supported by Suicide Silence
7th February 2008
All pics and live review by HannTu
Once in a rare while, there comes a week where everything happens. In the period of 7 days between 2nd February and 9th February there were 5 high profile gigs happening in London: Primordial, Obituary, Municipal Waste, Behemoth and Dark Tranquillity. Sometimes I almost think we have a choice. Sadly I missed the Obituary gig, but never fear, the others are well covered.
Primordial’s TO THE NAMELESS DEAD was my number 2 of 2007, and guess who was number 1…
…Yes, Behemoth’s THE APOSTASY was my numero uno of 2007. Number 2 and Number 1, in London, within the space of 3 or 4 days. There MIGHT actually be a god…Canadian veterans Kataklysm were supposed to be the opener for Behemoth throughout the UK and Iberia tour, but they took time out from touring to rest, relax and finish writing their new album. Best of luck to them, although it would’ve been ace to see them open for Behemoth. In their place were Polish black/death band Devilish Impressions and deathcore band Suicide Silence.
Thanks to the wholly inefficient, inexperienced, nit-picking and clueless door staff at ULU, I missed the opening act Devilish Impressions in its entirety, and I wasn’t in the minority either. I don’t suppose you can blame them (the door staff); the ULU is normally a university student union slash party/club venue. Bring in a thousand or so rowdy metalheads all pumped up on Newky Brown and buzzing to see Behemoth, they just didn’t know how to cope. As I went in, Suicide Silence were just about to start, and well over 150 people were behind me in the queue. And I’d heard good things about Devilish Impressions too…
Suicide Silence seemed to me to be a bit of a touring mismatch. The youngsters from California play a rather standard brand of deathcore that has already been done to death (!) by Job For a Cowboy etc etc. The band had a good stage vibe, intensely energetic, but no memorable riffs or anything other than a cool-show-forget-about-it feeling. Standing next to the speakers didn’t help either. I may have been more receptive of this band if it had been a full deathcore gig, although I probably wouldn’t have remembered any of their music anyway. In any case, coming to see Behemoth kinda raises your expectations slightly more than the level of your average deathcore band, and Suicide Silence were definitely average.
Does Behemoth need an introduction? They came around to London last April for the No Mercy tour with Napalm Death and Moonspell, and it’s great to see them headline here again. Touring in support of their frankly amazing album THE APOSTASY made for one of the unmissable shows of the year.
Chants of “Polska! Polska!” rang out as soon as Suicide Silence left the stage, and it was frankly amazing to see the Polish contingent so vocal and so heavily represented in the crowd. It only served to pump up the atmosphere, which reached molten lava pitch when Inferno came out to soundcheck his drums. On a side note, I find it an indicator of his craft that he soundchecks his own drums rather than let a drum technician do it for him.
The crowd went absolutely mental when the intro from THE APOSTASY played, and Orion, Nergal and Seth came out blazing to “Slaying the Prophets ov Isa”. The energy was feverish from all four performers, in particular Inferno who was a blur of movement, all sticks, tattoos, crashes and moving feet. You couldn’t see him for the tornado of colour he was creating around himself. One of the tightest, fastest and most powerful drummers in extreme music, you just can’t imagine Behemoth without the Inferno.
The well-known intro to “Antichristian Phenomenon” boomed out, which had the crowd repeating “We would like to see the human race killed off…” Song by song by powerful song, the inexorable Behemoth machine rolled on: “Demigod”, “Conquer All”, “Prometherion”. There was a short break for Inferno to show off his solo skills, which he did, after doing some impressive fire-breathing. If for some reason he ever decides to give up drumming, he has a promising career in front of him in circuses.
The song “Slaves Shall Serve” absolutely slayed. In fact, which song didn’t? I loved the fact that they mixed old with new, with songs such as “From the Pagan Vastlands” and “Summoning of the Ancient Ones” mixing it with “ At the Left Hand ov God” and “Christgrinding Avenue”. “Christians to the Lions”, an old favourite of mine, as is “Sculpting the Throne ov Seth” with its faintly Eastern intro.
“Decade of Therion” had the crowd screaming “Demonaz!”, another old favourite of mine. Nergal and co. were incredibly personable, strutting round the stage, shoving their faces into people’s cameras, and generally looking fucking excited to be there. They kept that up throughout the entire show, not a hint of boredom, tiredness or fatigue. There was also room for a bit of humour: Nergal asked the crowd “Do you want some more? Say ‘fuck yeah’ if you do!” Crowd obliges, a resounding “Fuck yeah!” “Are you sure? Say Fuck YEAHHH!” Crowd obliges again, louder. “Are you fucking sure?? Say PLEASE JESUS!” Huge boos and whistles, Nergal cracks a huge smile and launches into the next song (“Sculpting the Throne ov Seth”?)
It’s always a huge bonus when your idols don’t disappoint you. But it’s special when they exceed all your expectations. Behemoth consistently maintain their high standard on albums; they tour heavily and extensively and are happy to do so. What more can you ask for?
Rome 64 CE (Intro)
Slaying the Prophets ov Isa
From the Pagan Vastlands
Slaves Shall Serve
As Above So Below
At the Left Hand ov God
Summoning (Of The Ancient One)
Christians To The Lions
Sculpting the throne ov Seth
Decade of Therion
Chant for Eschaton
I Got Erection (Turbonegro Cover)
Pure Evil and Hate
More Suicide Silence
Thanks to Karl at Eleven PR for the photo pass!