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The Decibel Magazine Tour: A Timeline Spanning Salute

Blackbraid, 200 Stab Wounds, Cattle Decapitation, and Dark Funeral deliver a showcase.

blackbraid, black metal
Photograph by Maurice Nunez

Text, Photographs by Maurice Nunez (@devilman.138) at

The Observatory in Orange County on May 11, 2023:

The annual Decibel Magazine Tour has just concluded its 2023 edition after having sold-out a variety of North American shows with its hard-hitting blend of established black and death metal names and trailblazing newcomers. Like any of its previous renditions, the trek does right by the genre in providing a nationwide platform for a strong array of noteworthy bands. This year, it was Native American black metal project Blackbraid, contemporary death metal standouts 200 Stab Wounds, the respected Cattle Decapitation, and Sweden's own Dark Funeral who took the reigns, rounding out one insane bill.

Tour openers are often a great indication of how the series of events will proceed and the Santa Ana showing was nothing short of extreme with Blackbraid ripping right into an enthusiastic crowd from the get go. The fast-rising black metal band, who is preparing for the release of sophomore album, Blackbraid II, this summer, blazed through a mixture of material from their debut 2022 album as well as new offerings, all of which was as majestic in the live setting as it is in studio. Adrian Baxter's cover illustration on their stage banner looked down upon the ensemble, who were adorned in spiked arm bands, tribal face paint, and symbolic necklaces.

blackbraid, black metal
Photograph by Maurice Nunez

From here came another blood-curling experience, that being 200 Stab Wounds from Cleveland, Ohio, who are among the strongest of death metal's current contenders. Shrouded in blood red light, the band was razor sharp and effective as riffs flew from one to the next in unison with menacing growls. The energy continued into Cattle Decapitation and Dark Funeral — a celebrated duo who left it all on stage. Cattle Decapitation's latest, Terrasite (2023), earned its shine on stage alongside other gems in the band's celebrated catalog while Dark Funeral commanded, per usual. Frontman Heljarmadr stood tall at center stage, welcomed by fists and horns raised in unison.

Each band delivered big that night and set expectations high for the Decibel Tour to come. Enjoy photo galleries of each electrifying performance below.

Blackbraid Photo Gallery

200 Stab Wounds Photo Gallery

Cattle Decapitation Photo Gallery

Dark Funeral Photo Gallery


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