Every year there are highly-anticipated annual tours and every year many of them put together not so great lineups. When it comes to The Decibel Magazine Tour, I am happy to say that each year is a killer lineup and this year was no different. On April 14th, 2016, the Boston, MA crowd at Royale in the theatre district received quite a treat via artists: Tribulation, Skeletonwitch, High on Fire, and the legendary Abbath. From start to finish, this show is setting the bar high for the rest of the annual tour circuits.
Tribulation kicked off the night to quite an ovation for even an opening band. Fortunately, these guys have been around quite a bit supporting bands of all sorts and have constructed quite a second home in the Boston area. Although it was a short set, a majority was tracks from their latest, and arguably best album, The Children of the Night (Century Media Records). Opener ‘Strange Gateways Beckon’ starts off the set with a bang and then comes full circle a short while later with ‘Holy Libations’. Although only five songs in the set, it seemed just right to get warmed up for the rest of the night.
After a quick set up, Skeletonwitch was on the stage destroying the crowds with riff after riff. The biggest part of the set was to see how new vocalist, Adam Clemans, did replacing former vocalist, Chance Garnette. I was very pleased with what Adam brings for the table and I look forward to what comes next for the group. As for the set, the Boston crowd received mostly tracks from the latest full-length, Serpents Unleashed (Prosthetic Records), such as ‘From a Cloudless Sky’ , ‘Beneath Dead Leaves’ , and one of my favorites, ‘Burned From Bone’. The other half of the set was a mixed bag between a couple of albums including tracks like ‘Chock Upon Betrayal’ and ‘Beyond the Permafrost’.
Due up next was the return of Matt Pike and High on Fire. Regardless of what band he is touring with, it is always a privilege to watch Matt lay down some serious riffs. With a new album dropping less than a year ago, Luminiferous (Entertainment One), it wasn’t a surprise to catch mostly new tracks like ‘The Black Plot’ and ‘The Falconist’. However, the group did touch upon every other album in their discography once to provide a full cornucopia of their sound. Some of my favorites of the night were classics such as ‘Fertile Green’ , ‘Rumors of War’, ‘Blood From Zion’, and the closer (and usually fan favorite), ‘Snakes for the Divine’.
Finally, it was time for the almighty Abbath to grave the stage with his iconic corpse paint and silly faces. For years I wanted to see Abbath up on stage with his former group, Immortal, and play some classic black metal tracks. Fortunately, Abbath was the true force behind Immortal anyways, and his set was equally Immortal tracks as there were Abbath solo tracks. Not to discredit the solo material, Abbath (Season of Mist), was one of the earlier albums to come out this year, yet still finds its way into my playlists. From this record, we got to see songs including ‘To War!’ , ‘Winter Bane’ , ‘Fenrir Hunts’ , and ‘Root of the Mountain’. From the Immortal side of the set list, ‘One by One’, ‘Solarfall’, ‘All Shall Fall’, and closer ‘In My Kingdom Cold’. There was not a dull moment in the entire set and it was everything I had hoped for, including Abbath on stage. In fact, this entire tour package did not have a weak point at all outside of the short delays in between sets. Decibel, once again, has cemented themselves as one of the leading annual tours once again.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
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