Enslaved is touring in Northern America in support for their latest album RIITIIR which came out last September and received great reviews across the board. Slim’s was expectedly packed full when the band came to San Francisco.
The evening was started by Ancient VVisdom who played to almost empty hall while the crowd slowly made their way in. The guys put up a good show nevertheless and got the audience engaged and cheering at the end of the set. The band could work better in a smaller venue with a bit more people in the audience. This time the guys failed to conjure up the haunted feeling that their music deserves.
Royal Thunder was a new acquaintance for me and they surprised me positively with their roots based southern-rock-metal. Singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz was truly impressive with her fluid playing and with vocal tone somewhere between Janis Joplin and boyish Ozzy. Keep an eye on this band. Their music and stage presence will take them far.
Pallbearer brought their slow and harsh doom along with their A-game. While the music is slower and not as catchy as the previous band, they worked as a breather before the main act. The heaviness of the downtuned songs put the audience into almost a trance like state and while there wasn't huge cheers in the hall, all eyes were fixated to the band.
Finally the main attraction, Enslaved, took the stage. You could feel an electric charge in the air that erupted when the first notes of Riitiir kicked off. The audience's wait was rewarded with an energetic performance that should have left nobody cold. The band has traveled a long way from their roots in the early 90’ and that road has made them synonymous with progressive viking metal. Their songs are still very long, but they have gotten more thoughtful and complex without losing any of the heaviness or brutality. It’s the juxtaposition of melodic beauty with aggression that makes Enslaved so interesting. The vocals have awesome depth with both Grutle Kjellson and Herbrand Larsen singing. This was demonstrated when the guys played a cover of Led Zeppelin's ‘Immigrant song’.