Live Review: Enslaved, Svalbard, Wayfarer – Brudenell Club, Leeds 07.03.2024

Tonight was an evening of legends, a two-prong attack if you will. Tonight we welcomed the absolute marvels that are Enslaved, Norwegian masters of extreme metal, and they were infiltrating the iconic Brudenell Club in Leeds. This, ladies and gentlemen, was simply an evening of epic proportions.

First up we had the Atmospheric Black Metal warriors, all the way from Denver Colorado, Wayfarer and with them they brought an arsenal, albeit only a brief one, of grandiose and flamboyant soundscapes. The string work was technical and flawless throughout and the vocals were dispatched with passion and emotive precision. The crowd was spectacularly busy for an opening band and the heads that were in attendance were swaying and pivoting in complete unison with horns being held aloft at poignant moments in the set, all combining to create not only an aural feast for your senses but also a visual display which was a spectacle on many levels.

Next up were the mighty Svalbard who are simply going from strength to strength with each solid performance that they house under their respective ‘belts’. Having seen them last at Norway’s Inferno festival I had really high hopes for tonight’s performance and I was not disappointed. The whole unit attacked the stage with conviction and aggression, the vocals from Cherry were particularly venomous and she spat them out with passion and pride. The dual attack of the more delicate strings from Cherry and Phelan were decadent and intricate while the thicker strings were deployed with brutal savagery and beautiful antagonism from the fingers of Francis. As the set progressed with the likes of ‘Disparity’, the colossal ‘Click Bait’ and a massive version of ‘Eternal Spirits’, the band seemed to grow into their surroundings and the response from the gathered masses was building and building alongside the tracks that were getting served to them, appreciation being shown for each and every chord, riff and beat that was expelled onto them from the collective four piece. Easily the best I’ve seen Svalbard in the live arena so far and I’m sure this is just the beginning. Very exciting times ahead.

With the crowd now packed into their intimate surroundings, there wasn’t a single inch of space to be had, the place was rammed, front to back, side to side, corner to corner and with good reason, the immense Enslaved were about to take to the stage. As ‘Kingdom’ was served to us the whole venue ignited. The whole evening was a spectacle and a perfect example of decadent and pure extreme metal, the vocals were illustrative and pure, the drum work was passionate, muscular and powerful while all facets of the fretboards were worked and traversed with accuracy and savage dexterity. Kjellson led the charge from front and centre, calling upon each and every soul to join them in their barbarous raid on the venue. My personal favourite track, ‘The Dead Stare’ was set loose tonight and it was absolutely magnificent, although that being said the whole set list was decadent and fierce from start to finish and was a moment in history which will be talked about for many a year to come.

Tonight, in Leeds we were carved open by an epic set delivered with true passion and devotion to the cause by true prodigies at the epicentre of the extreme metal world, and I for one counted myself particularly lucky to have been a part of it. Wayfarer, Svalbard, Enslaved, thank you all so much, it was amazing.  

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