Abbath and Immortal: two names that seemed inseparable until a few years ago, when the frontman left to start a solo career with the decent debut album in 2016, a story enriched this year by the new release of the ex band. The penultimate stop of this September minitour, at Kino Šiška in Ljubljana (Slovenia), surely will have its impact despite the setlist, which has been almost the same for a while now, waiting for some new material. Opening for the Norwegian artist, local black metal band Kholn and Baest, young band who recently debuted with “Danse Macabre”. Enjoy!
Kholn, a fairly obscure band from Velenje, are tasked as the evening openers. Their set flows without any particular quality peak but nicely, with Norwegian influences permeating their traditional black metal. Not one word said to the audience, which in turn was composed by about thirty people, not really participating except for a few young dudes under the stage. A pretty standard performance, which leaves us a bit of curiosity for a potential sequel of their only demo.
Even before listening to a single note by Baest, from Denmark, it’s impossible not to guess their genre by looking at their t-shirts: Obituary, Death, Deicide, Skeletal Remains… the result is obvious. Recently discovered by Century Media, their debut “Danse Macabre” proposes an old school death metal, with plenty of chainsaw guitars, which also winks to modern stuff in terms of structures. The guys clearly enjoy being on stage and entertain the audience, especially drummer Sebastian Abildsten with his facial expressions, playing a sequence of really tight pieces and showing explosive energy through the whole set. The sounds, following the venue’s tradition, are almost perfect even though they become a bit confused in the front, but it’s no big deal. Surely a great discovery, very enjoyable if you appreciate the genre.
Time for the main course: after being just left by an important piece such as King ov Hell, Abbath makes his entrance on stage in front of a way bigger crowd than a few moments before, bringing us into the frostbitten atmospheres of Blashyrkh. The formula is always the same, more or less, but it works: crab walk, sardonic smiles and half setlist composed of solo material, while the other half sees stuff from Immortal and “Warriors” by I. So we go from pieces like “Winterbane” and “Fenrir Hunts“, a safe bet after two years of touring, to the older “Nebular Ravens Winter” straight from 1997 and the mandatory “Tyrants“, “One By One“, “The Rise of Darkness” and “All Shall Fall“, closing the set together with “Endless“.
A flawless show, both in terms of music and entertainment, but this is some food for thought: aside from his genuinity, many years have passed and Abbath seems to be a bit forced to maintain this character, like a sad jester who has to entertain the crowd, a feeling which is reinforced by the audience who keeps laughing and waiting for his theatrical poses. On the other hand, his self-irony is commendable, in a scene where musicians take themselves too seriously, too often. As is his connection with the crowd, maybe a bit too strong (eg. spitting beer on people): Abbath makes his way through the people two times, descending the stage from the sides and catching the attention, leaving the three musicians on stage doing their job.
In the end, the show was good and satisfying, but it left a big question mark: after many, almost identical, shows and seeing the new album by Demonaz & Horgh, it’s legit to ask ourselves what the frontman from Bergen has in store for his second album. We’ll see.