Live at The Wiltern

Los Angeles, California

February 15th, 2014

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann

Enslaved are a Norwegian Extreme Metal band that have been putting out aggressive Scandinavian Metal since 1991. Highly revered in the scene as innovators and instigators, they have a unique style that takes inspiration from the Viking lore of their homeland and borders on the fringe of several sub genres of metal including Symphonic Black Metal.

Many of their songs are epic in nature and length with near the ten minute mark being more common than not. On this particular tour they were opening for the mighty Swedish Viking based Black Metal kings, Amon Amarth.

They are touring in support of their latest release, "RIITIIR". They sing in a mixture of English, Norwegian, Old Norse, and even a few songs in the Icelandic tongue.

They started the set with "Death in the Eyes of Dawn" off the new album. Their songs have a mixture of heavy hitting guitar and bass riffs, blast heavy drum beats, and uplifting keyboards.

Their primary vocals are sung in the growled tone often used with Extreme metal but the lead singer has a bit of a higher pitch to it, bringing it to a harsh screech at times.

They also utilize melodic backing vocals sang by their keyboardist which adds a nice juxtaposition of opposites and punctuates theirs songs.

They followed up with the song "Ruun" taken from the album of the same name that originally was released in 2006.

Each song is really like three songs in one, often starting in one direction, taking a change at one point and then redirecting to final conclusion. This epic song writing makes their albums and set lists appear short in the number of songs but is really misleading as the tales told are involved and vast.

They played "Ethica Odini" from their album "Axioma Ethica Odini" and despite the Latin influence of the name, follows their traditional song writing in content as well as length and path.

Bringing it back to the latest album, they did the title track off of "Riitiir". They included "Allfǫðr Oðinn" from the Yggdrasill album, emphasizing their Viking roots as they do on nearly all their songs.

With the length of the songs, they had already spanned the majority of their opening slot set-time so they had one more for us. They went back to the 2004 album "Isa" for the title track off of it for the final, and shortest song of the night.

Enslaved are an epic band with a powerful influence in the world of Viking and Black Metal. I think they did a great job but in all honestly I can't stand the Wiltern. The sound system is never as good as other venues in Los Angeles and their ticketing by section is moronic. They usually have sub-standard lighting as seen here; it was impossible to make out the keyboard player or the drummer.

I really wish that bands would just put in their rider that they will not play the Wiltern but I am sure it was one of the only stages in town that could accommodate Amon Amarth's massive Viking ship prow, which I will admit looks cool but still not worth playing here.

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