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2012-04-16 KS – Lawrence - Granada Theatre

It’s rare that I get excited about tour packages anymore. Most consist of bands that don’t relate to each other, in genre or concept. This however was very different. A rare treat to have four bands that are superior in their genres and are all bound by the same beliefs. Whether it be the occult, Satanism or both. I’m talking about IN SOLITUDE/THE DEVIL’S BLOOD/WATAIN/BEHEMOTH. When I heard this tour was coming near to me I had to attend. I had a choice between Chicago, IL and Lawrence KS. Knowing how expensive Chicago is, I opted for the Kansas show, and it is a blessing that I did, as WATAIN’s appearance on the tour was delayed for the first five dates. To my luck they joined forces in Lawrence, KS.

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As the legions of metal fans made their way into the Granada Theatre, I had a feeling we were in for an extremely interesting night. :: IN SOLITUDE :: started the night off. Sounding heavily influenced by Mercyful Fate, these young Swedes played like old pros. With his ghostly appearance, vocalist Pelle surprised many with his mighty and smooth vocal range. I was impressed and held captivated by the leads guitarists Niklas Lindstrom and Henrik traded off. It was also cool to see the brother team of bassist Gottfrid and Pelle interact with each other onstage. They truly seemed to be having fun. The band knew exactly how to play the crowd and had them eating out of the palm of their hands. With their style of evil heavy metal IN SOLITUDE set the tone for what was to come next.

After a short break it was time for :: THE DEVIL’S BLOOD :: The whole band appeared onstage covered in blood from head to toe, along with a heavy 3 guitarist assault. Not metal, but sounding more like Coven or Pentagram. I noticed the guitarist, S.L., chanting before and during their performance. Vocalist F. is witch like in appearance; she made no contact with the audience. She was more like an eerie animated statue while the music played. Her vocals contain more soul and passion as if conjured up from the other side. THE DEVIL’S BLOOD seemed to put the audience under their spell. One thing about THE DEVIL’S BLOOD is that their music translates much better through live performance. They are a band to be experienced, rather than just heard alone. As the final song played, she seemed to float offstage before the music ended. They’re performance was beyond magical and left the audience spellbound, it also felt like THE DEVIL’S BLOOD had opened some spiritual door.

It was time now for what most were waiting for and that was :: WATAIN :: Having missed the first five dates of the tour due to visa issues, WATAIN seemed to have an infuriated pent up energy and it was all released during this ritual. Chanting was heard coming in and out of the speakers as they were still setting up the stage. There was blood and lots of it. The smell was rancid as they walked onstage. With S.L. from The Devil’s Blood helping out on guitar it was even more powerful. Erik’s energy alone was so chaotic it transcended into the audience. Adorned with skulls and what looked like an impaled dead rat hanging from his belt, he reeked of death… literally. Playing many cuts from Lawless Darkness and due to time constraints some of the classics weren’t heard. One thing I will say about WATAIN, they definitely employ supernatural forces while performing live. During Stellarvore the air pressure in the room changed and the atmosphere became thick and ominous. It felt as if the gates of hell were opening. A sinister feeling lurked and at certain times whether it was due to lighting or contacts, Erik’s eyes glowed red as if he were in fact possessed. WATAIN never fails to excite and ignite the fires of hell. It was one of the most thrilling performances I have ever witnessed. They ended their ritual all too soon and left the crowd completely stunned.

It was going to be hard to follow Watain’s performance but many had come to see :: BEHEMOTH :: After battling cancer Nergal was looking rather frail in appearance. He had a lot of energy and still pulled off his reign as front man. With a visual light show extravaganza, the band sounded ever so powerful as they delivered the tunes. BEHEMOTH’s vibe was not as evil as the bands that came before them, but rather more violent. Over the years their black metal had morphed into more of a death metal sound which became somewhat commercialized and lost me in translation. They were spectacular in their live performance, but I could only take so much after the heavy feelings THE DEVIL’S BLOOD and WATAIN left me with. This tour was an extraordinary event that is not often seen on US soil, one that should not be missed by any means.


story & pics © Goddess Sioux