Arch Enemy and Behemoth’s North American Siege tour ripped through Charlotte this past Saturday, with a throng of 1500+ strong welcoming them to North Carolina. This tour marks the first return of the heavy-hitting coheadlining duo to North American shores since the pandemic began, and the anticipation was evident in the buzz of the crowd. Though very musically distinct from one another, Arch Enemy and Behemoth form a powerful package that brings something for every death metal enthusiast.
Behemoth is a spectacle to behold every time they take the stage. The Polish black metal powerhouse has managed to capture the hearts and ears of American listeners in a way that very few of their contemporaries can match. A distorted radio-like broadcast built tension as fog billowed across the stage. Soon enough, though, the cacophony was cut by the opening, droning guitar lead of Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer. Vocalist and guitarist Nergal Darski conducted his ritual with an almost supernatural confidence and fluidity, whipping the crowd into ravenous chants the whole set. Though the four-piece has been through the wringer of controversy for the past thirty years, few can match their theatricality and commitment to creating ambience. From the fan favourite Conquer All to deep cuts like Chwała Mordercom Wojciecha, from critically-acclaimed masterpieces to as-yet unreleased albums, Behemoth’s set spanned decades of commitment to sonic brutality. Behemoth is a household name within extreme metal for a reason, and their grandiose, brutal performance art is a prime example of why.
To close out the night, Arch Enemy offered a more traditional take on melodic death metal. Though they’d been off the road for over two years, the Swedish quintet has clearly not lost a step in that time. The twelve-song, hour long set was a boisterous, energetic and infectiously fun performance, filled with delicious riffs and perfectly synced headbanging. Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz frequently threw out call-and-response chants to the throng of fans on the barrier, which were invariably echoed a hundred fold. Arch Enemy’s setlist leaned heavily on the three released singles for their upcoming record Deciever (Out July 29 via Century Media), but their outro track “Fields of Desolation” from their debut album served as a crowd pleaser for long-time fans. As someone who’s not seen Arch Enemy before, they’re a bombastic, explosively powerful live band with an imposing stage presence and killer riffs. If you have the chance to catch a date on this tour, you’d be ill advised to miss it.
Arch Enemy and Behemoth’s North American Siege has only just begun- catch a date near you before it’s too late.
April 28 – New York, N.Y. @ Terminal 5
April 29 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ The Fillmore Philadelphia
April 30 – Worcester, Mass. @ Palladium
May 2 – Chicago, Ill. @ The Riviera Theatre
May 4 – Denver, Colo. @ Ogden Theatre
May 7 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Depot
May 9 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox SoDo
May 10 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Vogue Theatre
May 11 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland Theater
May 13 – Berkeley, Calif. @ The UC Theatre
May 15 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Hollywood Palladium