This edition of the Decibel Tour seemed to focus on bands whose aesthetic and roots are linked with a re-embrace of native cultures and a pre-Christian, even pre-Neolithic, spirituality.
Headliner Enslaved may have been making melodic death metal for going on three decades but its songs have often taken an approach to its lyrics that attempt to reconcile oneself with the culture of its Nordic ancestry, harmony with the natural world and ethical treatment of other humans. Its music sounds like the stuff of Norse sagas.
Wolves in the Throne Room’s own music and presentation as a fireside ritual aims to put the musicians and those at the show into a state of mind of a culture and spirituality in which we all recognize the interconnectedness of things and to embrace that vitality collectively. Not from any part of Scandinavia, Wolves in the Throne Room’s connection to an environment is the Pacific Northwest inspired perhaps by Native American traditions but in a way that doesn’t try to co-opt those ideas so much as envision a parallel but resonant relationship between human culture and the natural world.
Myrkur’s own majestic soundscapes and air of ancient mystery ritual fit in well with the bill. And like the other artists the sense of otherworldly energy didn’t prevent a relatable human dimension to her performance. Strumming heavy-yet-ethereal guitar riffs and vocalizing with a uplifting, powerful, enveloping melodies, Myrkur came across like a legendary warrior poet of old. At the end of her set, though, Amalie Bruun, aka Myrkur, brought forth a hand drum that she used to accompany some traditional Danish folk music from centuries past and accompanied by nothing else but the drum and her voice, she was able to project the same kind of energy as she had with her band as if she was channeling the ancestors. It could have come across as a gimmick but Bruun’s natural gravitas carried the moment and made for an exceptional moment that night.