4 March 2014
Behemoth - The Satanist
At one point this album was just dream for people who follow Behemoth. Back in 2010 when the band were riding high on the wave of popularity around their 'Evangelion' release, the band's lead guitarist and vocalist Nergal was diagnosed with Leukaemia and given its advance stage he was told that even chemotherapy would not be able to help him. However after a bone marrow transplant and time, Nergal made a recovery. Now we have here a brand new album from Behemoth; needless to say that his recent experiences have not taken away any of his powerful song writing and imagery. If anything the very first impression I got from this album is that the man is more pissed off than ever. As with all black/death metal, there is a limited amount of return I can find with an act, sometimes they floor me with their amazing playing and obsession with darkened idols; whilst at other times I find myself bored to the extreme...literally. So without further ado, let's get on with the show.....
"Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" is a big fuck you to the sky, with brooding vocals, howling guitars and a slow pounding pulse that gives way to a mixer of heavenly chorus and fast frantic guitar fret warfare (it even has a trumpet solo at the end). Most people might have expected for a blast of speed, but this is exactly what I was expecting - after what had happened to Nergal, the middle finger had to be more defined and corrosive. It is a cold and hellish announcement to the world of the arrival of this new monster, not exactly making my world spin but a good opening none the less. Following on is "Furor Divinus", this is more traditional death metal with its fast riff playing and manic drumming; again it is played very well, but I am not falling under the spell of the album. It is another hymn to the end of the Christian/Jewish God, aping Abraham on to kill his only son and to end the world. Imagine a nastier version of Ghost and your almost there at this point. "Messe Noire" is an even more straight forward - praise Satan, check - slow grinding verses, check - frantic and noisy chorus, check. It is played to a high standard, but again I am not engaged with the song as much as I would have like.
"Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" is a slight departure in the lyrical department at least. With some of this being sang in Latin, it adds to the menace of the track. It is another hymn to the father of the house below, but it is much more powerful and dynamic than the first few tracks on the album. This is not to say it is likening to when Metallica became more of the metal band than the trash band, but it is brilliantly harsh and attention grabbing. After this is "Amen", a song about the band's hatred of Mary; it is full of angry and bile that will have some people hiding in the corner whimpering, it has all the points that will have the masses who love this band given the devil horn sign to the air for all to see. But I find myself being impressed with the actual craft of the song, I still find myself cold to it. "The Satanist" is another case in point here, it is a brilliantly well played song, the delivery is beyond fault; but I am just sitting here listening to it again and I have no really desire to raise my airs in celebration of the destruction that the band wish to unleash upon the world.
"Ben Sahar" starts with a blast of drone horns, an acoustic guitar and a shed load of riffs that would have been the weapon of choice at the fall of Jericho. It is another pray to the glory of Satan and the band are (as have been through all of this album) on top of their game; you can really get a sense of their anger on this track more than anything else on this album and if this is your sort of thing it will be life affirming. "In The Absence Ov Light" has more of the same type of thing for the faithful here, but with a small acoustic breakdown in the middle and a spoken word piece with horn playing loosely in the back ground, the band have taken a step to the side towards the end of this album and it is much more interest just for that brief interlude before the return of the all killing monster that is Behemoth. If they did an album like that, it would probably suck but it is incredibly effective on this song. Ending the album is "O Father, O Satan, O Sun" and this is also the longest track on the album. Much like opener "Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel" it is not all power, it starts off with a slow opening and the vocals have a backing clean vocal as well during the verses. It does last a little too long for my tastes, but again as has been the case with all of this album it is well delivered and will have their fans ecstatic and in delirium.
It is safe to say that this album is an important one for the band; after all there was a point where it might not have even happened. Already it is making waves all over the world and getting praise from all corners of the planet. In the UK it made number 56 in the album charts and for a record of this genre that is a huge achievement, in their native Poland it made the number 1 position and in the USA it made number 34; this is a game changing release for the band. Yet for all this praise and for the clinical delivery of the band, it still is not the all conquering release for me. A bit like Ghost's last album, it was just a little too one dimensional for me and I have heard many bands deliver their sermons on Satan that I get a little turned off by another album doing the same as has went on before. But I cannot deny that it is a well played album and if you are a fan of the band or even the black metal or death metal genre's, this will probably be your album of the year.
7.5 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
Best track - In The Absence Ov Light
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Behemoth website here
You can visit the Behemoth webstore here and the album is available to purchase; together with other products that might interest you
You can listen to the album on Spotify here
Alternatively if you’re a Deezer user, you can listen to the album here
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