■ IF BLACK metal ever had a figure who’s a proper rockstar and guitar hero, it’s Abbath. As leader of ice-obsessed Norwegian legends Immortal, he cut a figure closer to a black metal Gene Simmons in his make-up, and played with the fury and swagger of Lemmy. Now solo, Abbath is here tonight to launch his awesome self-titled debut album. Sadly, it turns out you might have been better off at home with the CD.
Before that, though, Ireland’s Primordial are simply too good to fail. In AA Nemtheanga, they have a frontman with a voice big enough to match his fists and personality, and he leads his band through a set of hard-hitting Celtic metal like a make-up-streaked warrior heading to battle.
Which is what Abbath does, as well. Foot on the monitor, covered in corpsepaint, gurning at the front rows – he’s exactly as you want him to be. Except you can hardly make out a note of what’s being played, thanks to an appalling sound that reduces what should be epic, frosty blizzards of riffs into a total whiteout. To War!, Ashes Of The Damned and a cover of Immortal’s Tyrants end up robbed of much of their power. A shame, as the album Abbath’s launching tonight proves why he’s one of the kings of black metal.