The Austin Chronicle

Obituary & Abbath Lead Clockwork Decimation

By Raoul Hernandez, September 30, 2019, 12:55pm, Earache!

Halloween blew in hard, fast, and early Sunday night on East Riverside Drive. Four major indie metal extremists tore through booked-solid metal den Come & Take It Live in exactly three hours and 59 minutes. Bad backs, aching feet, and deep satisfaction exited another century’s Back Room arm in arm at the stroke of 11pm.

At precisely 7:01, Philly punks Devil Master squeezed onto the front of a stage shared by three acts after them. Corpse-painted with both guitarists wearing capes and the singer’s mic stand tangled in thick, white, faux webbing, the raw sextet set off at a hardcore gallop behind a deep, belly-of-the-mix vocal occultism and black metal guitar schmear. Instant pit.

Spooky synths by a keyboardist who prides himself in turning to stone during a performance – except for his fingers, he doesn’t move a muscle behind his skeleton face paint – taunted a rip-chord motoring from the group. Twenty minutes in, they caught fire, an unhinged USBM buzz. At minute 28, Devil Master began breaking down their gear.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame HQ homies Midnight excised similarly sourced trauma for their full half-hour, the Clevelanders exploding like a Seventies power trio gone rabid on sex dungeon metal. “Black Rock & Roll” lit the fuse to the hooded and masked blackened speed metal thrashers. “Satanic Royalty” and “Evil Like a Knife” sprinted through NWOBHM classicism as powered by Flying V guitarist Shaun Vanik’s flashbomb solos and one-man studio project virtuoso Jamie Walters, who shouted anarchistic porn in three-minute volleys from the bass riser or atop his monitor.

Kiss be damned in the impossibly broad face of armoured, NFL tackle-sized Norwegian Olve Eikemo. Black metal emperor in Immortal 1991-2015, the iconically painted frontman spent the 58-minute set on his two ferocious solo LPs. Between the Wagnerian intro and outro, four black metal strikes from 2016’s eponymous debut as Abbath and six off July’s burnt rubber Outstrider cracked the sky via an arena light show and the leader’s heavily accented frog bark.

Whereas the genre pioneer’s stopover on the very same block at Emo’s during the Abbath tour billowed into that airy room, inside the intimate, self-contained sound space that is C+TIL, he popped out the walls as if someone had sealed an airplane hanger and turned on all the aircrafts. Incendiary Outstrider midpoint “Harvest Pyre” leapt as high as its gas huffing cacophony, an avalanche of beats and guitars overloading the senses as industrial lighting flashed epileptic. It burned like Immortal until he followed it with Immortal’s “In My Kingdom Cold,” which simply collapsed the building. Zero survivors.

Any mortal or even undead being save for death metal co-creators Obituary would’ve flinched at following such immortality. Floridian behemoths all with longer hair than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the 35-year-old executioners emerged out of the horror movie stage lighting as if from The Fog, and for exactly 60 minutes drove the roiling pit in front of the tucked-in stage into a cannibalistic frenzy. Having trademarked a crack of doom rumble emanating up from the bowels of their native peninsula, the band’s sludge tunnel sonics ate alive guitarists Trevor Peres, Ken Andrews, and bassist Terry Butler, but it mattered not in the face of drummer Donald Tardy’s gargantuan push and pull and bro John Tardy’s all too human singing.

Yes, singing, as opposed to just grunts and howls, of which there rained/reigned plenty.

Not one gutbucket tolling or scything troll pummel boomed out of place, so when they concluded with the title track off their first album, which had already given up a quartet of crypt kickers, the music-changing call to death raged a life-affirming upheaval of five musicians performing in ear-sealing unison. Metal heads wept – on the inside and with supreme gratification.

Obituary set-list, Come & Take It Live, 9.29.19

“Redneck Stomp”
“Threatening Skies”
“By the Light”
“Chopped in Half and Turned Inside Out”
“Straight to Hell”
“Find the Arise”
“I’m in Pain”
“Internal Bleeding”
“Godly Beings”
“Immortal Visions”
“Words of Evil”
“Uncle Dave”
“A Dying World”
“Slowly We Rot”

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