SE CONQUER ALL FESTIVAL – Gaelic Theatre, Sydney 14 January 2006

April 21st, 2006
by Arto Lehtinen

SE CONQUER ALL FESTIVAL
BEHEMOTH with HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH, The Amenta, The Furor, Psychroptic, Ebolie, Flesh Mechanic, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace
Gaelic Theatre, Sydney 14 January 2006

by Brat and Turner, photos by Brat

There is something to be said about the music we listen to representing the state of our mind. Those of you who have met me on the forum, at a gig or festival, or have read other reviews I have written will know that I’m the flower metal chick, so it’s understanding that I received so many questions and shocked reactions when I voiced my intentions of seeing BEHEMOTH. Plus HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH were playing and I wanted to see them again.
Since Christmas, when I was forced to deal with some extreme emotions, I haven’t been able, and have even been afraid, to listen to power metal or any music where the lyrics have been understandable. It was time to load some aggressive music onto my iPod which wouldn’t take me on an emotional rollercoaster ride and the waiting promo copies of the new Exodus, Hypocrisy and Old Man’s Child were just what I needed. In need of more mind-numbing escapism, I then went in search of the latest BEHEMOTH CD, “Demigod”, but obviously I wasn’t the only person in Sydney who wanted to hear the latest offering before seeing them live so all I was left with was “Grom”. OK, so I’ll get a history lesson instead before I see them in the flesh. While I was at it, I picked up the HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH CD “Hobbs Satan Crusade” which seems to be a local 2003 best of release.

 

There is something to be said about the music we listen to representing the state of our mind. Those of you who have met me on the forum, at a gig or festival, or have read other reviews I have written will know that I’m the flower metal chick, so it’s understanding that I received so many questions and shocked reactions when I voiced my intentions of seeing BEHEMOTH. Plus HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH were playing and I wanted to see them again.

Since Christmas, when I was forced to deal with some extreme emotions, I haven’t been able, and have even been afraid, to listen to power metal or any music where the lyrics have been understandable. It was time to load some aggressive music onto my iPod which wouldn’t take me on an emotional rollercoaster ride and the waiting promo copies of the new Exodus, Hypocrisy and Old Man’s Child were just what I needed. In need of more mind-numbing escapism, I then went in search of the latest BEHEMOTH CD, “Demigod”, but obviously I wasn’t the only person in Sydney who wanted to hear the latest offering before seeing them live so all I was left with was “Grom”. OK, so I’ll get a history lesson instead before I see them in the flesh. While I was at it, I picked up the HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH CD “Hobbs Satan Crusade” which seems to be a local 2003 best of release.

I’ve always maintained the difficulty in writing about bands one doesn’t know about, so I enlisted the help of another Metal-rules forumer to share his experiences with Behemoth after the Brisbane show the night before.

Behemoth – Her Majesty’s Bar (The Basement), Brisbane 13 January 2006

I turned up at around 8pm, and just to start the night off, I forgot my licence! It’s my only form of ID and I had to have one of my housemates drive it all the way up to Brisbane from the Gold Coast (an hour or so drive) just so I could attend the show. They let me into the venue for a while without ID before BEHEMOTH’S soundcheck, and there were a fair few other metalheads in there mingling so all was well.

I met up with a few friends, and whilst we were standing around and chatting, NERGAL came over and had a bit of a chat with us all.

Seems like a really good guy, if a little too serious about his metal. Was also good to see him wandering around outside the venue as well – no silly “rockstar” antics, which I thought was decent of him. Not that he’s a celebrity in anyway to start with, but still. I was actually amazed (well not amazed, just disappointed really) to see the amount of “metalheads” staring straight through him as he wandered around. I suppose we should be glad that these “scene jumpers” are there to buy tickets and (albeit unintentionally) support the bands, but I still felt more than a little disgust, especially at the sheer numbers of short-haired fat kids in “As I Lay Dying” t-shirts and the like.

They kicked us all out of the Basement at around 9:00pm so Behemoth could soundcheck, during which time we headed to O’Malley’s Irish Pub (where I drank diet coke. Yay for being the DD!) At around 10 we headed back into the Basement to resume metalling!

The first support band, THE FUROR, were a 3-piece black metal outfit with a hint of death to their sound. They came out, corpse paint and all, and the guitarist had this head-piece on that I am sure I saw one of the bad guys wearing on Power Rangers once.
If they hadn’t been total and utter SH*T, I would have hung around for more than three of their songs. One song started to have an almost listenable riff or two and a bit of groove, but once they started with the blasting it quickly turned into a wall of white noise. They had way too much emphasis on the drums and vocals in their mix (one interesting point was that it seemed every band member took a turn behind the mic) and nowhere near enough guitar. Being a guitarist myself, it could have been their redeeming point, but alas… I suppose the closest thing you could compare this band to would be Marduk, although that’s an insult to Marduk, who I don’t even like in the first place. So as I mentioned, we only lasted three songs or so before we headed back to O’Malley’s, where I could watch the others drink for a while and seeing as Behemoth started at around 12, we decided to spend until then at the pub.

So we missed THE AMENTA. Not that I was particularly bothered, but seeing as we spent a lot of the time at O’Malley’s having a couple of very drunk girls stir us, and skinheads trying to fight us over the drunk girls, it probably would have been preferable, haha! Being sober at an Irish Pub on a Friday night is never very much fun, as I found out!

At midnight we wandered back in to watch BEHEMOTH. We turned up just in time for me to have a chat to Nath (bringer_of_torture from the forum), who I hadn’t seen since the Pungent Stench gig back in Feb 2005(?) and some random guy in an Overkill t-shirt and white high-top shoes (gotta love the 80s thrash!!)

BEHEMOTH came on, and their first song was one from the new album. Unfortunately I haven’t heard it so I can’t comment too much on it; however, the band was fairly tight and the sound was decent – a big change for The Basement, which usually has everything just WAY TOO LOUD. I know the old “if it’s too loud, you’re too old” saying, but every other time I’ve been to The Basement it’s just been stupidly noisy. (I’ve been wearing earplugs for over 20 years at gigs so I can enjoy music for another 20 years. Venues/engineers can be too loud—Brat). 

 

Next up they played “Antichristian Phenomenon” from “Thelema.6”. This was the first piece of live BEHEMOTH I could critique properly and I must admit they stayed very close to the album sound. Nergal is a great lead guitarist, definitely one of the more underrated guitarists out there. Very unique sound/style. The rest of the band held their own as well, although at times I was sure they slipped out of synch with each other. Not that it’s unheard of, especially with music as intense and complex as BEHEMOTH’S, but still worth commenting on I think. 

 

This is what I remember of the setlist: <song from demigod>, Antichristian Phenomenon, Demigod, Christians to the Lions, From the Pagan Vastlands, As Above, So Below, Horns Ov Baphomet. After that I had to go because unfortunately the parking lot I had chosen was about to close (it was almost 2am-talk about a late-starting gig).

Overall it was a fairly good night and definitely the heaviest gig I’ve been to in a long time. Some good points to note: NERGAL not only remembered the names of the support bands, but in between songs he asked everyone to give a cheer for them and when nobody really did, he gave one of the better “support the scene” speeches I’ve heard. Not arrogant at all, just pointed out the facts and made it seem unreasonable NOT to cheer for THE FUROR, shitty as they were. I still didn’t cheer, but that’s beside the point.

By Turner

Sydney show

Never one to be able to get anywhere earlier and on the promise of a big night catching up with my dear friend who moved interstate too many years ago, who also happened to be the publicist for the tour, I turned up at about 7pm in time to catch Perth’s black metal 3-piece, THE FUROR, resplendent in costumes and corpse paint and horns. This band was preparing me for the rest of the night – an experience of brutality.

THE FUROR not really captivating me, I moved out of the Gaelic to the comfort of the pub next door where I caught up with my cousin and found my gorgeous friend, hellKell. A few of the older faces I expected didn’t show, so I assumed they were 10 minutes drive away at the Dark Order/Pegazus show-a strange choice of dates for this line up and the Behemoth show was known about two months in advance, and I’m sure a lot of the loyal Dark Order fans (at least) would also be interested in the line up offered at the CONQUER ALL festival. Oh well, their loss.

Australia’s favourite ‘new’ darlings, THE AMENTA, who won best new talent in the first heavy metal awards last year for the release of “Occasus”, were next on the chopping block. What we got was pure uninterrupted death metal, I mean so uninterrupted, this machine, powered my metallic-faced men, was intensely concentrating on the technicalities of the music, but forgot to put in some personality. Yes, I know, death metal isn’t really somewhere where personality can shine, but I’d still like to know I’m watching humans. I need to get their CD so I’m a little more familiar with their material before I see them next because I’m definitely missing a key element in appreciating this tight and talented group of musicians.

So off I went to catch up with friends, deliver a belated Christmas present, which to be honest I was proud of being able to give, get some air and conserve some energy and attention span for the two bands I was most looking forward to seeing. On my way through the crowd I saw my ex-housemate, the Rev Kriss Hades (of Sadistik Exekution fame) skulking in the corner and blending in.

Feeling pretty good after spending some quality time with a dearest friend, I waited close to the stage for Melbourne’s HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH newly invigorated and ready for some shooting action. After appearances at Metal For The Brain and Wacken Open Air 2004, HAOD were ready to return to the harsh metal crowd of Sydney. Sydney audiences are fickle, so I was a bit apprehensive for the band as it’s been over 10 years since their last album was released and this performance would test the shelf-life of their music. All hail the BC Rich Beast!

Sure enough the band stepped up the plate and played like their lives were on the line and in a sense, they were. They had to convince two generations that they still had what it takes to retain then legendary status. Unfortunately, I hadn’t the time to familiarise myself with their CD so didn’t recognise any of the songs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
The verdict seemed unanimous—everyone I spoke to raved about the brilliance of HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH, but do you think any of them could name a song or two for me from the set list? I think we need to see this band back in Sydney soon so we can get educated.

 

What can I say about BEHEMOTH’s first performance in Sydney. They are easily the most brutal band I have ever experienced. Trying to get a prime photo position, I made my way towards the front through the thick crowd waiting eagerly for the tourists to step onto the stage and not being all too friendly at the person trying to pass them. I found a protected spot with the front of house speakers stage left, but that didn’t stop my back being slammed against the bar when the moshing grew to its peak. One thing I must admit, as much as I love the Gaelic Theatre and it’s ability to provide a reasonably-priced venue for all ages, I hate that there’s no photo pit (not to mention to rude drink prices). One thing that surprised and impressed me about BEHEMOTH was the amount of interaction with the audience. NERGAL really knows how to work a crowd. At first the crowd was a little apprehensive—what were we to expect from live BEHEMOTH? But when the crowd felt like equals (no hint of “we’re up here, you’re down there, so we’re better than you attitude”) they totally warmed the room with their smiles, “fuck yeah”s and brutal slamming.

Again, I had to enlist the help of probably the biggest Behemoth fan in Australia with the set list. The gig went like this: Sculpting the Throne ov Seth, Demigod, Anitchritian Phernomenon, From the Pagan Vastlands, Act of Rebellion, Christians to the Lions, Conquer All, Decade Ov Therion, As Above, So Below, Slaves Shall Serve, Chant for Eschaton 2000

Encore: No Sympathy For Fools and Pure Evil and Hate.

Even with what seemed to be choreographed windmilling, of which Seth was a master, and a costume change BEHEMOTH gave me impression of not caring how cool people thought they were. They even looked like they’re having more fun playing than the people being pummelled in the slam pit.

  

I was pretty impressed with Nergal’s introduction of Conquer All “We have come here to fuck your women, drink your alcohol and to conquer you all”. Not that’s a man! I almost expected him to do a Demaio (Joey—Manowar) and pull a girl from the audience and walk off stage with her after the song…maybe I should suggest that for the next Australian tour.

 

From my position on the crowd, it was really hard to get a good look at Orion and Inferno. I mean I felt like I was watching Orion’s crotch most of the night. How awesome are these names—Nergal, Seth, Orion and Inferno.

To me the playing seemed faultless, tight and artistic—nothing I’ve ever expected of black metal. They left the stage sorry that it took them 14 years to come here, but promising to return to Australia soon—as just about every ‘underground’ band that tours here does.
I had a total blast, so it looks like you’ll be see less of the power metal side of Brat in the future—I’m a convertee.


The official BEHEMOTH site

 

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