The Ecclesia Diabolica America tour stopped at The Underground in Charlotte, NC, just a couple days before Halloween, and brought with it a three of the biggest names in the underground metal scene. Wolves In The Throne Room, At the Gates, and Behemoth brought the club to near capacity as the Carolinas showed that they appreciate a great tour when it comes through.
Wolves In The Throne Room opened the night promptly at 7:30. Coming from Olympia, WA, they play what has often been described as “Cascadian” or “atmospheric” black metal. All of the songs they played were from their newest release, ‘Thrice Woven’, which was released in September of 2017. Though they only played three songs it felt like much more due to the way they compose their music. Their set was dark, literally and metaphorically, and it fit well for their style of black metal. They closed their set with one of my favorite tracks off their last record, “Born from the Serpent’s Eye”. I’ve attempted—and failed—to see this band for the last ten years and I’m happy to say that I was definitely pleased with their performance.
At The Gates is a name that I haven’t heard in years. I remember listening to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’ with my friends in high school, and by that time it had been out a few years. Being from NC, metalcore was a huge deal in the late 90’s/early 2000’s and At The Gates was a band everyone in the area listened to. Fast forward 18 years and I hear their name pop up on this tour. I had to do a double take to make sure I read it correctly. It was nice to see that they hadn’t lost any steam over the years. They opened with the title track from their new album, ‘To Drink From the Night Itself’ and then immediately rolled into an oldie, “Slaughter of the Soul”. Their performance was high energy and they played a great mix of songs from their extensive catalog. My favorite had to be “Suicide Nation” because that song is a classic.
Behemoth is one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. This tour was no exception. I love any band that can bring a theatrical element to their live show and Behemoth never fails on that front. A large black curtain was raised while the stage was set for their performance, as sound clips from “Solve”, the intro to their newly released ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’, was played over the PA. When the curtain dropped the band was standing on stage in black masks, and immediately went into “Wolves ov Siberia”. Just before the band played “Bartzabel” Nergal had a quick wardrobe change to reflect the look of the video. They played a mix of material off their albums, but mainly focused on material from their new record. It was great to see them play the opening track from ‘The Satanist’ “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, as I’ve never seen them play it live before. They closed their set with a drum line dressed in the same black masks from the opening, as they played “Coagvla”, the outro from ‘I Loved You at Your Darkest’.
Behemoth always puts on an incredible performance, and that alone should be reason enough to catch this tour when it comes through your area. The added bonus of seeing At the Gates, and a band as phenomenal as Wolves In The Throne Room is the icing on this big, metal cake.