Metal Alliance 2014 Report From Metal Life Magazine
Onsite Report by Karila Shannis
April 5, 2014, House of Blues, Hollywood, CA: Angelino metalheads eagerly lined up around the block to witness one of the most anticipated tours of 2014. Metal Alliance is a tour program that has become well known for arranging their annual tour circulations into themes. This year, MA unleashed the black and death metal hellhounds of Inquisition, 1349, Goatwhore, and Behemoth to ravage a sold-out show at the House of Blues. Opening the tour was Black Crown Initiate, an ensemble of eclectic headbanging freethinkers whose progressive melodies were impressive. The band is a new hybrid that encompasses the best features of Gojira and Meshuggah.
The band’s EP Song of the Crippled Bull can be found here:
Black metal duo Inquisition rose to the stage next with chilling opener “Force of the Floating Tomb.” Dagon’s hypnotic commands to “raise the chalice” stirred the crowd with passionate enthusiasm as Incubus surrounded the venue with masterful pulsations behind the drums. From “Ancient Monumental War Hymn” to “Infinite Interstellar Genocide,” Inquisition ravished audiences with their haunting depth of sound up until the end of their set.
The Norwegian dark lords of 1349 basked in an eternal sea of red light, setting a sinister tone for their entire set (but a never-ending source of complaints from the night’s photographers). Opening with “Sculptor of Flesh,” 1349 came out in full force as if they had never disappeared after the release of Demonoir in 2010. While the band definitely did right in arranging a killer setlist, from “Atomic Chapel” to “I Am Abomination” and “Serpent Sibilance,” the delight of hearing the introduction to every song was later marred by shoddy sound. Archaon’s guitar could barely be heard, and the precision of Seidemann’s bass grooves were lost in what was probably bad PA mixing; the only good thing the audio showcased was the incredible ability of 1349’s young, spritely drummer who subbed for Frost on this tour. My frustration of the sound truly reached its peak when they decided to play a new single entitled “Slaves.” It could have (and for some people probably did) ruined the set, but 1349 kept on like true professionals despite these unwelcomed setbacks.
The New Orleans badasses of Goatwhore were next to jump onto the stage, and suddenly the energy changed from slithering darkness to a speed-driven brutality. It was a refreshing change to see the band get such a coveted spot on this tour, seeing as they are usually content playing as a sideliner. The charismatic, leather-and-spike studded Ben Falgoust (one of the most underrated frontmen in metal today) delivered a bold dynamic presence, while Sammy Duet anchored the band’s sound with his rapid-fire riffs. James Harvey’s bass and Zach Simmon’s drumming syncopated flawlessly, and provided a depth that makes Goatwhore a unique spirit of the modern metal scene.
1) The All Destroying
2) Where Steel and Bone Meet
3) An End to Nothing
4) In Deathless Tradition
5) Baptized in a Storm of Swords
6) Collapse in Eternal Worth
7) Baring Teeth for Revolt
8) Judgment of the Bleeding Crown
9) Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult
10) Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word
11) Apocalyptic Havoc
Finally, the Polish masterminds of Behemoth loomed upon the stage, cloaked in dark robes, poised and ready to conquer Los Angeles after their triumphant return to the States almost two years ago during the Decibel tour. The crowd went criminally insane as the gloomy opening riff of “Blow Your Trumpets” echoed through the venue. Inferno’s tribal beats and Orion’s abysmal bass tones sent chills through every backbone in the house, but it did not deter every mouth from shouting along. In fact, so many people knew the song that Nergal just played along for a few seconds without singing, smiling with inexplicable pride and joy as hundreds of metalheads shouted the blasphemous scriptures for him. Suddenly, upon Nergal’s declaration of: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power!,” the infamous cue for “Ora Pro Nobis, Lucifer,” everyone exploded into a rabid whirlpool of movement and song. The crowd was ravenous, and Behemoth’s melodic furies never stopped for a minute. Crowd-pleasers like “Conquer All” and “Christians to the Lions” got as loud of an approving uproar as their new songs “Furor Divinus” and title track “The Satanist.” But the most powerful moment was the encore of “O Father, O Satan, O Sun.” The members of the band seemed to bathe in their own majesty when they came halfway through the song in the tall-horned, demonic masks seen in many promotional photos for the album. It was a bittersweet moment, marking the beginning of one of Behemoth’s most successful US tours ever, while also signifying the end of the beautifully gargantuan spirit of one of the most triumphant bands in today’s heavy metal scene.
1) Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel
2) Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
3) Conquer All
4) As Above, So Below
5) Slaves Shall Serve
6) Christians to the Lions
7) The Satanist
8) Ov Fire and the Void
9) Furor DIvinus
10) Alas, Lord is Upon Me
11) Chant for Eschaton 2000
Encore: O Father, O Satan, O Sun