Enslaved with Yob @ Foufounes Électriques

Presented by Greenland Productions

Winter drags on in Montreal, and yet the spring touring season has begun. Over the next few months, bands from around the world will stream through our city and make the emergence of the grey tidal wave of trash buried under the ice a little more palatable.

While I've seen a few great shows through the winter, it was time to kick spring off at Foufs with the somewhat odd pairing of Yob and Enslaved. While, on a superficial level, pairing an American doom band with Norwegian Viking metallers seems like a questionable choice, the crowd wasn't as split as I previously thought it might. In conversation, some friends posited that much of the audience would leave after Yob, but that didn't seem to be the case, or perhaps, since set times were posted, some showed up simply to see Enslaved. Either way, the venue was packed for both bands, and the audience seemed equally appreciative of both.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to catch the opening bands, doomy locals Show of Bedlam, and the psychedelic stylings of Philadelphia's Ecstatic Vision, but despite some logistical issues I was happy to see that I hadn't missed a single note of Yob, who, in all truthfulness, I was most excited to see. Yob is, like High on Fire or Motörhead, one of those three-piece bands that manage to absolutely crush every stage they stand on. I have incredible respect for three pieces, and I particularly love that Yob are able to balance bonemashing heaviness with subtle, searing melody. The stand-out experience for me was the way vocalist and guitarist Mike Scheidt (of equally CJLO beloved Middian) uses his voice; one moment a bellowing roar, the next a searing screech, experiencing that elasticity live was absolutely transcendent.

Enslaved hit the stage next, and opened with "Thurisaz Dreaming", the first track from their new album, In Times. While I can't be called a huge fan, I appreciate many of their songs and I absolutely loved the spectacle, from the shirtless guitarist's antics, to the banter between songs, rife with typically dry Scandinavian humor. The show was an anniversary of sorts, noted lead singer and bass player Grutle Kjellson, taking the opportunity to point out the only other original member of Enslaved, guitarist Ivar Bjørnson. Enslaved had played their very first show in Montreal back in 1995 on this very same stage at Foufs, and it was clear that the band has a healthy back catalog of songs to choose from. Over the course of the show, they dug through the years, but also played several songs from the new album, and with an average song length of about 7 minutes, I'm sure there were many popular songs that fans didn't get a chance to hear. I am not overly familiar with their full catalog, I was particularly pleased to hear "Death in The Eyes of Dawn", the stand-out track from RIITIIR, so I was satisfied. Twenty years on, Enslaved are still delivering, blending elements from many aggressive genres into epic songs that are alternately melodic, imposing, and ferocious, a glimmer of fire in a never ending winter.


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