Behemoth | Arch Enemy | Carcass | Unto Others
The O2 Academy, Glasgow
29th September 2022
Behemoth and Arch Enemy deliver powerful, intense metal performances, to an appreciative Glasgow audience, on the European Siege Tour.
Tonight, in Glasgow at the O2 Academy, the city’s metal heads are being treated to an impressive live line up of four metal bands, headed up by Behemoth and Arch Enemy, on the European Siege Tour. There is a buzzing atmosphere in the venue, with the doors opening at the unusually early hour of 5.30pm.
Unto Others are on stage first, and play an engaging groove laden metal, with a dash of the Cure added in. There are lots of interesting dynamics and a very cool flow to the music. Last number, When Will God’s Work Be Done, opens with chiming guitars and has a driving gothic feel, with punk like shouting vocals. There is some nice bass and staccato sounding guitars that build the song to a strong crescendo. The band get a deserved warm reception from the audience.
Carcass are on next. Exhume To Consume is a great opener with Jeff Walkers menacing growled vocals perfectly complementing the syncopated death metal rhythms. There are some nice musical touches too, with Daniel Wilding’s skilful and intense drum fills.
The twin guitar riffs and trading of guitar solos, led by Bill Steer and James Blackford, also provides an extra special musical layer to their sound, that interestingly brings in at times a heavy rock element to the playing. The intensity of the playing never lets up during the set, and the first crowd surfers are seen going over the barriers. When the blast beats and steely riffs combine, Carcass produce an epic wall of sound that reverberates around the O2 Academy. They get a justly rousing reception from the audience.
Arch Enemy start up their set with Deceiver, Deceiver from behind the stage wide curtain, that then drops in spectacular style to reveal the band. It is a crashing guitar led sound that is driven at breakneck speed by the rhythm section.
War Eternal, from the album of the same name, shows off Alissa White-Gluz’s dynamic expressive growled vocals, that have the quality of an additional instrument in the band. There is a strong anthemic quality to the band’s sound as the guitars soars and solo over the thunderous riffs.
Ravenous, an older classic in the Arch Enemy set, from the album Wages of Sin, witnesses Alissa White-Gluz’s vocals almost impossibly shift up another gear, as the frenetic pits are much in evidence in the audience. It has a nice progressive rock-like instrumental mid-section alongside a full-on metal attack. House of Mirrors, from the new album Deceivers, is a testament to the precision playing of the band, as they easily navigate demanding rhythmic changes, with different instruments taking a subtle lead during the song.
On The Eagle Flies Alone, Alissa White-Gluz dons a hooded cape, and her vocal takes on a mythical story telling quality. The scything guitar riffs flow over a floor reverberating rhythm, interrupted by a wonderfully lyrical guitar solo by Michael Amott. It generates a lot of applause from the audience. Handshake With Hell, also from the new album Deceivers, sees Alissa White-Gluz alternate growled and clean vocals, pulling off the melodic contrasts perfectly, as the band lock into an infectious metal groove. There is interestingly a warm folk ballad like quality to the vocals in the clean vocal sections, which really works with the metal aspects.
Instrumental track Snow Bound provides a platform for Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis’s guitars to overlay some beautifully melodic phrases, that reminds of the Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner guitar introduction to Sweet Jane on the Lou Reed live album, Rock n Roll Animal. Which is a very high compliment to Arch Enemy’s guitarists. The band then slam into Nemesis, from their 2005 breakthrough album Doomsday Machine. A tumultuous wave of driven sound, that almost howls out from the stage. This is a band that do melodic death metal exceptionally well, performing with passion and musicality live. The band come back on stage to prolonged applause, to thank the audience and take a bow.
Behemoth with their new album, Opvs Contra Natvram, have shown how musically inventive they remain in the metal world. You can read our review of the album here. The sense of anticipation in the Glasgow audience, as the band’s stage set is put together behind a curtain is palpable.
With an eerie booming intro tape, the band come onto the stage still hidden by the curtain, with just their shadows mysteriously showing through. Behind an atmospheric backdrop they launch into Post-God Nirvana from the new album. It is an onslaught of sound that brings together both black metal and death metal in a musically sophisticated mix. The polyrhythmic drumming seems to come in pulverising waves from the stage. The band’s faces decorated with corpse paint is of course much in evidence, but with a real sense of artistry around the look.
For the next song, Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, from The Satanist album, shooting plumes of smoke are unleashed from the front of stage. The blast beats are impossibly fast, and the guitars let loose great swathes of atmospheric sound, that seem to permeate every part of the venue. The hardworking bar staff look towards the stage transfixed and applaud at the end of the song.
Thy Becoming Eternal, also from the new album, surges from the stage, and you notice the intricate nuances in Inferno’s incredible drum patterns, and the way in which the guitars effortlessly cut across each other, creating both a sense of free playing and structured arrangements.
Band leader Nergal is as ever an imposing presence on stage, both vocally and on guitar, and in the way he menacingly prowls the stage. Bartzabel, from the 2018 album I Loved You at Your Darkest, begins with operatic thundering drums as Nergal emerges with a towering head piece. The song melds a form of medieval like chanting with some trademark swirling black metal guitar patterns, and a shrieking guitar solo from Seth. It completely engulfs the audience in a mist of sound, from which there is no escape.
No Sympathy For Fools is just immense, with crashing slabs of sound, while the band propel the dynamic rhythm at breakneck speed around the stage. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, another classic track from The Satanist album, adds to the intense atmosphere, with one of those black metal sequences, where the sound keeps ascending with no release.
Versvs Christvs has a spoken word introduction that chills the air. The almost doom metal pulse suits the sense of foreboding created by the reverberating guitars and Orion’s floor shaking bass. Closing the set, Chant for Eschaton 2000, from the Satanica album, is introduced by pealing bells ringing out from the sound system, and the stage goes red. The two guitarists mount the front stage risers, and the music comes at us full on, as the pit opens up near the front of the stage. Crashing cymbals punctuate the blast beats and Nergal’s vocal seems perfectly tuned to the complex percussive rushes of sound. The smoke plumes turn red, and the crowd surfers start to come over in waves. It is a fitting cacophonous conclusion to a remarkable and completely engaging set.
The band come to the front of the stage and applaud and salute the audience, taking it in turn to take a bow to rising applause. A great evening of metal.
You can find Behemoth and Arch Enemy here:
All words by Gareth Allen, you can find Gareth’s author profile here