The day had come. BEHEMOTH was back in Philly and they were performing their latest album The Satanist in its entirety live and in person at Theater of the Living Arts. This was the kickoff show to start their Blasfemia Amerika Tour and all day long at work ALL I could think about was this show, and hearing this record from front to back. BEHEMOTH sits at the top of my Black Metal/Death Metal pyramid and they are unequaled and unrivaled, case closed. And live? Well, live they are a band few can touch, and many should aspire to be like.
As soon as the lights went down and the opening strains of “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” began the crowd erupted. Chants of “BE-HE-MOTH!! BE-HE-MOTH!! BE-HE-MOTH!!” rang out between each and every song and the band ate it up, singer/guitarist Nergal grinning like a madman for most of the evening. Bassist Orion also stalked the stage like a beast in search of his next victim to feed on, while guitarist Seth brought forth evil sounds from his axe. Drummer Inferno is now cemented as one of the greatest I have ever witnessed live after watching him pound away not just on the nine album tracks, but five more afterwards.
It’s hard to pick highlights from a show like this as each and every tune is as far as I’m concerned. Favorites performed from the album included “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer”, “The Satanist”, “Messe Noire”, and “O Father O Satan O Sun!”. Visually the night was fantastic. As someone who loves the theatrical, the lighting accentuated each song just right (even if it was hell on photographers) and only added to the occult theme. At the conclusion of The Satanist the band left the stage just for a moment, but they would be back…
“Pure Evil and Hate” started the five-song encore and the pit downstairs looked like a swirling tornado. “Antichristian Phenomenon” was next and before the start of “Conquer All” Nergal took a moment to declare that, “BEHEMOTH will never fucking quit and never compromise our fucking art!” to the delight of everyone in attendance. A pair of pummelers closed the set with “At the Left Hand ov God” and “Chant For Eschaton 2000” as I stood there in awe just taking it all in. The 45-minute drive home couldn’t dampen my excitement one bit, and I found it very hard to fall asleep. The night just kept replaying over and over in my head.
BEHEMOTH’S tour has only just begun, so if it comes to your city, you owe it to yourself to go. Also, the opening act MYRKUR is sensational, so get there early. I’m sure glad I did. All in all this was an awesome night of Death and Black Metal, and one of my favorite gigs of 2016, hands down.
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE IMAGES: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY