Album Review

Album Review: Behemoth – The Satanist

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 10:07 PM (PST)
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“I’m yours in euphoria below”

Believe the hype. Behemoth have made their best album. This shit will scare people in a world where nothing’s shocking (though it is shocking no metal band named their record this yet). They are Poland’s kings of apotheosis.

Sometimes you just know a major work when you see/hear it. It comes down to focus. let me make an analogy. The first Die Hard film was tightly wound and thrilling, while sequels became progressively sloppy and harder to believe. A newer, focused film Dead Man Down I just saw was far better than the last Die Hard due to focus, despite not being a mega franchise. Behemoth, like Watain on their recent victorius LP The Wild Hunt, have managed to distill what they do to a fine, jet black diamond while still expanding. This is the ideal type of “Jet Black Art” Tom Lindberg shrieked about on The Great Deceiver’s cathartic and criminally underrated song/EP of the same name. Tear apart convention and rebuild a darker phoenix. It’s not that classic death metal or black metal don’t hold a thrill (the latest Autopsy, Coffins and Aosoth ruled, for example) but the disregard for genre here is stunning and in keeping with the modern clusterfuck world. This is a brilliant crest of a fiery wave. Every “risk” pays off in alchemical spades.

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A combination of timing and sociology can also come to play, but it takes visionary artists to capture their moment and grab hold. At The Drive-In did it with Relationship Of Command. Nirvana seized the national zeitgeist’s imagination and opened minds to underground currents with Nevermind. Where Ghost B.C. may have rekindled an appreciation for the dark with their great (and fun) releases, Behemoth have made a vicous but inspiring apocalyptic testament that will stand for years as a benchmark of aggression. The bands recent violence is intact but refined. This seems a personal quest for self fulfillment, more than anything else. It is somehow uplifting even as it roasts off your skin.

I haven’t heard such cool bass tones since Geezer Butler on Sabbath’s recent “Loner”, which certainly had a much bigger budget. The combination of aesthetic, music video visuals and attention to detail paired with knowledge of metal history, a sense of danger and chaos harnessed to musical purpose by the craftsmen of Behemoth’s hands here is really only matched by Watain, of late. Moonspell’s (perhaps best) Night Eternal from a few years back comes to mind as well, an album that just didn’t give a fuck and went for it. It is all tendrils of metal constricting and binding with shadowy joy to ultimately liberate. “Ben Sahar” opens with ambient churl and coughs clouds of flies miles into the sky.

The Satanist proves endlessly exhilarating and truly exhausting. By the end notes and cries of closer “O Father O Satan O Sun!” your metal O face will be stretched into a Jack Nicholson Joker victim’s rictus grin. The music is so intense I was literally lying in bed in the dark relentlessly twitching my leg like a spastic channeling the insanity of Inferno’s drums. “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” starts things off reminiscent a bit of Enslaved side project Trinacria. The slamming sound hits like the eruption of the Seven Seals breaking and the song comes complete with “hails” and chilling choral chants atop psychotic moans, blasts and screaming guitar. Post-Leukemia Nergal sounds more bellowy at times, almost like Max Cavalera even at points! This is not a bad thing. The vocal consistency and ferocity rises downward to a fever pitch throughout, particularly venemous on the track “Furor Divinus” (where you can practically hear spit flying from his lips) or album standout mind fuck “Messe Noire”.

The Satanist is one of those records where it is so good it destroys the debate of the long form album being dead because you have already listened to the whole thing three times before you have time to consider skipping tracks or downloading just one to your stupid little Ipod for a jog.

There is no way to do this record justice in a review. The title track alone you could probably write a small book about, so many philosophical and musical signifiers are embedded in the marching opus. This will undoubtedly be on many year end lists despite being such an early quarter relase. Knowing a new Sabbath Assembly is on the way and also having heard the new Nachtmystium album already, we are in for a fucking dynamite 2014. Turn up the solo on “The Satanist” as loud as you can and be utterly consumed.

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