Live Review: Behemoth, Watain, Bölzer

13 October 2015 | 3:39 pm | Tom Peasley

"Even if attending this show means a one-way ticket to hell, it's definitely worth it."

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Grab your goat and Anton LaVey collection, it's time to burn a church for a black metal show.

The two-piece Bölzer, comprising of a guitarist/vocalist, Okoi Thierry Jones (KzR), and drummer, Fabian Wyrsch (HzR), somehow (witchcraft, perhaps?) produce a sound huge enough to put many five-piece bands to shame. It's a set that at times channels early Emperor with 'traditional' tremolo black-metal riffs over blast beats and in others lapses into more atmospheric passages. There's some great creative songwriting on display by means of unusual chord voicings and smooth transitional riffs - this is definitely an act to keep track of.

Watain play to a devoted pit that produces a smell one wouldn't wish upon their worst enemy. Luckily to distract everyone from the nasal assault taking place, there's an array of upside-down crosses, corpse-painted headbanging and an animal skull collection to focus on. PETA's worst nightmare comes true as frontman Erik Danielsson briefly leaves the stage, only to return cloaked in live snakes. Say what you will about the music, black-metal bands rarely fail in terms of theatrics.

After what seems like an eternity spent withering away in the fiery pits of eternal damnation, the lights dim and Behemoth take the stage to a sea of raised horns. Lead vocalist (and judge on Poland's version of The Voice) Nergal prophetically wanders centrestage shrouded in a hood, with backing lights creating a mysterious, dramatic silhouette, and, with fire sticks raised, he rapidly has the crowd in awe as if performing a religious ceremony in his own right. The unmistakable grinding riff of Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel begins and quickly renders his entire congregation spellbound by its pulsating, distorted command. The mass features plenty of new pieces like Messe Noire; everyone's favourite Christmas carol Christians To The Lions; and personal highlight, the blast-beat-fuelled Slaves Shall Serve. With the exception of Nergal bringing out a thurible (and probably reserving a seat for the crowd in hell), Behemoth's stage setup is relatively bare, which is testament to the pure power exuded by the band. Every member roams the stage with an anger and passion while the masterfully crafted songs are executed at near album quality, meaning that there simply is no need for the typical black-metal stage props that so often cross the line between complementary and cliche. Behemoth let the music do the talking.

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Even if attending this show means a one-way ticket to hell, it's definitely worth it. Fingers crossed Behemoth are playing there.