Headliner - Dimmu Borgir
Support - Enslaved/Blood Red Throne/Dawn of Ashes
Venue - Mr. Smalls Theatre, Millvale, PA
I won a free ticket to this last week from a random drawing on Enslaved's myspace, so I saved $28, which is a huge plus. I arrived at the venue while Dawn of Ashes was playing. These guys are officially the Slipknot of fake black metal in my book. The factors that contributed to this decision of mine lie between their obnoxiously 'evil' costumes, repeatedly calling the crowd "sick fucks", telling the crowd that they have been possessed by the band, and asking the sound guy to "turn up their backing tracks" in the middle of their set. After they were done, the singer (or someone else, I'm just assuming it was the singer) stood out by the crowd all night, full costume with his mask and everything, waiting for people to come up to him. Not many people did, though.
Don't have their set.
I thought I had missed Blood Red Throne because the guy from Dawn of Ashes said "Are you ready for Enslaved?" twice. Then BRT started setting up and I knew I hadn't missed them. I have their newest album, Souls of Damnation
, and I enjoy it quite a bit, so I was looking forward to catch them live. They only played one song from that album, 'The Light, The Hate', but holy shit did they blow me away. They were awesome, incredibly heavy and technical too. The bassist is a beast. You could tell they were having a good time on stage, too, chugging bottles of Yuengling and interacting with the crowd. I spoke to the vocalist after the show and he told me that this is their first US Tour, and that they're really enjoying it and would like to come back. I plan on checking out their other albums soon. Got the set from another thread.
Blood Red Throne
The Light, The Hate
Taste of God
The Children Shall Endure
Next was my main reason for going. ENSLAVED. I started listening to these guys about a year and a half ago before they came supporting Opeth. Since then they have transformed into one of top 5, most likely even 3 favorite bands. I knew they had a unfairly short set, and I frankly did not give a fuck. If I didn't get the ticket for free, I still would have spent the $28 just to see these guys. Having already heard half of the set last time I saw them play, I was mostly looking forward to seeing the new songs live. Axioma Ethica Odini
is in my opinion the best album that has been released this year. I probably like it more than everything that came out the year before, too. Anyways, the entire 40 minutes they were playing I banged my head, threw my arms, and screamed every word louder than I ever have at a show before. Ivar even acknowledged me a couple of times, throwing his horns and looking at me while I had mine up. He also nodded at me once and gave me a thumbs up sign. The highlights of the set for me were probably 'The Beacon', because it was fucking awesome live, and 'Ground', because I have such an emotional attachment to that song. Every time I hear it I go back to a certain time of my life, and it's also the song that got me into Enslaved. It also made me think back to how incredible my experience was last time I saw them. Also, Ice Dale is probably one of my favorite guitarists now. He's great on record, and his solos are always awesome (Check out I's Between Two Worlds
), but live you can tell he puts so much feeling and intensity into his performance. Running around the stage, and almost acting like a rockstar, but not in a bad way. He would also step up on the barrier, and at one point he even grabbed a flask someone offered him and took a sip while he was playing. More about Enslaved later.
Fusion of Sense and Earth
Next was Dimmu Borgir. I used to listen to these guys, but now I find myself completely uninterested, and I think they're jokes. Opening with 'Spellbound (By the Devil)' was pretty cool though, and 'Mourning Palace' was good to see. I've given Dimmu alot of shit, but I will still admit that Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
is somewhat of a masterpiece. After 'Spellbound' I just kinda chilled out and watched from a distance. The five songs from Abrahadabra
in a row was kind of shit, but whatever, it really didn't make a difference to me anways. 'Gateways' was even worse live, but I'll give it to them that 'Chess with the Abyss' and 'Dimmu Borgir' seemed to work really well with their fans, and kept me a little bit interested. They didn't really get a reaction from 'The Blazing Monoliths of Defiance' at all, which really didn't suprise me. So next was the five song encore. What is this, a goddamn KISS concert? (Just had a revelation guys, Dimmu is the KISS of Black Metal...
) Most people in the place would probably agree that this was th best part of the set. They played all their 'hits'.
Spellbound (By the Devil)
The Chosen Legacy
Chess with the Abyss
A Jewel Traced Through Coal??? (was in another setlist, not sure if they played it)
The Blazing Monoliths of Defiance
The Serpentine Offering
Progenies of the Great Apocalypse
Perfection or Vanity (Outro)
Dimmu ended up playing for an hour and a half, which I actually give them much respect for. It seems like bands never play that long, and actually the last time I think I saw a band play that long, it was Opeth. But I think they really could have given Enslaved another 10 to 15, hell, even 20 minutes. They really do deserve it.
After the show we hung around to see if we could meet Enslaved, but they didn't come out and we had to leave the venue. BUT while we were standing outside, we saw Herbrand and Ivar. I asked them if it was alright if I got some things signed, and they said yes. Ivar said Headlining Tour next year (HELL YES!), and also said yes whenever I asked him if they'd be playing 'Lightening' and 'Singular'. They were both very friendly, and offered to go get the rest of the band, but they couldn't find them. Not long after, Cato came walking by, so I asked him too. He was probably the friendliest musician I've ever met. I told him I play the drums, and he started conversations with me, instead of vice versa. Then he offered to take us to the bus to get my stuff signed by the rest of the band. So we went up and I personally kissed all of their asses while they signed my CD books. They were all friendly, and Cato still had the final word, thanking us for our support, buying the records, and talking about how we are his employers. The booklets I had signed were Hordanes Land
, and Axioma Ethica Odini
In the end, this was a great experience. Definitely the greatest one I've had this year, and one of the best I've ever had. It just goes to show you that even if a band is playing a short, 35 minute set, opening for a band that you don't like, it might be well worth it in the end. I could have left after they were done, but I decided to stick it out through Dimmu to get a chance at meeting them. And I'm glad as hell that I did.