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BEHEMOTH / CRADLE OF FILTH / In Solitude / Inquisition / Svarttjern @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark

BEHEMOTH / CRADLE OF FILTH / In Solitude / Inquisition / Svarttjern
in Wednesday, 26 February 2014 at Amager Bio
by Erika Kuenstler

 
The “Satan Wants Your Children Tour” co-headlined by BEHEMOTH and CRADLE OF FILTH set a blazing trail of chaos across Europe over the last month, and I got to see this spectacular gig not only on its very first night in Munich, Germany, but also on one of the last shows in Copenhagen, Denmark. And by all that is dark and sacrilegious, what a tour it was!

First up on stage were SVARTTJERN, one of the elite Black Metal bands with a legitimate claim to the banner of True Norwegian Black Metal. This band had a bit of a rocky start, with their vocalist HansFyrste pulling out of the tour at short notice. Although managing to bring in their former bassist as a replacement, the newly released album “Ultimatum Necrophilia” meant that Terror had a lot of new material to learn, and not much time to do it in. This was reflected in their performance in Munich, in which timing difficulties between the vocalist and the rest of the band were clearly evident to those who know SVARTTJERN’s music well. However, as the tour has progressed, SVARTTJERN have tightened up considerably, and the Copenhagen show was certainly a success. Although some of their songs like “Hellig Jord” and “Stillborn Acolyte” were performed on par with the album versions, SVARTTJERN did also spice up some of their other tracks. For example, in “Breathing Soil”, the vocal sections were slowed down whilst  the instrumental sections were played at a faster tempo, giving the song a whole new dynamic, whilst the snare drumming during “Hymns for the Molested” was more pronounced, lending the track a more militant feel. With a perfectly balanced setlist in which each of SVARTTJERN’s three albums was represented, this band definitely got the crowd warmed up.

Setlist:

1. Upon Human Ending
2. Breathing Soil
3. Ultimatum Necrophilia
4. Hellig Jord
5. Stillborn Acolyte
6. Hymns for the Molested
7. Code Human

Next was INQUISITION, a band that has achieved cult-like status in its 25 year history. This band is one of the most distinctive Black Metal bands I’ve ever come across, for several reasons. One of the most surprising aspects of seeing this band live is the sheer heaviness that can be mustered by just two men. Many people in the audience who clearly had never seen INQUISITTION before had incredulous looks on their faces, completely blown away by the utter brutal darkness emanating from this duo. Incubus ranks highly amongst my favourite all-round drummers: he may not be the fastest or the most technical drummer around, but he most certainly has showmanship, which is an impressive feat for someone who is hidden behind a drum kit. From hailing the crowd with his drumsticks forming upside-down crosses, to practiced twirls of his sticks mid-song, to standing up whilst playing at the same time, and all without missing a single beat, Incubus undoubtedly has more stage presence than most drummers. What is also striking is that Incubus incorporates a style of drumming more commonly associated with Death Metal into the music, yet he does so in a way that is detracts nothing from a true Black Metal sound. Dagon, the vocalist and guitarist, is also not without distinctive traits. Well known for his very unique, reptilian-sounding vocal style, Dagon is the only man I have ever seen who needs three microphones: one in the centre, and one microphone on either extreme of the stage. Having perfected the “crab-walk” commonly associated with IMMORTAL’s Abbath, Dagon spent much of the set scuttling to and fro, pausing at each mic to deliver a salvo of purely infernal riffage and inhuman chants. With the album “Obscure Verses for the Multiverse” having been released just last year, the setlist combined newer material like “Force of the Floating Tomb” with older and more revered classics such as “Crush the Jewish Prophet”, which was much appreciated by their followers.
 
The third band of the night was the most random addition to this tour’s line-up: the Swedish Heavy Metal / Hard Rock band IN SOLITUDE. Whilst not being a bad band, their inclusion on this tour was rather unexpected. After the blasphemous and satanic sermons delivered by SVARTTJERN and INQUISITION, both of whom came on stage bedecked in inverted crosses, nail-studded leather gauntlets, and corpse-paint, the appearance of a bunch of young guys in skinny jeans left much of the crowd looking jaded. One guy next to me at the Munich gig even nodded off. I didn’t know whether to be more impressed that the band actually put someone to sleep, or by the fact that this guy could slumber so peacefully in the tumultuous atmosphere of a metal concert. Clearly even CRADLE OF FILTH had some concerns about how the audience would react to IN SOLITUDE, with Dani Filth hovering in the side-lines throughout their set in Munich, keeping an eye on them, much like an anxious parent watches over their child on the first day of school. To their credit though, IN SOLITUDE did not let the under-enthusiastic crowd deter them, and performed their set with relentless energy and passion. With the recent release of their third album “Sister”, the majority of their setlist promoted their new material, featuring songs like “Sister”, “Death Knows Where”, “Lavender”, and “Horses in the Ground”, although the band did also play a few of their older tracks like “Witches Sabbath”.

Setlist:

1. Death Knows Where
2. Lavender
3. Horses in the Ground
4. A Buried Sun
5. Sister
6. Witches Sabbath
 


 
The greatest crowd-pullers of the show were definitely BEHEMOTH, currently promoting their newly released album “The Satanist”. Despite the mixed reactions fans have had to the new album, one thing is clear: these men have perfected the art of showmanship, and put on a spectacular live act. Let me give you an inkling of how the show in Munich started: As the lights go out, a curtain of smoke drifts across the stage, and out of this misty shroud appears the ever-charismatic frontman Nergal, carrying aloft a lone candle in the dark. Draped in a cowl, he has the air of a enigmatic monk performing a time-revered ancient ritual.  Nergal treads across the stage, his eyes never leaving the light he cradles so reverently in the palm of his hands, despite the unbridled cheers of the crowd. Pausing at his altar-like mic stand, he raises this flickering flame up towards the heavens, a look of devout adoration crossing his face. Then, with a deliberate glance at the spellbound audience, Nergal opens his hands, plunging both the candle and the captivated onlookers into darkness. And that was just the intro, never mind the absolutely phenomenal performance that followed. A BEHEMOTH concert is truly something for all your senses: from the powerful and commanding music that assaults your ears, to the smell of the incense burning in a thurible, to the sights of scorching columns of flames and inverted crosses consumed by fire, to the feel of a flurry of black snowstorm rained down on the crowd in Munich, to the taste of the fake blood spewed onto those in the front row, every sense is fully engaged. Playing classics such as “At the Left Hand ov God”, “Decade of Theiron”, “As Above, so Below”, “Ov Fire and the Void”, and “Christians to the Lions” as well as a few tracks from their new album, namely the title track “The Satanist”, “Blow your Trumpets Gabriel”, “Furor Divinis”, and, as an encore, “O Father O Satan O Sun!”, BEHEMOTH absolutely blew the crowd away.

Setlist:

1. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
2. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
3. Conquer All
4. Decade of Therion
5. As Above So Below
6. Slaves Shall Serve
7. Christians to the Lions
8. Hidden in a Fog
9. The Satanist
10. Ov Fire and the Void
11. Furor Divinus
12. Alas, Lord Is Upon Me
13. At the Left Hand ov God
14. Chant for Eschaton 2000
15. O Father O Satan O Sun!
 


 
By comparison, CRADLE OF FILTH’s performance was rather simplistic and tame, with no use of any form of stage props other than Dani’s iconic mic stand, Lindsay’s intricately designed keyboard, and a projector screening clips of some of CRADLE OF FILTH’s music videos as well as other horror-oriented imagery so commonly associated with the band. However, what they lacked in fancy props was made up for by Dani’s restless energy and engaging stage presence. This tour marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of their very first album “The Principles of Evil Made Flesh”, resulting in anthems such as “Summer Dying Fast” seeing the light of day once more, in addition to rarer tracks like “A Dream of Wolves in the Snow”. More common crowd-pleasers such as “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids”, “Born in a Burial Gown”, “Nymphetamine (Fix)”, and “Her Ghost in the Fog” were also played, much to the delight of their fans. Although both guitarists pulled out of the tour just over a week before the first show, both of the gigs I saw were of an excellent calibre, with no hint that there were any disruptions in the line-up. But then again, I would expect nothing less of such seasoned veterans of the Metal scene.

Setlist:

1. Cthulhu Dawn
2. A Dream of Wolves in the Snow
3. Summer Dying Fast
4. The Principle of Evil Made Flesh
5. Beneath the Howling Stars
6. For Your Vulgar Delectation
7. Haunted Shores
8. Nymphetamine (Fix)
9. Born in a Burial Gown
10. Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
11. Her Ghost in the Fog
12. Ave Satani
13. Funeral in Carpathia
 



 

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