On Friday night I went to my second show of the death metal/black metal variety. The gig in question was the METAL ALLIANCE Tour featuring BEHEMOTH, GOATWHORE, 1349, INQUISITION, and BLACK CROWN INITIATE at House of Blues Dallas. As I’ve said before, a year ago I wouldn’t have touched this show with a ten foot pole, but since A&GS started, people like my dear friend Liz over at Earsplit PR have encouraged me to look into some of these bands. Long story short, as soon as I heard The Satanist from BEHEMOTH that was all she wrote. I gave that thing a 10/10 and it is easily one of my Top 5 albums of 2014. I’m not going to insult you guys and try to pretend I’m some authority on this stuff because I’m not. I just know what I dug. And as far as the first three bands on the bill go, our own ERIC THE BULL will be writing them up properly when he attends the Philly stop of this tour. I DID thoroughly enjoy them, though, especially 1349. Our own JOR-EL who was with me likened them to a “Black Metal TESTAMENT” which I could totally see.
So let’s start with GOATWHORE. This was my first time seeing them and I’ll say this: the band has only one speed…GO!!! Man alive, they are relentless. Opening with “The All-Destroying” from 2009’s Carving Out the Eyes of God these guys were on a mission to fuck shit up and there would be no stopping them. A trio of cuts from Blood For the Master (my favorite record!) was next in “When Steel and Bone Meet”, “An End to Nothing” and “In Deathless Tradition”, singer Ben Falgoust prowling the stage looking like he’d bite someone’s head off, while guitarist Sammy Duet made everyone a slave to the riff machine. Funeral Dirge For the Rotting Sun made an appearance in the form of “Baptized In a Storm of Swords” before the band chose to unveil a new song. “Baring Teeth For Revolt” is a juggernaut of sound, speed, and energy. Combining classic thrash with GOATWHORE’S own sound THIS was definitely a show highlight. And if the rest of the album is anything like this, Gods help us!
And as soon as we recovered from that, they played my absolute favorite GOATWHORE tune, “Judgment of the Bleeding Crown”! It’s unbelievable how fucking great this band is live, and closer “Apocalyptic Havoc” turned the pit into a whirlpool of death, bodies flying everywhere in the name of Metal Fucking Metal! I looked at JOR-EL afterwards and said, “Can you look on the ground for my face? Cuz GOATWHORE just fucked it off my head!” Their new record comes out in July, and I guarantee you I’ll be there when they come back here on tour. I had no idea what I was missing, but I’m here now, people.
OK. Now let’s talk BEHEMOTH…I really had no idea what I was in for to be honest. But I was more than a little curious and excited, seeing as how I had fully immersed myself in the band’s entire catalog after hearing The Satanist. The lights dimmed and all we saw were guitarist Seth and bassist Orion in robes as the stage lights flashed back and forth. The riff to “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” started and the House of Blues ERUPTED! Suddenly, singer/guitarist Nergal appeared, ready to hold court. With each slow beat of Inferno’s drums the chants of “Hey! Hey! Hey!” grew louder and louder. “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” only served to inspire the faithful even more. Nergal screamed, “DALLAS! ARE YOU WITH US?!!?” before they tore into older songs “Conquer All” and “as Above So Below”. Orion and Seth didn’t keep still for even a second during these, hair whipping around like nobody’s business while Nergal held the crowd in the palm of his hand.
“Christians to the Lions” is one of my favorites from BEHEMOTH so to see them do it live was outstanding. Inferno blasted everything in sight while JOR-EL and I just looked at each other in disbelief. The title track from The Satanist was up next, and the lighting was perfect for this one. With this band you get a full-on show, something a lot of bands forget to do in this day and age. And when they play, I don’t care what your religious beliefs are, at that moment you belong to the Church of BEHEMOTH! More fire and thunder came down for “Furor Divinus”, the fourth of five songs from this amazing record and Evangelion was represented with the double-bass frenzy of “Alas, Lord Is Upon Me” as the city crumbled all around us (it sure felt that way!).
The acoustic interlude at the start of “At the Left Hand ov God” quickly yielded some more crushing riffs and blasts before the regular set came to a close with “Chant For Eschaton 2000”, one of the faster yet still pummeling songs in BEHEMOTH’S arsenal. Nergal thanked the crowd and then let out a blood-curdling “HAIL SATAAAAAAN!!”
Now, at this point I received a text that a snake had made its way into my home and was hanging out in my coat closet. Too damn bad, there was an encore to be had, and I wasn’t missing it! Mr. Snakey could wait until I got home. The lights hit, and they launched into “O Father O Satan O Sun!” my favorite song from them. It was loud, it was electrifying, it was intense, and then…midway through, the stage went dark. When we next saw the band, all four members were in horned masks, playing the song out as a voice filled the PA system. “O Father, O Satan, O Sun!!!” was the last thing we heard before BEHEMOTH went off into the night.
As for me, this was without a doubt one of the best metal shows I have EVER seen. If GOATWHORE fucked my face off my head, then BEHEMOTH turned around and pulverized my skull. What an incredible night. The METAL ALLIANCE Tour is not to be missed. Get your tickets now if you haven’t already. Oh, and Mr. Snakey? Managed to get rid of him a few hours later. I ate him.