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Words by Samantha Wolstenholme

Photography by Tam Schilling | @tamcamimages_

FULL GALLERY HERE

Behemoth are an institution in and of themselves in the world of modern metal. The Polish blackened death metal titans have written their own legend through deftly adapting to adversity and controversy at seemingly every turn in their three-decade career – and often utilising those challenges as opportunities to expand the reach of their mission. That mission is to unite all free thinkers around the world in a statement of self-expression, individualism and defiance of hypocritical structures that seek to imprison us in conformity and ignorance. That their music is markedly accessible within the context of extreme metal is a bonus, because nothing gets metalheads fired up more than bangers you can mosh to. Tonight, BEHEMOTH brings this mission to The Triffid for the Brisbane leg of their ‘Fury Upon The Earth’ Aus/NZ visitation along with national supports, in a Good Things Festival sideshow tour that has metal fans down under chomping at the bit.

Local lads Resin Tomb have jumped on the lineup at the last minute in lieu of Melbourne grind outfit Munt who, we learn, have suddenly been unable to make this leg of the tour. Fortunately, Resin Tomb pull off a strong opening act in their own right, so much so that those unaware of the lineup change could certainly be convinced that the Brisbane death metallers indeed are one of the national supports. Their set opens like a dark, gathering storm that builds in intensity and malice; their menacing sound like a demon growing in the glow of eerie green lights evokes Cirith Ungol vibes from Lord of the Rings. Thunderous drums and the colossal force of the relentless and dissonant dual guitar tremolo picking call the crowd to attention. The powerful, gutsy growls from the frontman have a distinct hardcore edge and are delivered with attitude – think Dark Fortress meets Justice for the Damned. Resin Tomb are big, brash and brutal as they carve a splinter in the air with their ferocious offering, and they have no trouble getting the crowd warmed up for the chaos to come.

If you yearn for the 90s black metal days of yore (musically speaking), then Golgothan Remains are the band for you. The Sydney quartet offers nostalgia and feral brutality in equal measure through their Mayhem-esque sound with shades of Nordjevel and Bathory. Their live mix is a tad muddy, with guitar and bass struggling to punch through with optimal impact, but the resulting effect is a distinctly raw “basement production” sound that is fitting for a classic live black metal experience. The band ramps up the intensity of their performance partway through the set as the mosh begins to get rowdy. And only in Australia will you see the frontman of a kvlt band sinking tinnies on stage in rapid succession. Said frontman carries the performance with his forceful and dynamic stage presence, and easily wins over the devoted legions of black metal fans in the audience. There’s a change of pace towards the end of the set as the lights dim and a mysterious backing track resounds through the room, preceding a defiant, slower number. Then energised by the crowd, the quartet hurtles towards an exhilarating blast beat-driven finish.

It’s time to embark on our journey into the bowels of Hell – the lights are cut, and ominous tribal drums mark the beginning of Behemoth’s divine ritual. Nergal emerges from the shadows with a flickering light, leering at us as he growls menacingly. The remaining three members of the band march on stage and collectively build the tension to the chants of “We Hail The Beast”, and the effect is spine-tingling. Then launching into Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, mayhem instantly erupts in the room as the mosh goes ballistic. Their live mix is hugely bass-heavy, with Inferno’s unrelenting, razor sharp double kicks and blast beats catapulting towards us like a thousand red hot knives. The chants during that famous build to breakdown are primal and fierce, and there’s a sense among the crowd of our unified desire to surrender and submit ourselves wholly to the delectable darkness. 

The stage has been set up with grand risers in such a way that it resembles an unholy church, and from this altar, Behemoth craft completely controlled, irresistible chaos with a succession of bangers including The Deathless Sun and, as a treat for longtime fans, the legendary Conquer All. Nergal and Seth flex their shredding muscles with impressive guitar solos and lightning tandem riffing. 31 years into their career, this band absolutely knows how to work a crowd, demonstrating showmanship that is captivating, entertaining and a damn sight more visually interesting than many of their black/death metal counterparts. They are fully committed to enticing us all into Lucifer’s tender grasp; amidst the auditory carnage of shreds, growls and blast beats there is an intoxicating pull that reflects the passion of the lyrical content. 

The slow, extended heavy creep towards Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel heralds the divine arrival of fallen archangels, and the ensuing blast beats whip up a tempest in the mosh with a seething circle pit. Once Upon A Pale Horse opens with a fun rock swagger, then giving way to furious, blindingly fast double kicks and shreds, with a seemingly endless guitar solo section. Speaking of commitment to the mission, Behemoth are throwing everything at us tonight, from spitting fake blood into the crowd, and in a move that literally had Nergal on trial over a decade ago, bible-ripping. It’s rebellious and thrilling at a deep, primal level. 

Ov Fire and the Void sees the mosh descend into even deeper chaos and fall apart completely. Each punishing, punctuating beat lands like a day of judgement upon those who are too enlightened and defiant to care. Nergal begins a stately procession in Bartzabel, sporting a grand pope’s crown, and this strangely sentimental number gives us a moment to chill out and catch our breath. Nergal addresses the crowd and expresses gratitude for the next generation of disciples showing up to support metal and fly the unholy flag in the years to come. Then we are invited to raise our middle fingers for No Sympathy For Fools, which spawns another frenzied mosh. Ostensibly rounding out the set with Chant for Ezkaton 2000, the quartet returns for a final ecstatic hurrah of encore O Father O Satan O Sun, in which the circle pit in the mosh expands steadily to engulf the entire room as the extended cathartic outro rings out.

Whether you agree with Behemoth’s ideological stances or not, their live experience is an (unholy) testament to the fact that they deliver one hell of a show. After 30 years, they are masters of their craft, and at the very least, seeing them in full force will leave you feeling empowered to embrace the complexity that is your flawed self, in all its unique glory. Just as Lucifer has always wanted.

Thanks to Dallas Does PR

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