Watain // Abbath // Tribulation // Bolzer // Live Review // Troxy // London
As autumn begins on a rainy wet Friday night the beautiful Troxy venue in London has a night of hellish armageddon about to fall upon it.
One of the year’s most hotly anticipated black metal shows is about to happen. Right off the back of their hugely (10/10 from Ed at Rock N Load might I add) album “The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain” the Swedish titans Watain are touring Europe & a one-off London date with support from the legend that is Abbath, Tribulation & Bolzer. A pretty stacked line up if I might say.
I had been looking forward to this show since its announcement in the middle of 2002. I’m a long-time Watain fan, but unluckily i have never seen the band live unluckily, so tonight was going to be something special.
Now let’s get the night started…
The Troxy is a new venue to me. I knew of its history & grand scale but never had I visited it before. As soon as I walked through the doors I could tell it would be the perfect venue for tonight’s show. A regal & beautiful venue that would work great for tonight’s epic line up.
Tonight’s opener Bolzer is a new band to me, hearing them a few months ago I enjoyed what i heard but was looking forward to seeing them in the live setting. A two piece hailing from Switzerland they are something very exciting.
Vocalist & guitarist KzR plays a 12 string guitar, which is something you don’t see in metal let alone black metal much but now after hearing them live i hope a few more do so. The band’s huge tone reverberated around the venue. Half cosmic & a barrage of sound. Even as a two piece the band commanded such a huge stage.
Drummer HzR is constantly playing & is a fantastic drummer. Tight but still very organic. With tracks “The Archer” & “Entranced by the Wolfshook” the band show what a hypnotic sound they can create.
KzR’s vocals sore above everything, a dark growl but with so much melody & passion. Closing the set out with “C.M.E” a thunderous & dark song this set left an impact on me to see the band live again & dive deeper into their discography. Ethereal & magnificent is Bolzer.
Before the band’s set they are already setting the tone. Burning incense on stage & by the sound desk & a long but fantastic intro track plays before the band slowly creeps onto stage & blast into “Into Remembrance”. A thudding track with a fist pumping chorus. All the dark elements of goth & early black metal are within Tribulation but what they do so greatly is bring the rock swagger some bands miss.
Tribulation might be a dark band but their songs are crafted so well to be memorable & stand out hugly. Bassist & vocalist Johannes Andersson is part Lemmy & Andrew Eldritch. A deep but punchy voice that is a great texture to the band’s sound. Guitarists Adam Zaars & Joseph Tholl are superb. Both great rhythm players but both can bring that ripping solo when it’s needed that makes the bands set even that much better.
Finishing on “Strange Gateways Beckon” flexes their slightly earlier muscle with a more blackened track, epic & doomy this track is a perfect final bow for the band & has cemented them into a band i will be listening to religiously from now on!
Johannes Andersson – vocals, bass
Adam Zaars – guitars
Joseph Tholl – guitars
Oscar Leander – drums
Now for the king of black metal. The notorious Abbath!!
“Winterbane” blasts the doors of the hinges as soon as the band kicks in!
Abbaths signature vocals come in & show you that he might be nearly 50 but he’s still able to give it 1000% percent. Ripping tracks like “Acid Haze” & “Dream Cull” from his latest album “Dread Reaver” as well as classic Immortal tracks “In My Kingdom Cold” & “Tyrants” making the audience go into a foaming mouth frenzy! Abbath sure does know how to put on a show. With a live band that is tight, precise & heavy, Abbath still has what it takes to blow off even some of the new age black metal bands off the stage!
Abbath – Guitar, bass & vocals
Ukri Suvilehto – Drums
Ole André Farstad – Lead & acoustic guitars
Mia Wallace – Bass on Acid Haze, Scarred Core, The Deep Unbound & Dread Reaver
As the night draws to a close just one more band. The black metal titans Watain.
As the rigging & stage gear gets set up for Watains stage show more & more people flood into the venue. You can feel a real electric presence in the room.
Taking the stage bearing torches & as the intro music swells to its climax the band unleash into “Ecstasies in Night Infinite” from the latest album.
The Troxy suddenly erupts into chaos. The pit opens & bodies are flying!
From the very first note the band are giving it hard, And they are one of tightest bands i’ve seen this year & already this feels like the best set ive seen in 2022 and it’s only the first song.
The passion Watain put in their live setting and how amazing they play live is a life-changing experience. I’ve been seeing live music since I was 15 (now 36) as this is one of the most impressive & outrageous concerts i’ve ever seen!
“Reaping Death” & “Devil’s Blood” staples in the band’s setlists are truly gigantic in a live setting. Singalong chorus & spectacular solos also add that little something which some bands miss in the live setting. Erik Danielsson’s stage presence is also out of the world. Between songs talking to the crowd & adding to the band’s ceremonial style making this as close to a satanic cult horror film as you can get. Less cheesy and more pure darkness!
Getting to hear “Nuclear Alchemy” was the biggest highlight for me. My fave Watain track somehow they were able to make it more furcious & archaic live! As the band draws the set to an end with “Malfeitor” Watain shows what a true live spectacle is. 100% pure & cut throat they are truly the leaders in black metal right now and by far the best band i’ve seen in 2022!