​Kataklysm / Belphegor / Necronomicon Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre, Montreal QC, November 13

​Kataklysm / Belphegor / Necronomicon Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre, Montreal QC, November 13
Photo: Chris Bubinas
Kataklysm have had a busy year. Their tour schedule has seen them hit many of the biggest metal festivals around the world including the iconic Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. In July, they released their widely praised 12th album, Of Ghosts and Gods. Last night (November 13), the melodic death metal stalwarts returned to their hometown of Montreal to melt faces off the voracious crowd who packed into the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre.

The night, however, had even greater significance to the Montreal metal scene. After over 20 years of bringing the brightest and best metal bands in the world to Montreal, tonight marked the last show for beloved metal promoters Brave Concerts International (BCI). Kataklysm shared their thoughts on Facebook prior to the show: "Our hometown gig this year will be very special this time around, as one of Canada's top promoters and closest friends will be closing its doors after 21 years of bringing metal to Canada, this will be the last show they promote and they chose to do it with Kataklysm, we are honored to be part of this great night…"

After local black metal upstarts Necronomicon delivered a strong performance, it was time for Austria's Belphegor to take the stage. Self-described as "supreme death / black metal art," the four-piece hammered the crowd with their evil, pestilent presence. Frontman Helmuth Lehner wailed into a bloodied microphone assembled from various animal skulls, flanked by his guitarists. Pyrotechnic cones spewed filthy red and green colors into the air while songs like "Lucifer Incestus" and "Black Winged Torment" sent most of the pit into a frenzy.

After a short interlude, the crew from BCI assembled onstage to relate their storied history to the crowd, to bid farewell and to thank the countless fans and bands that have been part of their journey over the years. After a few emotional speeches from the team, BCI President Stephan Mellul bid his final farewell by diving off the stage and crowd surfing with the help of his disciples below.

Next to take the stage were the "Sons of Montreal," Kataklysm themselves. Devoid of the blood and make-up and shrieking gimmicks of the other bands, they went straight to work, bursting into action and pounding away at the crowd with their relentless riffs. Frontman Maurizio Iacono prowled around the stage, delivering an emotional and powerful performance as he towered over the mosh pit below.

The band took full advantage of the depth of their catalogue, deftly and relentlessly delivering choice cuts that never once gave crowd a moment to escape the chaos. The detractors of Kataklysm's newer work, who lamented the shift toward the melodic on the band's latest LP, may have been caught off-guard by the fury Kataklysm unleashed during that album's "Thy Serpent's Tongue." Countless bodies flung themselves from the stage and into the swirling, thrashing pit below as the fans revelled in every riff.