After being postponed a few times, The Abyss Festival finally took place. Below are some highlights of the festival summed up! Having watched every band with none of them sucking, it could be very long, so below is only the best of the best!
Of the 3 pre-show bands, Obnoxious Youth were the clear highlight. Sarcator and Stress Angel put on killer shows, but these Speed Metal freaks demolished The Abyss Bar (and my friends face, with a mic stand). Raging onstage with a ferocious sound and performance to match, these guys were utter mayhem. The crowd clearly were impressed as the sonic artillery ripped us all apart.
Marquis De Sade might seem out of place with a bunch of more extreme bands, but their progressive-laden NWOBHM had a superbly dark atmosphere. Killer set, especially when they played the two tracks on the “Somewhere Up In The Mountains” 7-inch back to back!
Italian majesties of the macabre Mortuary Drape‘s ghoulish appearance may give some indication what to expect. Thundering bass lines haunt the very air while eerie guitars and mystical vocals all creep atop ritualistic drumming. These Italian cult-legends deliver an absolutely sublime performance including many of their best works like “Necromaniac” and “Primordial” along with their anthemic and eponymous track “Mortuary Drape” of course. Seeing these legends in the flesh with their stage show did not disappoint at all and I was left transfixed throughout.
Sweden’s resident demons Nifelheim; perhaps the most metallic band to ever have existed. Their utterly ferocious set was matched only by the sheer coolness of their stage show complete with skulls, nooses, coffins and a roadie in executioners hood holding a whip. Though a feast for the eyes, the music is of course the main component which delivered an auditory battering ram of violence. “Infernal Flame Of Destruction”, “Sodomizer” and “Satanic Sacrifice” were among the unholy anthems blasted forth.
Headliners Watain are known as one of the most entrancingly intense live bands around. Their stage set was truly something to behold and many members of the crowd were blood-soaked before they even began. The setlist itself was a nice mix of Watain essentials and some killer cuts off the new record with a triage of Swedish classics from Bathory, Merciless and Dissection to further elevate the transcendental experience occurring. “Storm Of The Antichrist” and “Devil’s Blood” especially stood out as ensnaring performances.
Ireland’s Sacrilegia were truly some of the fiercest maniacs to grace the smaller stage over the weekend. Utterly devastating bursts of Black / Death / Thrash Metal extremity terrorised with turbulent tracks. Their menacing sound was mixed extremely well to create a crushing live tone of old school evilness.
Canadian horde Razor were easily one of the bands that not just myself, but the entire crowd was most excited for. A rare enough band to see in Europe, but a first for Swedish maniacs. Their set was absolutely stellar with the necessary classics interspersed with some of their new hits from the recent LP. Closing on “Take This Torch” and “Evil Invaders” played back to back was absolute ecstasy for thrashers in attendance. Despite a very different lineup to the bands heyday, they still play with a beastly tightness that spearheads every skull in the room in unison.
Whiplash continued the Speed Metal show of force with a pinch-harmonic riding set of high-octane triumph. Seeing plenty of bangers rage to the accumulation of mostly material from the first three cuts was definitely a highlight. “The Burning Of Atlanta”, “Stage Dive” and of course “Power Thrashing Death” were the highlights which sounded monstrous live and additionally the bands new number “Sword Meets Skull, Skulls Meets Sword” seemed to go down a storm with many chanting back its memorable chorus.
Deströyer 666 appeared only a day earlier on the bill to replace Triumph Of Death who pulled out. A combination of this and them being a good half-hour late on stage created an animosity in the air which I think played to the band and their vicious reputation onstage. Harnessing the energy of the room, this internationally based quartet blistered through an annihilating set of hostile music. With a nice mix of their greatest hits and new single “Guillotine”, the crowd was roaring every song back at KK Warslut and co with a menacing twinkle in the eye.
As I said in the introduction to this article, the entire fest ruled with all bands delivering the goods. Only true maniacs seem to descend on this pilgrimage to Göteborg as it was a ferociously good time with only real die-hards around the place. The entire thing was over in a flash of Heavy Metal hellfire and nobody left disappointed.