TVD Live Shots: Behemoth at the
O2 Forum Kentish
Town, 2/8

Behemoth is a fascinating band on so many levels. For one, they’ve transcended labels. They started off embracing the qualities of Polish black metal more than a decade ago, to pushing the boundaries of what the genre can become with their latest critically acclaimed masterpiece. Secondly, you have one of the most identifiable, relatable, and inspirational frontmen in the business in Nergal.

He doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not. Maybe that’s because he’s living life on his terms and has no time for the bullshit opinions of others. This guy stared death the face, then took it out back and beat the shit out of it.

To those who only look at Behemoth’s dark and disturbing imagery, it would be easy to pass them off as caricatures. But if you dig in, it’s remarkable to see a band take both their visuals and themes to the heights that they achieve. They expertly weave dark religious themes with the heaviest of heavy metal. Throw in a bit of middle eastern flair and experimental noise, and you have the makings for one of the most unique bands over the past several years.

The show at the sold-out O2 Forum in north London was like the live unpacking of a nightmare. The crowd was going bonkers from beginning to end. There are no “hits” to be found, but the band rightfully pulled heavily from last year’s I Loved You at Your Darkest. It was as if hell had been recreated on stage and I sat patiently waiting for the oversized arm of Satan himself to burst through the smoke at any given moment and condemn us all. In other words, it was my favorite show of the year so far.

Even though the band has nearly a dozen studio albums, I recommend starting with their highly celebrated 2014 release The Satanist and then diving into last year’s stellar I Loved You at Your Darkest. If you dig these two records then brace yourself for the band’s brutal earlier stuff. But don’t say you weren’t warned. I stumbled upon this band a few years ago based on their image and visuals, but I ended up staying for the story and the music.

I suggest you find your own path to celebrate this band as they are the future of all things heavy. Oh, and pick up frontman Nergal’s book Confessions of a Heretic. It’s one of the most fascinating reads I’ve ever encountered, not just as a metal fan, but as a fan of curiosity and creativity. This guy is something special both on and off the stage.

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