Obituary @ The Forge, Joliet (US)

OBITUARY / ABBATH / MIDNIGHT

Date: 12th October, 2019
Venue: The Forge
Ticket: $27 (€24)
Promoter: n/a


Is it possible for anyone to require special or additional convincing to move his butt off the couch and head down to The Forge to see a billing featuring these bands? I mean, simply having OBITUARY celebrating the 30th anniversary of the genre-shaping “Slowly We Rot” was more than enough. Damn, I still remember listening this debut release way back when my ears were slowly getting (rotten) used to Death Metal. Well, DEATH had done a great job priming my brain of course. But let’s stick to 2019, shall we? Aside from the mighty OBITUARY, ABBATH and my favorite Black ‘n’ rollers of MIDNIGHT were ready to knock the air off our lungs and keep headbanging as the evening’s highest priority. The first band for the night was DEVIL MASTER but unfortunately we missed their set and got a short teaser from their closing song. Yeah, they sounded like a great fit to this solid billing and it was not a surprise that the venue was already packed.

MIDNIGHT have been a crazy band each time I have seen them hitting the stage, and for this reason I was pumped to see them surprising all those “poor” souls that were unaware of what would happen the minute the lights went out. The hooded trio figuratively kicked the door down with “Penetratal Ecstasy” that does not require any pre-heating time at all... That’s right; Athenar at the tip of the spear looked like he was about to wreck the stage walking around, stepping onstage monitors whenever he was not screaming at the mic. Yeah, his VENOM, Punk-infested way of singing is a delight to hear and perfectly fits Commandor Vanik’s guitar playing. It is always fun to watch the faces of those who had no prior knowledge of MIDNIGHT as they’re trying to “understand” what the hell is going on... However, the onstage equipment did not share the same mentality with the band and, in particular, did not quite agree with Athenar. At first, he had some issues with his bass and then he had to change his singing-posture because his mic stand decided to lower itself… Watching him shaking his head out of disbelief that all these were happening back to back was kind of entertaining, although MIDNIGHT did not stop for anything. In fact, one of this band’s characteristics (or virtues, if you may) is the Punk attitude and the focus on the show, not really caring about all those minor details. This is Black Metal 101 and goes all the way back to VENOM when Black Metal was making its baby steps. “Black Rock 'n' Roll” was perfect, even though Athenar had to bounce back after stumbling upon a monitor (that’s right; this also happened during the first three songs) but I don’t think he missed any bass note, and stormed this with MIDNIGHT grace. “I think I am James Hetfield with all these mics”, said Athenar just before hitting us with the “melodic” “Satanic Royalty”. That’s right; there is melody in MIDNIGHT and it’s the kind that makes your blood boil and feeds your moshing needs.

Despite the minor hiccups, the power-trio stormed through the set laying down 9 tracks, giving us the proper “send-off” with “Who Gives A Fuck?” (great question, by the way) and “Unholy And Rotten” that saw Commandor and Athenar getting off the stage and into the pit, zeroing the distance with the front rows. Breaking the bass strings was the final act by MIDNIGHT whose set was too short... However, I am sure we will be crossing paths in the near future.

MIDNIGHT setlist:

01. “Penetratal Ecstasy”
02. “Poison Trash”
03. “Black Rock 'n' Roll”
04. “Satanic Royalty”
05. “Evil Like A Knife”
06. “Lust Filth And Sleaze”
07. “You Can't Stop Steel”
08. “Who Gives A Fuck?”
09. “Unholy And Rotten”

MIDNIGHT

Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Midnight @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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The last time I saw Abbath on stage was some ages ago with IMMORTAL, on the other side of the Atlantic. Yeah, I had missed his latest show in Chicago and therefore this was a great opportunity to redeem myself and see how ABBATH are doing, having two albums under their belt. The conditions were optimal as the band had a solid following with a couple of die-hard fans wearing corpsepaint, and I have to admit they have done a great job (no panda-looking eyes, but straight evil - extra credit for this). The band’s logo was occupying the front of the drum kit, waking up memories when doing live shows was more than getting out to (just) play your music. Indeed, some onstage gimmicks always help to build / boost the proper atmosphere.

With the fog-machines running at maximum and mainly blue lights, the taped intro (with rain sounds) marked the time to welcome the Scandinavian frost inside The Forge with Abbath showing up last. The IMMORTAL-esque “Count The Dead” let winter spread its coldness, with the trademark rhythm section and the famous guttural vocals. Abbath belongs to the rather extinct group of frontmen who know exactly how to put up a show. I mean, seeing him entering the stage with the trademark side-walk was absolutely awesome, and throughout the night Abbath was in top mood and willingly to joke at any given chance. I mean, he was making silly faces and fooling around, but without messing with the songs’ atmosphere. Yeah, “Bridge Of Spasms” and “The Artifex” sounded great and the audience was into them, proving with actions that ABBATH have a solid following on this side of the Atlantic. “I hope you better go fucking nuts, unless you aren’t drunk enough”, said Abbath obviously in a great mood boosted by the audience’s participation. Damn, the pounding “Harvest Pyre” sounded awesome with guitarist Ole Andre Farstad and bassist Rusty Cornell at Abbath’s right and left side, respectively delivering the goods. “Are you feeling a little bit immortal tonight?” was Abbath’s next question and it was not that difficult to understand what was next on the setlist. In case your brain is taking a break, then know that “In My Kingdom Cold” was in the menu to honor the Abbath-era of IMMORTAL. The first crowd-surfers of the night started making their way to the front, letting the circle-pit keep going strong. Instead of my favorite “Mountains”, it was “Warriors” that made it into the set, touching upon the I chapter in the Abbath band history. Ok, I should not complain because the warriors inside The Forge did keep the energy in the red zone.

“Do you want to hear more of this shit?”, asked Abbath and the loud cheer was the best response he could receive before returning to action with “Ashes Of The Damned” (loved how Abbath “shared” the guitar intro with Ole here) and the snare-drum driven “Hecate” that saw more action from the pit. Abbath’s trademark grunt was the best way to introduce the setlist-closer, but in case there were some who did not get this hint, he asked: “are you ready to go to war?”, with the massive rhythm of “To War!” handling the rest. Yeah, that was a tight set and clearly Abbath is in such a great performing form and on top of this, he looks like he is having a blast playing live. This band has official entered my to-see-live list.

ABBATH setlist:

01. “Count The Dead”
02. “Bridge Of Spasms”
03. “The Artifex”
04. “Harvest Pyre”
05. “In My Kingdom Cold”
06. “Warriors”
07. “Ashes Of The Damned”
08. “Hecate”
09. “Outstrider”
10. “Winterbane”
11. “To War!”

ABBATH

Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Abbath @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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Oh yeah, the banner at the back of stage had the legendary OBITUARY logo and I could not help it but to reminiscence about the first time my young ears had been exposed to this “rotten” Death Metal. Damn, it was almost scary to hear John Tardy growling “slowly rot and you die” and let’s not forget that “sick” green color on the album’s cover artwork. And to get the chance to celebrate with the band the release of this genre-shaping album was a not-to-miss-opportunity. Thanks to Abbath, the metalheads were already warmed up and ready to push the moshing violence to the next level, and five minutes after ten, everyone was ready to pull the trigger. The Pat Travers song “Snortin' Whiskey” started blasting off the PAs had little to do with the upcoming Death Metal assault. I said “little” because in a “sick” and twisted way, “Redneck Stomp” picked up the groove from the point the Pat Travers song had left it... Oh man, that guitar distortion woke up so many memories of the time when Death Metal was creeping on us. John was waiting at stage left and you could easily see him getting pumped up, even though his grey hair could tell a different story. But no, “Threatening Skies” maxed out the Metal festivities with the legendary growls, sending massive shivers down our spine. “That’s OBITUARY alright” was the immediate thought, as I was watching Trevor Peres laying down the solid rhythm guitars like fast setting concrete upon the crazy circle-pit that had erased the word “fatigue” from the dictionary for the night. Speaking of “shivers” or “getting the creeps”, how awesome “Chopped In Half” did come? I am sorry for repeating myself but this was another strong memory spinning the “Slowly We Rot” follow-up and trying not to look at the “Cause Of Death” cover artwork. Funny, huh? Trust me, it was not funny back then but we kept returning to this sound and I am so glad I did not give in to my fears.

More metalheads were getting into the crowd-surfing “business”, and by “Dying”, there was a constant flow of bodies reaching all the way to the front just to return and keep at it. What was amazing to notice is that the band shared the same enthusiasm with the audience with John digging deeper to get these growls straight from the best splatter movies full of decay and rot. The double bass drumming of “Dying” challenged everyone’s neck muscles with the other Tardy brother keeping our heart rates and the “fitness improving zone”... As you may be guessing, talking was not on the menu with OBITUARY mercilessly banging on Death Metal tune after the other. It’s an amazing feat how consistent this band has been with “Straight To Hell” from the latest full length offering being in “harmony” with “Find The Arise” that by the way reminded me of how much CELTIC FROST had influenced these guys from Florida.

After the early SLAYER-esque guitar leads and the drum-skin destroyer of “I’m In Pain”, it was time for a short break with the band leaving the stage. Well, I think this happened only to give the time for a quick banner change, with the band’s logo from “The End Complete” being in public display. It was once again to enjoy John’s poetry from the band’s debut album days, with “Deadly Intentions” and “Internal Bleeding”. Oh yeah, OBITUARY kept melting our ear drums with their legendary Death Metal and to my delight the audience followed suit. The venue’s tile-covered floor had turned the circle-pit into a skating arena, making it even more fun and kind of challenging to keep at it. Additional kudos is in order for the Joliet metalheads for matching the energy of the “Slowly We Rot” suite with back-to-back headbangers and non-stop growling from the fiery pits of hell. After “Intoxicated”, OBITUARY gave us a chance to take a breather by leaving the stage, but not for long. Trevor acknowledged the audience’s stamina applauding in the intensity of the circle pit, before giving us a great reason to deplete the last drops of energy we had left in our tank. The high bpms of “A Dying World” and the historic title track of the album OBITUARY were celebrating with this tour; “this is the title track of our very first record”, said John before sending us to Death Metal Heaven with “Slowly We Rot”.

This show had it all for me; childhood memories, skin crawling vocals, tight rhythm section and a scholar of an audience that turned out to be an OBITUARY scholar “appropriately” reacting to every song in the setlist. Awesome night!

OBITUARY setlist:

01. “Redneck Stomp”
02. “Threatening Skies”
03. “By The Light”
04. “Chopped In Half”
05. “Turned Inside Out”
06. “Dying”
07. “Straight To Hell”
08. “Find The Arise”
09. “I’m In Pain”
10. “Don’t Care”
11. “Deadly Intentions”
12. “Internal Bleeding”
13. “Godly Beings”
14. “Suffocation”
15. “Words Of Evil”
16. “Intoxicated”
17. “A Dying World”
18. “Slowly We Rot”

OBITUARY

Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Obituary @ The Forge (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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