Behemoth Kick Off A Loud North America Tour in Philadelphia
The Polish black/death metal veterans were at their ear-splitting best on the first stop of their Blasfemia Amerika tour
At the modestly-sized Theater of the Living Arts [TLA] in Philadelphia, PolandÂ metallersÂ Behemoth decided to launch theirÂ BlasfemiaÂ Amerika tour, raising hell on earth to a full house of about 500 attendees.
One of Europe’s most formidable metal exports for their mix of black and death metal, Behemoth brought with them an equally impressive new force from the region ”“ Danish goth/black metal artistÂ Myrkur. Led by singer AmalieÂ Bruun,Â MyrkurÂ has quickly gained reputation [some ill, among black metal fans who alleged she didn’t actually write her own music] for her haunting, folk-inspired stories. Of course, knowing boneheaded American metal fans, the first thingÂ BruunÂ hears even before she gets to play a note is a shout from the crowd that goes, “You’re hot!”Â
BruunÂ and her band, full with blisteringÂ guitarsÂ and thunderous bass and drums, proves there’s much more to her than just on-stage charisma. With her mastery over guitars and keys,Â Myrkur’sÂ material from her recently released albumÂ MÂ traverses through melancholy, terror and pain.Â The ethereal soundscapes on songs such as “SkaÃ°i” and “HÃ¦vnen” often turn grotesque asÂ BruunÂ switches between two mics strung up on a branch-like stand, growling into one and crooning into another when you least expect it.Â
The masters of spectral appearances, however, are Behemoth. With a strong emphasis on theatrics ”“Â props brought on stage between songs ranging fromÂ an inverted cross toÂ frontmanÂ NergalÂ aka AdamÂ DarskiÂ scattering an “offering” from a goblet into a sea of outstretched arms ”“ Behemoth performed from their 2014 albumÂ The Satanist.Â
Dressed inÂ tatteredÂ black, the band moved on and off stage without a trace, sometimes taking position behind visual projection screens next to drummer Inferno aka Zbigniew ProminskiÂ as they raised their guitars skyward at every peak. Bassist Orion aka TomaszÂ WroblewskiÂ and guitarist Seth aka PatrykÂ SztyberÂ moved around and shred like beasts throughÂ The SatanistÂ in its nine-track entirety, from the ear-splitting opening “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” to “Amen” and the somewhat friendlier, melodic “Ben Sahar.”Â
Nergal, who has had his time in the limelight for both unwanted [he battled leukemia in 2010] and necessary [he’s currently working on his solo folk project], came across a bornÂ rockstarÂ at the TLA. There’s as much theatricality to Behemoth as there is musicianship, andÂ NergalÂ is testament to that. Between all the outfit and mask changes, he pulls together a commanding presence. He had the crowd at his fingers when he had a brief but passionate monolog about their music, saying,Â “No fucking way we’ll compromise on our art” as they launched into their seminal song “Conquer All” off 2004’sÂ Demigod. With nine more shows to knock out of the way in the U.S. andÂ Canada, thatÂ kind of sentiment is the most metal thing Behemoth can promise their fans.Â