Chris Loomis

Abbath @ The Observatory – 10/04/2019

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Abbath may not be a household name but in the world of Black Metal he is a GOD. Former frontman for Norwegian Black Metal innovators Immortal, Abbath split with Immortal in 2015 and continues to carry the torch on his own. Out supporting his second album Outstrider released on July 5, Abbath is supporting the Florida Red Necks and Death Metal legends Obituary on their “Rotting Slow in America for 30 Years” tour. Along for the ride in the opening slots are Midnight and Devil Master. This brutality made a stop at The Observatory in Santa Ana on Friday night October 4 for a SOLD OUT show.

Typically The Observatory has a security/photo pit between the crowd and stage but oddly on this night there was none and with such an insane lineup of extreme music you knew there was going to be LOTS of stage diving and bodies flying around. Devil Master got the night started to a lukewarm reaction from the early-birds with a little bit of moshing. When Midnight hit the stage that is when all hell broke loose for the remainder of the night. Midnight has a cult following and their fast-paced and aggressive music had kids climbing onstage all night and leaping back into the crowd. With songs like “Penetratal Ecstasy”, “Satanic Royalty” and “Unholy and Rotten” these black masked crusaders are certainly doing their part to rid the world of good and normalcy.


When Abbath hit the stage at 9:30pm, the venue was now packed as the black and white corpse painted Black Metal warrior took the stage with his band and blasted into “Count the Dead” off his 2016 self-titled album. The floor area in front of the stage immediately became one large mosh pit. Soon after kids started hoping on stage and leaping back into the pit. Apparently one of the enthusiastic stage crawlers stepped on the guitar pedals before launching back into the crowd . . . in between songs Abbath instructed the crowd to not fuck with their equipment on stage and the stage crawling slowed from there on out but the crowd surfing and mosh pit never let up.

Abbath has a huge stage presence between the iconic corpse paint and intimidating black battle armor, this Black Metal icon has never sounded better. His croaking vocals and crabwalk remain intact and there is nobody in the metal world that has a sense of humor that comes close to that of Abbath. The band mixed songs from the first two Abbath albums as well as throwing in two Immortal songs “In My Kingdom Cold” and “Tyrants”. The band is tight and has a well-oiled delivery with ‘Raud’ Ole André Farstad on guitars, Ukri Suvilehto on drums and King ov Hell on bass – each a master musician with their own unique white and black corpse paint.

The band concluded their insane 60 minute set with two brutal tracks off the first Abbath album, “Winter Bane” and “To War”. Abbath remains at the top of the Black Metal world and with Outstrider so new, hopefully Abbath will return to North America in 2020 with a headline tour of his own.

Alongside Death, Morbid Angel and Deicide, Obituary was certainly instrumental in the Florida Death metal scene in the late 80’s/early 90’s and helped architect the blueprint of the Death Metal genre. Out celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their 1989 debut Slowly We Rot, Obituary is tighter and has never sounded better. Opening the night with the brutal instrumental “Redneck Stomp” the fans immediately began to rage before vocalist John Tardy hit the stage and went into “Threatening Skies”. The band played five songs off the game changing Slowly We Rot as well as tracks mixed in from throughout other albums mostly focusing on older material. Obituary played a 60 minute master piece of a set and proved they are the Red-Neck kings of Death Metal bay ending  the night with the crushing “Slowly We Rot”.

The “Rotting Slow in America for 30 Years” tour continues through October 25 ending in Atlanta. All dates can be found here.


Abbath Photo Gallery

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