It has only been three months since Behemoth performed at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, supporting Slayer on their farewell tour. Since then, The Polish cult band has released their latest album, I Loved You At Your Darkest. With the new album, the band has embarked on a headlining tour that made its way to the House of Blues on Monday night. The Ecclesia Diabolica America 2018 e.v. tour consists of opening support from the legendary At The Gates, as well as the Cascadian horde, Wolves in the Throne Room.
The line outside of House of Blues was a testimony to the diversity of the trio of artists on the bill. Fans sporting hardcore and death metal t-shirts were standing next to those in corpse paint and dog collars. While listening to conversations in the the lobby, I overheard lots of fans, including myself, who were under the impression that the show was slated to kick off at 7:30. Luckily, we were all there early, because that wasn’t the case.
At 7:00, the projector covering half the stage was removed and darkness fell on the room. Beautiful hymns echoed from the PA as Wolves In The Throne Room took the stage. Unfortunately, because of the early start, the band walked out to a less than half-full venue. The majority of fans remained outside smoking or eating at nearby restaurants. Regardless, those who did make it in early were presented with a chilling set of atmospheric black metal. Hailing from Olympia, Washington, Wolves In The Throne Room are known for their ability to create haunting live atmospheres that impersonate the energy of the landscapes in the Pacific Northwest. Opening the set with “Angrboda,” the Wolves wasted no time displaying their unique blend of melodic offerings. Harmonized tremolo picking rested over blast beats, as the band channeled the energy from the handful of diehard fans in the crowd. Wolves howled and acoustic guitars filled the air as the band charged forward with the track “Born From The Serpent’s Eye.” As the band finished the set a few minutes after 7:30, many upset fans filtered in from outside as word spread that the set had already finished. If you plan to attend this tour, do yourself a favor and get there early so you don’t miss some of the best atmospheric black metal that the United States has to offer.
Just before 8 o’clock, At The Gates took the stage. If you ever listen to melodic death metal, odds are that whoever it is has influences from the Gothenburg, Sweden legends. The set began with the backing track intro “Widerstand,” that then transitioned into the title track of their most recent release, To Drink From The Night Itself. Vocalist Tomas Lindberg sounded as good as ever. Covering every inch of the stage, holding the mic stand over his head, and delivering fierce vocals, ‘Tompa’ didn’t miss a beat. The opening riff to the title track of the 1995 classic Slaughter the Soul finally sparked the crowd into a frenzy. Drummer Adrian Erlandsson kept precision timing with his high energy style of playing. The band delivered a set that consisted primarily of tracks from Slaughter the Soul, At War With Reality, and To Drink From The Night Itself. The guitar harmonies pierced through the mix at just the right levels during “Cold” and “Suicide Nation.” At The Gates are true masters of the craft and are just as energetic as they were some 18 years ago. At The Gates are like a fine wine and seem to get better with age.
Serpent heads and symbols of Lucifer filling the stage could only mean one thing, it was time for Behemoth. The set began with the chants of children that are heard on the track “Solve” from their latest album I Loved You at Your Darkest. In true black metal fashion, the band was clad in corpse paint and hoods as they transitioned into “Wolves ov Serbia.” By that time the floor was packed and the crowd went crazy. Chants and screams filled the air as a sizeable mosh pit engulfed the majority of the floor in front of the stage. Behemoth didn’t hold anything back with their production for this tour. Vocalist and guitars Adam Darski (Nergal) entertained the crowd with multiple wardrobe changes that consisted of a headdress and mask. The lighting and sporadic blasts from fog machines created a misanthropic atmosphere as the band gave their offerings of aggressive black metal. “God = Dog” and “Conquer All” kept the crowd moving. Behemoth then provided the crowd with the classic “Decade of Therion” which was a personal highlight. The guitars were loud and the drums were heavy. It’s everything that you would want out of a blasphemous show, if that’s your thing. The hour and a half set provided plenty of time for Behemoth to touch on the majority of their discography. Whether you’re a fan of old school Behemoth or more enticed by their more recent offerings, this tour will have something for you.
– Corey Smith
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