Concert Review: Behemoth at Webster Hall (April 23, 2016)

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All photography courtesy of Johnny Perilla at NextMosh.Com

When I found out Behemoth was going to tour America yet again I was super psyched. I mean, the guys put on one hell of a show, are beyond polished musicians (no pun intended) and thoroughly seem to enjoy what they do. So I signed up. When I found out they were playing all of The Satanist in its entirety? Well I nearly lost my mind. I don’t know how everyone feels about Behemoth and I was certainly with people that prefer Demigod era, but, for me, and only me, The Satanist represents a pinnacle in their career, sound, lyrical underpinnings and live performance. So, after a few group emails, a date change and one birthday, a bunch of us got together and tramped on over to Webster Hall as a group.

So I met a bunch of people at The Smith because, well, $8 beers are better than $4 beers in that they cost a lot more money and, as a result, you can’t have as many? Maybe that didn’t come out right. But the atmosphere of that East Village staple is pretty bang-on. It was there that we assembled the masses for NYC’s favorite metal hangout, Metal Gangbang, Vol. IV. The attendance for this gangbang was not as numerous as they have been in the past. For starters, having a ticket to the show was kind of a pre-requisite and competing musical experiences, out of town trips and just plain laziness conspired to reduce the Gangbang to a core group of loyal pounders.

But enough about my personal life. I’m sure that’s not why any of you are here. What you are here for is to talk about Behemoth. So let’s definitely do that. Given that Webster Hall had another show that night (appeared to be some sort of rave based on the crowd outside) the show had to end at 10:00 PM. Behemoth came on promptly at 8:45 PM and played until the very final moment which they were allotted. For us older fans this was an absolute dream. A metal show where I get to comfortable lean against a railing, watch one of my favorite bands play one of my favorite albums and I’m still in bed by 11:00 PM? Hell yes.

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The setlist is essentially irrelevant. If you’ve heard The Satanist then you know exactly what they played. More important was the stage show and the visuals. The band is still rocking their costumes from 2014. The same face paint and blood capsules and horn helmets during “O Father O Satan O Sun!” and the same awesome podiums, flashing lights and just a tremendous amount of smoke and fog. Actually, there was so much fog on the upper levels I thought I was living in the Lord of the Rings when Frodo and Sam have to cross the bog (better known as the “Dead Marshes”) with Gollum.

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A true highlight was the video for “Messe Noire” which played, shocker, during the track of the same title. That video, directed by Zev Deans (you can check it out here) added a really dark ambiance to the already vicious live performance. As the band played through their masterpiece, that video was the only non-ambient lighting to be used. The rest were organic images projected onto the band and backdrop adding texture.

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Since the setlist up until the encores was literally The Satanist, let’s chat encores. For their first (that’s right, TWO encores) they played “Pure Evil & Hate,” (And the Forests Dream Eternally“Antichrist Phenomenon” (Thelema.6) and “Conquer All” (Demigod) which was preceded by a speech from Nergal about how Behemoth will never, ever compromise their art.

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The second encore featured “At the Left Hand ov God” (The Apostasy), “Slaves Shall Serve” (also from the aforementioned Demigod), and “Chant for Eschaton 2000” (Satanica). The second encore ripped playing songs that were from their more classically black metal phase. The addition of the guest drummer for the tribal outro of “At the Left Hand ov God” was particularly inspiring.

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That about sums it up. Super fun show with a bunch of great people. If you ever get the chance to see Behemoth you should do so as often as possible. Another huge thanks to Johnny Perilla of NextMosh.Com for the photography. Head over to his site to check out his full photographic review of the show! We hope to have a full profile of him up soon!

– Manny-O-War

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