BEHEMOTH - Mischief Night In Philly!

October 31, 2018, 11 months ago

Mark Gromen

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How appropriate, the corpse-painted Polish hobgoblins, who poke fingers in the eyes of the Catholic church, in town, on Mischief Night, the Halloween Eve also colloquially known as Devil's Night. The chanting children, who adorn the new I Loved You At Your Darkest, were piped in, on an infinite loop. The stage was shrouded by a curtain, which ultimately beheld Inferno's impressive white drum kit, atop a four foot riser, flanked on either side by steel ramps, leading up to a small, second tier platform. A backdrop depicting the album artwork, a gray bearded old man, looked down from above.

Getting into the holiday spirit, Nergal and Co. began the night in veiled skull half-mask, but only for the opening "Wolves Ov Siberia", after which it was back to the usual corpsepaint. The frontman, however, would play dress-up throughout the night, usually in a hooded cowl, but opting for ornamental, miter headdress on "Bartzabel". The skulls/beaded necklace around the guitarist/singer's neck for the last tour has been replaced by a triple inverted cross insignia that not only was replicated as stage props, but featured prominently at the merch booth, on shirts, sweat bands, etc., apparently seeking to have an identifiable symbol, similar to Judas Priest's devil pitchfork. Unlike most black/death metal acts, whose onstage presence is nearly as stationary as the name applies, Behemoth (and Nergal in particular) are almost constantly in motion, all over the stage. 

Red lit "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" is followed by "Bartzabel", which begins with Inferno pounding out the rhythm, as all but Nergal are onstage. When he appears, the frontman is sporting the tall, aforementioned pontiff headdress, the same one visible in the video, under blue lights, he somehow manages to sing and play with it balanced on his head, throughout the performance. Shame it was after the initial three songs photographers are allowed to shoot. As with much of the new album, said song is less bombastic, and live, uses three part vocal harmony. Only the drummer without a mic. That said, hope "Rom 5:8" finds its way into future sets. 

Pre-recorded angelic/demonic choir intro, with symphonic accompaniment greets "God=Dog". If hell had a stage show, it might look like this: red lights (naturally!), pressurized "steam" released every which way, as Nergal directs the entire spectacle. A glimpse of rock stardom, twin guitar leads, stage right, as Nergal and Seth play their instruments vertically. Pulsating blue lights for "Conquer All", which sees Nergal soloing, alone center stage, as the rest camp out on the risers. Best crowd response of the evening, a huge ovation, once finished! 

The inverted tri-crucifixes are unfurled, either side of the stage, for "Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica". Backlit, bass and guitar on the upper deck, with Nergal down below for "Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel". Copper and yellows for blazing rendition of "Slaves Shall Serve". Familiar staccato call to arms heralds "Chant for Eschaton 2000", both guitarists atop stagefront shadowboxes, to start. A heads down headbanger throughout, the stage is pink, with wayward streaks of white intervening. It ends with Seth and Orion retreating to upper loft, Nergal seemingly in a psychotic trance, down below, center stage.

Would have preferred another oldie, to wrap up the night, but instead it was "Lucifer" and "We Are The Next 1000 Years". Not sure about ending on a new song, especially since the disc is less than a month old, but Nergal has been making atypical moves since he started the band, and things have worked out pretty good, thus far. So do what thou whilst.

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