Behemoth @ The Manning Bar, Sydney
(26 October 2013)
Behemoth returned to Sydney with their high energy and forever-intriguing live show. Reverb Magazine’s Lilen Pautasso describes the entrancing and ultra-masculing performance that has captured the interest of so many.
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When it comes to fusing theatricality and suspense, Behemoth are the masters of stagecraft. With only a subtle blue light illuminating the floor and the scent of incense in the air, a mysterious and strangely alluring soundtrack echoed through the Manning Bar – occasionally drowned out by the cheer of the sell-out Sydney crowd.
Creeping on to the stage one-by-one, Behemoth stood silently and fully clad in their prodigious outfits, calmly soaking up the roar from their euphoric supporters. It wasn’t until audacious frontman Adam Darski (stage name ‘Nergal’) cynically raised his black and white paint-smeared face that the band erupted into their first song Ov Fire and the Void. Keeping with the theatricality of their entrance, band members Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski, guitarist Patryk “Seth” Sztyber and fill-in drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner put on a performance that was sonically omnipotent and visually ultra-masculine. As they paraded energetically around the stage, each with their painted faces and even a necklace of chicken feet, the band showcased some of their best tracks including Demigod, Blow Your Trumpet, Gabriel and At the Left Hand ov God.
Musically, the band was wonderfully gelled, with every aspect executed flawlessly. Whilst only a fill-in for injured drummer ‘Inferno’, Krimh was an excellent addition, capturing every blast beat (a classic Inferno technique) almost to perfection. But while other band members Orion and Seth were equally as enthralling, no-one captured the audience more than Nergal. With his hood-covered face, blood smeared clothing and chicken feet necklace, Nergal was as much of a musical perfectionist as he was a performer. As the leader, he made sure to capture the essence of Behemoth’s music – calling upon demons, ancient war gods and evil spirits to flourish in the power of every note.
Recognised for their admiration of mythology and history, Behemoth never fell short of portraying their passion for the ancient through costume, masks and bombastic musical experiences. During Christians to the Lions, Nergal stood before the audience with his thumb pointing sideways, asking for the crowd to “help the Emperor decide on the fate of the Christians”. Closing out the show with 23 (The Youth Manifesto) and Lucifer the band absorbed the energy and passion from the crowd to end with one blinding white light, four silhouettes and one loud cluster of noise. As all their fans would agree, this iconic and somewhat controversial performance is an essential part of Behemoth’s fabric and the essence of their character. It is an identity that continually draws scores of fans back to see their spectacularly ostentatious performance.
© Lilen Pautasso