OBITUARY + Abbath + Midnight @ Corona Theatre – 18th October 2019

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It was an exciting night for metal and a big crowd was out in force to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Obituary’s landmark album «Slowly We Rot».

Sadly, I did not make it in time to see Philadelphia’s Devil Master perform their brand of old school black metal. From chatting with the crowd, I saw they made many a new fan with their performance. They will be back with High on Fire and Power Trip this November, I hope to check them out then.

Midnight, a three-piece hailing from Cleveland, was up next. As the band stepped onto a pitch-black stage clad in leather coats, hoods and bullet belts, you know you they meant business. Midnight delivered their throwback rock & roll black metal hybrid akin to older bands like Venom with intense energy. The crowd enjoyed it and moshed along to their fast trashy rhythms. Some of the stand out tracks from their set were «Can’t Stop Steel» and «Satanic Royalty».  A very solid performance from the trio that warmed up the crowd perfectly for Abbath.

A large number of fans were gathered tonight to bask in Abbath’s cold and frostbitten presence. Abbath and his band, currently signed to Season of Mist, were here to present their new album. Fans were yelling his name long before his entrance on stage. The excitement for what was about to happen was quite palpable.  The first reveal that excited everyone gathered was a giant steel logo of Abbath on the frame of the drum kit. The stage was dark and a dramatic classical music intro set up the ambience. The band walked on stage, the lighting starts and the onslaught of grim black metal began. A few moments later, Abbath joined his crew on stage clad in his traditional battle armour and corpse paint to the cheer of many in the crowd. The charismatic frontman had the crowd chanting his name and screaming loudly during their performance.

The band played their trademark style of hyperspeed black metal flawlessly. It was a marvel watching Abbath riff on his flying V so effortlessly.  Some stand out moments were «We are the Tyrants» by Immortal, «Winterbane» and «Hecate». As the set was finishing, the band members took a bow and the frontman himself posed in his typical fashion which made the crowd ecstatic. Once it was all over, I overheard someone in the crowd mumble «What a legend…», I thought that summed it up quite well. 

Florida death metal pioneers Obituary were up next closing the show. It was going to be quite rowdy since they were playing their Slowly We Rot masterpiece from start to finish. Slowly We Rot was one of the first death metal albums I bought as a teenager so I was quite excited for the action to begin. The band stomped on stage after a southern rock intro with the fan-favourite instrumental «Redneck Stomp». The crowd was moving and moshing along to the slow heavy trademark Obituary sound. After, the band immediately started an old classic «Threatening Skies» as singer John Tardy joined the band and howled his vocals to the excitement of all gathered.

The first part of the set was dedicated to their more recent output and was highly energetic. About halfway into the set, the backdrop was switched from a blood-red Obituary logo to a slimy green one. Obituary started playing «Internal Bleeding», the first song off their classic album. The slow groovy riffs got the crowd moving and moshing. The band played most of the songs off their landmark classic and closed with «A Dying Day» and, of course, «Slowly We Rot». Despite the album being 30 years old, it sounded fresh and new in a live format and everyone enjoyed the set. 

Overall a very enjoyable show filled with some great new and old metal!

Review – Jason Maher

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