It was a typical February night in Minnesota. Below zero. The day’s high of 3° was long gone, as were my genitals, creating the perfect conditions for an evening of death metal, and a fitting welcome to the co-headlining gents from Florida.
The evening started off with Tribulation. Over the course of the last year, I was able to completely forget what Tribulation sounded like, so, unfamiliar with Aeon, I assumed that’s who we were watching. Shame on me. I find Tribulation interesting. Visually, they remind me of Led Zepplin with a touch more glam and they sound like In Solitude, or trad metal as I’ve been reading, had they listened to a bit more Venom in their youth. A solid set, and a talented band, but for me, I’ll probably stick to their albums over their live show.
Aeon, as I desperately try to not connect them with IKEA, also hails from Sweden. After watching their set, I’m nothing but embarrassed as to how much I didn’t know about them. And I have no excuse. Aeon is solid death metal. A fury of blast beats and double bass melded with sometimes tech death inspired riffs and solos, all lead by vocalist Tommy Dahlström, whose growls are very much up to par. The simulated microphone masturbation was just icing on the cake. Definitely worth checking out, even digitally. Tommy also gives me some strong Saigon Kick vibes.
I had never seen Behemoth live before, but my mother is 100% Polish, creating an unspoken connection between myself and the band, a one-way connection of course. I was familiar with the look of their stage set-up through photos, but there was something comforting about seeing it assembled in the flesh. It was straight out of Repo! The Genetic Opera or even a Mad Max Broadway production. (I have to tangent. One thing I’ve always loved about Behemoth is their stage names. Nergal. Solid. Orion. Absolutely. Inferno. Perfect. Seth. Seth? Did I miss something? Is there a mythical and/or occult-type meaning behind the name Seth that I’m not aware of? Or maybe he’s just that comfortable in his own skin, using his given birth name. Metal.) Behemoth was exactly what I thought they would be live. Beyond amazing. Even taking into account the amount of Triple H-style water spraying. Nergal literally owns the stage for every second of their set, sauntering back and forth like a hooded menace, and at one point swinging a thurible (I had to look it up) oozing a cloud of incense. Their set opened with “Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel” and was seamless from beginning to end, including highlights from their 20+ year career (forgive me for the lack of specifics, I’m horrible with song names and which album(s) they’re from most of the time). As they moved back and forth between mics, their trifecta of synchronized death screams were like the sounds of tortured cherubs banished from Utopia. At one point, there were 2 drummers. One that looked like Inferno and one that looked like my tax guy. And why not? Behemoth is the only non-headlining band I’ve ever seen do an encore, complete with prosthetic devil horns. I don’t even like encores, but tonight, one was not enough.
I’ll never forget the day my wife looked at me and said, “Addicted to Vaginal Skin?” referring to a song on my laptop which she had been using to make a mix CD. She said it as though I had helped them write the song. In fact, the band had wanted to call the song, “Helping the Homeless While Feeding Starving Children,” but I had convinced them to go with “Addicted to Vaginal Skin.” Thus, my wife’s introduction to Cannibal Corpse. (I know some people who might take offense to certain Cannibal Corpse song titles, and I have 3 words for them. Cards Against Humanity. “Chunks of a Dead Hitchhiker?” Please. Cannibal Corpse should be seen every time they’re in town. No matter what. Weddings, births, school programs, family events. Skip ’em all. Cannibal Corpse is the face of brutal death metal in this country, and George is the Don. His voice stands apart from the traditional. It’s as though there’s a piece of broken glass lodged in his throat. And let’s not forget about his neck. It has to be thicker than one of my thighs. The headbanging and the windmills…what human is capable of that? At what point do the discs in his neck get fused, if they haven’t fused themselves already? Alex Webster. The man who explained to the world the relevance of the diminished third. Watching him play bass with every finger on his hands is harsh. Their set was amazing. “Ice Pick Lobotomy,” “The Wretched Spawn,” “Dormant Bodies Bursting,” “Make Them Suffer,” “Skull Full of Maggots.” One after another. It doesn’t get better. Honestly, they could have played Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water, in it’s entirety, and I would have still been a rabid kid in a candy store.