I have been into black metal prior to the existence of Immortal — which was founded in 1991 — in fact, in the earlier 1990’s I was overseeing a fanzine and orchestrating a distribution mailorder mostly oriented toward obscure sonorities, therefore, Norwegian acts such as Old Funeral and Amputation were somehow under my scope. In truth, Immortal was later originated by former and original musicians coming from both acts. Throughout the years, I observed Immortal’s career closely and their natural progression, and to date, I must admit that ‘Battles in the North’ is one of my predilect listings. Evidently, the controversial rise and fall of Immortal that pestered the media press, consequently leading to the uprising of Abbath as the carrier of the northern darkness did not come to me as a surprise.
In retrospective, Abbath was formed in 2015 by infamous guitar player and vocalist Olve Eikemo (better known by his stage name as Abbath Doom Occulta or simply, Abbath) immediately after his ignited departure from Immortal earlier the same year. In the following year, Abbath released the self-titled debut studio record through independent record label and distributor, Marseille-based French Season of Mist, on January 22nd, 2016. ‘Abbath’ featured drum player Kevin Foley (French drummer of Irish-Italian descent named in the album as Creature, also a permanent musician for Disavowed and Benighted) prior to his dismissal in December 2015.
Abbath’s debut album was composed of material originally outlined to be used as part of the upcoming Immortal album, which was ultimately re-arranged in order to fit Abbath’s conceptual astuteness preceding his departure from the Norwegian blackened act, Immortal, and shortly after its release was made available online for streaming in its entirely.
On April 2015, the British magazine Metal Hammer published an article in which it announced the recruitment of Tom Cato Visnes (stage name King Ov Hell) from Bergen-based black metallers God Seed and drum player Kevin Foley (Creature) to join the ranks of Abbath. Among the new recruitments, it was enlisted Per Valla (Vredehammer guitar player and vocalist) to perform live with the act, occupying the duties of lead guitarist. Unfortunately, Per Valla decided to abandon the act on December 12th, 2015, allegedly due to personal reasons, and on March 18th, 2015, he made the headlines with the release of Vredehammer’s newest studio record, a visceral blackened death metal album titled ‘Violator.’
Shortly after its release, Abbath performed live for the first time at the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival, a Finnish heavy metal festival taking place annually in Helsinki. During their live performance, Abbath premiered a song titled ‘Fenrir Hunts’ that was later featured on their self-titled debut album, and also later released on September 28th, 2015, as a live video that stormed across the media press raising soaring expectations regarding the release of their debut album. In fact, during the Tuska Open Air Festival, Abbath captured three live songs on film that were directed by Fraser West and mixed by Jamie Ward.
At the beginning of 2016, Gabe Seeber, masked as the Creature persona, was enlisted as the live drummer thereafter replacing Kevin Foley and on its turn, Ole André Farstad replaced Per Valla, that as aforementioned, played on the debut album as lead guitar player.
Regarding Immortal, in the wake of legal disputes and Abbath’s departure from the trio — and numerous reports claiming that Abbath would rejoin Immortal, just to later be discredited — and blatant accusations that Abbath had appropriated Immortal’s songwriting and compositions without dual legal consent, in June 2016, Immortal issued a press release announcing the completion of the writing on the new album, the successor to 2009’s ‘All Shall Fall,’ which promises to be the darkest album yet to be released under Immortal’s name.
Abbath will be performing as special guests on June 10th, 2017 at Hollywood, La Calera Km 4.5 Via La Calera, Bogotá, Colombia as part of the Jomsviking Latin America Tour 2017 alongside with Swedish melodic death metal headliners, Amon Amarth, an event organised by Immigrant Records. The concert is scheduled to commence at 15:00 and the tickets cost € 30.00 for pre-sale, and € 40.00 on site. The tour also includes Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico as part of their itinerary.
Controversy recently struck at the Inferno Metal Festival Norway during this year’s edition, when Abbath took the initiative to walk off stage after thirty minutes and performing four songs onstage, he threw his guitar to the floor and went backstage, leaving follow musicians entertaining the audience with improvised solos.