Abbath Gig Review – Islington Assembly Hall

On a cold and dark, rainy Monday in January – in the heart of winter and on the bleakest of days – Abbath played at Islington Assembly Hall in North London. Handy for me as it’s just round the corner from where I work, and what better setting to frame one of the Norwegian black metal scene’s leading exponents?

Not to be confused with ABBA; a Swedish pop quartet from the 70s, of dubious taste – Abbath’s music is thunderously intense; with brief, flitting moments of humour thrown in between tunes. Although not strictly a solo-project, the eponymously-titled black metallers are ostensibly a one-man-band to all intents and purposes, led by former Immortal member, Abbath Doom Occulta. Older and slightly more portly than his 90s heyday, the chequered corpse paint still remains – as does the pedigree and attitude.

A lively set that ticks all the right boxes, it’s hard not to feel like the band hasn’t been around for decades, rather than formed as they were, as recently as 2015. Abbath has a tongue-in-cheek stage persona whilst performing, which is extremely refreshing in the black metal genre. There is nothing overtly sacrilegious or offensive to be found onstage, no decapitated animal heads or bags of blood lobbed into the crowd. They simply do what they do very well.

It’s good to see the band back on form, following a recent 2-song only fiasco of a show in Buenos Aires in November, leading to furious fans demanding their money back and culminating in Abbath cancelling the rest of the South American leg of their tour due to “health issues“.

The band blast out a mixture of songs from their two albums to date, whilst equally strong support is provided by 1349 and the surprisingly strong Vltimas; a lineup fit to banish any Blue Monday vibes. Hail Satan.

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