I arrived at the Troubadour just before Royal Thunder started their set. I missed the opener Ancient Wisdom but thank holy hell I didn’t miss Royal Thunder because they killed it. Surprisingly they were performing as a three piece, one of their guitarists was absent, but this didn’t prevent Royal Thunder from being sublime or roaring. Singer/bassist Mlny Parsons, without once speaking to the audience, communicated a ton of passion, anger, and sorrow. What a voice on this lady! The single guitar was actually pretty cool as is highlighted the nifty wha wha lead tones of main axeman (and husband of Parsons) Josh Weaver. Their set was over way too soon, I could have easily listened to another hour from this fantastic band. I hope to see them again soon because Royal Thunder is the real deal.
Pallbearer was up next and was noticeably heavier. Their guitars were fuzzed out with the low end cranked; and damn that bass was loud and rumbling! Pallbearer played tracks from their well-received debut album Sorrow and Extinction; and one new track which was really great. The problem with a doom band as bottom heavy as them is that sometimes the riffs get lost in the rumble and the songs start sounding a bit alike. It was an enjoyable performance but I think their quality material comes off a bit better on record.
Enslaved closed the show next. This was my fourth time seeing the Norwegian metal gods and as usual, they did not disappoint. In fact they were goddam awesome. I was pretty underwhelmed with their latest record RITTIR, but the songs they did from it live sounded tremendous; especially Roots of the Mountain which blew the crap out of the recorded version and blew away the audience. Everything they played sounded awesome from the dynamic later stuff like Ruun, to the early stuff like Fenris from Frost, to the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song. It was cool to hear rarely played Convoys to Nothingness from Monumension alongside staples like As Fire Swept Clean the Earth. Unfortunately, the leads from Ice Dale were buried in the mix and guitarist Ivar Bjørnson had a few technical problems; but this couldn’t stop Enslaved from delivering the goods and proving yet again they are the most consistently excellent band in metal today.
Blurry pic of Grutle at the Troubadour