November 18th was the date that Polish extreme metal veterans Behemoth, Arizona's Job For A Cowboy, Gojira from France, and Canada's Beneath the Massacre took their "Radio Rebellion Tour" to New York's Irving Plaza for a night of extreme metal madness. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was on hand, and brings this full report.
Scheduled to run for a month starting on October 18th in Baltimore, the Radio Rebellion Tour promised to be an exciting venture for the four bands involved. After all, you get the technical blackened death extremists from Poland, the mighty Behemoth, the US upstarts and latest Metal Blade darlings Job For a Cowboy, avant-metal stalwarts Gojira coming over once again from France, and the new guys on the block, the insane technical death-core Canadians, Beneath the Massacre. Irving Plaza, or the Fillmore as they now like to call it, was nicely packed on this evening, no doubts to the continued growing popularity of Behemoth and the rising success of Job For A Cowboy. Billed as a co-headlining tour, most in attendance seemed to feel that this choice was rather odd, as Behemoth is clearly the more veteran band with a greater discography behind them and a much larger fanbase. Who would headline this show? Read on...
Beneath the Massacre, riding high on the critical praise of their recent Prosthetic release Mechanics of Dysfunction, took the state like a band out to prove something, and they wowed the audience with their brand of precision, brutal technicality. This band might not offer much from a visual perspective, but man can they rip! Playing virtually their entire new CD (which barely clocks in at 30 minutes, more than enough time to fill most of it in their short set), Beneath the Massacre churn out massive waves of intricate & pummeling guitar riffs and insane drum blasts. They have the chops of a prog-metal band, but at their heart they come from a hardcore/death metal base, and their short but brutal set let any audience member who had not yet experienced the band that technical extreme metal just got a hell of a lot more exciting. This band could own the scene in a very short time, mark my words.
Gojira were making their second NYC appearance in a year, previously coming into town with Children of Bodom and Amon Amarth back in late 2006. As such, they were welcomed like conquering heroes. Kicking off with the bone crunchingly heavy "Ocean Planet" from their From Mars to Sirius release, the band tore into a selection of other tunes from their short discography, relying more on power and crushing riffs than speed or overt technicality, although these guys can and do shred on occasion. The sound mix was excellent for their set, and quite frankly the fans wanted more after thunderous applause after thunderous applause. This outfit from France, much like Beneath the Massacre, is really making waves, and fans are waiting patiently for their next release. If you haven't checked Gojira out yet, and like the thought of a slightly less technical, more bottom heavy Mastodon or Meshuggah, then make sure you pick up one of their CD's pronto.
Our original question from earlier in the evening was answered about 15 minutes after the Gojira set, when Job For A Cowboy marched out on stage and began their set. With only material from their debut Genesis to draw from, it was a good choice to allow Behemoth the headline slot here in NYC, although the two bands have been alternating throughout the tour. JFAC offer up solid, metalcore-ish death metal, fairly technical, and have really clicked with the younger metal fanbase, mostly through tireless self-promotion on their MySpace page and plenty of hype from their label, Metal Blade. Live, the band is extremely energetic and heavy, as they really can deliver their music to the fans, although nothing they do really makes them stand apart from many of the other acts out there today. I was left with a sort of "they were good...." and not much more to say. Very competent, tight, and lots of stage presence, but perhaps their songs are just not overly memorable yet at this stage in their career. I don't know. JFAC certainly can and will be a force in the metal scene for years to come, that I am certain. They just need to find a little bit of identity first. Despite that, their set was solid and enjoyable.
What can you say about Behemoth that hasn't already been said? These Polish juggernauts have been one of the hardest working bands in extreme metal the last few years, and now, hot on the heels of their latest release The Apostasy, not only did the band take part in OZZFEST, but this short headlining run as well. Taking the stage dressed in their corpse paint and body armor, Nergal and company look like the black metal band they originally were back in the early days, but they now deliver crushing, technical death metal of the highest caliber. Playing a few tunes off the new release, as well as fan favorites from Demigod, Zos Kia Kultus, Satanica, Thelena 6, as well as a few surprises from their black metal days, the band were totally on point as always, with Nergal's blasphemous vocals and tight guitar work complemented by bassist Orion, the amazing drum blasts from Inferno, and new guy & second guitarist Seth. Most of what the serious Behemoth fan wanted to hear was played, whether it be "Demigod", "Christians to the Lions", "Decade of Therion", or oldies but goodies "From the Pagan Vastlands" and "Sculpting the Throne ov Seth", the band had it all covered. At this point in their career, Behemoth are on quite a roll here in the US, and I think their days as an opening act are behind them. This was a triumphant show for Behemoth, and I can't wait for them to get back here once again.
Behemoth Set List
Rome 64 D.C.
Slaying the Prophets ov Isa
From the Pagan Vastlands
Inferno's drum solo
Summoning (of the Ancient Ones)
As Above So below
Slaves Shall Serve
Christians to the Lions
Decade of Therion
Chant for Eschaton 2000
Sculpting the Throne ov Seth
I got an Erection (Turbonegro cover)