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BEHEMOTH – NYC

 
A few nights have passed since All Hallows’ Eve, but New York City will not let go of that energy. 

On this night, the streets are filled with tourist and doomsday preachers. The off and on rain added to the mystique of what was about to happen inside the Playstation Theater. While many agree that the hokey nature of black metal imagery has passed its prime, those in the audience might have missed the original black metal movement when it made a ruckus back in the mid-1980’s.
This image works for a band like Behemoth. Hailing from Poland, they have been on the scene since 1991. They are currently on tour in support of their newest album “I Loved You at Your Darkest.” As lead singer Negral, and his acolytes took the stage, they made sure to make a visual impact by donning their spooky masks. They opened with “Wolves Ov Siberia” from the new album. It must be hard wearing the masks, as they removed them, showing the gimmicky corpse paint. This is a look inspired by Screaming Lord Sutch, who originated it back in the early 60’s. 
   
Behemoth is one of the few bands in the black metal genre that are making strides to rise above the typical stereotypes of the genre. The previous record, “The Satanist,” set the standard for Behemoth’s music, and much of that sound from that record was prominently featured in this show. The stand out track of the night was “God=Dog,” probably because of the catchy title. That said, “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” and “Bartzabel” were greeted with many devil horns held high in the crowd.
   
The sold-out crowd mixed bathed in the ambient lighting made the whole arena look like a scene out of Dante’s Inferno. The mosh pits were filled with blood and sweat during songs like “Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel.” They closed the evening with “Lucifer,” my personal favorite from the new album  “We Are the Next 1000 Years.”
 
Fighting cancer gave Nergal, who legally changed his name in 2012, a new lease on life. He is a man who has stared down in the eyes of death in the form of Leukemia. Since his victory, he has become an entrepreneur in his native Poland. Sponsoring energy drinks and opening a nightclub took up much of his time in 2015. He also became a musical renaissance man by creating a country blues solo project, named “Me and The Man,” in 2017. For a while, the future of Behemoth seemed unclear, but with a new album and tour, fans from all over the world are guaranteed shows well into June of 2019. 
 
 
Words by Sebastian Bjorn Benedict
Photos by Anya Svirskaya
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