In a contemporary metal arena where endless tours pack venues across the world, this Enslaved-led trek excelled on every end, bringing the celebrated Norwegian prowess to fans stateside.
Text, Photographs by Ekaterina Gorbacheva (@ekaterinagorbacheva.art) at
The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, CA:
Fresh off the heels of wondrous new album Heimdal (Nuclear Blast Records), Norway's Enslaved took its wonder across North America alongside equally grand melodic death metal icons Insomnium and Black Anvil, rounding out one expansive touring bill that treaded down the ripping nature of black metal and the ethereal fusion of melodic death metal. We were among the many present at the iconic Fonda Theatre to witness greatness on display.
Festivities kicked off with New York's Black Anvil — among the standouts of the American black metal offerings. The band set the tone early on with a menacing performance pulling from the band's 2022 album, Regenesis, and more. It was a high octane showing to get the blood pressure spiking before the towering scope of work that came next.
From aggression came grace as Insomnium stormed on to breathe life into the band's latest, Anno 1696. Markus Vanhala's zebra print Jackson guitar soared on as the voice of Niilo Sevänen radiated throughout the venue. Hair flew and riffs shined bright beneath Fonda Theatre lights with each passing track that showcased the band's craftsmanship and performing energy.
The unity visible on stage was an appreciated sight as each band members smiled and built off one another's enthusiasm. Selections from Anno 1696, as well as Heart Like A Grave (2019) and Above The Weeping World (2006) drew great cheer amongst us all.
Backdrops shifted and Enslaved's signature "E" hung center stage amidst forest trees from the Heimdal album cover. Founding members Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson walked aboard alongside the rest of the ensemble and Jettegryta loomed over the audience.
Enslaved aren't a band known to rest on their laurels, always expanding and making great use of every second offered to them to deliver an overarchingly massive composition worth revisiting time and time again. Heimdal was just that — a staggering feat for a band already cemented among the genre's best. The evening's performance took it to new heights with duo Arve Isdal and Bjørnson being a guitar force to be reckoned with. The Dead Stare and Havenless took it back to two decades, alternating with more contemporary offerings that showcased the depth among the band's catalog.
Progressive passages and moving keys by Hakon Vinje filled the room with sheer joy, evident in the horns raised and faces staring in awe at the group playing before them. After an electrifying set, Enslaved did right by those who followed since the beginning and played Allfǫðr Oðinn from 1992's Yggdrasill. What a way to conclude.
From beginning to end, there was no stagnant moment, only glory and joy in unison that further supported Enslaved's special place in metal. The musicianship and performing ability was to strive for, and those present stood to benefit from it. Enjoy a photo gallery of each performance below and relive the magical night.
Black Anvil Photo Gallery
Insomnium Photo Gallery
Enslaved Photo Gallery
Heimdal is available now via Nuclear Blast (Order/Listen).