On tour with Krisiun, Behemoth,
Ragnarok and Incantation
By Stacy Young
Germany, Sweden & Norway
2 November 2004 ? 8 November 2004
What better way to celebrate being American than to leave the US on the eve of election day for fear that Bush might actually get re-elected. I did vote early, but in a country where popular votes are merely guidelines for how the electoral college ?should? vote, it was very unlikely that the incumbent would be ousted. Unfortunately, Bush did manage to get re-elected and we still have our farce of a fair election. Wouldn?t it be nice to actually be able to vote for the President and have our votes count? So with all this in mind, I packed my bags and went for a week of headbanging with the European metalheads. Lucky enough to have friends in high places (or is it low?), I caught up with the amazing tour package of Krisiun, Behemoth, Ragnarok and Incantation for several shows.
I met up with everyone in Berlin at the venue K17. The tour was a co-headlining tour between Krisiun and Behemoth. On alternating nights each closed the show. The same went for the openers Incantation and Ragnarok. The club was very small and soon filled with longhairs. Despite energetic sets from all of the bands, the crowd didn?t give back the energy ? they just stood there and watched and occasionally shouted. Behemoth headlined that night and raged through a powerful set which included crowd favorites ?Christians To The Lions? and ?Chant for Eschaton? and new songs ?Demigod? and ?Conquer All.? You could tell the crowd enjoyed the concert despite their passive observing with arms crossed most of the evening. After the show, the crowd was much looser or perhaps it was just the beer and liquor finally kicking in. John from Incantation and I had the priviledge of being questioned by a German metaller about the US election. At that point the election results weren?t final so we were able to discuss that Kerry might win with some small amount of hope.
Next up was an overnite drive to Goteborg Sweden. Arriving at Musik Hus, we quickly ran inside to escape the Swedish cold. The venue had a unique setup. Downstairs was a caf? and restaurant. Strangely enough, there was an acoustic guitar act performing in the caf?. I guess local support means something entirely different in Europe. Meanwhile upstairs was preparing for a metal extravaganza. Incantation opened this particular night and got the crowd warmed up for the black metal assault by Ragnarok. Covered in corpsepaint, blood and spikes; Ragnarok singer Hoest screamed for Satan throughout their set. Behemoth filled their set with blast beats and frenetic guitarwork. Krisiun ripped and tore through their brutal death metal set which closed the evening?s concert. Somehow everybody survived the afterparty that was for some strange reason moved from the backstage to the outside parking lot. If anyone was drunk it was only because we all had to drink the vodka and whiskey just to stay warm.
Onward to Norway we went on another all night drive. Native Norwegians Ragnarok had warned us it would be cold, but we were still not prepared to see our breath in the middle of the afternoon. I?ll openly admit that those Norwegians are made of hardier stock than the rest of us after seeing Ragnarok?s drummer Jontho walk outside in a t-shirt while the rest of us were freezing with parkas on while we were still inside the bus. We arrived in Oslo at the John Dee Club and were welcomed with the news that the show was sold out! As usual Ragnarok and Incantation warmed up the crowd with their powerful sweat-drenched sets. Krisiun had whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their stage assault. Behemoth were preparing to take the stage when suddenly all hell broke out. Or at least the fires of hell broke out as the building?s fire alarm suddenly went off. Club staffers hastily ushered EVERYONE outside as they evacuated the building. The Oslo police were in force as was the fire department. Band members and concert-goers were all standing outside waiting for the all clear to go back in. It was an interesting mix as both metalheads and non-metalheads (from the other club housed in the same building) stood outside. After 20 or so minutes, everyone was allowed to go inside. There wasn?t a fire, but nobody knew just what or who had triggered the fire alarm. There had been talk earlier in the day about the artist (performing in the other club) receiving bomb threats from Muslim fundamentalists at other tour stops. Perhaps that was what caused the fire alarm. Or maybe someone just got trashed and pulled the alarm. Behemoth went on and brought back the adrenaline rush of the crowd. They slammed through a frenetic set and more than made up for the detour outside.
We drove from one side of Norway to the other passing through scenery that appeared to have been plucked out of Tolkien books. Rocky cliffs and beautiful fjords were everywhere as was the ice on the roads. We made it through the treacherous drive and arrived in Bergen at The Garage with the rain on our heels. The Norwegians said that the most Norwegians stay home to drink and save money. Then when they are suitably liquored up they go out to clubs. Unfortunately for Incantation and Ragnarok, they performed to a half empty club as this was the case. People finally started filling up the club in time for Behemoth?s terrorizing performance. By the time Krisiun hit the stage the club was packed and everyone was wasted.
Another all night drive and we arrived at Sandnes which is an even more frigid part of Norway than we?d already been to. The stage at Tribute was small. It was so small that the 3 piece Incantation were almost bumping into eachother for the duration of their set. It was so small that the bands couldn?t even use all of their guitar stacks since there was no room for it all. All four bands were all able to overcome those problems and still play aggressive sets. The Norwegians were true to form and were quite drunk by the end of the evening. One was headbanging so drunkenly and crazily that he was thrown out because he kept hitting other people with his head or fists.
The next day was a much needed day off. This was the travel day spent waiting for the ferry to cross to Denmark to then drive back to Germany. Of course the travel day was spent in a predominantly Christian country where most everything was closed on a Sunday including the liquor stores. Lucky for us the ferry had a bar. Of course that bar was in room with a dancefloor and a scary cover band performing Sting, Tom Jones and Sade covers so we still suffered greatly.
After our Sabbath day off we arrived back in Germany. We arrived at Markthalle in Hamburg and found ourselves in another small hall. This wouldn?t have been so obvious if there wasn?t a giant performing space on the other side of the building that was at least three times the size. The club was such that there was a hand-written poster on the door with two of the bands names spelled incorrectly. The day off gave recharged everybody as there were blistering and frenetic sets all around. Despite the quirkiness of the venue, the energized sets were the perfect end to my stint on tour with the guys. After the last case was packed, I was off to the Hamburg airport to await my flight back to the US. I may still be depressed about Bush being the winner of the election, but at least I was able to forget about all of that for awhile with my whirlwind metal adventure.
MORE BEHEMOTH PICTURES