GIG REVIEW: ABBATH ft. High On Fire, Skeletonwitch & Tribulation Live at Scottsdale, AZ
I’ve been to shows constantly for the past 12 years, and there are some I will never forget; tonight was definitely one of them. This was the Decibel Magazine Tour‘s fifth year hitting the states, and by far the greatest line-up they have ever put together. This year’s headliner was Abbath, with support from High on Fire, Skeletonwitch and Tribulation.
On Friday March 25, 2016, the day had come when the tour came to Scottsdale, Arizona at the Livewire. For those of you who have never heard of the venue, it’s fairly new, with a pit level two stories low, and a balcony up above. The stage is of decent size and the lighting is great. The turnout for the night was good and surprising as the venue is close to a much more preppy bar scene. After waiting in line for a while, the moment had come and the anticipation was finally over. As everyone entered the venue, you could feel the energy from the crowd.
With the smell of burning incense to set the mood, it was time for the show to start. Tribulation’s set was nothing short of mesmerizing. They had quite a short time-slot, but were amazing to see live. Their performance was very captivating, especially that of their song “Rånda.”
Up next was Skeletonwitch, whom everyone was quite anxious to hear with their new singer Adam Clemens. This is his first tour with the band, and let’s just say he did a killer job. I’ve seen Skeletonwitch since they started back in 2004, and although their current incarnation does sound a little different, Adam is a great fit. His voice was consistent, with great energy and vocal range. Hearing older tracks like “Upon Wings of Black” and “Beyond the Permafrost” with his voice was rad. It’s definitely a new chapter for the guys, and the fans seemed to embrace and enjoy their set. They even started moshing, which is always a great sign. The band also played their new single “Well of Despair”, which was heavy and has some wicked-sounding guitars. It was safe to say that when they were done, everyone was still a fan, and if they weren’t before, they were now!
Seeing High on Fire for the first time was very interesting. They brought a different energy to the stage, and their music had a very dark, old-school vibe to it. Their set was very enjoyable all in all, and it seemed like they have quite the following here in Arizona.
Finally, it was time for Abbath. One of the main reasons we were all there was to see the man himself. The crowd immediately cheered and headbanged when he hit the stage, and Abbath’s performance was breathtaking. If you love black metal as much as I do, you’d be as excited as I was. They played a few new tracks “To War,” “Winterbane,” and “Ashes of the Damned” and they sounded incredible. Every little detail of their performance was absolutely perfect, From their outfits, makeup, attitude and energy to the lights above the stage that spelled out Abbath, it all felt surreal.
However, the moment the black metal giant played “Tyrants”, it struck me to my core. The young teenager inside me who had been waiting at least 12 years to hear some Immortal material live wanted to scream. Seeing that song played live for the first time felt like a dream; it was such a beautiful track. I could see around how the entire audience was just in shock. We were witnessing history in the making. Abbath is here, he isn’t going anywhere, and what we are watching is the future. The band then followed up with a few other tracks like “One by One,” and “Endless” among others, and then closed the show with “All Shall Fall.” It was such an incredible set list, and there was no better way to end the show than this.