Photos by: Dhruv Kumar
Words by: Kunal Singh
New York City, in Times Square, the crossroads of the world, there was a dark celebration. The most receptive and largest United States audience for the European (Polish) juggernaut Behemoth turned out in support. This night, November 3rd, 2018 would be a night of pure metal bliss.
The opening acts have performed. The crowd is primed. The stage is being set. Behind the veil of a translucent dark curtain, the stage was being prepped with serpentine microphone stands as the shadows teased the audience with their movements. The ambient dark chords of background music played with the only discernible audio being that of a chant “I shall not forgive”repeated for what seemed like an eternity. The roar of approval from the audience from the previous bands was so brilliantly quelled by this move, focusing and channeling the energy of the audience to one point. As the preparation was almost complete, the audience tension was broken with the sound personnel giving a “Hail Satan” and then the laughter turned to cheers. The lights went down, the PA got louder, and the show was about to commence.
Opening the show with “Wolves of Siberia,” Behemoth was alive! The band performed while wearing masks with draping cowls, signifying the beginning of a ritual. And a ritual indeed this night was. The new track which was actually a fan favorite was then thrust right into their beloved “Daimonos” as decade-long (and longer) fans let out a blast of energy that filled the walls of the PlayStation Theater.
Incense and offering were to follow, as Negral, the mighty frontman of Behemoth led the charge from stage to pit. “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” followed as did “Bartzabel” as the music went from simply energetic and intense to focused and noteworthy. The audience was firmly in the hands of Behemoth. Negral addressed the audience at one point of the night, telling their NYC crowd that this was the biggest audience they have played for in the US, and in a moment of candidness, we could see just how touched he was. Beyond the facepaint, and beyond the masks, we were all connected this night.
The band then continued their sonic assault with “Ov Fire and the Void” as “God = Dog” as this night of black metal carried on. The choreographed motions, the mist spraying, the jets of vapor, the lights, and the stage direction was all amazing. This was not just a night of music, as stated. This was a night of dark theater. Moments of face to face guitar and bass between Seth and Orion was a true sign that the band itself was loving this as much as the audience. There was something so celebratory of this night, that only those in attendance will know.
The night carried on with “Conquer All,” “Decade of Therion,” and “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” as brief moments of rest between songs had the audience and band itself catching their breaths. The stage presence was amazing, going from each side of their macabre stage, recognizing the crowd in all areas. This band was here to appreciate our fans and listeners as much as we were there for them.
The final stretch came after Negral made his aforementioned addressing to the audience, and they went on with “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel,” “Slaves Shall Serve,” the dark brooding “Chant for Eschaton 2000,” and “Lucifer.” The band ended the spectacular showcase with “We Are the Next 1000 Years” as the four members came to the stage as one, including Inferno (their amazing drummer) and played their final percussion cadence, shoulder to shoulder, as the four horsemen of metal adorned their masks once again, the ritual complete, and they walked off the stage in all black, into the black.