Behemoth, in the mist and rain at Festival Rock al Parque

After a very long afternoon of listening to different bands and looking at strange faces, of witnessing the peculiar and yet interesting behavior among attendants at Rock Al Parque Festival, right when your body is about to give in to tiredness, not only of the day, but of the entire week, I was waiting for the last band of the day in the hopes that my inner battle with fatigue was not a complete waste of my energy. And that was the moment Behemoth took the stage, and blew the mind of everyone that was there at scenario Plaza.

As a closing band of a day dedicated to the most extreme part of the rock specter, there is always high expectations from everybody, from concert goers to local media, that this band who was chosen to close brings their A game to this first day. In previous occasions, there have been a plethora of bands closing from different genres in metal. Acts such as Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Destruction among others that have an already built-up fan base in Colombia that will go to the festival no matter what. Other less known acts such as Apocalyptica gained a couple of thousands followers after one show. The stakes are always high for bands, whether those bands are already established or in their way to be known. Behemoth has already played in Colombia back in 2012, but it was in another open air festival in Medellin called AltaVoz. That Saturday night, was their first time playing in Rock Al Parque Festival, and for many people that live in Bogotá, their first time seeing such a unique band right there in their lands.

Behemoth is a band well known to control their aesthetics and how they play along with the extreme sounds they love to portray. With a pitch black stage, the first fading howl that led to the first riff of ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’, the show was on, and many in the audience awakened from the light lethargic rest in between bands. Behemoth demonstrated right from the get-go they came to these lands to seduce and conquer those few people in the audience that weren’t follower of the band to begin with, and to satisfy the hunger of those who have been their fans for a long time. After the first discharged horns went up, screams of joy were heard, the audience were asking for more, and Behemoth delivered with ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’, a true anthem that gives you the feeling that you are on your way to the underworld through mist and shadows.

As the show progressed, it was evident that Behemoth, particularly Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski understood very well what it is to make every single concert goer feel like they all were within Nergal’s grasp. That’s a characteristic that not many entertainers possess. The show went on, with songs like ‘Conquer All’, ‘Decade Ov Therion’, ‘As Above So Below’ where most of the audience just lost themselves into the induced state of headbanging along with the tempo played to them by Behemoth. The ambiance was so overwhelming that many of them did not feel the rain pouring on their heads. That rain drops, together with the lights and the huge screens at each side of the stage showing a meticulous appearance of every member of Behemoth, created a mesmerizing sight for the delight of those people that weren’t engaged in mosh pits or head banging.

The show went on, without disruptions beyond the expected chaotic mosh pits that emerged in every song Behemoth played like ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, ‘Christians To The Lions’, ‘Messe Noire’, ‘Ov Fire And The Void’. The band delivered one blow after the other, having a fair interaction with an audience that in their majority don’t understand English, making those sporadic phrases in Spanish, in particular a very Colombian phrase “¡Qué chimba hijueputa’ that made us natives go mental. That is a detail that bands that come from abroad often forget, especially those from the United States. Those bands get too chatty with an audience that despite they know their lyrics by hard and respond to the music, but they do not understand a single word the vocalists say in their improvised speeches in between songs. In the case of Behemoth, they kept speeches to a minimum, but using some words here and there in Spanish and the Colombian phrase, they managed to make the audience feel engaged and grateful.

The remainder of the setlist included songs ‘Ben Sahar’, ‘Alas, Lord Is Upon Me’, ‘At The Left Hand Ov God’, ‘Chant For Eschaton 2000’. The latter served as the closing song for the show with most of the audience present clapped, cheered out of joy. After a short break where most of us started to move towards the exit (the way home is always a nightmare due to transportation), there was a small surprise once Behemoth took the stage once more to perform ‘O Father O Satan O Sun!’ with their classic masks to close a very powerful evening and day for the extreme. It was a very impressive show by Behemoth, with a very solid presence and sound, plus the cold rain gave a perfect setting for a band that works well their many shades of gray aesthetics.

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