October 24, 2019 was the day that Obituary returned to Raleigh! And you already know that ya girl was there to see those rednecks from Tampa (F***en) Florida! With them on this tour was (the not so redneck) Abbath; along with Midnight, Devil Master, and one of our Local Butchers, False Prophet.
Now, I’ve got to admit, I missed False Prophet (which really sucks because I really like them). They played “at doors,” which were at 6:00, and I had class until 5:45. I made it in to see Devil Master, who put on a straight-up, in your face, no nonsense set. The whole band was in costume, complete with a rhythm guitarist Dracula, and a keyboardist in a bad-ass hooded robe! Other than the lead guitarist having to tune after every song, the band pounded through their set list without hesitation. They came, they played, they kicked ass! BTW, I’m still not sure whether the keyboardist was real or some type of machine, but he never raised his head, never came out of role, and I never even saw him leave the stage when their set was over. He just… disappeared.
Midnight was a three-piece band full of energy and sound! The three – guitarist, bassist and singer, and drummer – were all hooded with black masks over their faces. I’m telling you right now, these guys lit it up! The crowd came to life for Midnight, and the band responded to that energy. They were constantly on the move, interacting with the crowd, and running the full stage. Midnight had a great set that night! I’d like to see them again!
So, Abbath was up next. Hailing from Norway and steeped in the Black Metal genre, I was excited to see what was to come. For those of you who don’t know, the singer/guitarist (“Abbath Doom Occulta”) is one of the founders of the legendary band, Immortal. They pretty-much invented Black Metal. His first love was KISS, and you can see that influence in his stage presence and performance. If you can imagine, he is like a darker, more evil Gene Simmons (the Demon), spit straight out of the depths of Hell. Abbath left Immortal and formed this band of the same name in 2015. And they are taking some serious strides! What. An. Awesome. Show!! The powerful presence of Abbath, himself, was matched by drummer, Ukri Suvilehto. His playing and interaction with the crowd (from behind the kit) was hypnotizing. The walls, floor, and (I’m sure) ceiling reverberated his double base drums! They didn’t leave behind the other stringed instruments, either. The band, Abbath, operated like a well oiled machine. The light show and smoke machine added to the dreaded ambiance of this hellish display. They played for well over an hour. It was a blistering beating of crushing riffs and blast beats, over staggering double base and the agonized screech of Abbath’s vocals. It was exquisite!! When it was over, all I could think was, “No one but Obituary could follow that. They’d better bring it!”
Second picture taken by Courtney Breen
And bring it they did! If you’ve never seen Obituary their show begins with piped-in country music, which is overtaken by the crunching riffs of the song, Redneck Stomp, a groovy instrumental. When they hit the stage, they were energized and ready to go. Obituary has been around so long (late 80’s, and earlier as Xecutioner) that their entire stage show is pretty-much patented! Trevor (rhythm guitar) holds the trademark for riff master/hair slinging headbanger. Kenny (lead guitar) is in charge of harmony and spooky/eerie wails, shrieks, and monster leads. Terry (bass) is a large and ominous presence, always middle/stage left; quiet, other than his bruising bass beatings. Donald (drums), in my opinion, invented Death Metal drumming. He is obviously ADHD (and I’ve met him, so…) and his technique takes on those qualities – always moving around the kit, feet of fury, hands a blur, with the crash of symbols; pounding the listener into dust. And then there’s John (vocals). You can listen to their first record, Slowly We Rot, or their most recent self-titled, or anything in between, and John’s raspy growl is consistent. His live edition lacks nothing, and is even more emphasized by his stage presence and his exaggerated lean out over the crowd as he gutturals the agonizing lyrics that are Obituary. They operate so well together, either they practice all the time or, because they’ve been together so long, and know so well their long and hallowed catalogue, that they no longer have to practice – They are the personification of Obituary. They can’t possibly play all of the fan favorites, so they pick some and turn it out! The crowd gutturals along with John and sways back and forth, “hair banging,” with Trevor. What an experience!
This was an epic show! And all right here in Raleigh!