Liveage: Dimmu and Enslaved Spook Up the Big Apple

Last night Terminal 5 In New York City was the host for the quasi black-metal “Darkness Reborn” tour, featuring Dimmu Borgir, Enslaved, Blood Red Throne and Dawn of Ashes. Sorry Dawn of Ashes and Blood Red Throne—I’m sure you ruled, but also ruling was slurping down the devil’s hooch at a nearby dive bar instead of paying $6 for a bottle of (blech!) Miller High Life at the show. Even though Dawn of Ashes basically sound like a Dimmu Baby Jr. band (lotsa keyboards with horror movie costumery), the singer dude was hanging out at their merch table and did look fairly creepy. Picture what an orc would look like if you dressed him in a Trent Reznor outfit and left him roasting too long on the barbie. For that reason only, we were somewhat sad to have missed them. Speaking of beer and trenchcoats, just across the hall from the burnt orc dude was some kid who looked like Slash’s fatter, younger brother, passed out against the wall and still dressed in his Halloween Matrix uniform. Pretty sure by the janitorial mop trails we saw later, he didn’t keep his red pill down.
I rolled in at 8:05 p.m., just in time to have the mighty Enslaved pull us into the halls of Valhalla. Yeah, normally I’m not down with throwing horns before 9 p.m., but whatcha gonna do? I’ve seen Enslaved about five times now, and whoa!—last night’s performance was one of their most scorching. Even though they only hit us with seven songs, they played close to 40 relentless minutes. With wafts of weed in the air, throngs of pumping fists and Ice Dale already with his shirt off (duh!), they started with the new album opener “Ethica Odini.” Second up was “Raidho,” the old-school speed-metal-esque track that may be Odini’s strongest, followed by a ginormous-sounding version of “Fusion of Sense and Earth,” complete with Ivar and Grutle’s synchronized headbanging/body-swaying. Before lighting “The Beacon,” Grutle gave a heartfelt dedication to Behemoth’s Nergal and encouraged everyone to support the East Coast Behemoth Marrow Drive, which is taking place November 14th at Fritz’s Cycle Haus in Stamford, CT. (Not sure, but peeps may have been able to make a donation at the merch booth as well.) The Nords closed with fan-favorite “Isa” to an impressive mass shriek-along.

Full disclosure to the Dimmu Borgir fans: I am not one. I know Dimmu were the headliners and have higher record sales and blah blah blah, but I swear the crowd thinned considerably before they started. Their expensive stage, as my comrade mentioned, “looked like a corporate workout center, but with lots of skulls and pentagrams on it.” It looked even less evil after their Euro Disney dark-classical intro music kicked in. Dimmu were, well, very fuggin’ loud. They were heavier than expected, they did have the kids wailing, they did have a badass light show, they did rock in that riff-less, keyboard-humping, frilly-shirt, epic sort of way, and the crowd did cheer real big-like when they played tunes from some old album I don’t own. Not to be a hater, but when I hear those canned classical string parts, I can’t help but think of Don Knotts and the “spooky” organ sounds from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Succumbing to the expensive beer, their set went down a lot smoother. —Shawn Bosler