Watain + Abbath + Tribulation + Bolzer @ Troxy London

Watain
Spread the metal:

Watain + Abbath + Tribulation + Bolzer

Troxy London

30 September 2022

Photos and review by The Flâneur

Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. That’s what I was thinking while speedwalking from The Half Moon to Troxy on that fated Friday night. The rain was pouring and so was the sweat under my ill-chosen polyester hoodie. It was my first photography job at a big gig and I had just missed the first band, Swiss carnage purveyors Bolzer.

In all fairness though, I would like to avail myself from responsibility in this case. The event page cited 7 pm as starting time. Had I not had a media pass but a regular ticket, I would have noticed a different starting time – 6 pm.

Now, I live near Troxy and I had never been inside it before. I was really surprised to see how spacious and well adapted it is for big events. Think of it as a combination of Electric Ballroom and Islington Assembly Hall, with a spritz of O2 Kentish Town. The sound, however, was definitely not on the level of Electric Ballroom – it was grades superior. Throughout the entire night the sound was so flawless – a kind of experience I haven’t had even at the Roundhouse. Troxy, please do more metal gigs, or even a festival.

Tribulation

But I digress. I admit, Tribulation was a bit of a blur. Still soaked from the rain and sweat, I made my way towards the photo pit, desperately hoping my camera had survived. It had, and apparently I took approximately 500 images of them – mostly a blur of green, black, and smoke.

Veiled in thick smoke and incense, they unleashed their dark craft on us in a fury of arcane delight. Those who weren’t Tribulation fans prior to that performance definitely are now. Tribulation really know what they’re doing and they’re doing it so well. Their set was faultless, captivating, and utterly bewitching. It was so good that I didn’t want it to end – which it did seemingly almost too soon.

Tribulation
Tribulation

Next was Abbath. I did expect some comedic antics from Abbath, but there were none. The band has really grown in popularity – from Abbath’s self-named progeny into an entity of its own, a fully fledged band with fans who don’t only follow it for the sake of its main man.

In fact, I was really pleased to see how many dedicated followers flocked specifically for them, and this is when the venue was at its fullest. Sadly, many of those followers actually left before Watain, which I personally find extremely confusing, and generally a bad sport.

Abbath

Abbath blitzed through their discography like a well-oiled war machine. For most of their set, they were veiled in very appropriate blue light, which instantly reminded me of Immortal. I mean the links are inescapable, but I don’t think they’re trying to escape them. They came, they went, they conquered. Veni, vidi, another 500 photographs.

Abbath
Abbath

Watain‘s setup was grandiose to the tee. The stage really was a sinister spectacle to behold. From banners to huge inverted crosses and burning spires, every single detail seems to have been carefully pre-planned and executed to perfection. And it was warm, so warm, but not feverishly so. Writing in my sunlit living room, I can almost picture still being there, bewondered in the photo pit.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Watain due to my penchant for atmospheric distortion, but, let me tell you, I’ve never enjoyed a black metal band’s set more in my life. It was indeed more than a set – a spectacle.

Watain

Watain started off with Ecstasies in Night Infinite, the opening (and best) piece from their last album, The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (which I also reviewed earlier this year), then proceeded to blitz through their discography, finishing with the brutal necromancy of Malfeitor from their 2010 opus Lawless Darkness.

Satan and all things hermetic and occult were on their side that fated night, as their eldritch display proceeded without a hitch. A true assault on the senses, it was a beautiful performance, in the most horrible sense of the word.

Watain
Watain

600 photos and a yearning to experience this again.

Watain