with special guests Watain & Bölzer
Caped, painted and covered in darkness, Polish death metal masters Behemoth returned to Australia to promote their long-awaited album The Satanist. Dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe it, as Reverb’s Lilen Pautasso found out.
Originally published in Reverb Magazine.
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Saturday October 3, 2015 :
As with all Behemoth shows, there’s a characteristic theatricality that accompanies every performance. From flame torches, incense burners, spike-covered capes, fake blood and a lingering cloud of smoke, these Polish death metal pioneers know how to exaggerate, engage and enthrall.
It has only been a couple of years since the extreme metallers visited Australian territory. Having had a five year break between albums, the band went through some tumultuous times since their last release, Evangelion. Deported whilst on tour in Russia and not least a life-changing battle with leukemia for frontman Nergal, Behemoth were at a challenging point in their musical career. Yet, despite their many difficulties, the band changed their entire trajectory with the same determination and talent that made them famous.
Supported by Swiss two-piece death metallers Bölzer and Swedish black metal extremists Watain, the show got off to a great start. Oozing the same theatricality that has characteristically belonged to this style of metal since its inception, both bands delivered a powerful and highly entertaining set. Dripped in blood, covered in corpse paint and riddled with suggestive tattoos, both bands were a welcomed accompaniment for their extreme metal compatriots.
Returning to support their aptly named tenth studio release, The Satanist, the band began their set in dramatic fashion. A blacked out stage, and only a dull light illuminating bassist Orion, drummer Inferno and live guitarist Seth, the scene was soon completed by Nergal boldly carrying flame torches. Standing in silence and absorbing the roaring sounds of their excitable fans, Behemoth opened with the famous ‘Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel’. From this point, euphoria ensued. The energy of the crowd juxtaposed the fixed stance of the band. Standing motionless, they added extra drama by ceasing to show any physical display that would normally accompany the heaviness of their music.
But this stance was short-lived, not a minute into their next song ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and the capes dropped and the stage was lit with a bright red glow. As a fountain of water spray (courtesy of Orion) covered the front row, the band progressed into their other famous tracks including ‘Conquer All’, ‘Slaves Shall Serve’ and ‘Christians to the Lions’. Their eloquent, but overtly anti-Christian stance is manifested in lyric and sound, but also celebrated through motifs of Satanism and anti-religious rituals.
Closing with ‘Ojcze Nasz’ the band took a brief opportunity for a photo and thanked Sydney for their unwavering support. Allowing only a few minutes of waiting time, Behemoth returned to finish the show with ‘O Father, O Satan, O Son!’. The song was a perfect conclusion to the night. Having already absorbed the attention and appreciation prior to their encore, the band finished in a dramatic flash of white light and simply disappeared from the stage. Never falling short of the ostentatious style they are known for, Behemoth made a welcomed return to Australia. No doubt fans are already counting down the days when they tour next.
(c) Lilen Pautasso