Metal Alliance Tour 4 featuring Behemoth
Goatwhore, 1349, Inquisition, Black Crown InitiateBehemoth“The Satanist is magic. It’s dangerous. It’s adventurous, and it’s organic,” states Nergal, the driving force behind Behemoth since their inception in 1991, and brief exposure to the band’s tenth album more than supports this statement. While instantly recognizable as the work of the Polish blackened death quartet it takes their sound in previously unimagined and riveting directions. A writhing, densely layered, brutally violent and sinister… Show more record, it is quite unlike anything ever unleashed within the canon of heavy music. As such it demands attention, offering ever greater sonic and emotional depths with every listen. “You may hear the title and think it’s very primitive and one-dimensional, and yes it is, but when you look beyond that it’s as primitive as it is complex and multidimensional, and that applies to everything about the record.”It has been a rocky road leading to the realization of the album. Having dropped 2009′s Evangelion to almost universal critical acclaim they saw it top the chart in their native country and dramatically expand their following around the world, and playing some of the best shows of their lives the band seemed truly unstoppable. But, in August 2010 Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia, stopping them in their tracks. Forced to abandon their ongoing tour in support of Evangelion Nergal was hospitalized, and both he and Behemoth faced an uncertain future. With the search for a bone marrow donor ultimately successful Nergal underwent a transplant, leaving the hospital after six months and beginning down the long road to rehabilitation. “I knew I was pretty much f~~ked and there was a battle to be won, and I had no f~~king idea if it was going to take six months or twelve months or maybe four years, because with cancer you never know. I learned from being in the hospital that there are things in life that you can control and things that you can’t control. The sooner you realize which is which it’s going to make your life so much easier, and since then I started to focus on the right things. I could be determined, I could have discipline, I could have faith, but everything else is not under my control, and it really was a case of just crossing fingers for the best possible outcome. I was fortunate enough that that recovery period was relatively fast, and that I was really strong and very determined to get back into shape made a real difference.”Rather than immediately getting down to working on a new album, the band – also comprised of drummer Inferno, bassist Orion, and guitarist Seth – set out to complete the abandoned touring cycle for Evangelion, hitting the road for the aptly titled Phoenix Rising Tour. Wanting to prove they were stronger than ever the first show was the only time doubts crept into Nergal’s mind. “I was a f~~king wreck, and I almost didn’t make it to the end of the set. The venue was really smoky, and that was stuffing my nose and my lungs, and physically I felt that I couldn’t pull it off. I did, but I was close to passing out on stage. I was literally shocked by this, I remember thinking while we were playing s~~t, what if I can’t do this anymore? I’m just a human being after all. Going into the next show I had no sleep because of all the nerves and anxiety, but it was f~~king amazing. With every following show I would get stronger and stronger and grow more confident, and aware of the fact that yes, we will do this.”Having returned to full force the band were ready to once more move forward, and they began work on what would become The Satanist. While many bands might be concerned with how to follow up a record as devastatingly powerful – and successful – as Evangelion Nergal faced no such doubts. “I don’t race myself, and I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Evangelion was a very important record to us, and yes, it was very successful too, but in making The Satanist it wasn’t a point of beating that. The point was to do what was organic, and make a natural and honest and sincere album, and that’s it. Now the record is finished I like to think of it as an album that is just so different that you can’t really compare it to our previous works, which is the best outcome I could hope for.” One thing is inarguable, and that is the record is the most sonically rich and complex released under the Behemoth name. With layer upon layer of sound it has great sonic density, but there is intricacy to this, and nothing is forced or contrived. “I don’t have a kid but I think the process of raising one is comparable: you invest a lot of your energy and effort and wisdom and money and you educate them, but there’s never a one hundred percent guarantee he’s going to become a lawyer and not a serial killer. It’s the same story with the records – we supply the elements but we just don’t know how these elements mixed together are going to come out, and I think it’s fortunate that we don’t have one hundred percent control over it! It makes for something special.”The title of the record itself is undeniable in its power, and Nergal sees it as capturing the primal wisdom that the band have always tried to maintain. “To me it’s not pretentious at all. It’s very straight up, very sincere, and a devastating, conquering statement. There’s no compromise or bullshit or gimmicks. What I love about it is that it just speaks for itself. On one hand it’s a very black and white title: The Satanist is like a f~~king nail through the hand of Jesus Christ, period. No more, no less. But then again, as with everything else you put a hundred people together and ask them what the name The Satanist means to them and you’re going to hear a hundred different opinions, which they can then discuss and fight over.” Likewise, Nergal views the lyrical content of the record as similarly open to interpretation, encouraging this. “There’s a lot of symbolism and reflections and impressions in there, and it’s using millions of metaphors to express a certain very sinister and very captivating atmosphere, but there are no answers. People always like to have a deeper insight into what we do, but that’s not what we want to give with this record. The way I see it is that between us we can make a huge f~~king pyre and set the world on fire, but what we’re doing is just giving you the matches, giving you the spark, what you want to do with it is up to you. Personally, if I sat down with the lyrics in front of me I too would probably come up with a lot of different interpretations and concepts, it’s a never ending process, and that’s exciting to me.”Twenty-three years and ten albums into their career, that Behemoth is still in the ascendant is a statement to their commitment, determination and capacity for writing such powerful music. If ever a band was to go out on a high The Satanist would make for one hell of a swan song, but don’t expect them to disappear any time soon. “I remember before we we had a record deal I was having a conversation with Baal, the band’s original drummer, and we said okay, if one day we manage to record an album and put it out how cool would it be to split up right after that? It would be one record and no more, and there was something about that that had an appeal, but y’know what, it doesn’t work like that for individuals like myself. Hunger has always driven me through life, and I can never sit in one place and relax for too long because I have the need to explore this whole universe in every possible way. Now, over two decades later it’s the same story. I can tell you I have no problems with finishing my career after this record. Just say the title itself: The Satanist. How the f~~k am I gonna beat that title? It sounds like the ultimate definition of our art – but then again, I remember that conversation with Baal, and I know it doesn’t work like that, so I know there will probably be other incarnations of our artistic identity, one way or another. All I know is I love being here and now, and I just want to underline that I couldn’t be more proud and happy with my own music. It really drives me through the day, and now I just want to sit back and hear any and all opinions of it.”GoatwhoreOver the course of nearly 15 years and an incalculable amount of tour miles, New Orleans’ own Goatwhore have inadvertently established themselves as one the most diligent and consistently ferocious bands of the 21st century. Forged in fire by ex Acid Bath/Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet in ‘97, their storied legacy follows a dramatic —and often traumatic — series of lineup shifts, injuries, hauntings, natural disasters and an assortment of other mishaps large and small. But, driven by a blood oath to heavy metal and perhaps the powers of Satan himself, Goatwhore forever persevere.Their journey began with the bestial Serenades To The Tides Of Blood demo and subsequent Eclipse Of Ages Into Black debut full-length unleashed over a decade ago. Then a five-piece comprised of Duet, Soilent Green vocalist Ben Falgoust, guitarist Ben Stout, bassist Patrick Bruders and drummer Zak Nolan, the band’s stanch DIY work ethic, rigid tour schedule and the bludgeoning force of songs like “Invert The Virgin” and “Desolate Path To Apocalyptic Ruin” quickly spawned a maniacal cult following. By 2003, Goatwhore had systematically harvested a legion of followers possessed by the band’s profound maze of unhallowed lyrics, Celtic Frostian rhythms, and blackened bayou swagger. Catastrophe–brewed sophomore release, Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun, bore a slower, broodier brand of apocalyptic menace; one that trailed a near-fatal van crash that left Falgoust temporarily paralyzed and the future of the band in disarray. Against all medical odds, Falgoust regained use of his legs and the band, now a four-piece with Duet taking on full guitar responsibilities, quickly returned to their rightful place on the road. Seemingly drawn to bouts of misfortune, A Haunting Curse found the revised Goatwhore lineup of Duet, Falgoust, drummer Zack Simmons (ex-Nachtmystium) and bassist Nathan Bergeron, fleeing the debilitating floods of Hurricane Katrina. Delayed but undeterred, Goatwhore‘s first Metal Blade offering proved their most volatile yet. Relentless in speed, precision and barefaced animosity, Goatwhore had traveled well-beyond the confines of conventional black metal with a thrashier end product that fully-embraced their long-avowed Hellhammer and Venom devotion without ever plagiarizing it.Released in 2009, the sinistral Carving Out The Eyes Of God hit with titanic urgency. Hailed among the year’s most worthy metal albums by fans and critics nationwide, Goatwhore‘s fourth long-player shattered mainstream conventions. The record broke Billboard Top 200 ranking in at #190, debuted on the Billboard Hard Music chart at #33, the Billboard Top New Artist (Heatseekers) Albums chart at #16, and the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart at #34. Decibel magazine declared the production, “the band’s tightest, most guitar-driven offering to date. An unholy smorgasbord of rigid tempo shifts, gargantuan hooks, blasting black mass anthems, and Falgoust’s soot and venom snarl…,” while Outburn compared it to, “a modern day, ‘roid-injected sword fight between Celtic Frost and Venom.” High traffic web portal Blabbermouth crowned the production “…one of 2009′s purest metal albums…nefariously black and sadistically thrashing in a way that is uniquely Goatwhore,” while MetalSucks proclaimed Carving Out The Eyes Of God “the catchiest album Goatwhore have ever released.” Further album triumphs included a spot on the 2010 edition of Ozzfest and two performances at the annual SXSW music conference enabling the horned collective to deliver their sadistic hymns of religious treachery to an even broader sect of listeners.For the next two years, the band maintained an infamously unyielding tour cycle, leveling cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia with their universally praised live rituals. Further educating the potentially unversed, “Apocalyptic Havoc” appears on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 game soundtracks for Splatterhouse and more recently, Saints Row 3, while the video for the song was featured in an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly. And as if to close out a near perfect run of riotous adventures, Goatwhore was named Best Hard Rock/Metal Artist of 2010 at The Big Easy Awards last April, a deserving honor based on performance throughout the year.In 2012, Goatwhore again raise their cloven hoofs in salutation to Blood For The Master. Now featuring Duet, Falgoust, Simmons and bassist James Harvey, who joined the goaty ranks in 2009 following the departure of Nathan Bergeron, the record finds Louisiana’s notorious metal horde at their most unified. Recorded and mixed at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with longtime friend/producer Erik Rutan, who worked with Goatwhore on both Carving… and A Haunting Curse, the ten-track, 38-minute Blood For The Master is epic in sound, mind and execution.Released through Decibel Magazine’s flexi series, and later posted online for the masses to absorb, a cover of Motöhead’s “(Don’t Need) Religion” was presented as an album teaser in October. An appropriately infernal rendition of an often neglected classic, the song served as the perfect precursor to an album prevalent in its hailstorm of fist-pumping, heathen anthems and rhythmic devastation.Exhibiting a labyrinth of moods and meticulous tempo shifts, Blood For The Master is streamlined without ever rendering itself predictable. As memorable as it is menacing, the band’s fifth full-length quite literally writhes under the weight of its own deviant heaviness. Led by the traditionally iconoclastic sermons of the leather-throated Falgoust, and made whole by its mammoth guitar tone, unconditional drum/bass battery and Duet’s intermittent snarls of wrath, the record again challenges god’s legitimacy/authority while further exploring the ritual of death. Conveyed with a poetic, near occultish grace, songs like violent opener “Collapse In Eternal Worth,” “Embodiment Of This Bitter Chaos,” and “In Deathless Tradition” finds Falgoust, dubbed “one of the best live and recorded singers in metal history,” by notable Canadian website Hellbound, in full domination mode. “I always have a lot of words,” he elaborates. “I don’t like repeating things but I’ve started doing more chorus-verse-chorus stuff. I started letting the music breath more.”“It’s not like the new songs are a drastic change,” Duet noted in an early interview with Decibel Magazine. “It’s like an experimentation on how much more metal we can get – I mean actual metal; the roots of heavy metal. But not in a way that it sounds like power metal or anything like that. It’s like an extremely metal version of us.”“I thought this was a lot harder to write just because we didn’t want to repeat ourselves,” he further notes. “I mean, we could have easily gone and written another Carving Out The Eyes Of God but we didn’t want to do that. There are still elements on the new album that we wouldn’t normally do, but it definitely still sounds like us.”“It’s definitely harder at this point,” Falgoust agrees of the writing process, “because you start to get to the point where you’re a little older and more conscious about your ideas and everything; you become more anal about things. I’m still getting used to it, but I really like it. I like the flow. When we write, we try to think of it in a live approach. A lot of people write records but they never really focus on playing it live but that’s so important. We can do all of these songs live, which is something we did with Carving… as well.”“I think sometimes we get slighted for stuff” Falgoust continues on where the band now fits within metal’s ever expanding pantheon of subgenres. “Whatever terms people decide to lock us into— black metal, death metal, black death metal, everyone’s gotta have some kind of little blanket. It’s almost like a social standing. To me, it’s all just straight heavy metal.”13491349 rose from the ashes of Alvheim in 1997, counting Ravn (vocals & drums), Tjalve (guitars), Seidemann (bass) and Balfori (guitars). Balfori quit shortly after due to musical divergence. In early '99 the band found Archaon whose speed and technique took their music to a new level of intensity and brutality.Come spring 2000, 1349 decided to record a new promo showcasing the new material, and Frost of Satyricon was asked to lay down the drum tracks to get the speed required. Holycaust Records offered them a deal and released the new promo as an eponymous MCD. By early 2001, the band felt they had enough killer songs for afull-length album – “Liberation”. Hearing this material, Frost was so impressed that he asked to join and became a permanent member of the band. Recorded and mixed at Gordon Studios, Liberation blended old school soundscapes with warp-speed hysteria. 1349 signed with Candlelight Records in 2003 and released their debut full-length album in april 2003, then marched unstoppably forwards with the following releases “Beyond the Apocalypse” in 2004 and “Hellfire” in 2005.In between recordings 1349 spent a lot of time on the road and have over the years toured with Celtic Frost, Gorgoroth and Carcass, to name a few, as well as performing at festivals like Wacken, Summer Breeze, Hellfest and SXSW. Guitarist and founding member Tjalve left in 2006 to focus his musical efforts on his band Pantheon I. Four years after the release of “Hellfire”, 1349 decided to unleash a quite different monster upon the unsuspecting masses and “Revelations of the Black Flame” saw 1349 return to Studio Studio Nyhagen with Tom G. Warrior co-mixing the album along with Ravn. Released May 25th 2009 on Candlelight Records, Revelations... saw 1349 explore the slower, darker and more ambient side of black metal, while still retaining the spirit of aural hellfire. An even deeper darkness was added to the sphere of 1349...it became evident that from here, it was gonna get scary.2010 was a year when 1349 really started to flex muscles. With new cooperation partner Indie Recordings as the chosen label, 1349 unleashed their latest aural assault DEMONOIR, filled to the brim with abyssic darkness and hellish energy. This release - by far their most brutal to this date - showed that the band had gotten capable at blending a deeper and more sinister darkness with extreme intensity and venomous aggression, another proof of the band’s innovative take on Black Metal.The year also saw 1349 playing some one-off European shows, coming to Finland for the first time, as well as touring the US with Cannibal Corpse and later co-headlining with Triptykon. Several high-profile festivals such as Wacken and Summer Breeze were once again given a lethal dose of Hellfire.2011 started with a showcase at By:Larm and followed with festival appearances at Hellfest, Roskilde, Party-San, Brutal Assault and Bloodstock. The year was topped of with an infernal concert at Oslo’s big rock stage, Rockefeller, and a UK and Ireland tour.2012 brings 1349 to places dark and strange; be warned, and be ready...InquisitionThe band Inquisition was formed in 1988 in Cali, Colombia by Dagon. The band started as a thrash metal act, and in 1994 evolved into raw black metal.In 1996, Dagon left Colombia and moved back to the United States to continue Inquisition and search for a new drummer. That same year Dagon met Incubus, who joined the band on drums and the creation of their debut full length album began. This line-up has remained stable for more than fifteen years and is now seen as the classic Inquisition line-up.INQUISITION style of black metal involves slow, deep and dark riffing combined with sudden tempo changes to faster sections based around blast beats and high-speed riffing; at times adding melodic solos. The classic Inquisition sound incorporates a combination of early era thrash metal-influenced riffing with darker and more chaotic black metal, primarily involving fast, tremolo picked minor-key guitar riffs, thus creating the trademark "Inquisition sound".Black Crown InitiateBlack Crown Initiate is the sound of a sentient being at war with itself and everything else; an entity holding on for dear life as its inner and outer world dies.
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