There aren’t going to be many bills that can compete with just how metal Behemoth’s current touring party is and therefore, it is nice to see them playing a venue the size of Glasgow’s O2 ABC. The beer might be overpriced and it’s not actually sold out, but it show’s that extreme metal doesn’t have to exist solely in the underground.
Kicking off tonight’s bill is Winterfylleth, who after the release of the extraordinary Divinity of Antiquity, are well on their way to becoming the UK’s premier black metal band. Despite some idiot behind me complaining about the lack of spikes and leather onstage, they are spellbinding and in their short half hour set, which allows them to play around four songs, they seem to capture the early arrivals attention. If you are a black metal fan and haven’t got on board yet, I suggest you get to it.
Up next are Grand Magus who play the kind of heavy metal your grandmother made, or at least she would have if she was a fucking badass granny. This is all big riffs, bigger choruses and enough fist in the air moments to cause even the most brutal of metal fans to crack a grin. It is the kind of music that makes you want to drink a beer, bang your head and headbutt a troll and if you aren’t down with that, you are probably a cunt.
The last support slot comes from Decapitated, who on a bill full of pretty heavy metal manage to be the heaviest yet. The band have done fantastically to return from the tragic car accident which took the life of drummer Vitek and put vocalist Covan into a coma. This year’s Blood Mantra was a crushingly heavy, yet incredibly technical release and the songs lose little on the live stage. There is an obvious comparison with Lamb of God at their heaviest and with the chaos they incite from the crowd, it seems like things are going well for these Polish death metal aficionados.
They are not the only band on the bill to have had a hard time of things recently and in some ways it is a miracle their fellows Pole’s Behemoth are still here. With lead singer Nergal having battled leukimia and legal troubles in recent years, the band were actually stopped from playing in Russia only a couple of months ago, he could be forgiven from wanting a break from it all. However, this year’s album, The Satanist, was probably one of their strongest yet and it’s blend of metals most extreme genres, combined with the personal pain Nergal seemed to throw into his performance, led to one of the albums of the year.
That pain is a bit less evident tonight, as he takes on the role of showman. Entering the stage with flames held above his head, Nergal is like a corpse painted Freddie Mercury, as he dashes around the stage like a man possessed. Behemoth are not only one of he best death metal bands in the world, they are also one of the best live acts and they put everything into this performance. The music is of course absorbing, with the maelstrom of tracks like “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” sweeping the audience along in front of them. However, equally as engaging is the lighting and visual show, which draws in the viewer.
If there is a criticism, they maybe wander off stage one too many times between songs, disrupting the flow a bit and they seem to take an awful long time to come out for their encore, but in all honesty that is nit picking. Behemoth are on the form of their lives right now and if they can keep putting on live shows like this, they might become one of the most vital metal bands to be plying their trade right now.