GIG REVIEW: ABBATH, High On Fire, Skeletonwitch & Tribulation Live at the Opera House, Toronto
Sticky floors, metal horns, and a lot of long hair – also known as a good night at the Opera House in Toronto. From the moment I walked in on April 10th, I saw that the venue was packed. How could it not be, with the almighty Abbath in town?
Sweden’s Tribulation were the first to hit the stage that evening, and they really got the crowd pumped. At first glance, I thought they were women, but soon enough, the only thing that I could focus on was their atmospheric stage presence. Their doom-laced black metal was the perfect way to open this show – despite their short set – and I know for a fact that they made a ton of fans that night.
Next up was Skeletonwitch, whom many fans were excited to see for the first time with their new vocalist, Adam Clemans. Sure, he didn’t quite look the part as much as Chance did, but he did the job well. The band played some fan favorites, plus a couple of new songs as well. Generally speaking, the whole band had a lot of energy and kept up the enthusiasm set by Tribulation.
In the case of the next band, High On Fire, if you wanted some good old-fashioned stoner/thrash thrown into the black metal lineup, you certainly got it. Unfortunately, before they even started, they met with technical difficulties, and it was only after most of their first song that the mic finally kicked in and frontman Matt Pike could be fully heard. However, once they got going, High On Fire were, well, on fire. Someone in the crowd yelled, “fuck shirts”, which pretty much summed up Pike and his sweaty, rough demeanor. They played only one track off of each of their albums, except for their most recent one, ‘Luminiferous’, from which they cranked out no less than four.
Then came the moment we had all been waiting for: Abbath. Whether it was the impeccable musicians behind him (King Ov Hell, ‘Creature’ Gabe Seeber, & Ole André Farstad), the impressive fog and light show, or simply his goofy, interactive behaviour with the fans, this is one guy you don’t want to miss when he comes to town. Not only did they perform songs from the new album, ‘Abbath’, but half of the set list was comprised of Immortal material, including “Tyrants”, “All Shall Fall”, and the encore, “In My Kingdom Cold”.
Overall, while the Opera House puts on half of the shows I attend, the sound was slightly off for this one, and I wasn’t kidding when I said the floor was stickier than usual. But hey, when Decibel Magazine throws together a tour like this one, none of that really matters. Abbath was amazing, and all three opening bands held their own. If you weren’t one of the wild-eyed head bangers in the room, you truly missed out.