November 11, 2018 – A night of many firsts for me as it was the first time I have ever been at The Truman and it was the first time I have ever seen Wolves in the Throne Room and At The Gates! The cold autumn air brought forth a chill in the air in Kansas City and the weather called for snow. Luckily, we were all tucked inside this venue with drinks flowing and loud music to keep us warm. At 7:30 PM sharp, the lights dimmed and the crowd roared. Wolves in the Throne Room took the stage.
The guitars roared loudly as they ripped into their set, which only consisted of 3 songs permitting the short time that they had. Within 30 minutes, the band played the first 3 songs off of their newest album Thrice Woven. Starting with “Angrboda”, we were greeted with great amounts of atmospheric black metal, probably the most this venue and city has ever seen. Wolves in the Throne Room’s production was damn good for an opening act but it was also very stripped down. Very little was used outside of lighting and instrumentation but they utilized it to it’s fullest, combine that with the way these three songs flow and you have a damn fine black metal atmosphere. The crowd was in awe….as was I.
At The Gates came in and absolutely tore it down and Kansas City loved every second of it. The band played a coupled of news tracks from their latest album and several track off of their 2015 album At War With Reality but also gave a heaping dish of tracks from their classic album Slaughter of the Soul! This mix of 60% new and 40% old material was enough to delight fans from all generations. The crowd got rowdy, the drinks kept flowing and people started to wake up and have fun during At The Gates’ set. They were perfect in their performance and the on stage production was minimal but exciting. It mainly consisted of flashing strobe lights and back and forth with colors. Yet, they didn’t need anything else as it wasn’t necessary, At The Gates kicked our asses with their brand of Swedish melodic death metal.
Behemoth had us in anticipation for awhile as a looping remix of the kid’s choir from “Solve” played for a solid 30 minutes while the band’s crew setup the stage. When the lights finally dimmed though I could feel my heart in my throat. My expectations were already high and I have been following Nergal closely on Instagram, so I kinda knew what to expect to a certain degree. However, when Behemoth took to the stage donning these skeletal masks and the beginning of “Wolves ov Siberia” kicked in and then the fun started. The crowd went nuts, the lights danced to the music that Nergal and company played loudly and thus the experience began.
“Daimonos” was next on the list and the band roared through this song (after taking off their masks), showing their faces and playing for us with 100% energy and intensity. “Oro Pro Nobis Lucifer” was the next song and once the drum pattern kicked in for the first verse, the pit opened up and the mosh pit grew 300% during this song. This pleased Behemoth as they played with fire in their veins and enjoyed the crowds energy.
“Bartzabel” played next and it was great for several reasons. It gave the pit a chance to breathe and rest, it gave the headbangers a moment to focus, it gave those who knew the lyrics a voice to shout it back to the band. This track in particular was very neat to watch. Nergal remained focused and played his rhythmic parts. Seth nailed the tremolo sections and guitar solo of the song. The lighting was perfect and the song was rather….relaxing to witness in a live setting.
Things got interesting during the song “Ov Fire and The Void”, anytime the opening riff gets played, Nergal and Orion stomp and this high velocity fog gets shot out and it’s wickedly loud and fast. It was gnarly to see and this isn’t the only time this gets used. “God = Dog” was a hit with the crowd as the high energy of the crowd matched the bands fast tempo during the opening sequence and first verse. This song was great live and it looked like everyone involved, crowd or on stage, was having a blast!
After Nergal discussed about conquering fear, we must conquer all. So you guessed it, Behemoth tore into “Conquer All” and the crowd went wild. The pit was bigger than ever, the band was on fire yet again and energies from everyone were at an all time high! After this sonic energy moment, the band came back to ILYAYD era music with “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica”, which kept the crowd going and kept the remaining attendees in awe. Shortly after they finished this song, they blazed into “Decade ov Therion”, a CLASSIC Behemoth song for those who have been a fan of them for a long long time.
“Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” was next and it was a fantastic moment of the night when we swayed and was spellbound by the magick happening on stage. Near the end of the song though, when the band fires it up and kicks our asses, the crowd turned into a category 4 whirlwind of bodies. Speaking of whirlwind, shit went absolutely bananas during “Slaves Shall Serve”, which is nearly 3 minutes of furious energy, guitar riffs and blast beats. Also, that guitar solo was nailed brilliantly. Nicely done.
Mouths full of blood, the bass drum starts and Seth begins the tremolo riff to start “Chant for Eschaton 2000” and this gets the crowd even more rowdy. The pit grew larger and the band destroyed us all. They thanked us for coming and pretended to head off stage….but I knew they weren’t done yet.
It’s dark and creepily quiet considering how loud the venue was for the past hour. The inverted crucifixes were back lit with a bright red LED and hauntingly red lights gleamed across the black space. Figures start to appear from the darkness, the biggest figure being Orion, who is wearing a headdress that was massive. Nergal changes into a bigger leather jacket filled with spikes, Seth is also now wearing a black metal coat and the gang is all ready for worship and they begin the song “Lucifer”, which is an eight minute track that is slow and powerful, completely praising the beast himself. This song was fucking wicked to witness again, this time they stepped it up a notch in theatrics.
Ending their set, Behemoth flew into “We Are The Next 1000 Years”, which is a bad ass song and it translates well live. It’s wildly heavy but maintains a super epic black metal feel with it’s riffs. Once this concludes, all goes black again and “Coagvla” begins to play over the PA. Towards the end of the track, 4 figures emerge from the fog and begin playing along on their drums in a tribal manner. This was an epic way to end the show and I was left with my jaw on the floor. What an amazing show!
Like I mentioned in the beginning, my expectations were already high. I have seen Behemoth 4 times before and I know they put on a great show. Seeing what Nergal posts on social media, I thought I already knew what to expect. Even writing as much as I did, it does not fathom how theatrical and moving the experience was for me. It was more than music. It was more than worship. It was more than art. This was a life experience and I was floored by the amount of hard work Behemoth put into their live show. It’s been over 10 years since the first time I saw them and I never thought in my life they would achieve such a thing with their art. I am glad I was privileged enough to have witnessed this show for myself. Thank you for this. All hail Behemoth.
Photography by Ulfhednar Photography (except the header image)