SHOCK’s Brian Steward reports from the Dallas stop of the Decibel metal tour and delivers a stack of awesome photos.
On its fifth night, the 2016 Decibel Magazine Tour roared into Dallas, TX. At this point so early in the tour, some might still expect a few bugs were being worked out. If so, it wasn’t obvious. The crowd of metalheads was treated to a night of sonic destruction. Many eardrums were sacrificed to the crimson lord of metal that night and many more will be as the tour continues.
The opening act, Swedish band, Tribulation, put on a very theatrical, hard hitting set complete with incense. I have to say, it was by far the most pleasant smelling set I’ve ever experienced. The band looked like Poison in their early Sunset Strip days if they were possessed by a legion of demons. Demonic pixies if you will. Somewhat more melodic and almost radio ready musically at times than other bands on the tour, to their credit, Tribulation had no problem setting their own tone. The crowd absolutely ate it up.
Next up was Ohio-based band, Skeletonwitch. Although not the headliner, to my ears, they were the bright spot of the evening. This is not to say that the other bands were sub-par by any means, but if forced to choose, Id name Skeletonwitch top band of the night. They started the set by launching into I Am of Death from their most recent effort, Serpents Unleashed, and never let up. Any questions surrounding the new vocalists abilities were put to rest by the end of the first song. New frontman, Adam Clemans clearly crushed all doubt. This crowd welcomed him with open arms and raised horns. With all the hair flying around onstage, it was as if the Addams Familys Cousin It was cloned and formed a metal band. That said, this is no hair band. Skeletonwitch is pure blackened metal. The band played through a solid 12 song set list at breakneck speed. Included was the new single, Well of Despair, from the bands forthcoming four song EP. Their set went so fast, it was almost like watching a metal version of The Ramones.
Following Skeletonwitch’s blistering performance was veteran act, High On Fire. As soon as the opening chords of this set were heard, the crowd went nuts. Obviously not a band hung up on pretense, High On Fire decided to forgo the smoke machines and theatrics. It was obvious Matt Pike, the lead singer and guitarist, had missed a few gym days, but had no problem taking off his shirt and getting to the business at hand. The band played a full set of all the tracks fans would hope to hear. The crown almost exploded when near the end of their set, they launched into Blood From Zion. It was no question, many were there to see these reigning metal giants.
Finally, closing the show, was famed former Immortal frontman, Abbath. The crowd, full of many faces donning makeup in tribute, was ready and showing no signs of fatigue late into the night as its hero, the spiked armor and corpse paint wearing Abbath, appeared through the smoke. To get the set underway, he and his band pounded out the skull-crushing track, To War, from his self-titled new album. Unlike High On Fire, Abbath and his cohorts totally embraced over-the-top onstage theatrics, makeup, smoke and lighting. To be fair, it was somewhat reminiscent of rock legends, KISS. The near-rabid audience, barely allowed to catch its breath from song to song, was also treated to a few gems from the Immortal discography as well, including Solarfall and show closer, All Shall Fall.
If you are a fan of brutal, extreme metal, or just want to do some quality control on the strength of your eardrums, this is the tour for you!