25 November 2017

Opeth and Enslaved: 02 Institute, Birmingham – 22 November 2017

Tonight Birmingham welcomes two Scandinavian giants who, for better or worse, display unbridled creativity in their approach to music. I’m most interested in seeing Norway’s blackened progressive heroes Enslaved; so I pour into the O2 Institute with the rest of this varied (and slightly damp) crowd.

It is a bit of a shame that we have no local support. I’m sure for some people this might be a good thing – they want to get to the main feature as soon as possible. Those people are wrong and missing out on a whole world of underground musical delights. It’d be nice to see these larger tours supporting unsigned bands to develop and reach new audiences.

ENSLAVED (8) deliver a powerful and energetic set tonight. The start of ‘Storm Son’ slowly eases us in to the set before thundering glorious noise fills the entire room as the track finally bursts into life. It is one of three tracks from their latest tour de force ‘E’ (released October 2017) that are covered tonight; the others being, catchy as hell, ‘The River’s Mouth’ and groovy set closer ‘Sacred Horse’. All go down very nicely with the crowd. Enslaved let their music do the talking; sandwiching the new tracks between ‘Roots of the Mountain’, from ‘RIITIIR’ (2012) and ‘One Thousand Years of Rain’ from ‘In Times’ (2015). At 50 minutes, the set is too short for older material… we are left desperately wanting more.

When you go out to a live show you want energy and a bit of clout. You want to be dazzled and Enslaved achieve dazzling tonight.