Live Reviews – Winter Rite Tour: Ancient VVisdom, Royal Thunder, Pallbearer, and Enslaved. Bowery Ballroom, Manhattan, 2/22/13
Fellow site reviewers Michael and Ryan, our shithead friend Nick, and I attended this wonderful, little show last week. Nick and I are big Enslaved fans. Ryan likes Royal Thunder, who we all love, and Michael just goes to whatever shows we tell him to go to. Needless to say, we were all pretty pumped for the bill. I love Ancient VVisdom and couldn’t wait to see them live for the first time. The rest I’ve seen before, but that made me all the more excited to see them again. Ryan was what you would call a bitch the whole time. He had a “cold” or something and whined from the get-go. Nick and I like to wait outside the venue for hours so we can get up front; however, waiting outside in forty degree weather in NY made sick Ryan more cranky. A strange, small man in a wizard hat chatted us up a bit before we entered the venue. Once inside we all took some pisses, cold medicine for Ryan, and headed up to the stage area. After four seconds of standing in the front row, Ryan decided he was too sick and headed up to the balcony to be lame. Nick followed so he could get drunk. Michael and I stayed front row. Flash-forward through an hour of waiting and us talking about Dark Souls and the concert begins. Context over.
Opening the show were occult rock group, Ancient VVisdom. Blending catchy sing-along melodies and dark lyrical themes, Ancient VVisdom prepared to seduce us with the power of Satan. The most metal folk music you will ever hear. The stage set-up was awesome. The group consisted of a vocalist, acoustic guitarist, electric guitarist, bassist, and the drummer who was perhaps the standout. He played a small set of toms while standing up and using mallets for straight-forward pounding rhythms to compliment the catchy the music. Vocalist Nathan Opposition has quite the magnificent voice. On the albums, he has a very pleasant and strong sound, so this translated well to the stage. All of the songs they played off of their first album A Godlike Inferno they nailed. Spot-on with a killer performance. They played a few cuts from their new album Deathlike, which I grabbed at the show (I haven’t gotten a chance to play it yet, but after hearing the songs in a live setting, I’m looking forward to the full thing). During their set, Cato, Ice Dale, and Herbrand from Enslaved came out holding up signs behind the folk rockers with various ways of saying “Ancient VVisdom.” I can’t remember them now, but I believe one was “Medieval Knowledge”. This set the atmosphere for the non-stop shenanigans that the bands would be partaking in throughout the course of the show. All in all, Ancient VVisdom was the perfect opener for this show — starting the night off as the least heavy of the bands playing, allowing for a build up in intensity until the almighty vikings themselves took the stage. I hope they do their own headlining tour soon.
Up next was Royal Thunder. All of us here (Michael, Ryan, and me anyway) are great, big Royal Thunder fans. Their debut CVI ranked on a couple of our year end lists. This time the group was rocking their somewhat new drummer and down their second guitar player. As a three-piece, there was zero noticeable absence from the songs. Nothing felt like it was missing at all. Royal Thunder tore the stage up from the moment they started until the moment they stopped. This was the third time I have seen them, and they just keep getting better live. Mlny Parsonz voice seems to get stronger each show I see them. Josh Weaver was as energetic as ever on the lead axe, and the drummer (I am sorry I can not find the new drummer’s name) decimated his kit. I must say I really enjoy the new drummer. I have seen him twice with the band now; with his sexy sideburns and spastic arm movements he is extremely entertaining and incredibly solid tying all the music together. The only disappointing thing about Royal Thunder’s set was the length. It should have been four hours long. I have said before on here they are not a band to be missed.
Following Royal Thunder were doomsters Pallbearer and their slow brand of sad metal. I was a huge fan of their debut and was excited to see them again. The first time I got to see them live their sound was very fuzzy, none of the instruments were distinguishable, and front man Brett Campbell’s vocals were too low. That sucked because he has an awesome voice. Unfortunately, where I was up front the sound was incredibly uneven. The second guitar player’s instrument drowned everything out. Again, this is to no fault of the band. Michael was crying next to me that they were too loud (he was upset a metal band was loud, at a metal show). Although there were problems with the sound where we were, Ryan informed me up on the balcony everything was crystal clear and even. Pallbearer put on an excellent performance. Filled with way more energy than the first time I saw them, you could tell they were having a good time being up on stage playing. Their slow build-ups, fuzzy sound, and repeating patterns are downright hypnotizing live, and they create an excellent atmosphere. During Pallbearer’s set, Grutle and Ivar from Enslaved wandered out with those paddles with rubber balls that you smack around (what the fuck are they called?) and danced around like silly fools. It was awesome. The dudes in Pallbearer started cracking up but didn’t screw up! They kept going while the Enslaved men danced around them. I should mention now that this was the last show of the tour, so all the bands were just having a great time.
As the headliner, it was time for the almighty Enslaved to take the stage. Opening with the excellent “RIITIIR,” (off their new album, RIITIIR) Enslaved blended their signature mix of black metal, prog rock, and technical playing with a fiercely energetic show. Shirtless Ice Dale was right up front in the crowd playing the entire show shredding magical guitar solos of glory into all the hungry metal-head ears. Ivar stood at the opposite end of the stage, smiling, looking super happy and intimidating at the same time. Keyboardist and clean vocalist Hebrand sounds incredible live. Some people don’t like the increasing use of the clean vocals in Enslaved, but I think they use them well, and when you have someone with such a strong voice like him, it would be a sin not to use it. Drummer Cato kept the pace going just like he always does. Whether he’s playing a double bass blast beat, or some odd time signature groove, he never breaks a sweat and makes it all look easy. And of course, front man Grutle on the growls and bass is always entertaining — fun banter with the crowd and mean metal faces, he knows how the keep the audience enthralled. Enslaved’s set was a little heavy with the newer material, 2004’s Isa and forward, which makes sense considering that’s when they solidified this line up. They did, of course, throw in some old treats from Frost and their early demo. The antics continued with all of the other bands rushing the stage in their underwear grabbing and humping the dudes in Enslaved while spitting bear all over the audience. Watching Mlny Parsonz use her belt as a dick while she butt-raped shirtless Ice Dale while he played was quite the awesome sight. Enslaved are seriously the definition of kick-ass. I have seen them twice, and both times they delivered and awesome show. Great songs and a hell of a performance.
All in all, this show was a steal at twenty-five bucks. As soon as I saw the initial announcement that Ancient VVisdom and Pallbearer were opening for Enslaved, I knew I was going. Then Royal Thunder got added, and I shit myself. All of these bands are incredible and deserve your money. It was truly a treat seeing how much all of them enjoyed playing with each other. When all the bands are having a good time, the audiences good time increases tenfold. I wish every show I saw had all the bands butt-raping the other bands while they played. That’s the perfect world I envision.
This entry was posted on March 4, 2013 at 12:01 am and is filed under Ancient VVISdom, Enslaved, Live Reviews, Pallbearer, Royal Thunder with tags a godlike inferno, ancient vvisdom, Arve Isda, bowery ballroom, brett campbell, Cato Bekkevold, cvi, deathlike, doom, enslaved, folk, frost, Grutle Kjellson, hard rock, Herbrand Larsen, ice dale, isa, Ivar Bjørnson, josh weaver, metal, mlny parsonz, nathan opposition, occult rock, pallbearer, riitiir, royal thunder, winter rite tour. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.