All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Behemoth, Watain Live @ 170 Russell, Melbourne

An incredible bill of extreme and oh so very Black Metal was collected for this tour. Dubbed the ‘Australian Satanist’ tour and featuring Behemoth, Watain and Bolzer, the tour collated by the incredible Soundworks Touring stormed it’s way across Australia finishing with a blistering, evil night at Melbourne’s 170 Russell venue.

If by the end of the night, the bringer of light Lucifer himself had not been summoned to partake in the evening’s unholy festivities, I’d be very surprised. It was that sort of night(!)

Arriving at the venue and seeing a queue of people stretching around an entire block got me all nice and fired up for what was to come. I had been looking forward to this night for quite a while.

My knowledge of Bölzer was non-existent. Some quick research before the gig revealed they were a two-piece. Guitar and drums. They ploughed through their extremely heavy set and even though it would have been nice to hear some bottom end throughout their sound, they pull off the limitations of a two piece band rather well.

Having experienced both Behemoth and Watain before, I knew what to expect and was left rest assured that both these bands would deliver the goods.

Watain would rank as one of the most vile and visceral acts I have ever photographed. They not only look like expunged demon-form cast-outs from hell, they fuckn smell like them too. They assault the senses – all of them – from the get go. Dripping animal blood and sweat and shredded costumes that look like they’ve literally been skinned off a dying creature are the norm. Ritualistic prayer and summoning of the Dark Lord take place on the stage with every performance. It is disturbing to watch and experience because here is a man, Danielsson and band, who believe in a literal Devil. Theistic Satanism which takes things to a whole new level above the likes of Anton LaVey and the Church Of Satan.

Watain were simply merciless. I looked up towards the Billboard dressing room and wondered just how in the hell would Behemoth follow this Satanic debauchery but my fears were quickly laid to rest when Nergal and co took command of the stage. Literally!

Third time’s the charm with Behemoth. I’ve had the extreme pleasure of photographing them on three occasions now in 2010, 2013 and 2015 and the weather always seems to heat up whenever Behemoth are in town.

Behemoth now rank as one of the genre’s heavy weights with the release of the brilliant ‘The Satanist’ opus in 2014. Their best album and one which has catapulted them onto bigger and better climbs.

They put forth a slick and professional showing tonight. The maturity and growth this band has shown over the course of the three times I have seen them is astounding.

There could not have been a single punter last night that left the gig disappointed and I get a smile on my face every time I hear Nergal (Adam Darsky) scream to the sky, “It’s good to be alive!”

The man has witnessed a literal hell and survived and come back so much stronger, wiser and headstrong.

The future for Behemoth looks incredibly bright. I very much look forward to seeing where the next chapter takes them.

With thanks and humble gratitude to the incredible Dysie at Soundworks Touring.




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