Live: ENSLAVED/GRAND MAGUS, Dublin (26/09/2015) Posted: 13/10/2015 by John O'Brien


Battling a chest infection, I braved the Aircoach with my comrades and headed towards Dublin to catch ENSLAVED and GRAND MAGUS. The Scandinavians performing as part of a co-headline tour, which thankfully came to Dublin’s The Button Factory, while I like what I’ve heard and know of GRAND MAGUS, it’s the Norwegians ENSLAVED who are the main draw for me and fairly excited to see them for the first time having missed them on previous occasions. While both these bands use Norse themes in their music, musically they’re very, very different and my main concern would be how the gig would flow from the hard rock/heavy metal style of GRAND MAGUS to the current post black metal of ENSLAVED.

The Swedes are up first, albeit slightly late, to a good reception from the Irish crowd. They have a rocky start with some technical issues but sort them out quickly and get back on track, not that there fans minded. I’m only really familiar with the Triumph and Power album and it’s been a while since I listened to that, although I do like it, it’s not a style of metal I’d return to listen to as often as I would other styles. While they did little to change my perspective of them, I did appreciate what they played and I liked what I heard. I did note that a lot of other people were much more enthusiastic during GRAND MAGUS, plenty of head-banging and horns….and even a few random “Hail Satan”, which would be better suited at a Watain or Behexen gig(Hint, hint promoters!). Personally, my favourite songs from there set would be “Steel Versus Steel” and “On Hooves of Gold”, I wouldn’t mind seeing them again as part of a similar style co-headline/support slot.

I’m here to see ENSLAVED tonight, and for the first time as I’ve been eager to see them for some time, personally a fan of their early black metal and their current more modern, progressive black metal. It seems most of the crowd were here for the Swedes but thats okay, it got me closer to the rail as they all went to grab some beers and have a smoke. I didn’t expect Grutle to be as active on the microphone in terms of interacting and speaking to the crowd or the referencing of Father Ted….seemed odd to me that the youngest member of the band would be introduced as Father Jack but I’m waffling on a bit now, a bit like Grutle was. Personally I enjoyed their set, I thought the new material from In Times such as Building With Fire came across well in the live setting. I do think the aforementioned, majority interest in the Swedes had this apathetic effect on the crowd and it wasn’t until they played Allfadr Odinn from Hordanes Land and set closer Isa that the crowd livened up with a bit of a pit. Finally seeing ENSLAVED was great but hearing Allfadr Odinn was the highlight of my evening.

Reviewed by Luke Hickey