Belphegor and Dark Funeral bring Devastation to Dallas

The Devastation on the Nation Tour featuring the blackened brutality of Austria’s Belphegor and Sweden’s Dark Funeral brought the evil and deathly tour package to Dallas’ Gas Monkey Bar and Grill on Tuesday, June 11.

The tour also included Incantation, Poland’s Hate, Vale of Pnath and Nightmarer, evenly representing Europe and North America at three bands each.

Even though Dallas was the 23rd stop of a 26 date tour and an eighth consecutive night, the bands took to the stage fully charged. Whether immersed in the bright daylight or in the mild, early evening and night, a rarity in Texas during June, there was no hint of exhaustion from the stage.

Each of the early acts, Hate, Vale of Pnath and Nightmarer had their sparse yet avid group of fans while the Sun was up but it wasn’t until the Sun started to disappear when Incantation hit the stage and served up brutal dose of New York death metal.

Detail photo of Incantation co-founder John McEntee’s spiked armband.
Photo : Brian McLean

It was at this time the lone crowd surfer sporting a black Incantation beanie begin to make a repeated nuisance of himself for the remainder of the night to the rabid fans on the barricade as well as security.

By the time Incantation left the stage, darkness had descended over the outdoor venue. It was the ideal setting for Dark Funeral and their darkened aura to take the stage as winds generated from massive industrial fans blew breezes across the crowd.

Little by little the stage begin to transform into Dark Funeral’s alter for the night. A large, thick industrial steel inverted cross and pentagram were positioned at each front corner of the drum kit.

As anticipation grew for the Swedes’ arrival, deep red lights saturated the stage casting heavy dark shadows of the props.

Outfitted in thick black leather body armor, spikes, studs, black boots, inverted crosses and corpse paint, the five member Dark Funeral following an eerie and torturous introduction took to the stage with “King Antichrist.”  The band continued their demonic delivery with “Ravenna Strigo Mortii,” “Temple of Ahriman,” “My Dark Desires” and “To Carve another Wound.”

Closeup of Dark Funeral co-founder Lord Ahiram’s left leg illustrating the studs and inverted cross
Photo : Brian McLean

Dark Funeral utilized all six studio albums to compile material for the night’s 13 song set with the bulk coming from their latest release, 2016’s Where Shadows Forever Reign and the first to feature Heljarmadr on vocals.

Founder and sole remaining original member Lord Ahirman dominated his side of the pentagram flanked stage but it was Heljarmadr who strolled and stalked the entire stage throughout the band’s set as a seasoned front man should.

Heljarmadr commands the Dark Funeral congregation
Photo : Brian McLean

As the band began to proceed with “Nail them to the Cross,” Heljarmadr displayed an inverted wooden crucifix and proceeded to captivate the audience while he did the unimaginable to those of the Catholic faith.

Heljarmadr and the wooden crucifix
Photo : Brian McLean
Heljarmadr and the wooden crucifix
Photo : Brian McLean

As Dark Funeral brought their set to a close with “Where Shadows Forever Reign,” Heljarmadr waved a large, black Dark Funeral flag in victory after conquering the Dallas crowd with their tight, flawless and evil laced presentation. If there were no recruits to the Dark Funeral mass prior to the set, there were unquestionably new members to the band’s congregation after the fact.

Belphegor’s vocalist and guitarist Helmuth showing appreciation to the Dallas crowd early in the Austrian band’s set
Photo : Brian McLean

As with a tour package consisting of six touring bands and one local outfit, delays occur and Belphegor took the stage closer to 11:00 PM than their scheduled 10:45 slot.

Belphegor’s return to Dallas Fort Worth marked the third time since August 2016 that the crushing Austrian metal outfit has come through Dallas Fort Worth while supporting their 2017 Totenritual release.

Helmuth addresses Belphegor’s troops in Dallas on the Devastation on the Nation Tour
Photo : Brian McLean

Opening with “Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus,” Belphegor commenced their raid on the Dallas stop of the Devastation on the Nation tour.

Backed by an LED lit, black and white Belphegor logo, two inverted crosses, an array of hanging bones and skulls and a set of three stepped stairs, the Austrians brutally plowed through their set.

Helmuth and one set of the array of bones displayed on Belphegor’s stage
Photo : Brian McLean

The band’s eleven song offering to the ranks of the Dallas Belphegor troops consisted of material from Conjuring the Dead, Bondage Goat Zombie, Pestapokalypse VI, 2003’s Lucifer Incestus and the previous mentioned Totenritual where four of the eleven songs in the set came from.

Fronted by vocalist / guitarist Helmuth and accompanied by bassist Serpent plus two additional live musicians, Belphegor blasted their way through a battery of songs including “Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration,” “Swinefever – Regents of Pigs,” “Lucifer Incestus,” “Belphegor – Hell’s Ambassador” and the show ender “Gas Mask Terror” to name a few.

Belphegor bassist Serpent
Photo : Brian McLean

The Belphegor rank and file of Dallas committed their dedication to the commandeering Austrians beyond the 12:00 AM hour when the show was originally scheduled to end. As with prior Belphegor invasions, the Austrians delivered their set like a well-oiled, armored machine primed for battle.

Devastation on Dallas did occur but the magnitude of the resulting damage and toll on the troopers whether mentally or physically wouldn’t be known until the next morning. By then, the bands were on their way to Albuquerque for a well-deserved day off.