WORDS: Katie Needham, PHOTOS: James Weaver
It’s all doom and gloom on a typical Mancunian Sunday, so what better way to end – or start – the week than with some good old heavy metal?
GRAND MAGUS are the first band to take to the stage for this special co-headline tour, with an hour and a half long set it could have been a tricky mission to keep the crowd so entertained, but they certainly made a marvellous impression. Opening with I, The Jury fans are immediately treated to the incredibly powerful vocals of JB Christoffersson. The bubbly stage presence resonates throughout the room as the Swedish three piece traverse a setlist fuelled by dearly loved classics such as Steel Versus Steel, Iron Will and Wolf’s Return. A 15 minute gut busting drum solo from Ludde Witt kept the crowd eager for more as hollers and cheers filled out the room, while bassist Fox Skinner encouraged the continuous support, with a cheeky, yet charming smile across his face. Rounding off their set with an encore of Hammer of the North, it is clear that fans and newbies alike have fallen in love with GRAND MAGUS‘ sound, but are indeed ready for another hour and a half of pure metal madness.
After releasing new album In Times back in March of this year and following a main stage appearance at Bloodstock Open Air just last month, it seems that ENSLAVED have had a hectic year to say the least. Opening with Thurisaz Dreaming, ENSLAVED set the mood for the evening in grand fashion; epic atmosphere. If you are familiar with ENSLAVED‘s style, then you know what to expect and the Norwegians delivered. Covering all the bases of their extensive career, ENSLAVED performed a setlist that included fan favourites such as Isa, The Watcher and Fenris. With the band incorporating progressive elements to their music in recent years, it gave the band the ability to create such a dynamic atmosphere in a live environment. With the dual guitar combinations of Ivar Bjørnson and Arve Isdal creating plenty of hard-hitting riffs to keep the crowd enthused, Grutle Kjellson‘s shrieks were completely mesmerising. It takes a huge challenge for progressive metal bands to deliver memorable performances but ENSLAVED raised the bar and showcased why they are a leader in extreme metal.
Check out our exclusive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester!