Decibel Tour @ The Bottom Lounge, Chicago (US)

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BEHEMOTH / THE DEVIL’S BLOOD / IN SOLITUDE / WOLVHAMMER

Date: 13th April, 2012
Venue: The Bottom Lounge
Ticket: $30 (€23)
Promoter: Decibel Magazine


DimK: It was the end of an exhausting week with many things to do and even more to organize, so a hearty billing was the only way to get some rest. Plus, it was Friday the 13th and the orthodox Easter two days ahead, so METAL KAOZ commenced the festivities by attending the ‘Decibel Magazine Tour’ with some evil inspired music. Nice, don’t you think?

WATAIN had to cancel the first US live dates of this tour since they had some visa troubles (I wonder if it is so difficult to plan ahead…), so WOLVHAMMER were chosen to fill the gap. As I said, it was a tough week and hence it was kind of impossible to get there before the first band had entered the stage. Upon entering the sold-out The Bottom Lounge, we saw WOLVHAMMER performing the setlist closer. For what I witnessed, the US band sounded awesome musically with Black Metal foundations and a solid sludge backbone. But the ultra-screaming (ok, I understand this is a Sludge must) were too much for my taste, although I have acknowledge them for the tight and most atmospheric performance.

WOLVHAMMER

Wolvhammer @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

Wolvhammer @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: The last IN SOLITUDE album was not a perfect match to the self-titled debut, but the Swedes are a guarantee onstage even though the space limitations meant no proper stage setup. And I am talking about the inverted cross and the candles that usually dress the band’s performance as I remember it from the ‘Keep It True’ show, some years ago. The band got onstage in full speed without taking some time to warm up. No, it was pedal to the Metal following the riff driven “We Were Never Here”. But the sound was not as it should be and the vocals were lost in the mix taking away some of that MERCYFUL FATE magik IN SOLITUDE have in their music. On the other hand, there was no holding back in terms of energy having on the spearhead the two Åhmans, Pelle and Gottfrid. Especially the Pelle seemed wire-up and there were times it felt kind of unsettling watching him ‘hitting’ himself with the microphone.

As I said, the vocals were nowhere to be found but that did not stop the two axemen who did amazingly well delivering the double guitar harmonies and serving the leads in that vintage feeling I like in IN SOLITUDE. So, I enjoyed to the maximum “Witches Sabbath” (what a MERCYFUL FATE song that is!) and the surprise cover to SAMHAIN’s “Mother Of Mercy” that I later discover was released as part of the “Decibel Flexi Series”. If I remember correctly IN SOLITUDE also played “The World. The Flesh. The Devil” and “Demons”, wrapping up the setlist as tight as possible. Sure, the US audience was not aware of this most promising band, but I think IN SOLITUDE gained some followers granted that those had managed to overcome the sound issue on the vocals. I hope there will be a second chance…

IN SOLITUDE

In Solitude @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Solitude @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Solitude @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Solitude @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: It’s a well known fact that the Dutch occult rockers THE DEVIL’S BLOOD is a hell of a band; having three extraordinary releases in their catalogue is a given fact and I think no doubts fit here. Also, F’s voice is an angelic-driven force, guiding every faithful fan to the light – fact #2. The thing I didn’t know till the time the blood soaked sextet had stepped onstage (and you, I guess, in case you haven’t experienced yet THE DEVIL’S BLOOD phenomenon) is how astonishing these guys sound when in action. Of course, 50 minutes are not enough to feel the entire spirit of the Devil’s spilled blood, but in the case of the ‘Decibel’ tour, their presence, right before the headliners BEHEMOTH show, fitted like a velvet bloody glove in a left hand.

The groovy “On The Wings Of Gloria” was the chosen track to induct the crowd into the band’s secret, bloody music paths (who was pretty much irrelative to this band’s mysticism and spirit, and to be more precise, it seems that in the States, any occult Rock band has became in fashion for the teenagers, just to grab the chance and yell the name of Satan out loud, thinking that they’ve done something ‘evil’ or great – well, you actually have not). The sound was great, bringing out every riffage detail (and having three guitars onstage is not an easy task, my friends, not at all), Selim’s fingers spited fire and magik melodies, while F’s stage presence was quite baronial and simple, just as I had imagined to be, fitting perfectly to the band’s music.

“River Of Gold” and my favorite “Fire Burning”’ came next, making me think how great is to watch musicians communicate with a glimpse of an eye, while their passion to deliver every tune as it is present in the CD was quite remarkable. “She” and the devout intro of “Voodoo Dust” was a hell of experience to watch live, and if there is an occult vintage Rock band out there able to deliver music way better than the audio result of studio’s ‘shelter’ that is THE DEVIL’S BLOOD, ladies and gentlemen! The way Selim and his guitar companions delivered the same riff for more than 10 minutes without being boring at all (on the contrary, it was so enjoyable to watch them covered in blood, while they were playing the same notes but with their own solo-laden manner!) is for seminar to every band out there who believes that belongs to this genre. “Christ Or Cocaine” was the closing track of an awesome performance and I have to give extra kudos to the three guitarists for sending us in a parallel universe during the extended guitar solo that proved once again the great chemistry of the band.

As a side note I have to comment on an incident that, even I despise violence, I found the outcome quite relieving. You see, one youngster who had too much beer for his young brain to handle though it was a great move to push everyone in the front lines just to get in front of Selim and disrupt his guitar playing with his ridiculous gestures. Well, a bloody nose a couple minutes later solved this issue and everything was back to normal. There should be some kind of training for those youngsters in order to understand these guys onstage are in fact working for your listening pleasure…

As for me, I hope to have the chance to watch this amazing band really soon (I’d prefer to catch them somewhere in Europe though), but as headliners this time, in a full mystical THE DEVIL’S BLOOD show. The blood was spilled!

THE DEVIL’S BLOOD setlist:

01. “On The Wings Of Gloria”
02. “River Of Gold”
03. “Fire Burning”
04. “She”
05. “Voodoo Dust”
06. “Christ Or Cocaine”

THE DEVIL'S BLOOD

The Devil's Blood @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Devil's Blood @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Devil's Blood @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

The Devil's Blood @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Devil's Blood @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) The Devil's Blood @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: Last time I had watched live the Polish Black/Death Metal machine named BEHEMOTH was in 2008 as a supporting act to CRADLE OF FILTH, so there has been a lot of water under the bridge. Of course, I am referring to the religion stupid-based legal issues and on top of everything Nergal’s battle against leukaemia. It’s amazing and spin-chilling watching him entering the stage fuelled by the will to live and do what he like the most: play Metal and deliver the evil inspired gospel of BEHEMOTH the way the fans love it. And that is fast, loud and heavy taking over the venue with “Ov Fire And The Void”. The sound was amazing and the bass drum pedalling was there to destroy our ear drums. Nergal’s vocals came straight from Hell as he sung the opening lyrics I the Sun ov man, the offspring ov the stellar race”, spreading waves of enthusiasm to the packed venue and the first mosh-pit was in full action, no questions asked. The light show was also great (and a little blinding) supporting BEHEMOTH’s show as they moved onstage with many already rehearsed moves. There was always symmetry upon the stage and it was quite a sight watching the band members changing positions in a constant motion, giving the impression that this was a natural thing (after all this time maybe it has become natural). A short pause for the pre-record intro and things became even more violent with the fast and bone crushing “Demigod”. Nergal was in great shape and from the very first moments he was in total connection with the US fans who seemed ecstatic watching the onstage happenings and the entire Black Metal aesthetics.

Just before “Conquer All” Nergal stepped in the microphone, spread his hands and screamed “It’s great to be alive!” sending shivers down my spine. I am not sure if everyone got this message right, but he has won an uneven battle against a disease who knows no genres, no political or religious beliefs or whatever discriminations the majority of the human race uses to divide right from wrong. This loud and powerful statement was the perfect intro for “Conquer All” and the awesome riff collection.

This type of Metal means mosh-pits, headbanging and a great deal of pushing around but still things can be controlled in a way those who want just to watch the show. So, I had zero tolerance for those empty-heads who thought it’s a nice idea waving your beer around to show the band your enthusiasm. I strongly believe those should spend some time in their home to sit and grow some brain; it would be for the benefit of all of us.

I have to admit that the band’s pre-defined moves made me feel like I was watching a movie since the ritual was pretty match the following: song-band leaves the stage-intro-song. Nevertheless, this is the way this band operates, so I am in no position to judge. This minor complaint did not stand in my way to enjoy the ultra fast “Decade Of Therion” and the super evil “At The Left Hand Ov God” (love the artificial harmonics here) that was deliver by Nergal with impressive passion. “Chant For Eschaton 2000” (amazing riff here) sounded the end of the regular setlist but no one moved an inch, demanding for an encore. And so it happened as BEHEMOTH retuned with “23 (The Youth Manifesto)” and “Lucifer”. During the first one Nergal wore something like a crown and in the second the trademark wooden-like mask. Once again I got the chance to feast with my ears the awesome guitar work during the intro of “23 (The Youth Manifesto)” while “Lucifer” put a fitting ending to a great show by the Polish band, getting everyone in the mood for the Easter celebrations…

Really, there are no complaints here apart from the lousy sound on the vocals during the IN SOLITUDE set and the ultra childish behaviour of the young metalheads who once again chanted Satan, Satan before BEHEMOTH’s show and had no clue what THE DEVIL’S BLOOD were all about… Is there any hope they will learn?

BEHEMOTH setlist:

01. “Ov Fire And The Void”
02. “Demigod”
03. “Moonspell Rites”
04. “Conquer All”
05. “The Thousand Plagues I Witness”
06. “Alas, Lord Is Upon Me”
07. “The Seed Ov I”
08. “Decade Of Therion”
09. “At The Left Hand Ov God”
10. “Slaves Shall Serve”
11. “Chant For Eschaton 2000”
12. “23 (The Youth Manifesto)”
13. “Lucifer”

BEHEMOTH

Behemoth @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Behemoth @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Behemoth @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Behemoth @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Behemoth @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Behemoth @ The Bottom Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)