Review: BEHEMOTH, Decapitated, Grand Magus & Winterfylleth @ Birmingham Academy 12th Dec 2014


Polish Blackened metallers show the future is bright in the historic capital of Metal

Winterfylleth, ideal name given the cold weather has now well and truly set in, open things up in the early evening. The Manchester mob enjoy a good reaction from a crowd who clearly enjoy what they hear.

With a new album The Divination of Antiquity to showcase they waste no time in getting down to brass tacks. It’s a short set but it’s packed with the crushing Black Metal for which they are becoming reknown.
Grand Magus seemed an odd choice as support when first announced, but hey it’s all metal. Damn good metal at that.  I don’t need to wax lyrical, which is just as well. If you know of the Stockholm Viking warriors then it won’t surprise you to learn that they are awesome live. Tonight is no exception.
Seven albums into their career they have a wealth of now classic metal to drawn upon for their 30 minutes on stage.
Tracks like short-set closer “Hammer Of The North” and “Steel vs Steel” are made for sweaty rock venues like the Academy. The title track from their latest album Triumph and Power gets a raucous outing supported ably by the enthusiastic crowd.
It’s Friday night Birmingham….c’mon” exclaims frontman/guitarist JB. He’s not wrong and bloody good night it’s turning out to be.

It’s a double dose of Polands finest tonight as chief support to headliners Behemoth are fellow countrymen Decapitated.
Whilst Behemoth may be best described as blackened death metal then Decapitated can be classed under the technical Death Metal banner, with a touch of Pantera-like groove.
Entering the stage to the beginning of local heroes Black Sabbath‘s “War Pigs” is a sure fire way to get a Birmingham metal crowd onside from the off. That said it will only get your foot in the door. You have to do more than that to get this crowd to stay with you. Handy then that Decapitated happen to have 45 minutes worth of brutal death metal to call upon.
Frontman Rasta, aptly named considering the ridiculous length of his dreadlocks, spends much of the time prowling the stage like an asylum inmate in a rubber room whilst spitting out venom and fury.  It’s a full on vulgar display of attitude and intensity. No room for subtleties here.
Behemoth are a band that by right and musical talent should be bigger than Metallica. One listen to the latest album The Satanist proves that. Of course the world of blackened death metal isn’t exactly a recipe for stadium headlining shows, although Behemoth don’t do badly thank you.
Recognition has been long overdue but 2014 has finally been a kind year for the band and the wider metal world are realising what many have known for a long time. Behemoth are the, erm…. behemoths, of modern extreme metal.
Opening with “Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel” is a stunning way to begin a set. Follow it up with another new track in “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” and you are already entering gig of the year terrority.  However, at times, this is not so much a gig but more of a gathering. A thousand souls in one room ready to be blown away by the best in modern extreme music.
Leader Nergal conducts the crowd at will safe in the knowledge that every man and woman in the crowd has his undivided attention. Once he has this attention he wishes to make the most of it.  A huge banner is produced as passed through the crowd like a football match.  Much like matchday it’s a partisan support that the band enjoy and revel in.
“Of Fire and the Void” is an obvious highlight as is the amount of tracks they showcase from The Satanist.  Unlike most bands with a few albums under their belt it matters not a jot to the assembled masses what tracks they play.  They cannot go wrong.
Want a second opinion? How about a thousand of them. All will say they were here tonight. All will wish the night never had to end.  Darkness eventually fades but memories linger long. Tonight‘s memories may linger a lifetime.
If commitment, great music, honesty and loyalty of support are essential items for a successful band then maybe one day soon Metallica and the like may have to step aside.

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