Abigail / Warsenal @ Coalition, Toronto on 23rd September 2018
Perverse metal motherfuckers rejoice! Legendary Japanese black thrash metal royalty Abigail are nuking Toronto as part of their first ever Canadian tour. Promoter Neurotic Entertainments labels this Canadian tour as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so black thrashers out there would be absolutely stupid to forego this show and miss the self-proclaimed ‘evilest band in Japan’.
It’s up to Quebec’s Warsenal to hype up the Coalition with their sleek thrash metal assault. Formed in 2012, the trio just has sole album Barn Burner to their name, released in 2015. Their frenetic thrash is comparable to classic-era Megadeth, with vocalist Mat employing a Dave Mustaine-style snarl with more throaty grit. Guitar work is occasionally buoyant and almost optimistic in tone. They have the essential energy for a live thrash act but the audience is subdued by their offerings. With thrash being such a heavily saturated genre, bands need more impressive weaponry to battle to the top. Unfortunately, Warsenal feel like a band that has run out of ammo and missed the thrash metal uprising last decade. Artists such as Vektor and Canada’s own Droid are pushing the boundaries of this genre nowadays and is what Warsenal are competing against. Today, there isn’t much room for another throwback band, particularly pertinent in a nation like Canada, which has produced a wealth of the genre’s titans.
The Coalition is busy with hellraisers and headbangers keen to witness Abigail’s first assault on Toronto soil, a commendable turnout for this city on a Sunday night. Donning baseball caps and patched denim, it doesn’t take long for these beasts from the East to fire out some of the sleaziest blackened thrash metal ever. Riffs are caustic and sharp, drawing inspiration from street punk and the likes of Motörhead, while solos display a distinct classic heavy metal craft. The drums run on punk gas, unafraid to send a fist flying into your face and busting your lip. Sure, Midnight may have popularized this sound in the last decade and granted it mass exposure, but Abigail puked this wild cacophony out first in 1992, long before punks loitered in the black metal cosmos.
Vocalist and guitarist Yasuyuki Suzuki (also of Barbatos fame) vomits forth his lines while shooting out extreme rock ‘n’ roll. In between tracks, he expresses thanks to all the attendees emphatically and states how happy he is to play the city; he actually comes across as an excited youngster, devoid of any ego that someone of his historic metal pedigree usually wields. The likes of linguistically-rudimentary and shamelessly titled paeans, such as “Violence, Kill, Damnation”, “Attack With Spell”, “Prophecy of the Evening Star”, “Teenage Metal Fuck” and “Bitch! We Gonna Kill You!”, corrupt the venue. The crowd devours every note of the aural aggression, singing along to the crazed choruses of “Metal Evil Metal” and “Satanik Metal Fucking Hell”. It doesn’t take long before a mosh pit rips through the venue, expulsing bodies all over the venue. It’s rare to find such dynamic audience appreciation in Toronto these days but if there’s one act who deserves it, it’s Abigail tonight. With all the hyper-sexualized and violent lyricisms poisoning the air tonight, attendance alone makes all witnesses to the show more debauched than before. Coupled with headbanging black thrash excellence and it’s a perfect junky brew of decadence. Top marks for Abigail!