Let me start this write up by congratulating Behemoth for all their success ranging from continuing to providing support to Slayer, having a Death Metal album peak at 34 on the Billboard Top 200 and frontman Nergal’s recovery from leukemia. Oh, and lest we forget that not only did The Satanist makes a splash on the charts but was also one of the best albums of 2014. That’s quite the standard for new LP I Loved You At Your Darkest (Nuclear Blast/Metal Blade) to live up to.Continue reading →
Codex Omega (Season of Mist) is the tenth album from symphonic Death Metallers SepticFlesh and it is sure to go down as landmark release for the band and perhaps a new creative zenith for a group which has always sought to push themselves and the limits of the genre.Continue reading →
After a wobbly Saturday morning start, Akercocke carried on from where they left off a few years ago, improving and gaining/regaining fans as they went along. Rotting Christ sounded fantastic, The King is Blind completely owned the second stage for forty brutal minutes, and Fear Factory treated the crowd to all of 1995’s Demanufacture album while singer Burton C Bell tried his best to keep his voice from cracking. Paradise Lost played a set filled with heavier material, and Gojira stunned the majority of the audience with a set that not even headliners Mastodon could come close to touching. A typically eclectic set, the Atlantan four-piece struggled to get any momentum going, and even with the aid of some fancy video screens, only occasionally showed signs of being genuine headliners. A new version of old UK thrashers Acid Reign also managed to steal Mastodon’s thunder all the way from the second stage, playing one of the fastest and most enjoyable thrash sets of the festival while singer, ‘H’, looked resplendent in his shocking pink suit and top hat.
Gojira, photo credit Bloodstock Open Air on Facebook
And so to Sunday, and to the wonders of Ghost Bath. Only possessing the vaguest of knowledge about this band, I was simply unprepared for the next forty highly confusing (and occasionally eye-wateringly funny) minutes. Imagine a Black Metal band fronted by the shrieking goat from YouTube and you’d have a good idea of what I witnessed that morning.
Although the pedigree of the members of Metal Allegiance is not in question, I’m afraid the same cannot be said of their collective efforts. Cover version after horrible cover version was mauled and discarded, as people turned to each other in disbelief and disappointment. Playing all of 1996 album Nemesis Divina in full, Black Metallers Satyricon put in one of the performances of the weekend, even in the blazing sunshine. Finland’s Whispered took to the stage in their Japanese costumes and make-up and proceeded to win over an entire tent of confused onlookers. Technical Thrashers Vektor followed and even more people left with smiling faces. Symphony X gave everyone on the main stage plenty to sing along to, but Anthrax obliterated their memory in seconds. The last time the New York outfit played here in 2013, it was all fairly average, maybe even disappointing. But not this time. They were on fire from the second they launched into ‘You Gotta Believe’ until they left the stage to ‘Indians’. Nobody even cared that they dropped a couple of favourites in order to showcase newer material.
Anthrax, photo credit Gary Alcock
Even headliners Slayer struggled to keep up. Again, like Anthrax, it was a much improved performance from 2013, but things seemed to go a little awry in the latter stages of their set. For some reason, ‘Hell Awaits’ became an instrumental after the first chorus, and Tom’s demeanour changed from happy and smiling to fairly disinterested around the same time. Still, when they came back out for the encore of ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining Blood’, and ‘Angel of Death’ everything was quickly forgiven and forgotten. It was left up to New Orleans bandGoatwhore to close the weekend on the second stage, and they did so imperiously with one of the loudest, heaviest hours of the festival.
Slayer, photo credit Gary Alcock
From the almost comical amount of crowd surfers (Acid Reign alone clocked 263 in one hour – an average of over four per minute) to the spontaneous chant of “MAN IN YELLOW”, directed to one of the security staff stood on the scaffolding before Slayer, to the glorious weather and generally contagious good feeling of everyone in attendance (even a lot of the campsite toilets were still usable by the Monday morning!), there was only one place to be last week.
There were a few odd little problems, of course. Since the festival ended, a story has emerged that a girl was sexually assaulted in her tent, and the amount of moshpit idiocy seems to be on the increase again. Not, this time, from the shirtless circle-pitters and kung-fu merchants, but this time from the people who stand on the barrier all day, doing their best to punch and deliberately tear clumps of hair from any crowd surfer (male and female) unlucky enough to invade their personal space as they get dragged over the front. Making sure at all times, of course, that security have a firm hold of their target first so that they can’t retaliate.
The worst thing this year though was the repeated loop of the same bloody music videos on the big screen all weekend. When I arrived in the main arena on the Friday, I said “hey, this new Wormrot song’s great. I’ll definitely be getting the album”. By the time Saturday evening came around, I never wanted to hear fucking thing again. And as for the constant exposure to the videos of Wakrat and Blackberry Smoke, let’s just say that if I ever meet either of those bands in person, then it won’t end pleasantly for either of them.
Overall though, and yet again, Bloodstock Open Air was a roaring success.
For those of you who may be unaware, Bloodstock Open Air is a UK festival which began at the Derby Assembly Rooms in 2001. After four successful years, the decision was made to turn one festival into two. One would remain at the same venue, while a bold, open air venture would take place at Catton Hall in nearby Walton-on-Trent. The outdoor festival proved to be a hit, the indoor show was subsequently dropped, and the annually held event has gone on to expand in both size and stature ever since.
Bloodstock 2016 Thursday crowd, photo credit BOA on Facebook
Thursday’s festivities were kept fairly low-key as usual, with short, enjoyable sets from Karybdis and Sumer, with Ireland’s Psykosis left toreally get the party started. The evening was rounded off by the newly renamed Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons (formerly Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band), the former Motorhead guitarist ploughing through a selection of Motorhead covers plus ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie, ‘Sweet Leaf’ by Black Sabbath, and ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ by ZZ Top. Joined on stage by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider and Pepper Keenan of COC for a truly memorable version of ‘Born To Raise Hell’, the band eventually brought things to a rousing climax with a cover of ‘Silver Machine’ by Hawkwind.
Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons with Dee Snider, photo credit BOA on Facebook
Friday is where the entertainment really begins at Bloodstock though, and you don’t get much more entertaining than songs about unicorns and space wizards followed by a battle cry of “We are Gloryhammer and we sing songs about hammers!” Evil Scarecrow followed, and you simply haven’t lived until you’ve held your pincers in the air and scuttled from side to side for the mighty ‘Crabulon’. Corrosion of Conformity played a typically crowd-pleasing set of which my only criticism would be ‘Clean My Wounds’ being used as the backbone for a rambling, ten minute long jam session. Venom‘s Legendary bassist/vocalist, Cronos, snarled and joked his way through their set, but the band let themselves down with a poor choice of songs. No such problems from Behemoth though, who played latest album ‘The Satanist’ in its entirety before finishing with a blistering encore of ‘Ov Fire and the Void’ and ‘Chant For Ezkaton’.
Britain has always held a special place in Twisted Sister‘s heart and it really showed in their last ever performance here. Drawing the biggest ever crowd for a Bloodstock headline act, it was the perfect send off for one of the finest American Heavy Metal bands to ever grace a UK stage. Diamond Head finished off the evening on the second stage in competent, if unspectacular style. At least they didn’t sound like a tribute act to themselves like they did the last time I saw them.
Here at Ghost Cult Magazine, we all vote on our favorite albums each year. Just a couple short years ago, Behemothhad won with one of their best to date, The Satanist (Nuclear Blast). On April, 24th, 2016, I and the rest of the Boston crowd at the Royale were able to see Behemoth play this masterpiece from front to back at the “Blasfemia Amerika Tour”. Simply mentioning “it was an experience” just simply will not do.
Myrkur, by Hillarie Jason
Myrkur, by Hillarie Jason
Before getting to Behemoth’s set, we did have an opening band to get us started. The one woman black metal project, Myrkur, hit the stage ready to kickoff what promised to be a great night. Amalie Bruun is the only contributing artist to the project, but she did obviously have some help with a few other musicians (guitarist, bassist, and drummer). One of the strangest moments of the set is when I realized the bassist was no+ne other than Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan! The set list was comprised of mostly tracks from the one full length album, M (Relapse), that Myrkur have to offer. Song by song, Amalie moved from guitar to keyboards and from one microphone to the other as her vocals would change mid song from clean to harsh. Finally, Myrkur ended the set with Amalie alone on stage at the keyboard performing a Bathory cover of ‘Song to Hall Up High’ to the fan’s praise.
Behemoth, by Hillarie Jason
Finally, after a short break, Behemoth hit the stage with the sounds of ‘Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel’. With each passing song on The Satanist, there were strange videos being played on either side of drummer, Inferno, to really set the mood. At one point in the show, frontman Nergal made his way over a makeshift bridge of sorts from the stage, over the photographers’ pit, and literally into the first row or so of fans. In his hand was a silver goblet, filled with offerings to the fans, his own Holy Communion waffers! The final few in the goblet were lifted above our heads as Nergal crushed them into pieces and threw them into the air in defiance. After the ever epic, ‘O Father! O Satan! O Sun!’, the band made their way to the back briefly but then returned for a second shorter set that kicked off with old classics ‘Pure Evil and Hate’ and ‘Antichristian Phenomenon’. Other hits such as ‘Conquer All’ and ‘Slaves Shall Serve’ were also played to the fans’ delight. But, like all good things, the show came to an end with closer ‘Chant for Eschaton 2000’, complete with projectile blood shots on to the front row from Nergal, Orion, and Seth. With this live show, Behemoth has once again proven why they are atop the metaphorical pedestal of extreme music and have no plans of letting any other bands share that space.
Blackened Death Metal legends Behemoth have booked a headline tour of the USA this spring, where they will play their acclaimed album The Satanist (Metal Blade) in full every night. Opening the tour will be black metal artist Myrkur, in her first major tour of the USA.
Behemoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography
A limited number of premium ticketing packages which include a commemorative laminate, meet & greet session with the band, an 18″ x 24″ poster set (three posters), 42″ x 42″ wall flag, and general admission ticket are available now at showstubs.com/Behemoth. Only fifty fans per show can purchase the package, so reserve yours now!
At every concert fans will also have the chance to view “The Congregation” exhibition at each venue. Dubbed, “a symbiosis of Behemoth and Toxic Vision,” the display showcases the collaboration between the two parties. Over the years, the artist behind Toxic Vision (Sharon Toxic) has worked closely with the band to create their stage outfits, music videos, stage/photo props and more.”The Congregation” is a new experience and built solely for this tour.
Behemoth frontman Nergal comments:
“We’ve always pushed ourselves very hard trying to reach the highest peaks of artistic creativity. This time around, we are not only coming back to perform The Satanist in its entirety, but are also bringing along a collaboration that’s unheard of! Toxic Vision, who is a renowned and absolutely brilliant artist and designer from Canada whom we’ve worked with on several projects in the past (Behemoth stage gear, video clips, costumes…), will be accompanying us on this trek with a unique exhibition called ‘The Congregation.’ We are beyond excited to see how these synergies coexist! Sharon, it’s an honor to welcome you aboard!”
Toxic Vision CEO Sharon Toxic also commented:
“It is a real honor to work alongside Behemoth and have this opportunity to bring a vision to life! We aim to dazzle and inspire, I am inviting everyone to step into the dark world of ‘The Congregation’ – an exclusive showcase of my work with Behemoth. Nothing like this has been done before, and of course, nothing is really as it seems with Toxic Vision. This is a culmination of craft and magic … once you step inside, you might never find your way out.”
Behemoth tour dates, with Myrkur
Apr 21: Theatre Of The Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA Apr 22: Webster Hall – New York, NY Apr 23: Royale – Boston, MA Apr 25: Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre – Montreal, QC Apr 26: The Phoenix Concert Theater – Toronto, ON Apr 27: St. Andrews Hall – Detroit, MI Apr 29: Thalia Hall – Chicago, IL Apr 30: Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN May 01: The Granada Theater – Lawrence, KS May 03: The Gothic Theatre – Denver, CO May 04: The Complex – Salt Lake City, UT May 06: The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA May 07: The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA