LIVE REVIEW! Enlslaved - Islington Assembly Hall, London

December 15, 2017

For the past few weeks the Islington Assembly Hall has seen anything from crooner acts to seats on the floor are a must, so it’s refreshing that the heavier side of the music genre we love so much at has stopped by in London to give us some love.


It’s a pretty awesome line up too, the great Enslaved with support from Darkher and Svalbard. Bristol four piece Svalbard open the night up, almost in darkness throughout their set, they are more than pleased to be here given that they are huge fans of Enslaved. At one-point singer and guitarist Serena Cherry admits that as a teenager she travelled up to Scandinavia for one reason, to watch Enslaved. And so now supporting them, sharing the same stage she has come full circle.


The moment resonates throughout the bands set and Cherry is almost in a different zone. You don’t really

get over her sweet voice when talking and then launching her vocal chords into a different place altogether with Svalbard’s back catalogue. There is no taking your eyes off this band and they are the right tonic to

open up the show.


Along with witnessing the totally insane Barrabus this year, Darkher get my vote as the best support act I’ve seen all year. They almost effortlessly churn out the devils desert island discs in a spellbinding 40-minute set. Grown men just stood their slack-jawed as husband and wife team Jayn on vocals and guitar and Martin on guitar/bass commanded attention. The secret to how stunning they are is in their simplicity to build a song, you’re always left guessing at how it will go.


Lock yourself away, turn off the lights and just let it take you over, Darkher are something else. They feel incredibly genuine in an ocean of fakers, wannabe’s and posers. Remarkably their music which could have been taken from the twisted imagination of a 1970’s David Lynch movie, yes I’m talking Eraserhead, is very uplifting by the end you’re wanting more and the two piece probably know it, that’s why they leave you at that place, the darkest corner in your mind, till next time.


And then after a short wait Enslaved take to the stage and are welcomed by the 1,000 strong crowd as returning heroes. The band find it hard not to erase their smiles, after all this is Enslaved and there is business to be attended too. The Norwegian five piece get into it with ‘Storm Son’ quickly followed on by the excellent ‘Roots of the Mountain’. The band get their chops around the six songs from the 14th studio album ‘E’, released this year.


Front man Grutle Kjellson and ever present alongside him Ivar Bjornsen have been plying their trade for the past 26 years and they are so tight in their playing, it’s easy to tell the almost uncanny ability and chemistry that the two have together. New keyboardist Hakon Vinje must be mentioned, his contribution not only to live shows but also to the new record cannot be underestimated. 


Enslaved are one band that you know will never change or stray too far off the path, for that they are reliable and a welcome sight especially when most other things are changing and zooming past you daily when you least expect it. Enslaved, with their progressive black metal keep intact their signature tunes, it’s theirs and from time to time they are more than happy to share this with us. They are in London, triumphant and you can’t ask for more than that.




Please reload