It’s always a pleasure to see a show at my favourite venue Metropolis, which was originally opened in 1884 as a skating rink. Over one hundred years later and after a number of theatres, cinemas, fires, and clubs, in 1997 it finally became the live performance venue we know today. It is now ranked by Pollstar as the worlds 9th top club venue.
Few words describe the evening’s music: brutal, merciless and uninhibited. This music is not for the faint of heart and for those not indoctrinated, it can be a shocking experience.
Sitting center stage at the top of the balcony overlooking a sea of primarily black, you could feel the vibe of anticipation from the gathered fans. Very few late-comers for this show, and it was fairly full by the time Tribulation hit the stage. Incense was burning, their skeleton-angel flag was draped behind them, and the drummer began with a small clang of his ‘zills’. Starting off gently, these four Swedes quickly reminded everyone what they had come out to hear and see: metal. The pit was substantial by the end of the first track. The second track was very drum intensive from Jakob Johansson, and lead vocalist and bass player Johannes blessed the crowd. My favorite track was “When The Sky Is Black With Devils.” Very creative guitar work from both Adam Zaars and Jonathan Hultén, which they performed flawlessly.
After about a fifteen-minute changeover and swapping the flags to a giant Pentagram and 666 with their name across it, Aeon came out swinging. This group of five Swedes exemplify death metal. Vocalist Tommy Dahlström commanded the stage and the crowd with little prompting as the pit grew in intensity. In between tracks he addressed the audience with his thick Swedish accent: “You guys are fuckin’ nuts and I love dat.” There ensued yet another crazy track with awesome guitars by Zeb Nilsson and Ronnie Björnström, and Tony Östman on bass. At about this point I’m almost sure I saw a body surfer get punched in the groin by a bouncer who was doing so to avoid a boot to the face. The last track they played “Forever Nailed” was maybe the most fierce of their set and Emil Wiksten absolutely killed his drum kit.
Next on stage and giving their fans exactly what they wanted were the twenty-five year veterans Cannibal Corpse. Paul Mazurkiewicz was on an elevated drum kit with the bands famous logo behind and his bands mates spread out in front. Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett on guitar, Alex Webster on bass and Nathan Explosion… I mean George Fisher on vocals. They opened with “Scourge of Iron” and the pit was the biggest I’ve seen in a while. The set that followed was a mix of old and new tracks. “Kill or Become” from their latest album A Skeletal Domain was awesome to hear live for the first time.
Fisher addressed the crowd and made it clear that everyone’s girlfriends were there for him before lunging into fan favorite “I Cum Blood.” He then issued his customary head banging challenge: to keep up with him, in which “All Will Fail.” One would think his neck is broken by now but instead its growing into its own sentient being. They finished up with “Hammer Smashed Face” and “Devoured By Vermin” as an encore for the crowds fulfillment, though they were left wanting more.
Last but not least and certainly the most theatrical of the night was the Polish Black/Death Metal band Behemoth. For their thelemic-themed set they had a completely new stage arrangement. There was an elevated kit for the accomplished drummer, Inferno, that had small platforms on either side with banners behind featuring double-headed eagles with wings spread wide. Combined with the lighting, when Seth on guitar and Orion on bass were standing on the side platforms it appeared as though they had wings. Front-man Nergal, who is also the bands founder, lyricist, main composer and manager, came out on stage carrying two torches which he threw aside as he approached his altar-like mic stand. They opened with “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” and the crowd loved it. At this point the floor was as dense as possible and the place was heating up. Mid set they played “Ov Fire and the Void” and the crowd was not letting up, thrashing about, chanting and singing along. For the encore all members were sporting their horns while they played “Chant for Eschaton 2000” and “O Father O Satan O Sun!”
Satisfied with the nights events the fans shuffled out and dispersed. This was the best type of show, midsize venue, great bands and amazing crowd.
Written by Joey Beaudin