Behemoth - _At the Arena ov Aion - Live Apostasy_
(Regain Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (9 out of 10)
For those who have yet to experience the pleasure that is the Behemoth concert spectacle, there's a very good reason why you're currently seeing them top several polls as the best live act of 2008. They simply are that damn good. Why? Because unlike many of his (particularly European) contemporaries, Nergal gets what playing live is all about, and so while others would have you cough up good money to see them do little more than rehearse their back catalogue, the Behemoth frontman commandeers his troops toward levels of on-stage frenzy that you simply can't help but respond to.

Capturing this combustible energy on disc would undoubtedly be a daunting task, but they've managed well here. With a mix that could leave the Incredible Hulk quivering in fear, every instrument sounds as punishing as it would have inside the sweatbox that played host to this recording. Adrenalized takes on tracks like "From the Pagan Vastlands" will undoubtedly delight older fans -- or the myriad that pretend to be -- but it's the band's recent output that comes up trumps here. "At the Left Hand ov God" and "Slaying the Prophets ov Isa" both sound not only absolutely crushing, but they also serve to demonstrate the depth of maturity that Behemoth have rapidly ascended to in recent years. Rounded out by a stunning rendition of "Chant for Ezkaton", the only real drawback to this effort is the damage you may end up causing to your furniture pretending you were there.


(article published 23/1/2009)

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