The lights go off and one by one the band members enter the stage. First we can see Inferno behind his monstrous drum kit raising his drum sticks in the shape of an upside down cross. The following members to appear illuminated by the spotlights would be: Seth, Orion and finally Nergal. The crowd goes crazy. All you can hear in Club Stodoła is screams and “BEHEMOTH, BEHMOTH, BEHEMOTH, BEHEMOTH…!”. Even before the appearance of the band, the Warsaw crowd was pumping up the atmosphere with “get on the stage” (in a slightly more slang-ish and vulgar style), Christmas carols (don’t know where that came from), birthday songs and shout outs like “where’s the cross?!” (referring to the recent situation in Poland – read here). Nevertheless, Behemoth were not the only band to perform that night. Therefore, some patience before I go on examining the 20th anniversary show of the headliner.
To my great disappointment Morowe did not perform for “logistical” reasons, as it has been announced on stage. Apparently only one of the members got to Warsaw, while the rest stayed in Katowice where one of the previous shows of the tour took place… Nevertheless, I still went ahead and bought myself a copy of their debut album “Tylko Piekło, Labirynty i Diabły”. Below you can listen to one of the tracks from that album:
So the opening act was the Polish “post-metal” act Blindead. The first few songs (especially the first one) really grabbed my interest as it sounded much more energetic and passionate than on the record. Unfortunately as the Blindead show went on, their shine wore off – at least for me and definitely not for the excited people around me. Their songs which were packed with instrumental, atmospheric and electronic interludes or pauses in-between the headbanging, more hardcore, parts just made me sleepy. This even enraged me even more that Morowe did not open the gig. Nevertheless, technically the band was flawless and they had their own strong fan base supporting throughout their show.
One could term Djerv’s music style as just “rock ‘n’ roll”. Even though I’m not a great admirer of genre labelling, I would say that the term “pop rock” with some elements of extremity here and there is more appropriate. I came to this conclusion because regardless of the fact that the Norwegians put on a powerful and energetic show, their music sounded very repetitive with similar sounding riffs and drum beats played throughout the gig. One could also ask why such bands as Djerv or Blindead would open the gig for Behemoth as their musical styles vary greatly. The answer is easy: in a past (yet recent) interview, Nergal stated that he is bored of the same death metal bands touring Poland all the time and that is why he wanted to put some more diversity into this tour. I must say that I agree with him but, nevertheless, as one friend of mine said during that night: “Nergal has a really weird musical taste”.
Even though it was my first real experience of what a truly powerful and awesome a Behemoth show is, it looked as if these maniacs never parted and never had a break from touring. And what about Nergal? Did his recent struggle with leukaemia have any effect on his performance? Hell no – Mr. Nergal was on fire!!!
As the lights went on, after the screening of the new Lucifer music video, the band started blasting out Ov Fire and the Void with explosions of smoke and fire on stage. The whole concert hall went bananas. Every single person was headbanging, moshing or doing any other devil-worshipping ritual which takes place at metal shows. (Hey, Ryszard Nowak want to sue us for that?) After that it was time for something even more brutal and as Nergal introduced it: “There is no god, there’s human – Demigod”.
In general terms, the show was excellent. Apart from some technical sound problems as a few parts could not be heard clearly because of the loudness; musically, technically, performance-wise and visually everything went flawlessly for me. The pyrotechnics and the showmanship (or artiness) of Behemoth added to the enjoyability of the show. While the new costumes and Nergal’s haircut made the band look more evil than ever before. Not to mention that the Warsaw crowd gave out its 100%.
That night I had the pleasure to hear some old-school tracks which haven’t been played for a long time. These tracks included: Moonspell Rites, Heru Ra Ha: Let There Be Might, The Thousand Plagues I Witness and 23 (The Youth Manifesto).There were also newer tracks from “Evangelion” and classics like Decade Ov Therion, Slaves Shall Serve, Conquer All, Chant For Eschaton and Antichristian Phenomenon.
Nergal also said a few nice words during the gig. My favourite would be when he announced that he would like all Behemoth gigs from now on to be not only a celebration of music but freedom as well (while introducing Conquer All). Also, he stated “I will not comment on the media reports of the past few months” and the crowd cheered and applauded in support.
After the final track, Lucifer, confetti filled the air of the club’s hall – Happy Birthday Behemoth!!! Overall, a great night with one of my favourite bands performing and slaying everything in its way. I think we should all take Nergal’s advice of “freedom” and never stop ourselves from saying what we feel. And for the end, a word of advice to Europe: Beware! Behemoth is coming to get you this February and March!!
1. Ov Fire and the Void
3. Moonspell Rites
4. Antichristian Phenomenon
5. Heru Ra Ha: Let There Be Might
6. Conquer All
8. Diableria (The Great Introduction) – The Thousand Plagues I Witness
9. The Seed Ov I
10. Alas, Lord is Upon Me
11. Decade ov Therion
12. At the Left Hand ov God
13. Slaves Shall Serve
14. Chant for Eschaton 2000
15. 23 (The Youth Manifesto)