I've seen Immortal live 3 times: Roskilde 2003, Wacken 2010, Copenhell 2012. Each and every time have blown me away with the massive awesomeness of their majestic ice cold soundscape and Abbath in front was always ready to put a huge smile on people's faces. As a result of what sounds like usual stupid rock'n'roll bullshit that splits up bands all the time, Abbath now finds himself as a solo artist and his band is brand new. The new album is already streamin' on the web and while I'm waiting for the full sound experience on vinyl and CD, I can easily say that it holds several great songs. But one thing is studio and another thing is live as I should come to witness on this trip to London to catch the first show on Abbath's tour.
I arrived at Kentish Town only to run into Abbath himself outside The Bull & Gate pub next to the venue. Abbath was wearing full metal-panda face paint and an old Mercyful Fate t-shirt. He was in a good mood and a lot of us had photos taken with him. Also present was the man who has written the lyrics for the new album. What a cool way to start this evening in Cuntish Town as we soon had renamed it.
Inside the venue I learned that they did indeed have the new album for sale (but mine is already on it's way in the snail mail) and a few t-shirts. All t-shirts were too small and not with tour dates on the back either.
I missed the first support band Benighted, so they will remain unknown to me. I went to the bar instead, and started replacing all liquid in my body with beer and Lemmy. The Black Dahlia Murder was the first band I heard and they were still just as awful as I remembered them. The sound didn't help them, but I think their music is shite too, so I'll say no more about them. Next up was a bunch of Irish bastards, named Primordial, and they played a really fine gig. Very nice energy and sound from them this evening. Clearly the best act of the evening as we would soon learn. I had a good long chat with an old rock'n'roller at the bar, and I'll take up his advice and buy 1 or 2 albums with the Irish.
Last up was the main act of the evening, Abbath and his new band. From the beginning it was a total disaster. The first 2 songs were played at a ridiculously low volume. You couldn't hear a bloody thing. "LOUDER!" was the only word heard. It got a bit louder after that, but only to reveal how bad it really sounded. The mix was all wrong. There were no details, no volume, no guitar, no bass, no massiveness, no shit. The drummer sounded terrible. One of the worst drummers I've ever heard. I know Immortal's Horgh is not an easy man to follow, but come on, you don't have to go all Lars fuckin' Ulrich do you? The thing about Immortal is how bloody awesome they sound(ed) live. It cannot be explained - it must be witnessed in person. Abbath's new band sounded nothing like that on this evening.
It was impossible to tell the songs apart. Whether they were new Abbath tracks, former "I" tracks or butchered Immortal tracks. It was a completely fucked up soup of mud. The band certainly didn't look like they were enjoying themselves up there. The frustration was clear and most visible on Abbath. They probably couldn't hear shit up there either, and then there was the disappointed crowd to deal with. Several people walked out during the show. I tried walking around the venue to find some better sound, but it didn't matter where you were standing. It sounded like crap all over the place. Several songs were cut short or dropped. There was no real encore and the band just seemed to have given up near the end. It was a sad thing to witness, and we really didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
I'm not sure if the sound guy was responsible, a bad soundcheck or the band themselves. If the sound guy was responsible, then he should be hanged. If Abbath and his band were responsible, then they have about 4 days to learn playing together, because I'll be seeing them again in Copenhagen on Friday this week, where they'll be co-headlining with Behemoth at a sold-out venue. I've never heard truly awful sound at Amager Bio, so by then it will be revealed if the sound guy or the band were guilty. I'll try to stay hopeful. But maybe these musicians just haven't had the time to become a band yet. It's a pretty tough thing to go on a world tour then. Stay hopeful I said. Okay okay, I'll try. I really hope I'm a much happier dude after Friday's gig.
To War, Winter Bane, Nebular Ravens Winter, One By One, Warriors, Ashes Of The Damned, Fenrir Hunts, Tyrants, One By One, Count The Dead, Root of the Mountain, All Shall Fall, Endless.