Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”

On this this date in history, 8/16/2019, Slipknot brought their Knotfest roadshow to Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. Although the masked marauders hail from Iowa in the USA, the other 3 bands brought international diversity to the heavy music showcase.

Behemoth, from Poland, began the proceedings with a ferocious display of Black Metal mastery. The corpse painted band’s dark theatricality and Satanic imagery probably didn’t win over too many of the Slipknot faithful, but I thought they were the best of all the bands that day.

Behemoth are playing for keeps, and that emotional approach always finds its crowd.

Gojira, hailing originally from France, were barely below Behemoth in my estimation, and they played a fantastic set, too. In particular, Mario Duplantier’s drumming is beyond amazing. That guy simply plays patterns that seemingly no-one else has thought of, and he is a lot of fun to watch while he is up there slaughtering his drum kit.

Up next were Denmark’s Volbeat, and they were definitely the least metal of all the bands, but they were quite well received.

A friend remarked that their singer’s voice reminded him of the Swedish chef from The Muppets, and now I simply can’t “un-hear” that comparison!

Rob Caggiano (who previously played lead guitar in Anthrax) played some solid guitar solos and they sounded great mix-wise, but I think overall that Volbeat would be better on a tour more suited to their musical style.

Slipknot did what Slipknot does, which is to say that everything was bigger, brighter, and louder than everyone else. One small complaint for me personally was that one of the utility guys seemed to spend way too much of his time playing around on the treadmill up on the second level of the stage. It was pretty distracting, to say the least. Okay, it was downright annoying! Oh, yes…and Corey Taylor’s vocals were often too low in the mix. With all that is going on in Slipknot’s music, it can’t be easy to give everyone equal attention, but in general, vocals are supposed to be audible in the mix, and the sound guy wasn’t getting it done.

This was my 9th time seeing Slipknot, the 4th seeing Behemoth, the 2nd seeing Gojira, and the first time for Volbeat. All in all, I had a fantastic time, but I stand by my original reason to attend this show. I was there for Behemoth and Gojira, and for my money, those were the best 2 bands on that stage.

Kudos to Slipknot for their generosity towards the support bands.

Everyone had excellent sound, lights and backdrops…all 3 of the openers actually had better mixes than the headliners, but Slipknot is a cottage industry at this stage in their career, and like Metallica, they kind of play by their own rules.

As long as they take this approach to touring, I imagine I will be seeing them several more times before they hang up their masks.

On This Day in History

Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH have released the official music video for the song “Sabbath Mater” from their latest album, “I Loved You At Your Darkest”. 

“We bring you the new video for ‘Sabbath Mater’,” the band said. “The energy and vibe was made for performance and that’s exactly what we accomplished in the video. Oh, and some ungodly imagery — it is a BEHEMOTH video after all. As always, we are fortunate to have the mighty Grupa 13helping us to manifest our nefarious visions. Enjoy it and we’ll see you very soon.”

“I Loved You At Your Darkest” was released last October via Metal Blade Records in North America and Nuclear Blast in Europe. 

Unlike “The Satanist”, which was primarily recorded in one studio, “I Loved You At Your Darkest” saw its production spread across Poland and the United States. It was produced by the bandmembers themselves, with drum co-production by Daniel Bergstrand (MESHUGGAH, IN FLAMES), mixing by Matt Hyde (SLAYER, CHILDREN OF BODOM) and mastering by Tom Baker (NINE INCH NAILS, MARILYN MANSON). Which is to say nothing of the 17-piece Polish orchestra arranged by Jan Stoklosa and engineered by Tomasz Budkiewicz.

BEHEMOTH will support SLIPKNOT on the “Knotfest Roadshow” headline tour of North America. Other special guests for the trek are VOLBEAT and GOJIRA. Produced by Live Nation, the 29-city outing will kick off July 26 in Mountain View, California at Shoreline Amphitheater and continue through September 8 where it will conclude with a performance at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, Texas.

Video Premiere: BEHEMOTH’s ‘Sabbath Mater’

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Behemoth: The Satanist

This one comes with a disclaimer, or an explanation, perhaps would be the better term. I don’t listen to music because of an artist’s religious or political views. I listen to what I like.

I have a pretty simple system regarding musical genres and sub-genres: there are only 2 kinds of music in my universe…good and bad. It is up to the individual to sort them out. Having said all that, The Satanist (2014) by Behemoth, is a work of art.

The art in question is most often labeled Blackened Death Metal, but Behemoth’s leader, Nergal, has gone on record stating that Behemoth should not be labeled. Fair enough. Behemoth hail from Poland and have sustained a long and successful career, beginning in 1991.

For a band that has existed that long to put out a record as outstanding as The Satanist 23 years into their career is impressive, to say the least.

From the opening of Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel to the final notes of O Father O Satan O Sun!, Behemoth have poured their collective hearts and souls into something they believe in, and the proof is in every beat, every note, every riff, and every word of lyrical intent.

I don’t expect this review to generate as many “likes” as Dokken or Def Leppard, but it doesn’t really matter to me.

Music is not about competition to me…it is about conviction, passion, integrity, soul, creativity…it is about spirit.

Behemoth has that in abundance. The Satanist is a great album, maybe the best thing they will ever create together.

https://youtu.be/OGGwv3Zjq88

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Behemoth: The Apostasy

I discovered Polish extreme/blackened death metal monsters Behemoth at the 2007 Ozzfest, where they literally turned the second stage area into a cyclone of dust.

Behemoth released The Apostasy that same year and it is a multi-dimensional album that incorporates elements not usually associated with music that is so massively heavy.

Choirs, horn sections, and pianos weave into the maelstrom of sound that Behemoth summons to produce the dark themes of The Apostasy.

Nergal, lead vocals/guitars, is the creative force of Behemoth, but the blast beats and inhuman battering ram drumming of Inferno, and the grinding bass onslaught of Orion drive the machine forward.

Behemoth have recently released a new album and I plan to acquire it soon, having heard excellent praise of it from several reliable sources.

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

On this date in history, 8/14/2007, Ozzfest made its final stop at Deer Creek. This was the free show that had generated tickets with an online code.  I scored seats on the back row of the center section of the pavilion and they were awesome for both audio and visual enjoyment of the main stage bands. Speaking of bands, this Ozzfest featured Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb Of God, Static-X, Lordi, Black Tide, Hatebreed, Behemoth, DevilDriver, Ankla, Nile, The Showdown, 3 Inches Of Blood, Daath, In This Moment, and Chthonic.

The first band, Chthonic, are from Taipei, Taiwan. They were quite interesting visually and didn’t sound like anything Ive ever heard before. Next up was In This Moment, touring in support of their debut album. Maria Brink was obviously a star in the making, and her vocals have since elevated her band to great success. They played a rock solid set that day.

The next band that I really liked was The Showdown, a more traditional hard rock styled band, but full of attitude and energy just the same. Great vocals and rockin’ tunes gained them some new fans, no doubt about it.

Nile followed with a set of supreme brutality, as the Egyptian themed death metal juggernaut played with crushing precision and confidence, absolutely astonishing technical ability from top to bottom.

I don’t recall much about Ankla, either good or bad, so I’m guessing I must have been distracted or just missed them entirely.

DevilDriver kept the intensity going with their manic metal meltdown providing mosh ready material for their entire set.

The second stage area was a dust bowl that day, and all the really heavy bands had to contend with a continuous white haze of stirred up earth creating a perpetual fog in the air.

I didn’t think it would be possible to be more powerful or heavier than Nile, but somehow Behemoth pulled it off. I can’t even describe how insanely, monstrously METAL their sound was…literally like a seismic, F5 tornado velocity propelling their blackened death metal onslaught.

Hatebreed followed that and suffered somewhat for it. They are always solid, and Jamey Jasta certainly knows how to whip a crowd into a frenzy, but as heavy as Hatebreed is, they couldn’t compete with that performance that proceeded them, in my humble opinion.

All in all, a lot of diversity coupled with some of the heaviest bands ever on the second stage made this final Ozzfest one of the most memorable second stage lineups.

The first band on the main stage was Black Tide, an extremely young band that showed great potential. Nothing exceptional musically, but everyone has to start somewhere, and Ozzfest is a pretty cool place to call a beginning. Lordi were up next, and they were pretty horrible, to be blunt. Borrowing (okay, stealing!) liberally from GWAR, Slipknot, Mushroomhead, and any other band that has ever worn masks, and not bringing anything of musical merit, quickly earned them a hostile reaction from the discerning metal masses.

Static-X set things right with a sizzling performance. Wayne Static led his “evil disco” band through a high energy holocaust of a performance that set the stage for my favorite band of the entire show, the mighty Lamb Of God. LOG crushed all in their path, earning the coveted headliner status and playing directly before Ozzy himself came out and finished the show, and his namesake tour, in grand fashion.

I attended Ozzfest in 10 consecutive years and I have countless memories of those shows. I salute Ozzy for bringing so many great bands on tour and for nurturing so much talent in the heavy metal universe.  Lots of bands that passed through this system became major stars following their association with Ozzfest. That in itself is a pretty amazing legacy.

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

On This Date in History