-Venue/Location/Date: Abandoned Church, Pisarzowice, Poland, 5th September 2020
Evoe (Live debut)
Prometherion (First performance since 2011)
From the Pagan Vastlands (First performance since 2009)
Sculpting the Throne ov Seth (First performance since 2015)
I unfortunately missed the actual stream, but they made it available for 72 hours. So luckily I was able to catch up.
Lets start with the obvious, they played in an abandoned church in their home country of Poland. Its ironic because Nergal said the title of the event, In Absentia Dei, translates to The Absence of God. If playing music that stands against religion in a place that’s supposed to be holy isn’t a statement, then I don’t know what is. We all know that Nergal and the rest of Behemoth are open with their views on religion. So it was a super bold, but also extremely genius move to make this abandoned church the place of the stream.
The whole setlist spanned their entire discography, even back to their first record. They wanted to make the ultimate Behemoth setlist and I’m pretty sure they achieved it. Naturally, there’s a couple songs I would have LOVED to see ( Inflamed With Rage, At The Left Hand Ov God), but I also understand not every song I want to hear will be played. Its their live stream, not mine. The kicked off the set with Evoe ( A Forest - EP), which I’m pretty sure is their newest song. It was their first time playing the track live. From there, the band continued their relentless audio/visual assault with songs like Prometherian, Comnquer All, Slaves Shall Serve, and Decade Of Therion. I know they had to go back and relearn a few of the tracks. I mean, you can’t expect such a busy band to remember everything they have ever written. Especially if they haven’t played it in over a decade (From The Pagan Vastlands). In my personal opinion, they really did choose the ultimate setlist. Its a setlist that further proves that this band is a fucking force that will not be stopped.
Lets talk about the visuals. Once I read they were going to be playing in a church, I was already excited. They are a very visual band. Not just because the corpse paint, but because they incorporate pyrotechnics into their set. I’ve seen them live twice and I know Nergal loves to put on a show. Sometimes they chance outfits and wear masks or headdresses. But they took things to a new level. They had fire dancers during a couple of the songs. But one artist stood out to me the most.
During the song Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, they had a female walk out the into the room. She was wearing nothing except a crude form of underwear and what looked like gauze bandages on her head, covering her hair and ears. Her body was painted in all white, except what looked like a black inverted cross on her head. Now here is where things get interesting. She had hooks pierced through her muscle, and was suspended in the air in the form of a cross. Almost like how Jesus was displayed on the cross. Through out the entire song she remained suspended, and was even swung around a bit. As they were inserting the hooks, you could see the winces of pain and the blood drip down her back. So I can only imagine the mental state she had to be in. Especially know this was going to be for the entire world to see.
In certain shots you can see high powered lights, illuminating the outside of the building. The band had fire. Everywhere. Almost of the backlights behind Inferno were Red. Nergal, Orion, and Seth had their usual mic stands and the band had the usual stage attire.
During the song “Chwała mordercom Wojciecha (997-1997 dziesięć wieków hańby)" Nergal was on one of the side balconies with a megaphone/flashlight. It looked like he was, in a way, preaching. About half way through he was on the ground in front of the band, kind of where the audience would technically stand.
Audibly, they could not have sounded more perfect. I know it was a livestream. So they technically had time to run it through a mixer, just like a normal live show. But even then, I could not see one little fuck up. At all. Every song sound record quality. They sounded as in sync as they could have. It was one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time.
Ill admit, I looked up the setlist before I started watching. But I just like a live show, as each song started, I felt the goosebumps and my hair stand up. My wife watched it with me, and even she said it was amazing. She’s not even a fan of this type of music.
Overall, this stream solidified me even more as a fan of this band. From the powerful and striking visuals, to the in tune and the coexisting musical capabilities of the band, Behemoth has put together one of the best sets I’ve seen in all my years. If able, I hope they can bring such a show on tour when this pandemic is over. This show makes multiple statements, but only one towers over all.. This Is Behemoth.