Words: Alan Daly
Pictures: (C) Olga Kuzmenko \ Olga Kuzmenko Photography
Postponed by a full year, almost to the day, the “European Siege Tour” finally kicks off in Dublin, bringing extreme metal legends Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Carcass, and Unto Others together for a run of shows not to be missed during its 6-week long jaunt throughout Europe and the UK.
Unfortunately, being midweek and with worsening traffic delays, we did indeed miss the two first bands of the night, and by the time we reached the iconic 3 Olympia Theatre, a site of live music and performance for over 150 years, the stage is being set for Arch Enemy. A bloodied curtain bearing the idiom “Pure Fucking Metal” conceals the busy goings-on behind as the already bustling audience regroups after what has been a well-received set by Liverpudlian legends Carcass just minutes earlier.
Pretty much bang on schedule, the house lights dim, and a symphonic intro blasts through the PA before the lightweight curtain drops and a wall of sound shakes the very foundations of this 19th-century building. The pseudo-title-track ‘Deceiver, Deceiver’ from their August 2022 release Deceivers is welcomed with cheers and hollers from obvious fans of the Swedish 5-piece melodic death metal stalwarts. Frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz is as charismatic as ever, lapping up the adoration and manipulating the audience with her charms. “This is fucking war!” she roars before literally kicking into ‘War Eternal’. On strings, founding guitarist Michael Amott, long-time bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, and relative newcomer Jeff Loomis deliver the goods and occasionally take center-stage for some fancy fretwork, but yet somehow seem less comfortable than Alissa. Luckily she has no shortage of enthusiasm and has the crowd chanting along on command. With a new album under their belt, they treat us to no less than 6 fresh tracks including the live debut of ‘Sunset over the Empire’. But of course, the loudest reaction from the audience comes from more familiar bangers like ‘My Apocalyse’ and ‘Nemesis’. Even to Alissa’s surprise, it has been eight years since Arch Enemy last visited Ireland. Here’s hoping the wait won’t be so long for the next.
While many saw tonight’s show as a co-headliner, many others had no doubts as to who should be top of the bill. Behemoth has been drawing bigger and better crowds to bigger and better venues each time they visit Ireland, a fact to be highlighted by frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski during one of his brief interactions with the audience, and tonight’s sold-out attendance is undoubtedly bolstered by their fans.
As before, a curtain shields our eyes from the load-in, and as the clock ticks past the scheduled stage time, the excitement on the floor is palpable. The lights dim once more. Powerful backlighting casts shadows of the provocative Poles as they take their places. Nergal even plays with the fabric as if to tease us as the music slowly builds. Then with a cheer from the crowd, the curtain falls, and ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ gets the show on the road. As anticipated, stage props, costumes, and face paints abound, and the atmosphere feels suitably sacrilegious. Like Arch Enemy, Behemoth has a brand new album behind them, and this means more live debut treats for the Irish crowd by way of ‘Thy Becoming Eternal’ and ‘Versvs Christvs’. Dense clouds of dry ice fog billow from either side of the drum riser, adding to the theatrical intro to the epic ‘Bartzabel’. ‘Christians to the Lions’ sees mosh pits opening up in various spots in the modest floor space. Behemoth indeed lives up to its name, delivering a beast of a performance and a spectacle that few touring bands have the balls to deliver. They may not be everyone’s musical cup of tea, but what they do, they do superbly.
The 12-song setlist lasts little over an hour, and although the quality is enough to satiate the legions, for now, the quantity undoubtedly leaves some with a taste for more. Luckily, the 30-date tour continues throughout Europe on the following schedule, for anyone thirsty for more:
07.10.2022 PT – Lisbon, Coliseu de Lisboa
08.10.2022 ES – Madrid, Palacio Vistalegre
09.10.2022 ES – Barcelona, Palau Sant Jordi
11.10.2022 FR – Lyon, Le Radiant
12.10.2022 IT – Milano, Alcatraz
14.10.2022 DE – Berlin, Columbiahalle
15.10.2022 CZ – Prague, Tipsport Arena
16.10.2022 HU – Budapest, Barba Negra
18.10.2022 AT – Vienna, Gasometer
19.10.2022 PL – Katowice, Spodek
21.10.2022 DE – Ludwigsburg, MHP Arena
22.10.2022 NL – Den Bosch, Mainstage Brabanthallen
23.10.2022 BE – Brussels, Forest National
25.10.2022 CH – Zurich, Samsung Hall
26.10.2022 DE – Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle
28.10.2022 DE – Munich, Zenith
29.10.2022 DE – Düsseldorf, Mitsubishi Electric Halle
30.10.2022 DE – Hamburg, edel-optics.de Arena
31.10.2022 SE – Gothenburg, Partille Arena
02.11.2022 FI – Helsinki, Ice Hall
04.11.2022 SE – Stockholm, Annexet
05.11.2022 DK – Copenhagen, Forum
06.11.2022 NO – Oslo, Sentrum Scene