Say what you will about his corpse paint and his knack for iconic promotional photography posing, but Abbath still has it. Most questions and doubts should’ve been settled by 2016s stellar Abbath, but we metal fans are fickle and panic-prone when it comes to new music. Turns out that after listening Outstrider (Season of Mist), Abbath was no fluke. After decades of working as a professional musician and penning several stone-cold classics with Immortal, Abbath still has plenty left in the tank. Continue reading
All good things come to an end, and as of March 2015, the legendary Black Metal double act of Abbath Doom Occulta (real name Olve Eikemo) and Demonaz Doom Occulta (real name Harald Nævdal) reached its disappointing and unfortunate conclusion. For years, Demonaz had acted the straight man, a perfect foil for his gurning, crab-walking, tongue-waggling partner, but since the pair went their separate ways, he has now chosen to step forward and take centre stage in what appears to be a more focused and serious vision of Immortal. Continue reading
Immortal was (or is, depending on its new lineup getting anything off the ground) one of the most intriguing acts in extreme music. A great deal of fans consider them a Norwegian black metal institution with a string of classics under their belts. For others they’re that borderline Spinal Tap band that have some of the most ridiculous promo pictures and music videos ever captured. For real, Norway, the music is great and all, but some of the message can be lost when you willingly pose yielding a plastic axe.
Maybe that’s why some turned have turned to crime? Anything for the arts.
But I digress. It’s not breaking news that in 2015, Immortal was on ice again and a brief legal battle ensued over the band’s trademark. Multi-instrumentalist founding member Olve Eikemo (or as we know him) Abbath walked away and pledged to work on his own music. The result is Abbath (Season of Mist), an eight song exercise in creative freedom and avoiding ugly litigation.
And allow me to immediately answer your query; it’s not as awesome as Battles in the North or Sons of Northern Darkness. And nor does it have to be. Since he is no longer under the weight of the Immortal legacy, Abbath is free to explore other things, namely his love of classic metal sounds. With Abbath’s death croak and drummer Creature peppering songs like ‘Winter Bane’ and ‘To War’ with double bass and the occasional blast beat they fall under extreme metal, but the structures are as traditional as they come. There’s even a sweet cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Riding on the Wind’ added as a bonus track.
But the Kvlt faithful need not worry, it’s not all New Wave of British Heavy Metal worship. ‘Eternal’ has enough blast beats to thaw any frozen heart and ‘Fenrir Hunts’ is highly reminiscent (in the best way) of the blackened death metal that Behemoth has been expertly brewing as of late.
And even for those who are too stubborn to appreciate Abbath because it doesn’t say Immortal on the cover or isn’t grim enough, they should respect that Abbath decided to step down. Why? Because he dropped the legal horseshit that would’ve jammed all parties involved and likely split the Immortal name into two lesser collectives. Need proof? What do you think about the recent work from Entombed A.D. or Queensryche and whatever Geoff Tate’s project is called?
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Abbath, the namesake band led by the iconic ex-Immortal front man of the same name (Olve Eikemo (a.k.a. Abbath) will see its début album release this coming January from Season of Mist. Abbath made its live début this past June at the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, FI. At that concert Abbath played two new songs, some Immortal classic and even some black metal covers. The band has already been named as one of the headliners of the all Norwegian lineup of Blastfest 2016.
Abbath’s current line-up
Abbath – Vocals/ Guitar
King Ov Hell (Tom Cato Visnes) Bass
Baar Kolstad (God Seed/Borknagar) Drums
This July Abbath unsuccessfully bid to secure the rights to the Immortal Band name in Norwegian court but lost to his former bands mates; lyricist/guitarist Demonaz (real name Harald Nævdal) and drummer Horgh (real name Reidar Horghagen). Abbath recently gave an interview to Metal Hammer about the split and going solo:
“I didn’t want to go solo in the first place. I wanted the best for Immortal. I didn’t want it to end this way. First of all, I just wanted my music out. I wanted to record the [next] album [because] it’s been so many years since ‘All Shall Fall’. And both Demonaz and Horgh, they have kids and families now, and it just hit that point where I couldn’t work the way they wanted to work any more. I wanted things on my terms and they wanted things on their terms, and it was very difficult.”
“I wanted to rehearse at least three times a week, but often it was only once a week and things went so slow. I sat there with all this material, I kept the rehearsal space and recorded the stuff on click track, but it was a very strained atmosphere and the Last time we worked together was in early June last year.”
Asked if the decision to part ways and seek out new band members was inevitable, Abbath said: “I was forced to do it this way. I wanted Immortal to continue, but not the way it was. The dialogue has not been there and it’s also my mistake. I should have brought up this shit a long time ago, but Immortal, after Demonaz‘s problems with his arms, it never became a band after that.”
He continued: “Immortal is a very special situation. [Demonaz] hasn’t been in the band, but then I always wanted to do the best for everybody, to have the band spirit, and that’s why when we decided to start Immortal again, we tried to get the spirit back, and bring him on tour, and just share our thing and be a band and have a kick-ass time. But it never worked out. The chemistry wasn’t there with the Immortal guys and hadn’t been for a while.”
“I believe in my music and I believe in my expression, but time flies and we grow apart. Maybe in the future we can go back again, I don’t know, but right now I just want to do my thing and just be Abbath and have people around me who support that.”