometown of Bergen, Norway. Though it isn’t stated explicitly in either the band or Larsen’s statements, we’d assume Larsen will be performing and it’ll be his final show with the band.

Here’s one of my favorite songs featuring Larsen’s voice — also one of my favorite Enslaved songs of all time — “Ground,” from 2008’s Vertebrae:

[via SputnikMusic.com and MS reader Ranpal C.]

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