PHOTOS: Behemoth gets apocalyptic at the Regency Ballroom

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Behemoth, Nergal

Nergal of Behemoth performs at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on Nov. 23, 2018. Photos: Shawn Robbins.

SAN FRANCISCO — Polish black and death metal band Behemoth descended upon the Regency Ballroom on Black Friday. The spectacle was a grandiose display of metal theater that was a direct representation of its 2018 album, I Loved You At Your Darkest.

With a catalog of 11 albums and seven EPs, Behemoth launched into its most creatively and critically respected material, beginning with the creepily operatic “Solve” and “Wolves ov Siberia,” from the new record, before continuing on with “Daimonos” and “Ov Fire and the Void,” off 2009’s Evangelion.

To the fans’ delight, Behemoth ripped into “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel,” “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” and “Chant for Ezkaton,” from the dynamic The Satanist. The compositions took shape much like the band’s stage presence: painted in spooky imagery with a biblical sense of scale that some say is unmatched in the world of metal right now.

Lead guitarist-vocalist Nergal displayed his wide range of showmanship, beckoning the crowd to join in while still maintaining a firm grip on those signature blackened death metal riffs and demonic vocals. Bassist Orion and drummer Inferno left their mark with rhythmic destruction, while guitarist Seth meshed with the fiendish performance.

The band wrapped up with I Loved You At Your Darkest cut “We Are the Next 1000 Years,” which had a building fury that melted faces at its climax. While Slayer just wrapped up its farewell tour, Behemoth continues to show how it is a worthy contender to the throne.

At The Gates

At The Gates perform at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on Nov. 23, 2018.

At The Gates performed a barrage of unfiltered death metal prior to the headliners. Vocalist Tomas Lindberg displayed why the band normally headlines its own show—Lindberg told Consequence of Sound they haven’t opened on someone else’s tour since 1996. Sticking with material from this year’s To Drink from the Night Itself and 2014’s At War With Reality, the band provided song after song of straightforward, yet savage metal with no gimmicks.

Olympia, Washington band Wolves in the Throne Room opened with its unique style of bleak ambient metal. Most of their songs ran between 10 and 12 minutes, which allowed for only two songs on Friday.

Follow photographer Shawn Robbins at Instagram.com/photo_robbins and Twitter.com/ShawnTheRobbins.

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