Metal Alliance Tour 2014
MacEwan Hall, Calgary Alta.
April 29, 2014
Review and Photos by Monika Deviat
On April 29, 2014 the Metal Alliance Tour rolled into Calgary Alta. for a very early show. The venue at the University of Calgary, MacEwan Hall, had a very early curfew for the show and so doors were opened at 5pm with the first band on at 5:45pm. The early start time unfortunately reduced the number of attendees, as did the lack of Inquisition on bill who were unable to cross the border. The three more well-known acts on the bill, Goatwhore, 1349 and Behemoth have played packed venues in Calgary previously. Due to the size of the hall and the division between the beer gardens at the back of the room and the all age’s section in front of the stage, the crowd looked a little thin.
It was a slow start when Black Crown Initiate came on stage. There were very few people in the venue and no line up outside because of the early start time. A few more people trickled in over the course of the set but it was a very noticeably small crowd. Their technical death metal infused with progressive influences was enjoyed by the audience, and a sizable amount of people moved up towards the stage to show their appreciation of the music. The songs flowed seamlessly from an instrumental introspective intro into their heavier catalogue.
Louisiana’s Goatwhore always gets a good response in Calgary, filling larger bar sized venues with raucous fans. Although there were considerably more people for Goatwhore’s set, it still looked like small crowd due to the room size. Frontman Ben Falgoust demands the audience’s response with his intense stage presence as he prowls around the stage striking epic poses and headbanging in between ferocious vocals. Sammy Duet shredded through driving riffs and razor sharp solos. Bassist James Harvey was an indomitable presence as he delivered tight bass lines and Zack Simmons was menacing behind his drum kit. The set sampled from the bands previous albums with songs like “The All Destroying”, “When Steel and Bone Meet”, along with a new tune from the upcoming album Constricting Rage of the Merciless [Metal Blade Records, 2014] called “Baring Teeth For Revolt”. The set finished with favorites that really got the crowd moving “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult” and “Apocalyptic Havok”.
Norway’s 1349 brought a more malicious atmosphere to the line-up. The stage was awash in red as the band took the stage. Vocalist Ravn was an intimidating force, holding up gauntleted fists to crowd to emphasize his venomous vocals. Jon Rice (ex-Job For A Cowboy) was filling in once again on drum for Frost and did an excellent job with the relentless drum beats. “Sculptor of Flesh” started off the set and after a few songs the band gave the crowd a taste of upcoming album with “Slaves” which seemed well liked by the crowd. They finished off with “When I was Flesh” and “Atomic Chapel”.
Behemoth never fails at putting a performance that shows thought put into every detail. From costumes and backdrops and sets, to stage presence and character, it all holds the audience enthralled. Whether or not you are a fan of their newest offering the Satanist [Nuclear Blast, 2014], which was heavily featured in the set list, the performance delivered entertained and engaged. The band strode on stage with Nergal following last, ceremoniously walking out with fire torches held in both hands. Nergal stood with his back to the audience, torches crossed, and the anticipation was built up until they launched into “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”. Orion was towering and ominous with his bass. Inferno pounded into his drums, though was mostly hidden behind his kit for the majority of the set. Seth shredded on his guitar with Nergal and stalked around the stage. Behemoth gave fans some older favorites like “Conquer All”, “Christians to the Lions”, and “Chant for Eschaton 2000” mixed in with the new, including the title track from The Satanist. Their excellently executed set ended with “O Father, O Satan, O Sun” and the band donned horned masks to finish with a very evil atmosphere.