Crowbar, Brisbane QLD
5th October, 2016
Support – Eternal Rest
Enslaved have always been head and above many of the other bands from the black metal genre. Ever since the release of their seminal album Frost they’ve challenged themselves and their fans with 12 albums which push themselves and their fans to the limit. Their creativity is unquestionable at this point of their 25 years as a band and tonight is all about just that; celebrating their long career with two sets of phenomenal black, prog metal epicness.
Opener Eternal Rest unfortunately miss the mark as their lead singer postures on stage, dancing and glaring at the crowd like a man possessed. Playing something more akin to death metal, they manage to get a few heads moving, the melodic guitar flourishes are something to behold in amongst the chaotic force being spewed out from the vocal section. But sadly while musically proficient, their songs feel tired, like you’ve heard it all before, and inevitably lead to wanting to fall asleep. Not bad, not good, just average and it’s clear from the somewhat unresponsive air within the crowd that everyone else is just as bored.
Thirty minutes later and the air-conditioning in the Crowbar has been replaced by the smell of sweat and beer as the punters pack themselves like sardines into the small intimate area. Losing themselves in the iconic track ‘Frost’ from the seminal album of the same name it gives the band enough time to emerge onstage to rapturous applause before the opening section of ‘Loke’ sends the crowd into a frenzied mass of bodies; surging towards the stage to greet their heroes.
Enslaved are in fine form as lead singer Grutle Kjellson uses the word “cunt” like it’s going out of fashion and adds a jovial demeanour to the mix of black metal darkness emanating from the speakers. Showcasing deep cuts from their earlier albums such as Frost and Eld for their first set they even manage to throw in a song from their first demo. Finishing their first set with the black metal epic ‘793’ is something to behold as the crowd head bang in unison to the phenomenal performance the band are putting on tonight.
Taking a break for a short time, the crowd disperse to refuel before Enslaved return to deliver their second set. Focusing on their later albums such as Isa and Runn it’s an interesting juxtaposition to the earlier black metal material. Talking very little between songs, the band seem more relaxed as they play material they’re more comfortable with. Preferring to allow the music do most of the talking, the hypnotic guitar structures, and rhythms that typify their later work soon takeover.
The magical ‘As Fire Swept Clean the Earth’ ending the set with a showcase in musicianship which has been a hallmark of the bands later work, the drums in particular are like being smashed in the face with an axe, the melodic vocals overriding the chaotic structures and sending everyone into a captivating state.
If tonight was anything, it was a celebration of history and the future and as Enslaved bow themselves off stage and into the night. There’s very little doubt they’ll be back again to celebrate the next chapter of their illustrious careers.
Convoys to Nothingness
Slaget i skogen bortenfor
793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)
Roots of the Mountain
Return to Yggdrasil
As Fire Swept Clean the Earth