Elysium were an Norwegian metal band from Bergen, Norway. The band was formed by Sven Kristensen (lead guitar, vocals) and Jonas Nævdal (guitar) in 1984, and following members Jørn Svordlund on bass and Erik Jørgen on drums. The band rose to prominance in 1987 with their second album, the landmark Razor Black, and released a subsequent ten albums until Kristensen's death in 2004. Their first album, Dragon Boat, is regarded as one of the pioneering albums of early "viking metal", although the band members claimed that they were not of that genre, but a "death metal band with Viking lyrical themes".
Elysium's origins can be traced back to Sven Kristensen's first band, Black Pegasus, formed in 1980 when he was 19. When Black Pegasus ended after a brief run in 1982, Kristensen held auditions for a guitarist, eager to start a new band. He recruited Jonas Nævdal, 18, and the two then held more auditions for bass and drums. Jørn Svordlund and Erik Jørgen joined the band shortly after, and Elysium was born.
The recording of Elysium's debut album, Dragon Boat, began in early 1985, when they joined American produce Richard Pryass in "a cramped cabin of a recording studio", as Kristensen recalled. Although the album was relatively short and long-budget, it garnered huge sucess after its breakthrough sucessor Razor Black from 1987 onwards.
Viking Hall XVII and Kristensen's death
In 2003, Elysium released their twelfth album, Viking Hall XVII. They toured heavily from June to September of 2003, where Kristensen complained of heart pain in the later half of the European leg. He was admitted to a Budapest hopsital shortly after the band's show in the city, where he was resuscitated by doctors, escaping with his life. During his recovery Kristensen penned a number of songs for a following Elysium album, and returned to his home in Bergen on September 13th.
Kristensen met up with the other band members in November of 2003, eager to return to the studio. They returned to the studio as he requested, and began recording. From November 23rd-30th Kristensen once again complained of heart pain, this time even more severe. He was admitted to the hospital again, where doctors advised him to relax and not do any strenous activities. But still Kristensen's heart problems continued into the new year. After one day at the studio, Kristensen returned home at around 11:35 PM and, as his neighbour confirmed, collapsed at his door. Ambulance rushed him to hospital, but Kristensen died the following day from a heart attack, only 43.
After Kristensen's death in January 2004, Nævdal, Svordlund and Jørgen put Elysium to rest in honour of their friend, not wishing to carry on without him. They released Valhall Son in February, in tribute to Kristensen, but refused to tour afterwards. Nævdal has since become a producer, while Svordlund and Jørgen went on the form Sacred Vault Eternal Night, bearing the initials of Sven's name, thus a tribute to their late comrade.
- Dragon Boat (1986)
- Razor Black (1987)
- Deep Night Red (1989)
- Nine (1990)
- Grendel (1991)
- Elysium: The Album (1993)
- Viking Hall IX (1995)
- Cruelty of Gods (1997)
- Viking Hall XV (1998)
- The Green Man (2000)
- Viking Hall XVI (2001)
- Viking Hall XVII (2003)
- Valhall Son (2004)
EPs, compilations and live releases
- Elysium '86 Demo (1986)
- Frozen Nord EP (1988)
- Storm of Northern Dark EP (1990)
- Wuldunnord EP (1993)
- Wolves In The Frost Wasteland (2003)
- A Decade of Norwegian Vikings: Elysium 1986-1996 (1996)
- Twenty Summers: The Definitive Elysjum 1986-2006 (2006)
- Sven Kristensen - vocals, guitar (1984-2004)
- Jonas Nævdal - lead guitar, backing vocals (1984-2004)
- Jørn Svordlund - bass (1984-2004)
- Erik Jørgen - drums (1984-2004)