Kerrang! (UK) - - Lives -

■ 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.

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