4th February 2019
Behemoth - “Ecclesia Diabolica Europa” Tour - Support: Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates
It was a cold winter evening in Esch. Just the right weather to have a look at one of the most amazing concert packages, which took place already at the beginning of the year. The line-up promised a great evening at the Rockhal. Poland’s extreme metal band number 1, BEHEMOTH, is currently on a worldwide tour to promote the current album ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’. Since January this year Europe is being “missionized”. As support they had the Swedish Melodic Death Metal pioneers AT THE GATES with them, who have been back on the road since their “resurrection” in 2014. As openers the American Melodic/ Atmospheric Black metallers from WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM had the honour to warm up the crowd.
Wolves in the Throne Room
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM is an American Black Metal band formed in 2003 in Olympia, Washington by brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver. They have released six full-length albums, two live albums, and one EP to date. They have stated one of the founding concepts of the band to be channelling the “energies of the Pacific Northwest’s landscape” into musical form. The band’s music has been described as “Atmospheric Black Metal” and “Cascadian Black Metal”. They have also been considered significant to post-metal for their combination of “ambience and violence” to create “emotionally impacting” music, especially on their 2007 sophomore album ‘Two Hunters’.
Music & Performance
The air was impregnated with a touch of olibanum and patchouli. The Americans from Olympia captivated the audience with their atmospheric Black Metal. Especially the sound was extremely well mixed for an opener. The audience reactions were positive throughout and there was not only courtesy applause. In 30 minutes the four guys and the lady on the keyboards offered beautiful, cool Atmospheric/ Melodic Black Metal, which delighted the heart. Beautifully harmonious with very little light, they played their often long masterpieces and could already pulled a large part of the crowd to their side.
02. The Old Ones Are With Us
03. Born From the Serpent’s Eye
At The Gates
AT THE GATES is a Swedish Death Metal band from Gothenburg, a major progenitor of Gothenburg-style Melodic Death Metal. The band was initially active from 1990 to 1996, reforming in 2007 for a tour between April and September 2008. In 2011, they reformed again and have since continued to perform. They released ‘At War with Reality’, their first album in 19 years, in late 2014.
Music & Performance
The appetite was raised and now the crowd was hungry for a delicious Swedish bite from AT THE GATES. The pretty much last true heroes of the Gothenburg school also had their new album, ‘To drink from the night itself’, in their pocket.
In three quarters of an hour followed a first-class demolition, and besides songs from the last two albums there were of course also classics from the 1990s. Live, the Scandinavians are simply a force to be reckoned with. Singer Tomas created such a joy of playing and motivates the crowd to dance and celebrate. That’s old school Death Metal, even if only two songs from the ‘Slaughter of the Soul’-phase were played. AT THE GATES remain live the spearhead of melodic Death Metal, so it goes without saying that they were celebrated by the audience at the end.
01. To Drink From the Night Itself
02. Slaughter of the Soul
03. At War With Reality
04. A Stare Bound in Stone
06. Daggers of Black Haze
07. Death and the Labyrinth
08. Heroes and Tombs
09. Suicide Nation
10. The Book of Sand (The Abomination)
11. Blinded by Fear
12.The Night Eternal
BEHEMOTH is a Polish blackened death metal band from Gdansk, formed in 1991. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish Extreme Metal underground. Until the late 1990s, the band played a traditional Black Metal style with heathen lyrical content, but soon changed to that of occult and Thalamic themes written by their lead vocalist Nergal and Krzysztof Azarewicz. With the 1999 release of ‘Satanica’, the band demonstrated their presence in the Death Metal scene, while retaining their own signature style characterized by the drum work of ‘Inferno’, multi-layered vocals and Middle-Eastern influences. Despite BEHEMOTH having been labelled as Death Metal or Thrash Metal-influenced, Nergal has mentioned that he does not like the band to be labelled.
Music & Performance
The tension was almost tangible. “Elohim! I shall not forgive! Adonai! I shall not forgive! Living God! I shall not the forgive! Jesus Christ! I forgive thee not!”, the lyrics of ‘Solve’ sounded like a homily from the speakers during the 30-minute stage-setup. Behind a black curtain the medium-sized stage was decorated with fog machines, small pyros and mystical stuff. On the black curtain anti-Christian symbolism was projected in the silhouette of Luxembourg and the four band members were only imagined as shadows behind it. Of course the intro of the current album started, followed by ‘Wolves Ov Siberia’ where the curtain falls and the “satanic mass” began. With ‘Daimonos’ and ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ the band went straight into the full, and the pyro and fire that had been fired until then was close to the pyro consumption of the legends of RAMMSTEIN.
Afterwards it becomes a little calmer with ‘Bartzabel’. Of course songs like ‘God=Dog’ and ‘Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica’ from the new album should not be missing. But also older songs like ‘Conquer All’ or ‘Decade Of Therion’ had their place in the set. Also visually there was a lot offered, was it by fire show and fog machines, a hall soaked with the smell of spirit and fire, the stage design or changing stage accessories of the four gentlemen. An absolutely brilliant show, a perfect sound and an ingenious setlist made the performance one of the first big highlights of the still young concert year. BEHEMOTH didn’t spend time on long speeches, but they weren’t even necessary on this evening. Nergal seemed to be sublime as usual and with this sovereignty he had the audience under control throughout. The setlist of older songs and the current album was very well-balanced, so everyone got his money’s worth. The audience celebrated the Poles in a wild way, you even heard hysterical screams, which are otherwise only noticed during boy band concerts. Until the end BEHEMOTH kept the fans in their spell.
Result of this exuberance - two encores – ‘Lucifer’ and ‘We are the next 1000 years’. And that closed the frame and the concert ended as it started, with the last two songs from the current album. A real storm of Black Metal perfection and hellish riffs, thundering drum cannonade and liturgical choirs reminding of classic horror cinema made this Monday evening one of the best Mondays ever.
00. Solve (Intro)
01. Wolves Ov Siberia
03. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
05. Ov Fire And The Void
06. God = Dog
07. Conquer All
08. Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
09. Decade of Therion
10. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
11. Slaves Shall Serve
12. Chant For Ezkaton 2000 E.V.
14. We Are The Next 1000 Years
15. Coagvla (Outro)
Total: 9.3 / 10
All Pictures by Elena Arens