Let’s face it, readers, in 2014 AD by far the best metal release was Behemoth’s ‘The Satanist’. From start to finish it was near perfect! Receiving worldwide critical acclaim everything contained within it’s darkened evil and heavy beauty was by far the best thing that the Polish quartet have put to tape.
Now imagine thinking to yourself, “Damn I’d love to witness The Satanist’s perfection live from start to finish!” Well, wonder no more. Your wish has come true in the form of ‘Messe Noire’.
A two and a half hour live release consisting of two separate shows. The first from Behemoth’s show in their hometown of Warsaw in 2016 and the second being the same set performed at the Brutal Assault festival in Prague in 2016 also. The BA show is considered the live official bootleg which is what they call pro shot gigs I assume, as it is quite common for the major summer metal music festivals in Europe to be streamed live.
But let’s dig into the bones of show number one in Poland.
Now, I’ve seen Behemoth three times since 2014 and they always put on an amazing show. I also listen to The Satanist weekly and now that we have the ability to witness it from start to finish in its entirety is nothing short of amazing. The thing about writing a review for a live DVD as opposed to being at an actual gig is that it lacks the element of actually having been at the show and a part of the personal experience. One is being caught up in the moment and the other is sitting down in one’s lounge room and viewing it at your own leisure.
So to try and break it down, upon watching Messe Noire, it is your typical live DVD, four blokes running around playing their songs. But, on the other hand, this performance is Nergal, Inferno, Orion & Seth playing to a mesmerised and captivated audience at home and so cohesively and perfectly the viewer can clearly see how a band the calibre of Behemoth wrote such a defining album for their catalogue. I particularly love seeing the way that Nergal & Orion do the vocal trade-offs. Secondly, seeing Nergal command his clergy, so to speak is awesome. In fact, the band as a whole have a real aura of stage presence and combining that with the extremity and complexity of the band that Behemoth are, seeing The Satanist performed in full rules more than I can fully explain. There is no overuse and little in the way of background visuals and imagery, the live element of Messe Noire is letting Behemoth’s performance be the visual magnificence it should be.
The downside to me having to view this is that I didn’t get to hear it in it’s 5.1 Surround Sound magnificence. Good thing I own decent headphones!
The live sound production on Messe Noire is superb. As is the visuals, the camera crew have magnificently captured the perfection of a Behemoth live show perfectly. What you readers are about to witness is a true testimony and deliverance of such a defining album and in Nergal’s own words “the perfect way to conclude The Satanist cycle which has been an overwhelming experience and amazing chapter in Behemoth’s career and lives so far! By the release of Messe Noire we would like to hail all our legions around the world for undying support! Now let the art speak…” And speak to us their visual brilliance does.
Show number two is the same live ‘The Satanist’ with fewer songs after it and their set does without the bells whistles so to speak. The live audio production isn’t as crisp and sharp as the Warsaw show is, and being a festival a little of the full headline show is sacrificed, but overall, purists may witness the Brutal Assault performance as more stripped back and raw or whatever. But whatever your preference, Messe Noire as a whole live Behemoth performance of The Satanist is one worth adding to your live heavy library as I feel it is a perfect visual representation of a perfect album.