Behemoth ticket give away

Behemoth at Fillmore Silver Spring

Poland’s masters of the dark arts, Behemoth, return to the Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, November 2nd, with a killer line up that includes At The Gates and Wolves In The Throne Room. We’re so excited about this show here at DCHM that we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets to one of you lucky readers. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me which of the three bands playing you’re most excited to see. On Wednesday, October 17th at 5pm EST the contest will close and a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries. The winner will get two free tickets the show! Be sure to enter using an email address you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that, I hate spam too. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Live Nation for $29.50 here.

Behemoth just released a new album, I Loved You at Your Darkest, on Nuclear Blast Records this month. Now, after a successful summer performing as one of the support acts for Slayer’s farewell tour in North America, they’re returning to the US for a proper headlining tour. At The Gates is one of the most important bands from the famous Swedish Gothenburg death metal scene. They will probably always be most remembered for their masterpiece album Slaughter of the Soul but they also put out a new album this year, To Drink from the Night Itself. The opening band is probably the most influential US black metal band, Wolves In The Throne Room. They’re from Washington state and are one of the bands that helped make atmospheric black metal popular with a wider audience. Now go check out the videos below by these bands and leave a comment telling me which one you’re most excited to see at the Fillmore Silver Spring on November 2nd!

Behemoth – Wolves ov Siberia

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Wolves In The Throne Room – Born From The Serpent’s Eye

Live photos of Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse

The Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse dual-headlining tour stopped at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday, March 2nd, 2015, and it was a great show! Death metal fans were treated to two titans of the genre and the bands didn’t disappoint. This was the first time I have seen Behemoth since the band’s main man, Nergal, recovered from cancer. I have to say the Polish band’s stage show has really improved since the days they used to open for other bands all the time at Jaxx! Behemoth played a lot off the new album, The Satanist, but old fans were treated to some older classics like “Chant for ΕΣΧΗΑΤΟΝ 2000” as well. Cannibal Corpse put on a brutal show as always. While I don’t think they were bad I still think they’re a better show in smaller venues where the band is closer to the audience and the place is a packed, sweaty mosh pit from stage to exit. Still, they’re always tight and it was cool that they mixed things up by closing their set with “Devoured By Vermin.” The lighting for Cannibal Corpse wasn’t the best for shooting but I did get a few shots, Behemoth was much brighter and had a lot of stage props as well (including Nergal’s mic stand that he must have purchased from Cobra Commander’s yard sale). Unfortunately I didn’t get there in time to catch openers Tribulation and Aeon, the latter of which I really wanted to see, but early start times aren’t the best for week nights in this town with the crazy traffic we get. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the photos I shot below of Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse.

Cannibal Corpse:

Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Paul Mazurkiewicz of Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth:

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Nergal of Behemoth at the Fillmore Silver Spring

Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse ticket give away

Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring

When two of the titans of death metal have a tour coming to our area you know we get excited here at DCHM. And when we get excited about a show we like to get as many people out to it as possible. So this week we’re giving away a free pair of tickets to see Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Monday, March 2nd, 2015. To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me the name of your favorite death metal band. At 5pm EST this Friday, February 27th, a winner will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to enter using a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner within 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Live Nation for $35.50 here.

Last year Poland’s Behemoth put out one hell of a come back album with the release of The Satanist, quite an accomplishment considering, Nergal, the band’s mastermind, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. After a successful bone marrow transplant he has recovered from cancer and is ready to bring his musical vision on The Satanist to stage for us. As if that wasn’t enough, the kings of gorey death metal, Cannibal Corpse, will be co-headlining this tour as they terrorize audiences (and stir up brutal mosh pits) with their songs about murder, zombies and violent torture. In addition to that we’ll also get the chance to see two up and coming death metal bands from Sweden as Aeon and Tribulation open up the show. That’s a ton of death metal for one bill, will you be able to survive? Be sure to check out these videos by each band below and tell me what your favorite death metal band is in the comments!

Behemoth – Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer

Cannibal Corpse – Kill Or Become

Aeon – Aeons Black

Tribulation – Apparitions

Review of Metal Monday at So Addictive

So Addictive Lounge is a small venue out in Herndon, Virginia that’s been having a weekly Metal Monday showcasing mostly local metal bands. As such, I’ve heard a lot about this place since most of the local bands I try to follow seem to play there sooner or later. This evening, Monday the 15th of November 2010, they were having a free show so I figured I’d head out and catch the bands playing and finally get to check out the venue. So Addictive isn’t a very large venue, it’s really more of a bar with a small stage set up. The stage wasn’t large enough for anything besides the drum kits, so for all the bands playing everyone but the drummer was on the floor with the audience. It’s kind of cool because the audience is right there with the band while they play. The room got very dark, but that wasn’t bad considering the bands playing this night. The beer selection wasn’t good for a bar though, they had nothing on tap and their bottles were almost all yellow beers (they did have Guiness and Yeungling, but when I ordered one of the latter, it tasted so skunky I didn’t bother getting another). Also, this was the night the Washington Redskins were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football to the tune of 59 to 28, so the metal was a good way to become distracted from that disaster on the TVs in the bar.

The first band up was a band called Frank Palkoski, or Palkoski, or the Seventh Gate (or all of those?). I’m not really sure what they prefer to go by really but that’s not a big deal. I thought they were going to be a black metal band judging by their logo on the flyer and the other bands playing, but they were actually a three piece grind band more similar in sound to Pig Destroyer than any of the other bands playing that night. They cranked the fog machine up and really let loose with the intensity. They started the show off like a blaring alarm clock on a morning you don’t want to wake up, if that alarm clock was an air raid siren. Their sporadic bursts of raw energy were broken up by some cool guitar riffs and drum beats, often suddenly interrupted with screams of anger. It was entertaining and a good way to start off the show. They had some burned CDs of their material they were giving out in clear plastic Ziploc bags they’d placed on the floor in front of the mic stands and I made sure to pick one up. They also threw a couple of shirts to random people in the audience, which was cool.

The next band up was Archael, who I’d also never seen before. They are a standard black metal band heavily influenced by the early 90s Norwegian scene and they had some catchy riffs. The singer got a bit rowdy and jumped in the crowd a bit to mosh I guess, which was fine until he came over to the side and pushed me holding my camera. I put the camera away and grabbed a beer after that, I’m not trying to damage my gear. Regardless, they did have a lot of energy and the lead guitarist was getting people as excited about the music as the vocalist was. They’ve got their sound down pretty well, though they could use a bit more variation in the songs. They were good songs, but you can tell they are still growing as a band and I think once they change up the formula a bit they’ll have a really interesting set to play. I’d like to see which direction these guys go as they stray more from their influences and form a more distinct sound for themselves in the future, as they really do know how play some fast and brutal black metal.

The next band to play, Apothys, I’ve seen a few times now, and I will see them play again next weekend at Jaxx. That’s not a bad thing at all since they’re really fun to watch live. I won’t get too into the details here as I’ll probably cover them more in the next review (and I’ve already reviewed their set at the Blood & Fire Festival here). This set was pretty fun though, it was cool to see the band interact with the audience due to the lack of a proper stage. I mean just look at this shot of guitarist Eddie Misery leading the crowd members at headbanging, while standing in the audience and playing guitar! They played their own style of blackened death metal very well and the crowd really got into the show. Their final song, Of Writhing Eyes, seemed to really get everyone going nuts. It was another great performance by the leaders of Northern Virginia’s death metal scene.

The final band of the night was Immortal Decay, another band I’ve seen a few times now. By this point it was getting pretty late and there weren’t as many people there. That’s a shame because these guys are really starting to come into their own as a band. The room was very dark when they played, and the band didn’t screw around talking between songs too much. They played a cover of Satyricon‘s classic Mother North which everyone seemed to enjoy (how can you like black metal and not?). Their vocalist, Viktor Osorio, kept it interesting, even rolling around on the ground a bit (careful with those spikes!). The set seemed short though and sort of abruptly ended, maybe due to time constraints at the venue as it was well after 1am by the time they finished. They were fun as usual, and you can catch them opening for Watain at Sonar in Baltimore on Nov 30th (more details on my upcoming concerts calendar page) if you want to see them in action. If you can, buy a ticket from the band members as they have them for sale without service fees.

In all the show was a lot of fun. Not a bad way to spend a rainy night in Northern Virginia, even though Herndon is a bit of a drive for me. It’s nice to see more of these local metal nights popping up around the area, and I hope to attend more in the future, just wish I could bring my own beer to this venue! I’ve got videos posted below, but since it was so dark for most of the sets, and my camera doesn’t adjust to low lighting well, they’re mostly just good for getting a chance to listen to the bands yourself. Enjoy!

Maryland Deathfest VIII Recap

Well Maryland Deathfest VIII is over, and it was a great 3 days of heavy metal. This was the third time I’ve been to Maryland Deathfest, though Maryland Deathfest VIII Flyerthis was the first time I went for all 3 days. I got to see lots of bands I never thought I’d have the chance to, and got to check out some bands I’d been wanting to for a while. Talked to lots of metal heads from all over the place as well as from the DC area and I shot about 1,000 photographs as well as 34 videos of 19 different bands. I kept myself busy! Luckily it didn’t rain at all while I was there. Sunday got really hot, not sure what the temperature was officially, but it was even hotter in the middle of those huge crowds I’m sure. Overall it was a lot of fun, so much fun that I wanted to write down as much as I could remember of it here. It’s a long post so I broke it up into sections. I’ve got lots of videos posted at the bottom of this post. And now, here’s my recap of my time spent at this year’s Maryland Deathfest.

Day 1: Friday 28 May 2010

I had checked the weather for Baltimore before I drove up for the weekend. It said that it was supposed to rain some Friday and Saturday. While it did rain during my drive up Friday, it was clear by the time I got there, and it didn’t rain again during the fest, the metal gods must have been smiling! I got to the venue a bit later than I had planned since the rain made traffic a bitch and I was running a bit late because of it. On top of that the line to get into the venue was huge, they were definitely understaffed at the door on the first day. Originally I wanted to get there in time to see Tombs at 5:30, but they were already done by the Malignancy at Maryland Deathfest VIIItime I got in. Malignancy was about to play on the side stage when I did get there. Though I saw Nazxul‘s first US appearance on the outside street stage, the outdoor stages weren’t really in much use Friday as two of the members of Possessed missed their flight so they were rescheduled for the next day. Also, black metal band Watain requested to play indoors instead of on an outdoor stage. Their set Watain at Maryland Deathfest VIIIwill probably be most remembered for an incident where the bass player from DRI (who played later that night on the same stage) jumped on stage in the middle of the set and starting goofing around and mock headbanging on stage. Apparently the members of Watain didn’t like this as he was promptly knocked down and was kicked by Pelle Forsberg, mid-song mind you, until security pulled him off the stage, though I didn’t see him actually get kicked. People were talking about that for the rest of the festival. They closed their set with a cover of the Bathory song The Return Of Darkness And Evil. Once they were done I moved outside to see Gorguts, who was the first day’s headliner. They put on a good show. Two of the guys from Dysrhythmia, a personal favorite band of mine, are Gorguts at Maryland Deathfest VIIInow members of Gorguts and it was cool seeing them play up there in such a different style band. They played a great set of classic death metal songs that were pretty awesome. Afterwards I grabbed some overpriced crappy food from the lone food vendor inside the fest. That was the last time I ate there, I got a cold burger and a bag of Lays chips for $7. What a rip off. They were selling bottles of water for $3, the same price as the bar only feet away had 16 oz cans of PBR. Guess which one I bought? After eating and talking to people for a bit I moved inside to catch DRI’s set. Raining Blood came on over the sound system while they were setting up and people were singing along and even started moshing a bit to it. When DRI came on I DRI at Maryland Deathfest VIIIwas kind of hoping someone from Watain would jump on stage, but that didn’t happen. They did get a crazy pit going though, best indoor pit I saw all weekend, though admittedly I spent most of my time watching outdoor bands (and I’ve got the sunburn to prove it!). They had some technical problems midway through their set, which seemed to happen a lot this weekend to various bands. The sound wasn’t that great at the fest either. Lots of bass drowning out the high end seemed to be a recurring problem. DRI was the last band of the night and so I headed back to the hotel to charge batteries and start transferring media off my memory cards so they’d be empty for day two. Friday was a good start to the fest, but really just seemed like a warm up.

Day 2: Saturday 29 May 2010

Saturday came around and I was fucking excited. There were several bands playing that I really wanted to see. I decided the first band I really wanted to see was Jucifer, and this time I had no problems with traffic or lines and got there a bit early in fact. I caught a few songs by Total Fucking Destruction and then headed inside for the second half of Obliteration‘s set. They impressed me with their performance, certainly won me over in the short time I got to watch them play. After they finished Jucifer started setting up. They brought out some of their trademark “wall of speakers” Amber Valentine of Jucifer at Maryland Deathfest VIIIbut I don’t think it was all of them. They only had 15 minutes to set up so that might be why. The last time I saw Jucifer they didn’t really stop between songs, they just sort of kept playing, going through highs and lows. Here at MDF they were playing clear cut songs with actual starts and endings. It was interesting to see them at such a festival and I could tell they won some new fans after talking to a few people in the audience after their set. I walked out of the black fog filled room and back into the daylight. Mexico’s The Chasm was playing on the side stage so I headed over there to catch the end of their set. Luckily they were running late so I got to see them play a few songs before their set ended. They were told to stop when Sadistic Intent/Possessed started playing the other outdoor stage, but they still played 1 more song, even though the crowd was thinning out. Sadistic Intent split their set time with Possessed, which makes sense because all the members of Sadistic Intent are also current members of Possessed. It was cool to see Possessed play old Possessed at Maryland Deathfest VIIIclassics like The Exorcist and Burning In Hell as well as newer songs. I haven’t seen Possessed before but I’m glad to see Jeff Becerra was still headbanging from his wheelchair on stage. He took a moment between songs to mention some of the people in metal who have died recently, and got a chant for Dio going too. When their set ended I browsed some of the shops that were set up, bought myself one of the red posters for sale with the big demon on it and all the band names, as well as a Melechesh shirt. I was really excited to see Melechesh so I dropped my merch off at my car and decided to get to the Melechesh stage early so I could get right up front. I also wanted to see Verbal Abuse play indoors at the same time, but I’d been waiting to see Melechesh for years, ever since they canceled their 3 tour dates with Sigh in July 2007. I got in the front row just off center (I don’t like dead center as the microphone stand always seems to block their faces in my pictures). They played a killer set, mostly made up of songs from Melechesh at Maryland Deathfest VIIItheir albums Sphynx and Emissaries. The crowd surfers were going over my head but that didn’t stop me from shooting lots of video. At one point security just disappeared and people were falling onto the asphalt in front of the stage. A member of the stage crew saw this and tried to help catch people the best he could until security decided to stroll back into place. The band played a great set but since they started a bit late due to technical difficulties, they didn’t have time to play their final song, and just sort of walked off stage anticlimactically. That kind of stunk, but still, it was awesome getting to see their first US gig ever up close. I took lots of pictures and videos to remember it by, though I doubt I’ll forget as this was my favorite set of the festival. When they were done I made my way over to the side stage again to see Incantation, though walking by the open grill reminded me that at some point I’d have to eat, and looking at the schedule I wanted to watch bands play thru the rest of the night. Incantation also mentioned the recent death of Ronnie James Dio and decided to play a couple of tribute songs in their set. They played The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath and Stargazer by Rainbow back to back, quite odd hearing these songs grunted out. The rest of their set was as brutal as you’d expect from these pioneers of death metal. After they finished I decided that even though I wanted to see some of Repulsion, I had to get food in me. I did catch a bit of their set, but I wanted to be sure to be back in time to catch Asphyx. I found an excellent sandwich shop about a block and a half behind the street stage, and had a great dinner there. I headed back to the fest feeling recharged. I got there in time to catch most of Asphyx, which was cool, but I left a bit early to make sure I could get fairly close for the long awaited return of Autopsy. This Autopsy at Maryland Deathfest VIIIwas the main act of the night since Sodom had pulled out of the fest (and I think people wanted to see Autopsy more anyways). I know this was their first gig since they reunited, and people have been waiting 15 years to see Autopsy play live. I found a decent spot to shoot from and really enjoyed the show. After shooting a few videos my camera’s cards were all full from all the awesome bands of the day. Not good! I moved back a bit into the crowd to shoot with the camcorder (it can’t handle the loud volumes that close to the speakers). My memory cards being full posed a problem though, because Portal was playing tonight and I wanted to make sure I could get at least some pics of them, since they’re from Australia I doubt I’ll get another chance to see them again any time soon, if ever. As soon as Autopsy finished I headed back to my hotel and emptied my memory cards onto my laptop, then returned to the venue in time to catch Portal. I contemplated just staying at the hotel but I’m really glad I didn’t. Portal at Maryland Deathfest VIIIThey put on quite an intense show! The band members were all wearing black, even covering their faces, and wore rope nooses around their necks. With the black walls, dim lighting and heavy fog machine smoke, it was pretty hard to see anything clearly on stage. The vocalist came out wearing all black robes and a black hat similar in shape to a Catholic cardinal. This stage setting really fit the mood of their unique and intense style of atmospheric death metal. Such an awesome show to see, it was really out of this world and a great way to end the second day of Maryland Deathfest.

Day 3: Sunday 30 May 2010

The final day of Maryland Deathfest VIII again had several bands I wanted to see. I got there around 1:45 pm (got great parking this time) so I could catch Krallice. I wanted to see them when they were supposed to play the 9:30 Club with Mayhem and Ludicra earlier this year, but the tour was cancelled when Mayhem couldn’t get into the US. Ludicra, Krallice and Tombs re-booked another tour without Mayhem, but they didn’t come to DC on that tour, unfortunately. So this was my chance to finally catch these guys live. Nick McMaster of Krallice at Maryland Deathfest VIIIThey didn’t let me down either! For some reason they set up and played on the wrong outdoor stage, which threw people off a bit. Those paying close attention noticed that the bass player for Gorguts, Colin Marston, is the guitarist for Krallice too. They played almost all new material, and it was pretty awesome to get to watch them play live. It was a really great set that left me wanting more, and a kick ass way to start off the day. The next band played on the same stage, and I stayed to watch the first few songs by the French band Gorod. Though one of their guitarists had a Motley Crue shirt on (trying to be ironic?) they put on an impressive show of their high energy tech-death prowess. The singer was jumping around on stage and had a lot of energy, and the bass player had a lot of stage presence too, not something you see too often in metal. I decided now would be a good time for lunch as there were many bands coming up back to back that I wanted to watch, so I headed to the diner just outside the venue. I got back in time to watch Sinister play, which was pretty cool. Sinister at Maryland Deathfest VIIII’ve never seen them play live before, but I always liked their older albums like Hate and Diabolical Summoning. Their line up was drastically different than back in those days though, the only member left was the drummer, but he had now moved off the kit to take over the lead vocals. Still, it was cool to see them play some of those older songs that I enjoyed so much, even if it wasn’t the same Sinister. They still had a few songs left to play when I decided to move back to the side stage so I could get up Tobias Sidegård of Necrophobic at Maryland Deathfest VIIIclose for Necrophobic. This was their first US show, and I certainly wanted to get some good pictures and video footage of it. It was a pretty damn entertaining show I must say, though it’s always weird seeing black metal bands play in the daylight, especially on such a hot day. This was definitely the hottest day of the festival and I sort of felt bad for them wearing all the black leather and spikes and stuff, that had to be pretty damn miserable. Regardless, they didn’t let it show and performed very well and had some great poses for taking pictures too. This was quite a highlight of the day for me. After they finished, Eyehategod was starting on the street stage. I wasn’t too interested in them, so after finding the tent with $1 bottles of water, I headed back to the side stage to rest my feet a bit and get a good spot for Pestilence. I also wanted to see Black Breath, who were playing indoors at the same time as Pestilence, but I got such a good spot for the Pestilence set I couldn’t just leave. They were too fun to watch live. This was their first US show in 16 Patrick Uterwijk of Pestilence at Maryland Deathfest VIIIyears, and they had been scheduled to play the Maryland Deathfest the year before, but they couldn’t get into the country due to visa issues. The crowd was pumped to finally get their chance this year, and so was I. I thought they’d have Tony Choy (also of Atheist and Cynic) playing bass with them, but instead they had Jeroen Paul Thesseling playing a fretless 6 string bass. Needless to say, he was pretty damn good, as is the rest of the band. When their set ended I headed over to see Nirvana 2002 play (billed as N2002 I suppose for legal reasons). I didn’t know much about them, apparently they only ever put out a few demos from 1989 to 1991 before breaking up. I heard they had only ever played like 5 concerts before, so even Nirvana 2002 at Maryland Deathfest VIIIthough I didn’t know much about them, I figured it was worth checking them out. They weren’t bad, sounded along the lines of those older Swede bands like Entombed, Unleashed and Nihilist. They played a cover of the Kreator song Pleasure To Kill, which was the only song I recognized of their set. After they ended I walked over to the side stage to catch a bit of Pentagram‘s set. It was good to see this DC area band playing to such a large crowd, and they were eating up Bobby Liebling’s crazy on stage antics. I decided now was a good time to grab a bite to eat before Entombed hit the stage, so I headed out to find a sandwich. I got back in time to get a decent view of Entombed’s set. Crowd Surfer while Entombed plays at Maryland Deathfest VIIIDuring their second song, Out Of Hand, someone threw a bible on stage and their singer, LG Petrov, ripped it in half mid-song. At one point he told the crowd that they don’t like circle pits, they want to see a real mosh pit going. They mostly played their more recent material, I was hoping they’d play more from Wolverine Blues and earlier, though they did close the show with Left Hand Path. Next up was Sunday’s headliner, Obituary, on the side stage. They played a great set full of their classic songs and got what was probably the largest area mosh pit going I saw all weekend. People were just going Obituary at Maryland Deathfest VIIInuts for them, and they put on a really fun show. They had so many people crowd surfing that security was having trouble keeping up with them. Their set ended and I quickly moved indoors to catch the end of the local grind act Magrudergrind‘s set. They were pretty intense, as grind bands tend to be, and really had the audience going. I enjoyed catching the end of their set and it was a great way to end the fest. I didn’t see the final two bands play and Converge was supposed to be the closing band but they asked to play earlier and went on during Obituary’s set. That’s ok though, I got plenty of metal in over the course of 3 days and my arms were getting sore from so much picture and video shooting. I did run into a few people from local bands, one of the guys from Orgy Of The Damned and also someone from Gravewürm, very cool talking to both. It was quite the metal weekend and a killer concert experience that I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to find out who’s going to be playing next year, but I’ve got my fingers (upside down) crossed for Morbid Angel and Von. And congrats for getting to the end of this post, the longest one I’ve written yet. For your time I reward you with a shit load of videos I shot at the festival. I’ve got more from MDF on my YouTube page if this isn’t enough. Stay brutal!

Review of Behemoth gig at Jaxx

So Friday the 8th of January 2010 I went to Jaxx in West Springfield, Virginia, to see the Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth play. Well, this was actually the first time I’d been to Jaxx since I saw God Dethroned play there back in October. A lot has changed with the look of the club since then, but I’ll get into that later, this is a review of the Behemoth concert after all.

I got there kind of late and didn’t get a chance to see any of the openers, Septic Flesh had just finished their set as I walked in the door. I’d have watched them play but really I’d have liked to see Shining, who was originally on the tour as well only to drop off due to visa complications. The parking lot was completely full and even the lot in front of the Giant across Old Keene Mill had a lot of cars parked in it for the show. Although it sucked parking so far away (the temp was in the lower 20s) it was good to see such a turn out for the show. The last few metal shows I’d been to at Jaxx didn’t have really big crowds. This night the entire club was pretty crowded, which made it kind of stuffy and hot with my coat on, but it was bearable and nowhere near as bad as that sold out Morbid Angel/Behemoth show in 2006 when the air conditioner didn’t work. After what seemed like a very long drum kit set up and sound check, the lights finally went down a few minutes after 11pm as Behemoth took the stage.

They came out onstage and the crowd was ready. People were excited as the band ripped through songs from Evangelion and Demigod. The last time I saw Behemoth play they were opening for Dimmu Borgir at the 9:30 Club and they didn’t play many songs from older albums, which is of course what I wanted to see. Not that I don’t enjoy their newer material, but I certainly prefer some of their older less polished sounding songs. Now I knew they wouldn’t play anything like Lazy Pomorza, but I was glad to hear them play 3 songs from the Satanica album (instead of just the staple Chant For Eschaton 2000). They only played 1 song from Thelema.6 though, Christians To The Lions. Regardless, the show was a pretty decent mix. Certainly more focused on more recent material but not completely forgetting their older songs either. One thing I wasn’t expecting was a killer (but short) drum solo by their drummer, Inferno. It only lasted about a minute but it was pretty impressive. They did do the generic encore thing, which was kind of weird since the back stage area is much more open now. Behemoth’s main man Nergal came out with some sort of Roman centurion looking wooden or metal (hard to tell in the lighting) mask as they played their final song of the night, Lucifer. Kind of strange I suppose but better than that weird ‘evil teddy bear’ mask he put on for the final song last time I saw them. The show ended about 15 minutes after midnight and people started filing out into the cold right after, though the merch stand was really busy for a while.

After the show I hung out a few minutes because I didn’t want to deal with the herd of people all heading out to the door at once. It gave me a good chance to check out some of the changes to the club’s interior. The walls have all been painted orange, though the ceiling is still black. They got rid of the bar on the side by the merch stand which opens up some more room for the under 21 people. The big black drapes that hid the backstage area from the audience have been completely removed, which really makes the room seem bigger. The raised bar area around the dance floor has had new railing put in that looks much nicer, though you can’t really notice it when it’s darker. It looks like the lighting rig has had an update too. There were some new lights that looked sort of like LEDs or something, as well as a couple things that looked like rotating balls of laser pointers (not too impressed with those, hope they didn’t cost much). The club certainly does not look like a hive of scum and villainy, and comes across much more welcoming, organized and professional looking. This change certainly helps the club move past being just a ‘metal club’ to a venue that can host concerts in several genres. A part of me wonders if they’re trying to phase out the metal all together, but I think if they get more head counts like this they won’t be phasing out the metal any time soon. The place has sure come a long way since the owner posted on their website about possibly trying to sell the place in January 2008.

Not everything was an improvement though. I don’t know if it had to do with changing the shape of the interior space or maybe just a bad ear during the sound check, but the audio mix during Behemoth’s set was terrible. The vocals kind of mushed into the midrange guitar parts and the high end tones were getting drowned out by the kick drums. It didn’t seem to me that any of the audio equipment had really changed, though I really don’t know for sure. Hopefully it was just a fluke as I’ll be back to Jaxx this Friday to see Pentagram and The Gates Of Slumber. Also, though the lighting seemed to be upgraded, it’s almost all backlighting. This makes it hard to see any of the band members (besides the drummer in the back) when the spotlight isn’t on them. As you can see in the video below, most of the time they just appear as silhouettes. The stage sure is lit up, but the band members aren’t (at least not on the side facing the crowd). Combined with the fog machine, it was starting to look like just a big blur of stage lights. I’ll be interested to see what the place looks like for Kreator in March as they bring some great stage lighting with them. Overall the changes aren’t bad at all, though I’m sure some of the more die hard metal heads who have been going there for a while will take some time getting used to it.