Decibel Tour 2016- Cleveland Edition

decibel tour

It seems to be a thing this year for popular, extreme metal editorials to put on tours.  Maybe it’s always been a thing but I’m only just noticing it.  First MetalSucks now Decibel.  The Decibel Tour offered a great variety of genres, a little something for almost everyone, but had a nocitably black metal bias.  Death metal wasn’t represented at all, but the lineup was diverse enough to attract all sorts of metal heads, from the laissez-faire fans to the die hards.  The turn out was pretty unbelievable.

The show was scheduled at the infamous Agora Theatre.  Ever since Peabody’s closed a few years back The Agora has been the go to place for extreme metal in Cleveland.  The club has that perfect balance between a kind of DIY, dark bar ambience and bathroom cleanliness to be versatile enough for all types of people.  The reasonable ticket and beer prices and cool staff create the perfect atmosphere for a good time.  Needless to say, I was happy about the choice of venue for this event.

I arrived a few minutes late and only caught the last half of Mythrias’ (the local opener) set.  Mythrias has been tearing up the Cleveland/Akron scene with their particular brand of DIY melodeath since the release of their debut, Absolving the Treacherous, last year.  The band is always professional onstage and definitely worth giving a listen.  I couldn’t be more excited for my buddies in this band for getting the opportunity to open for such a huge event.  They definitely deserve it.

Next up was Tribulation.  This band gets a lot of hype and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why.  Sure, they take showmanship seriously, but I really wish they’d take their music more seriously.  You can’t just dress up like a bunch of girls and make rock star poses and call yourself a band.  You actually have to write good songs.  Tribulation is ultimately more gimmick than anything else.  Although I get what they are aiming for in their sound, they don’t have enough oomph to pull off that whole metalized Slade/New York Dolls atmosphere.  They best thing about their set was the light show and their outfits.  The music itself was lacking.  A total snooze fest.

tribulation
This is what happens when glam metal bands die and become zombies.

Next up was Skeletonwitch. A horde of flannel shirts surged to the stage.  Skeletonwitch has seen great success over the years amongst metal’s fence sitter fans, making them accessible to a larger audience.  I thought it was mere luck until I witnessed their set. Professionalism is an understatement for the band.  The band played crowd pleasers like and Beneath Dead Leaves and I am of Death.  Their sound was impeccable, almost identical to the quality of the album and their energy was high.  Did it make me a fan?  No but that’s just because there are other thrash bands that are more exciting than Skeletonwitch.  But at least now I get it.

High on Fire was up next.  They’re a band that many, more death metal oriented fans can’t really get into, but I have to say that Matt Pike is looking more like a middle-aged Lemmy every day and it’s fucking awesome. Riffage reigned supreme throughout the set and it’s really Matt Pike’s fault that my neck hurts.  They played mostly their higher energy songs and the set was lively and sounded great.  Though the majority of the bands took advantage of a high quality light show, High on Fire’s set was mostly dark which made for a really gritty atmosphere.  It was cool.  Snakes of the Divine and Luminiferous were particularly cool and memorable parts of the set but all in all Matt Pike put on a killer show as usual.

At last though, the moment everyone had been waiting for had arrived. Abbath was set to play. A true rock star, Abbath put on a killer show. It was like KISS if they were a black metal band. I couldn’t help but feel star struck. Abbath gave the fans what they wanted, playing five Immortal covers, including All Shall Fall, In My Kingdom Cold, and my favorite, Solarfall. It’s clear the man doesn’t take himself too seriously. He gave fans plenty of the crab walk and for that we were all grateful.

crab

His showmanship was truly professional and the light show was arena worthy. Also, there was a pretty smashing pit during his set, which doesn’t always happen at black metal shows. I couldn’t help but get into it. Overall, the entire show was incredible and it’s something I’ll remember for years to come. That means something coming from a person who ends up at a show about once every week. If the Decibel Tour is coming to your hometown anytime soon, be sure to catch it. It’s well worth the money.

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2 thoughts on “Decibel Tour 2016- Cleveland Edition”

  1. This blog was shared on Facebook by Mythrias and appeared in my news feed today. I was excited to read the review, having not been able to make the show myself. I was glad to see the review giving props to a local band. But I must say to my disappointment it was a rather underwhelming read. It struck a nerve from the beginning with the author’s assertion that tours sponsored by extreme metal editorials are a new thing this year. This really shows disfavor in the author being a researched and well informed member of the metal community, able to give an authoritative opinion. Decibel has sponsored tours since 2012 featuring stellar artists such as Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Immolation, At the Gates, Gorguts, The Black Dahlia Murder, Pallbearer, Carcass, and many more. You may have heard of the Metal Alliance Tour? One of their sponsors is Revolver Magazine. Metal Alliance has been touring annually since 2011. I also find it in poor taste that this review focuses heavily on the author’s sophomoric opinion of the band’s image or physical appearance. I am all for women being active in the metal community. I absolutely celebrate the fact that you are putting yourself out there and writing about the music you love. I hope you will understand my comment is constructive criticism and consider toning down your opinions and focusing a little more on writing about the music itself. Good luck with your future endeavors. Cheers!

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    1. I don’t know that you read the article carefully. I acknowledged that I may have just been noticing that magazines are putting a lot of tours on specifically named after them. I wrote about Metal Alliance back 2013. As far as your opinion about my writing, it’s just that, your opinion. Reviews focus heavily on specifics in the music. Show reviews and featured articles are meant to be more about experience. Also, since music is so accessible these days, I try and give the readers something to read rather than just boringly write the same reviews everyone else does. If you don’t like it, that’s okay. I’m not here to please everyone. In fact, quite the contrary.

      That said, Tribulation was weak for several reasons. One, an opening band must assume that the audience hasn’t heard their music so they should be ready to impress them. Tribulation only played something like four songs (not their fault of course) but it felt like the show both never started and never began. The vocals were not loud enough and rock and roll style riffing sounded tired. The cymbal heavy drumming was slow and boring. Some of the stuff sounds tolerable on the albums, I’ll admit that, but that did not translate live. For the band to call themselves a black/death metal band is misleading as well. They’re melodeath at best with heavy traditional influences, which could be great if they could pull it off in a memorable way. They really don’t though, not live at least. I wrote the show review in a half an hour an I admit I could have elaborated more but I stand by my statements.

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