Polish extreme metal band Behemoth is more accessible than ever in 2018. The band has reached fans much broader than their typical black metallers with the release of their critically acclaimed new studio album "I Loved You At Your Darkest" (via Metal Blade Records). It was evident on Tuesday night when the band performed to an eclectic sold-out crowd at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall alongside At The Gates and Wolves in The Throne Room.
I arrived early to the show to have a beer and some fries with a good friend of mine at The Edmund Burke (shout out, they have a great beer selection). We watched the fans lineup outside way too early before doors but noticed how different the fans looked from past Behemoth shows over the years. Yes, there was still the typical black metal fans with face paint, oversized trench coats, and all black attire. But mixed in with the traditionalists were much more regular and tame metal fans. Even some hipster looking couples (yeah couples) seemed to make it out to the show to see Behemoth.
The band has come a long way since I first saw them perform at Club Absinthe in Hamilton to a hundred or so fans and the release of "I Loved You At Your Darkest" has a lot to do with that. It's a grander, broader extreme metal album that changes the pace of what you'd typically expect from a Behemoth record. The songs are catchier, easier to digest sonically, and less extreme (in certain ways), which opens you up to a lot more listeners. It also doesn't hurt that the band recently opened up for Slayers massive farewell tour in North America and absolutely slayed their set this past summer at Budweiser Stage (see our photos from that here).
But not only has their music changed, they've grown as performers. Behemoth puts a lot more effort into their live shows and obviously has a bigger budget to make their live experience more badass. At Wednesday's show they had perfectly branded merch, their upside down cross logo flanking the side of the stage with intricate light patterns that pulsed, and of course their serpent mic stands. They even had their smoke blow out displaying upside down crosses. The band's attention to detail is like no other in the scene. The show was on point from start to finish and the band kept you on edge the entire show. Lot's of new tracks were played but they also dipped into classics like "Decade of Therion" and "Chant For Eschaton" off 1999's Satanica (via Metal Mind Productions).
To top it all off the show had some stellar openers like Sweden's At The Gates. They're legends in their own right and it was great to see them live in Toronto again. I didn't really give their new record "To Drink From The Night Itself" (via. Century Media Records) a chance, but those songs live sounded so heavy! That album is quickly becoming one of my favourite metal albums of the year now.
I'm still stoked on the whole show. The fans were sick, the bands were metal AF, and my photos turned out great. See what you missed below:
Wolves ov Siberia
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Ov Fire and the Void
God = Dog
Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
Decade of Therion
Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
We Are the Next 1000 Years
Words / Photography by: Steve St. Jean
**All photos © Beyond The Watch. Do not use or reproduce w/o permission**