London's Underworld Holocaust
Immortal, Angelcorpse and Desecration at the Cameden Underworld, London, England, April 16, 1998
by: Paul Schwarz
Since Immortal cancelled their planned tour of the UK last year due to Demonaz' poor health, the fact that Abbath has taken over guitar and a stand in bassist has been drafted in this time surprised me somewhat. Either Osmose have forced them to go on tour regardless or they want to show the fans what they can do live; it is not clear which is the case before the gig.

First band on were Desecration. Playing a Cannibal Corpse / Suffocation-ish pure death style with pause-for-the-bass-on-its-own parts punctuating the blast snare mid-paced-grinding riff tapestry -- apart from feeling like a five year old vortex, Desecration evoked no particular emotion in me.

I have heard a number of good words said with reference to Angelcorpse, especially in the wake of the release of their new album _Exterminate_, but tonight they did not impress as much as one might have hoped. To my ears their sound was not mixed crisply enough to allow proper definition of the instruments, and at the volume it comes out on the speakers, Angelcorpse's performance probably didn't do them justice -- strange, considering how long it took them to soundcheck. It's a shame, because the band were quite animated for the technical level of their material and their live performance was extremely precise. In the end, Angelcorpse left me wanting to hear more of their music on record, at another gig, with a better mix; however, as an experience in itself, Angelcorpse's set was nothing to rave about.

A short lapse and Immortal, the Masters of Nebulah Frost, took the stage to begin their task of unleashing their musical armageddon on the not unsuspecting crowd. Immortal had a crisp sound: cranked up to an earsplitting volume, the sound of the individual instruments still remains, and Abbath did a stunning job of filling in for his brother in darkness and managing a great vocal performance. Drummer Horgh and the fill in bassist performed their tasks well, with Horgh unleashing quite a surprise when an incredible drum solo kicks in in the middle of "Pure Holocaust" -- which brings me on to the setlist, which really couldn't have disappointed any but the most narrow-minded of fans. Immortal went through material from all their albums, although _Blizzard Beasts_ was among the most extensively covered, with: "A Sign for the Norse Hordes to Ride", "The Sun No Longer Rises", "Pure Holocaust", "Call of the Wintermoon", "Unholy Forces of Evil", "Nebular Raven's Winter", "Mountains of Might", "Blasyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)" and "Battles in the North" comprising the blistering set. To answer the original question I posed: it appears from the excitement of the crowd and the enthusiasm of the band that Immortal came for the fans. And you can see why: members of the crowd shouted for "Blasyrkh" after every song, and when it came, cheered after every acoustic guitar line in the lull-before-the-storm part at the end of the song. Immortal may not have known their fanbase was so strong here, since Abbath seemed flattered at the cheering in "Blasyrkh" and commented that the crowd was "fucking crazy!" Immortal played an uncompromising, and nearly hour long, set of some of the best brutal black metal in existence. If these "blizzard beasts" come near you, beware; but, most important, don't miss the chance of seeing them in action, even if Demonaz can't make it out this time.

(article submitted 7/6/1998)

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