Concert Review – Behemoth (The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, 11/06/2018)

Toronto definitely loves Behemoth at their darkest.

OPENING ACTS: Wolves In The Throne Room and At The Gates

If there’s one thing we cannot complain at all in Toronto is the fact that the winter never really hits us hard before the end of December, which means whenever there’s a concert like this Tuesday’s fantastic triumvirate of extreme music with Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates and the masters of blasphemy Behemoth at The Danforth Music Hall during their “Ecclesia Diabolica America 2018 e.v.” tour, you can rest assured it will never be too cold nor snowing, allowing any fan to attend the show and have a great time. Well, I guess even if it was -20oC and snowing like hell the concert would have been absolutely SOLD OUT like it actually happened, with about 1,500 metalheads at the venue, and the reason for that is quite simple. All three bands kicked some serious ass with their austere, obscure and hammering music, especially Behemoth, who put up another memorable performance in the city.

I have to admit I didn’t know much about American Atmospheric Black Metal act WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, formed in 2003 in the city of Olympia, Washington, in the United States, before their show opening for At The Gates and Behemoth this Tuesday, and I’m truly happy with them being chosen to do so. Still promoting their 2017 album Thrice Woven (available from their own BandCamp page), the  band comprised of Nathan Weaver on vocals and guitar, Kody Keyworth on the guitar and backing vocals, Peregrine Somerville also on the guitar, the stunning Brittany McConnell on keyboards and Aaron Weaver on drums (and no, they don’t have a bassist) delivered a solid, entertaining and mesmerizing show, playing only three songs but for around 30 minutes, just the way we love it in Atmospheric Black Metal. If you’re still going to see Behemoth during this North American tour, make sure you get to the venue on time for Wolves In The Throne Room, because watching them on stage is indeed a unique experience.

Setlist
Angrboda
The Old Ones Are With Us
Born From the Serpent’s Eye

Band members
Nathan Weaver – vocals, guitar
Kody Keyworth – guitar, backing vocals
Peregrine Somerville – guitar
Brittany McConnell – keyboards
Aaron Weaver – drums

After a quick break it was time for Gothenburg’s own Melodic Death Metal institution AT THE GATES to prove us all why they’re still one of the most relevant bands from the 90’s unparalleled Swedish scene, slaying everything and everyone throughout their entire concert. All fans at the venue enjoyed a lot the flammable performance by frontman Tomas Lindberg and his henchmen, including the songs from their brand new album To Drink from the Night Itself, such as the title-track and A Stare Bound in Stone. Not only their full concert was a feast of first-class old school and modern-day Melodic Death Metal, but it was nice to watch Mr. Adrian Erlandsson smashing his drums once again after so many years, as the last time I saw him playing live was when he was still drumming for Cradle Of Filth. A great drummer, an amazing and charismatic lead singer, and a very entertaining setlist. What else can you ask for in Melodic Death Metal made in the beautiful Sweden, right?

Setlist
Der Widerstand
To Drink From the Night Itself
Slaughter of the Soul
At War With Reality
A Stare Bound in Stone
Cold
El Altar del Dios Desconocido
Death and the Labyrinth
Heroes and Tombs
Suicide Nation
The Book of Sand (The Abomination)
Blinded by Fear
The Night Eternal

Band members
Tomas Lindberg – vocals
Martin Larsson – guitars
Jonas Stålhammar – guitars
Jonas Björler – bass
Adrian Erlandsson – drums 

BEHEMOTH

Right after At The Gates ended their show, the speakers started playing the devilish children’s choir from the awesome intro Solve, from BEHEMOTH’s blasphemous and totally amazing new opus I Loved You At Your Darkest, putting us all in a trance and warming up our senses for the storm of Blackened Death Metal we were all eager to witness once again in Toronto. And when our favorite Polish horde started their fulminating performance with Wolves ov Siberia, spearheaded as usual by the iconic Nergal, it was hell on earth at The Danforth Music Hall for the total delectation of the 1,500 fans who took the venue by storm.

Blending new songs from their latest albums I Loved You At Your Darkest, which by the way worked extremely well live like the hypnotizing chant Bartzabel and the beyond blasphemous Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica, and The Satanist, with the ominous hymns Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer (my favorite of the setlist) and Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel being a true invocation of evil, with old school material like the pulverizing Ov Fire and the Void, Slaves Shall Serve and Chant for Eschaton 2000, Nergal and his horde comprised of the extremely sharp and talented Seth on the guitar and backing vocals, the bulldozer Orion on bass and backing vocals, and the stone crusher Inferno on drums were on absolute fire from start to finish, worshiping Satan while delivering the best and most intricate fusion of classic and contemporary Death and Black Metal you can think of, with their masks, costumes and props being the icing on the cake. My only “complaint” is that they didn’t end the show with the fantastic O Father O Satan O Sun!, including those menacing horns and masks, but the closing combo Lucifer, We Are the Next 1000 Years  and the outro Coagvla were awesome anyway.

Not only Nergal was extremely happy and excited with the warm reception he received here in Toronto (not to mention the endless, incendiary circle pits beautifully crafted by their, let’s say, “most physical” fans), but seeing such packed venue made him pretty much promise us all that Behemoth will strike us Torontonians once again with their infernal music in a not-so-distant future, and we obviously can’t wait for another bestial performance by one of the most important extreme bands of the current metal scene. Lastly, on a side note, it looks like Behemoth love Toronto even more than we can imagine, as the Polish quartet from hell also played a 7-song setlist at a house party of one of Nergal’s friends the night before as you can see HERE, with the same intensity and energy of their usual concerts at much bigger places. I don’t mind not being invited for those parties as long as Behemoth keep coming back to the city with their insanely heavy and hellish concerts, but if by any chance anyone has a spare “ticket” for that type of event, why not? Just kidding, as I’m not that social, only a metalhead who loves when a band like Behemoth keeps spreading their black wings and unleashing hell upon the earth, showing their love for the city of Toronto as much as we love them back at their darkest.

Setlist
Solve
Wolves ov Siberia
Daimonos
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Bartzabel
Ov Fire and the Void
God = Dog
Conquer All
Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
Decade of Therion
Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
Lucifer
We Are the Next 1000 Years
Coagvla

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

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Album Review – Construct Of Lethe / The Grand Machination EP (2016)

The letters from Lucifer to archangels Gabriel and Michael after his fall to Earth as reimagined by Mark Twain, all embraced by a dark and dense atmosphere crafted by an amazing project led by veteran musician Tony Petrocelly.

Rating5

tgm-album-cover“Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm.” – Letters from the Earth, by Mark Twain

Taking inspiration from Letters from the Earth, a posthumously published work of American author Mark Twain (1835–1910) with the title story consisting of eleven letters written by the archangel Satan after the fall (as he views the rise and fall of Christ) to archangels Gabriel and Michael about his observations on the curious proceedings of earthly life and the nature of man’s religion, The Grand Machination, the brand new EP by American Death Metal band Construct Of Lethe, will fulfill your needs of well-written extreme music with a dense and meaningful storyline complementing all the reverberation and aggressiveness flowing from the instruments.

Although the band is based in the city of Woodbridge, located in Northern Virginia, in the United States, Construct of Lethe are an international musical collective representing both the simultaneous culmination and dissolution of numerous bands and projects such as Against the Gods, Bethledeign, Xaoc, Dead Syndicate and Pain Tank. Formed in 2010 by multi-instrumentalist Tony Petrocelly, the band released on the first day of 2016 their debut full-length album, entitled Corpsegod, but it seems Tony and his henchmen didn’t want to wait too long to provide their fans another blast of their technical and dark Death Metal, culminating with the release of The Grand Machination in the beginning of October. Featuring an obscure cover art by Paul Gerrard and with vocalist David Schmidt reinterpreting and perverting Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth, The Grand Machination brings forward a fresh view of the story for the ones who have already read the book, and a fantastic introduction to anyone who’s in touch with it for the very first time.

In the opening track, titled Lux in Tenebris (“light in the darkness”), an ominous intro is joined by dark and heavy guitars before a demonic fusion of Death and Doom Metal impregnates the air, with Dave sounding like a poet from the underworld declaiming the song’s beautiful lyrics (“Embrace me Thanatos that I might fall / Seduce me Hypnos that I might lap the silver waters and forget / But lo, at his heel bone I stood shackled and forced to witness / My glass eyes were held open by another’s will”). In addition, veteran drummer Kevin Talley, who has already worked with renowned bands such as Suffocation, Six Feet Under and DevilDriver as well as underground bands reviewed by The Headbanging Moose like Omega Diatribe and ThrOes, makes sure his beats reach the perfect level of complexity and obscurity requested, enhancing the song’s impact on the listener.

construct-of-letheDeath and Doom Metal are then joined by hints of Black Metal mainly due to the blast beats by Kevin, consequently making the whole ambience even more frightful, in Ascendit Ex Inferos (“he ascended from hell”), with its lyrics reaching a whole new level of obscurity (“Hear uttered a child’s creation / Upon festering incantations carried with miasmic breath / Logic castration, a eunuch of natural order”). Furthermore, it’s Tony who steals the spotlight with his cutting riffs in this maleficent tune, supported by Patrick Bonvin and his excellent solos. Then it’s time for the entire band to increase their brutality and fire the most demonic of all songs, titled Apotheosis Calvarium, where Death and Black Metal are united in a putrid and menacing way and Patrick once again delivers his share of amazing guitar solos, while Dave is the devil incarnate on vocals just the way the concept of the album demands.

Expandentes Putrescat (“spreading rot”) is where Construct Of Lethe get truly blackened, an intricate composition showcasing bestial drums and flammable guitars, surrounded by a hellish atmosphere that goes on until the song’s eerie conclusion; followed by Bibere Venenum in Auro (“drink poison in gold”), a traditional Death Metal song with highlights to the grotesque growls by Dave and the barbaric aura crafted by Kevin behind his drums. Yet again, Patrick keeps firing his old school solos nonstop, adding more electricity to this dense and somber chant. Lastly, the title-track The Grand Machination brings more darkness to the listener with its melodious guitars and Doom Metal-inspired drumming. The second half of the song leans towards a crude mix of Black and Death Metal, with its neck-breaking riff accompanying Dave and his Stygian poetic growls as the proper conclusion to this disturbing album.

You can visit the band’s official Facebook for more details on their music, listen to their obscure Death Metal on their YouTube channel (where you can take a shot at the entire EP, by the way), and you can grab a digital copy of the album at their BandCamp page, which includes instrumental demo versions of two of the regular album songs with a Cannibal Corpse-inspired vibe as bonus tracks. In Letters from the Earth, there’s an excerpt about the Bible that says “it is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.” Well, maybe we should say the same about The Grand Machination, adding to that the album’s excellent riff-writing and demonic ambience. I bet Mark Twain and Lucifer would both agree with us on that.

Best moments of the album: Apotheosis Calvarium and The Grand Machination.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Edgewood Arsenal Records

Track listing
1. Lux in Tenebris 4:48
2. Ascendit Ex Inferos 2:42
3. Apotheosis Calvarium 5:26
4. Expandentes Putrescat 5:03
5. Bibere Venenum in Auro 3:16
6. The Grand Machination 4:13

Digital Edition bonus tracks
7. Apotheosis Calvarium (demo version) 2:12
8. Bibere Venenum in Auro (demo version) 2:15

Band members
Dave Schmidt – vocals
Tony Petrocelly – guitar, bass
Patrick Bonvin – lead guitars

Guest musician
Kevin Talley – drums