GIG REVIEW: Enslaved, High On Fire & Krakow Live at The Tivoli Theatre, Dublin
Cited as one of the most important, and ever evolving, extreme metal bands to come out of Norway, Enslaved once again took their touring cycle to Irish shores. Having survived a period of turmoil with significant member changes while still proceeding with an album release, these Nordic giants of metal have come through what has led many bands to their demise. “You can just stop, of course, but that was never an option,” vocalist Grutle Kjellson states and indeed, Enslaved show no signs of stopping any time soon. A fact their thunderous headline show in Dublin’s Tivoli Theatre attested to.
The evening was ushered in by fellow Norwegians, Krakow. Displaying their own unique brand of post rock on an epic scope, Krakow acquit themselves well and saw their audience grow throughout their strong set, earning themselves a warm response and a hoped for return.
Co-headliners from across the pond, California rockers High On Fire, also found the crowd incredibly receptive. With a lengthy set built upon heavy riffing and serious shredding chops, it was the band’s authentic energy that saw them thrive on the night. Delivering riffs and solos effortlessly, if this blended into a myriad of indecipherable notes at times, the bands live performance compensated without fail. Easily one of the most genuine metal acts you can catch today.
Since their short lived set supporting Opeth the previous November, Enslaved’s Irish fans have eagerly awaited their headlining return. Their patience was rewarded and the wait well worth it. One by one, the band charged the stage to meet their much readied audience, and it took no time at all before the band launched into their much adored “Roots Of The Mountain.” Main men Grutle and Ivar Bjørnson were on top form as they engaged with their fans between songs by way of some light hearted banter expressing a sincere enjoyment at being back. With Father Ted jokes being referenced and quoted to perfection, coupled with beers and local jests at the fans geared toward buying alcohol from the corner Spar store, a perfect balance was struck between rowdy mosh pits and hearty laugh. If you had not known, you could have mistaken Enslaved for being Irish themselves.
Gig giggles aside, fan favourites such as the classic “Jotunblod” brought the Tivoli to its knees. From their latest record, ‘E’, more contemporary numbers including “Sacred Horse” and the mountainous “Storm Sun” also went down a treat. The bands short on paper but grand in time set-list covered their extensive catalogue to satisfaction, brilliantly blending their extreme black metal roots with more recent progressive pastures. All brought to a rallying end with “Allfǫðr Oðinn”, as well as gifting fans with pics, set-lists and handshakes.
To follow Enslaved is to enjoy a journey rich with a plethora of musical styles. Once extreme metal purists now turned philosophical, mythological and progressive explorers, these Norse legends demonstrated a healthy reminder of why they are held in such high regard. On a night deemed “the one that counts” by the band themselves, Enslaved made every second count. To miss this run would be to miss legends in the flesh, performing as legends should, and as only they can.