Live at The Fox Theater
in Pomona, CA
November 27th, 2010
Enslaved were the supporting tour mates for one of my favorite bands in the world, Dimmu Borgir. They hail from the same country, Norway, and are of the extreme metal vain. I was unfamiliar with them, but I was interested in seeing what these guys were about.
The band consisted of two guitarists, the lead singer, also playing bass, and then keyboards and drums rounding out the stage personnel. Huge billowing clouds of smoke proceeded the band as they took the stage.
The lead singer was very friendly with his banter to the audience, despite him have a wicked-screeching vocal delivery while singing. The keyboard player lent his voice in a more melodic nature for chorus vocals, and on some songs, alternating or combining with the lead singer as well.
One of the two guitarists also sang back up vocals, mostly of the growly variety, but on a few songs he sang more melodically in harmony with the keyboard player. All this vocal power added up to have a really powerful effect on the audience.
While utilizing keyboards in every song, they never really entered that symphonic orchestra style of Dimmu Borgir but the layers did lend themselves to a full, epic sound none the less.
About half way through the set, the lead singer introduced the band ,and I was surprised to hear that the shirtless, beardless guitar player was the infamous Icedale. He was recently involved with the super group, " Ov Hell" with Shaggrath from Dimmu Borgir as well as King from Gorgorth (now Godseed), and Frost, of Satyricon fame. Me not being familiar with Enslaved, I did not realize this is where he came from, so it was cool to finally see the man in the flesh.
The lead singer then said the other beardy guitarist had a birthday on this very day, so the next song was dedicated to him. The singer and birthday boy grabbed bears, interlocked arms, and had a salutary chug, then went straight into the song "Ground", which was my favorite song of the set.
I think these guys were pretty cool, and I have been listening to the new album, "Axioma Ethica Odini" since the show, and getting a better appreciation of their song writing.
There were a few issues with the sound mix overall at this venue, for all the opening bands. Only Dimmu Borgir had a flawless mix, even if it was a bit insane on the bass-tones. Enslaved had some issues with how the sound guy was mixing in the backing vocals, especially at the beginning of the set, but by the time they hit "Ground" they had that pretty much dialed in.
Being an old theater, I don't think the acoustics of this place are entirely in tune with their revamped sound system, but still it was pretty intense and a good show. It definitely got me to listen to the new album and I will also check out some of their older material as well, I need to find the album with "Ground" on it now.
I know they did "Beacon" off of the new album towards the end of the set, and that was another stand out song for them. It has a really powerful chorus with everyone singing together, which I liked a lot. The crowd was totally recptive, so the mosh pit was pretty severe.
It was fun watching Icedale belt out his solos, as he is quite animated with his facial expressions, as well as with his nimble fingers flying across the fret board.
While the lead singer was fairly locked down to the mic stand while he ripped it up on the bass, he made up for his static stance with a crazy gleam in his eye, and the occasional appropriately epic hand gesture.
The audience was heavily weighted towards Dimmu fans which was easily seen by the enormous amount of them sporting the shirts and hoodies, myself included. Anyone who was not familiar with Enlsaved, were easily won over by their musical power.
These guys put on an energetic show that quickly proved their musical prowess. There are bands that run in similarity, but Enslaved stand out both in talent, and also in how they combine their harsh and melodic vocals while their use of keyboards differs from the bands where parallels could be drawn as well.
These guys all had a good time on stage, and it showed. You can tell when a band is feeding off of the reciprocal energy of a receptive audience and this was definitely the case tonight.
Overall, I think it was a great show and they definitely won over a large number of new fans this night. I would highly recommend seeing them on their own, even if they weren't touring with one of the best bands in the world. The fact that they are direct support for Dimmu Borgir means you have to see them.
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