It seems almost portentous that the heavens should choose today of all days to tear open and it is from this thorough lashing that Will finds himself seeking shelter in the ornately decorated halls of the Manchester O2 Apollo for a night that has been eagerly anticipated by many.
First up on the docket are Gloom ‘n’ Roll unit UNTO OTHERS. Suitably moody lighting shrouds the band in shadow as the crowd is treated to the dulcet tones of frontman Gabriel Franco over the hard rock backing that the band are known for. The set seems to be very warmly welcomed by the growing crowd and acts as a fantastic lead up into our next act of the night.
Legends CARCASS are up next and on top form tonight and the group are clearly not here to mess around. Smashing through hit after hit the set is almost end to end brutal goodness.
As the first curtain of the night is raised, a simple message scrawled two or three stories high, leaves absolutely no allusions as to what fans can expect from the melo-death juggernauts tonight, and that is “PURE FUCKING METAL”. The band are quick to deliver on that very promise as well, as they burst onto stage with the new album belter ‘Deceiver, Deceiver’ followed by a one-two punch of ‘War Eternal’ and catalogue classic ‘Ravenous’. A burst of flame later and things are really starting to heat up. It should come as no surprise by now that ARCH ENEMY, stage veterans that they are, can put on a show but boy did they put on one hell of a SHOW!
The hour is upon us for the mighty BEHEMOTH to take to the stage. Obscured by a large curtain we see the backlit silhouettes of the band projected larger than life on the pale shroud. The curtain falls and we are straight into a brutal rendition of ‘Ora Pro Nobis’ followed quickly by new track ‘The Deathless Sun’.
As if to simulate the infernal abyss itself the licks of flame are an almost constant as the group continue to treat the enraptured audience to a healthy dose of tracks from new release ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ mixed with some definite fan favourites. As with all the bands tonight Behemoth’s set is a masterclass in showmanship each member is playing with the upmost precision whilst still leaving room for a little playfulness. Plenty a time frontman Nergal can be found front of stage commanding the crowd in a round of chants and cheers. Who says you can’t be evil AND fun.
At first glance the lineup for tonight’s show might strike people as a little surprising but honestly the variety of styles on display only serves to enhance the power of each progressive set. Truly this night was a night of greatness and not one to be forgotten anytime soon.
All images by William Mawdsley