At John Dee, Oslo, Norway, October 5, 2012

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

Starting out as a Black Metal band twenty-one years ago, the Norwegian band Enslaved has undergone a mighty transition. Their twelfth studio album RIITIIR was just released and it blends a lot of clean vocals with the traditional growling, and ’70s Progressive Rock with the Old Norse-inspired Black Metal. The result is one of the most versatile albums of the year, and now they’re on the road promoting the album.

This was a seven date tour of Norway, and Oslo was the second stop. As this was a club venue tour, John Dee, a venue that can hold 400 people, was completely sold out.

The set featured songs from most of Enslaved’s releases, like “Ethica Odini” off their previous album Axioma Ethica Odini (2010), the title track from Ruun (2006), and the mighty “The Watcher” from Vertebrae (2008). Even “Allfaðr Oðinn” from their 1992 demo Yggdrasil was played.  But, of course, the main focus was the new album. They opened the show with the title track “RIITIIR,” and through the set the fans were treated to gems like “Thoughts Like Hammers,” “Roots Of The Mountain” and “Materal.” The new album compared to say Eld (1997) is an entirely different beast. The speed of the old albums is there at times, but the focus now lies more with the interaction between the clean vocals of keyboardist Herbrand Larsen, and the growling of vocalist/bass player Grutle Kjellson coupled with the technical finesses and odd-metered time signatures.

Even though this was a small Norwegian tour, people in the crowd came from faraway places like Spain and other corners of Europe as well. They seemed to be hardcore fans, and who can blame them for taking the trip when they know that it will be five months until the European tour starts. Everyone in the crowd got their money’s worth; there’s no doubt about that. All the way through they showed real musicianship and the band was tight as hell.

On top of it all they closed the set with an amazing heavy Black Metal cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”; fitting as it has a Viking theme that fits Enslaved’s lyrical theme. The encore consisted of already mentioned “Jotunblod” and the title track from their 2004 album Isa.

Kjellson said at one point that it was their coolest concert in Oslo ever. It should be said that this wasn’t only a great Enslaved concert, but one of the best concerts to be held in Oslo in a long time. The band is currently exploding with energy, so if you have a chance to go see them live you should!  If you’re going to the Barge To Hell Cruise, you can see them in December, while the rest of Europe must wait for the European tour in March.

Setlist: RIITIIR / Ruun / The Watcher / Thoughts Like Hammers / Ethica Odini / Roots of the Mountain / Materal / Anzuz Astral / As Fire Swept Clean the Earth / Allfaðr Oðinn / Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover) / Encore: Jotunblod / Isa


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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