BEHEMOTH / AT THE GATES / WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM at Rockefeller (Oslo, Norway)
Sunday, January 27, 2019
by Jorge Patacas
On a cold and snowy Sunday night in Oslo, the capital of Norway, we headed to Rockefeller, a venue with capacity for 1350 people where the polish band Behemoth was going to play as part of their Ecclesia Diabolica Evropa 2019 tour, being accompanied by the Melodic Death Metal pioneers, At The Gates, and the North American band Wolves in the Throne Room.
With sold out tickets and a notorious great enthusiasm of the audience, the Washington crew was responsible for opening the night with their atmospheric Black Metal. Led by the brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver, the sextet did not go unnoticed with their set composed of only three songs from their latest studio album, “Thrice Woven” (2017), although each of them has a length of more than eight minutes.
Just a few minutes later, the Swedish At the Gates showed up with their sound made in Gothenburg. While it feels weird not to see Anders Björler on the guitar, his replacement Jonas Stålhammar perfectly fulfills his role with the six strings, and that’s because we are talking about a musician with vast experience in the Swedish scene that has been and is a member of bands such as The Lurking Fear, God Macabre, The Crown, Bombs of Hades, among many others.
“To Drink from the Night Itself” and the classic “Slaughter of the Soul” were perfectly chosen to open the show and conquer the audience in just seconds. Then, the legendary Tomas Lindberg asked the audience if they preferred him to speak in English or Swedish, with a clear favorable response to his native language. The tracks of their most recent efforts, “At War with Reality” (2014) and “To Drink from the Night Itself” (2018), were alternated with their classics released before their split-up from 1996, being especially acclaimed those belonging to the influential “Slaughter of the Soul” (1995), of which they played tunes like “Cold”, “Suicide Nation” and the anthem “Blinded by Fear”. An energetic, straightforward and powerful show, exactly what we expect from a band like At the Gates.
It was time for the Polish invasion in Oslo. A black canvas covered the stage while the intro “Solve” was played for half an hour until about 9:40 pm. when the lights went out and images were reflected on the canvas. The wait was over, the conquest was imminent… finally Behemoth came out to demolish Rockefeller with “Wolves ov Siberia” (from their most recent album “I Loved You At Your Darkest” ) and “Daimonos”. From the start it became clear that their show has evolved notoriously over the years. The band always understood that the visual part is as important as the musical part, and this is clearer than ever nowadays, achieving a unique balance between the two. The four members impose a great presence on stage with a cold look and a make up according to their particular style where Black and Death Metal coexist as a single entity, while several flames appear and those of us in the front rows can feel the heat produced by them.
It was striking to see people of all ages in the crowd, including two ladies who were standing beside me being euphoric at the end of “Ora Pro Norbis Lucifer”. It’s really a pleasure to see these kind of things, knowing that everyone there shares the same passion.
Then the vocalist and guitarist Nergal appeared wearing a miter, and the band proceeded with the single “Bartzabel”, perhaps the most melodic song they have composed in their career, with a pretty catchy chorus, and excellent backing vocals by the mighty Orion (bass) and Seth (guitar).
The drummer Inferno stood out several times, one of them being the intro of “Ov Fire and the Void”, a classic from their “Evangelion” album, released already a decade ago (!).
Prior to “Conquer All”, Nergal recalled the first time the band played at this same venue in 2002 being part of the Inferno Festival. According to his own words, at that time they thought the place was huge and now it felt too small for them, but it felt like being with family at the same time. Fans cheered even more and the headbanging continued for the rest of the night with great songs like the brutal “Decade ov Therion”, “Slaves Shall Serve” and “Chant for Eschaton 2000” and the end came with “Lucifer” and “We Are The Next 1000 Years”, leaving all the souls satisfied that night. The band will return in late June to perform at the Tons of Rock festival, which will also feature Kiss, Def Leppard, Satyricon, Volbeat, In Flames, among many others.
SETLIST WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM
02- The Old Ones Are With Us
03- Born From The Serpent’s Eye
SETLIST AT THE GATES
01- To Drink From the Night Itself
02- Slaughter of the Soul
03- At War With Reality
04- A Stare Bound in Stone
06- Daggers of Black Haze
07- Death and the Labyrinth
08- Heroes and Tombs
09- Suicide Nation
10- The Book of Sand (The Abomination)
11- Blinded by Fear
12- The Night Eternal
01- Wolves ov Siberia
03- Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
05- Ov Fire and the Void
06- God = Dog
07- Conquer All
08- Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
09- Decade ov Therion
10- Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
11- Slaves Shall Serve
12- Chant for Eschaton 2000
14- We Are the Next 1000 Years