Enslaved, The Mayan Theater, November 29, 2015
When The Coma Ecliptic III Tour was announced, one noticed right away the strangely eclectic yet oddly endearing collection of bands. This would include the legendary Enslaved of Norway in a direct support spot, opening for the progressive prodigies Between The Buried And Me. Also on the bill were Intronaut and Native Construct – two up and coming prog-style collectives ready to break it on out – and they both certainly impressed the early arrivals at The Mayan Theater on a Sunday night. Enslaved was waiting in the wings, and those in the crowd decked out in metal shirts surely knew that carnage that was about to ensue. The roof would be blown off The Mayan Theater in a vast and epic way!
Both Between The Buried And Me and Enslaved possess infinitely progressive elements in their music, and many in the audience were soon to witness a pairing of bands that would succeed in a triumphant way. While Enslaved performed for nearly an hour, they only had time to do six of their songs – and what a terrific selection of tunes the audience would be presented. Opening with the ferocious refrains of Fusion Of Sense And Earth from their 2006 masterwork entitled Ruun; a massive pit ensued in the center of the room. Right away, one felt the powerful amalgamation of black metal and extreme progressive rock tear their the heart of the matter – even those standing in the back in their Between The Buried And Me threads appeared to be intrigued by the sweeping auditory intensity exuding from the stage. With a new album entitled In Times to promote, Enslaved captivated the room with their magnificent Building With Fire as their second grand song of the night.
Front and center on the stage was the charismatic Grutle Kjellson, unleashing both unearthly growls and deep pulsating bass lines with a good deal of passion and fury. Slightly to the back was Herbrand Larsen, whose soaring clean vocals and majestic keyboard work sent the songs into the stratosphere. Ivar Bjørnson and Ice Dale exuded absolute perfection on dueling guitars, filling the air with a solid wall of atmospheric magnificence. And then bringing it all home with a powerhouse vengeance was drummer Cato Bekkevold. A staggering live performance to be sure, Enslaved from Norway certainly left a lasting impression on their longtime fans as well as those discovering the iconic band for the very first time . Closing their set with the staggering Convoys to Nothingness from their decidedly blackened/Viking ,metal magnum opus Monumension from 2001, Enslaved conquered the room, leaving everyone absolutely exhilarated for the stunning set headliners Between The Buried And Me were about to unleash.
What wonderful luck Enslaved fans have had, being able to seeing the esteemed Norwegian collective twice in Southern California within a one year period. And with 2016 marking their 25th Anniversary as a band, expect a few glorious surprises unveiled from the Enslaved compound in the New Year. Stay tuned…
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
Enslaved on Facebook
Fusion of Sense and Earth
Building With Fire
Death in the Eyes of Dawn
Convoys to Nothingness