GIG REVIEW: Behemoth, At The Gates & Wolves In The Throne Room Live at Saint Andrews Hall, Detroit, MI
The infernal black majesty of the mighty Behemoth enshrouds Saint Andrews Hall in pulverizing darkness with special guests At The Gates and Wolves In The Throne Room.
While still very much underground, extreme music in all its various guises has been riding a wave of popularity. Riding high upon this wave is the titanic black death band Behemoth. They could easily have taken the path of least resistance creating music that stuck to the formula that launched them into the spotlight. However, they choose to evolve. Their latest album I Loved You at Your Darkest finds the band using expansive textures while still remaining extremely heavy and fierce. It seems fitting to have them bring their headline tour to Detroit as the cold November winds beckon the long night of Winter.
Drawing first blood is Wolves In The Throne Room from Olympia, Washington. Dark and heavy as the northwest forests, they captured the imagination of the audience. The stark stage allows for the band to journey within in your mind as they conjured the ancient gods. Deep red and blue lights backlit the band as sacred wood was burned. This made for a powerful performance that lingers in my mind even now.
The haunting melody of “Der Widerstand” from the magnificent To Drink From the Night Itself album calls the audience to attention as At The Gates takes the stage. Like a cannon shot, the band explodes into the title track “To Drink From the Night Itself”. Thomas’s wretched screams pull the clawing hands of the audience toward the ceiling as they bellow the chorus back at the band.
The frenzy within the audience intensifies as the band plays “Slaughter of the Soul”. The sound at Saint Andrews is crystal clear allowing the fans to hear the full bore of guitarists Martin Larsson and Jonas Stålhammar. Adrian Erlandsson grimaces as he mercilessly beats his drums to “Cold” while fans shoot fists into air. Tomas Lindberg and Jonas Björler beacon to the crowd and they responded with roars of approval and a pant load of furious headbanging. At The Gates were ridiculously tight and put on a brilliant spectacle of death metal.
As the children chant “Jesus Christ, I forgive thee not!” the pressure inside Saint Andrews hall expands as Behemoth mounts the stage. The room detonates with the first fiery notes of “Wolves Ov Siberia” from the new album I Loved You at Your Darkest. Wearing black shrouds with blackened skulls, Behemoth is both menacing and entrancing. The blistering pace set by Inferno’s drums wreaks havoc on “Diamonos”, “Ov Fire and the Void”, and “Decade of Therion”. The rolling thunder of Orion on bass amplifies the force of Behemoth’s performance as the music slams into us in crashing waves.
Wearing a black mitre, Nergal calls for the opening of Hell as they perform “Bartzabel”. The smoke and flashing lights give the feeling of witnessing a dark ritual. Once again the sound mix is amazing. The guitars of Nergal and Seth radiate with razor sharpness and searing bite. The blistering music and frenzied lighting creates a sensation of being in another world; a remorseless realm that shuns those who lack the fortitude to see the truth.
At their darkest, Behemoth give their fans a night filled with primal intensity driven by their frenetic music. Their show at Saint Andrews Hall transported us into another dimension of sight and sound. Behemoth along with epic performances from At The Gates and Wolves In The Throne Room allowed us to escape through their music. They recharge and rejuvenate us through the black magic of metal music.