By Brendan Reid
VANCOUVER – The room was hazy, and filled with waves of dense guitar, thundering drums, and anguished shrieks. These were the trappings of Washington-based Wolves in the Throne Room who anointed the stage with incense and an elemental performance before giving way to Enslaved, the night’s main attraction.
Norway’s Enslaved have been operating for 26 years, an incredible feat by any standard. The band was tight, and their songs came pummeling out of the amps with a furious sense of precision and purpose. They opened the night with “Storm Son”, the first track on their latest album, “E”.
Their set was an eclectic mix of new and old, which is understandable for a band of such longevity. Each song consisted of multiple movements and changes, and this is often difficult to replicate in a live setting, but the jovial Nords pulled it off without a hitch. The songs were broken up with light-hearted banter, and the humor of lead singer Grutle Kjellson was the perfect foil for the intense nature of the compositions.
Musicality and atmosphere seem to be Enslaved’s number one prerogatives, and in both these camps they excel. Countless moments immersed the crowd in trance-like sways. Highlights include the heavenly chorus of “Roots Of The Mountain,” and the deep, ritualistic chant in the final minutes of “Sacred Horse.” The end of the show was announced by the band, and no encore followed their last song. This is a band that is deliberate, sure, and inspired, and they know exactly what they want and where to place it. It’s a trend that sure to continue for decades to come.Enslaved, Rickshaw Theatre