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Behemoth And Myrkur At Thalia Hall 4/29/2016

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Band Photo: Behemoth (?)

Behemoth always kick ass live. Always have, always will. “The Satanist” is Behemoth's best album, period. So when I heard that Behemoth were playing it in their entirety live, I simply had to go.

Of course, the venue was in an unfamiliar part of town where I had to take a bus that I'd never taken before after arriving at Union Station. A random guy on the street complimented my Fear Factory shirt while I got lost wandering around a four block radius looking for just the right street corner which was nice. It would have been nicer if I could actually figure out the right street address since the directions on Google Maps were kind of confusing since it couldn't pinpoint my location.

I reached the #60 bus stop right while I had a red light across the street from the bus. It was an eight minute wait if I didn't board ASAP despite knowing that I'd never be able to make it to the door in time without being run over. I made a run for it right as I got a green light and knocked on the door as the bus began to move. The driver asked if I was crazy. I relied with, “yeah, a little.” Being crazy may be dangerous but I can't complain since crazy gets me results.

It was absolutely freezing for this late in April. By that I mean cold enough for me to head into the restaurant next door since I arrived hours early. I got in to interview Myurkur for 15 minutes which was a brief reprieve from the otherwise brutal Chicago weather. Not helping matters is that cold weather doesn't help with stiff joints and I pinched my sciatic nerve running four miles the day before so my back and left leg were absolutely killing me from sitting out in the cold, aching worse with each passing minute. Needless to say, it's cathartic to see an avowed Satanic band headline when God ruins your evening by destroying what should otherwise be nice spring weather.

Myrkur were the only opener but it doesn't matter since Myrkur is one of the best new black metal bands today. I got the chance to snap a photo from a distance since I didn't feel like getting too close as I needed to sit down for the show since I was just in too much pain. That and I forgot earplugs which left me not wanting to get too close as I've already lost enough of my hearing and I don't want to lose more. It was more important to rest my leg than get a good look at her playing. Music is ultimately aural rather than visual, anyway. Needless to say, Myrkur sounds great live despite the live lineup consisting of touring session musicians. Frontwoman Amalie Bruun's live screams sound delightfully piercing and the music still sounds every bit as atmospheric as it does on the album, perhaps even more so. If you haven't checked them out yet, do so.

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Behemoth were up next. Always better live than on the album and always able to pack an entire set with energy. This time they had a Dark Tranquillity-style slideshow in the background. Not that they needed it since they're good enough musicians that they don't require visual aids but it was a nice enhancement.

Haring “The Satanist” in its entirety live was great but it also leaves the question of where there is to go next since it seems impossible to top. There were extra interludes in between songs that further perfected an already nearly perfect album and made me hope for some sort of live album of this tour. At the same time it left me wondering where Behemoth can possibly go next. Thalia Hall is roughly the same size as where Fear Factory were playing and I can't see a heavy metal band getting much larger unless they're one of the Big Four or Iron Maiden.

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There was a six song encore complete with a song that I didn't recognize being played from the band's old black metal days. “Antichristian Phenomenon” got brought back when I haven't ever heard that one live before. Sadly nothing from “Evangelion” or “Zos Kia Cultus” made it but there's always next time.

“Chant for Eschaton” gets better every time I hear it live as Nergal spread the ashes of a deceased fan across the audience during the encore, leaving the entire venue smelling like burnt human. It still left me wondering what'll happen next at this point in Behemoth's career now that they already have this level of loyalty from fans to the point where ashes are distributed. When you've already conquered the world, where next?

Dasher10's avatar

Matt is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Illinois and a metalhead since 1999.

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