CONCERT REVIEW: Behemoth – Arch Enemy – Carcass – Unto Others Live at 02 Apollo, Manchester

First time at the O2 Apollo, a lovely, antiquated venue, it has a very old-school theatre vibe to it, and as would become apparent for most sets tonight the sound and lighting were top-drawer.

Having seen most of the line-up many times over the years, Unto Others was the band relatively new to European forays and was therefore the band I was looking forward to the most on the bill. I’ve been a huge fan of the band since their debut Mana, released under their old name.

Opening up with ‘Heroin’ and ‘Give Me to the Night’ and just as when I saw them previously I was not disappointed in the slightest, a brilliant performance. Lost in the murk and gloom of a low-lit stage they play a mix of 80’s goth but with plenty of oomph, or indeed Huah!’s. Their songs and style are just the right combinations of darkness and pop sensibility, but with a more aggressive slant, in what I can only think to describe as powergoth.

Each song lands well, and judging by the immediate response from the crowd and subsequent chatter online they won over many a new fan with tonight’s excellent performance, which is great because they deserve to get much bigger.

Next on the bill were the legends Carcass who were absolutely on fire tonight, opening up with ‘Buried Dreams’ and straight into ‘Kelly’s Meat Emporium’, their set was relentless and barely a pause before launching into another four songs merged together starting with a fantastic rendition of ‘Incarnated Solvent Abuse’. Carcass were taking absolutely no prisoners tonight.

Finishing up with the classic ‘Corporeal Jigsore Quandary’ and ‘Heartwork’, the set was incredible. Everything a fan could have asked for was met with plenty of cheers from the crowd, well maybe not everything, there were a few wondering out loud if maybe old bandmate Michael Amott (now in Arch Enemy) might have briefly joined them on stage, sadly that was not to be.

Arch Enemy opened up their set with a big blood-spattered curtain with the words ‘Pure Fucking Metal’ scrawled across it, which is a mission statement and a half. Starting off with ‘Deceiver, Deceiver’, ‘War Eternal’ and ‘Ravenous’. They also played out of their skins tonight. There seems to be something about this line-up that has brought the best out of all the bands taking part.

The lighting and unexpected blasts of pyro were visually spectacular, this was a genuinely powerful performance. Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis are incredible together, Twin guitar gymnastics, blistering solos, all to a sea of pumping fists. Alyssa White-Gluz was on top form tonight and had the crowd well and truly under her control tonight. Finishing with a blistering rendition of ‘Nemesis’, they were met with a crowd shouting loud enough to give the PA a run for its money. Magnificent!

Finally, it came to Behemoth, opening with ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’, followed by ‘The Deathless Sun’ their set was absolutely spectacular, a truly commanding performance. Most of the songs from the recent release Opvs Contra Natvram, although with a few older cuts such as ‘No Sympathy for Fools’ from 2002’s Zos Kia Cultus. Behemoth conjured a dark atmosphere in the apollo tonight and punctuated it with so much fire I can still smell the propane two days later. Without any shadow of a doubt they put on the best show, I’ve ever seen from them. There was no doubt amongst the crowd that we were witnessing something legendary tonight.

What an amazing night, every single band played out of their skin and delivered the best performances I’ve seen from any of them, but Behemoth were on a whole new level tonight, majestic.