A Beauteous Riot
Krisiun, Behemoth, Incantation & Ragnarok @ The Underworld, London, 25 October 2004
by: Jackie Smit
It's a clash of the demigods indeed, as the Camden Underworld is literally packed to the rafters this evening to see the long overdue return of Krisiun and Behemoth to English soil -- the high turnout being particularly surprising in light of the fact that current metal darlings Mastodon are performing a headline show just a few minutes down the road.

But this is about brutal death metal after all, and it is therefore a rather curious decision of the promoters to stick pagan black metal quartet Ragnarok at the foot end of the bill. Predictably their brand of extremity is not quite on the same page as that of the audience, and the reception is subsequently rather vapid. But none more so than for veteran deathsters Incantation -- a band who seem perpetually incapable of penning a decent song. Regardless of how technically virtuous the Philadelphian collective may be, the fact of the matter is that they have and seemingly always will be heavily lacking in the all-important x-factor; a point which their latest effort, _Decimate Christendom_, proves ad infinitum -- and tonight's set never once looks toward bucking that trend either.

Not so with Behemoth however. The roar of approval that greets Poland's new favorite sons is deafening, as they kick things into gear with "Antichristian Phenomenon". Unfortunately, what turns out to be on-stage monitor woes dampen the potentially devastating effect of "Here & Below", "Decade Ov Therion" and "Conquer All", with the band turning in some uncharacteristically sloppy performances. Still, even at a level below their usually impeccable standard, the crowd lap up every bile-soaked moment, and an ever-inimitable Nergal repays in kind with a performance that borders on aberration.

But tonight -- despite the fact that a sizeable amount of the audience follow suit after Behemoth's departure -- belongs to Krisiun. Given that this is my first live experience with the Brazilian trio, I'm unsure of what to expect until the band launch into "Thorns of Heaven" and almost have me convinced that I am about witness the greatest death metal spectacle of my 24 years. Of course, any doubts that remain are immediately obliterated when the band follow this up with the skull-crushing numbers like "Ominous", "Slain Fate", "Eons", "Murderer", "Dawn of Flagellation" and "Ethereal World". Intentions are made clear early on: Alex Camargo proudly announces that the band are here to play "the brutal death metal". Not that we ever doubted that, mind. But it's when Max Kolesne delivers a stunning impromptu drum solo that you realize that Krisiun are possibly one of the most vital forces in extreme music right now -- a band who perhaps more than any other plays for the sheer incandescent love of playing and nothing else. And say what you will for their recorded output -- a topic which continues to divide fans across the globe -- but to quote a great man: "I piddy the foo's who have to follow a Krisiun set!"

(article submitted 31/10/2004)


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