It has been the best part of five long years since Behemoth blew us away with ‘Evangelion’, and given all the drama in the interim, it should not come as too big a shock to discover that ‘The Satanist’ is a fairly big stylistic leap. This is not going to **** off a load of their fans the way, say, ‘The Unspoken King’ did for Cryptopsy, but there are going to be a fair few confirmed supporters left behind. On the flip side, the potential for the sceptical and uninitiated to be won over is staggering. Why is all this? Because Behemoth have largely ditched death metal for an epic, anthemic and majestic vein of black metal that is simultaneously accessible, memorable, deeply personal – and evil as hell.
That trademark Eastern melodic twang Behemoth made their own over the last decade or so is audible by its near absence, only present as the odd hint on ‘Messe Noir’, and in the only proper death metal song on the album ‘Amen’, which is the one anyone simply wanting more stuff that sounds like ‘Slaves Shall Serve’ will fixate on. Instead, you have a curious mixture of sounds; there’s some noticeably Marduk-esque assaults, the occasional blast of Euronymous influence and some palpably King/Gaahl-era Gorgoroth moments (‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ in particular).
Yet it all feels very much like Behemoth, even with many of their hallmarks missing. Partially, this is due to Nergal’s mighty roar soaring over everything, but this is not the secret to it. It is the feel that achieves most of the personality, exuding power and strength and wisdom and iconoclasm, striving for emancipation and enlightenment through profound, personal communication with the Dark Lord. It is the instantly catchy riffs and vocal hooks that haven’t needed to be softened or smoothed out to be accessible, left as searing fury that seems to fill your veins with fire.
In less flowery terms, ‘The Satanist’ uplifts your spirit, makes you feel tall and strong enough to juggle cars, and inflames your passions with wrath against all who would keep you weak, ignorant and subject. It is an album where each song has its own flavour and power to worm their way into your brain, that opens with ominous portent and climaxes in choral devotion, closer ‘O Father O Satan O Sun!’ sounding like the mightiest hymn to the Horned One since ‘Inno A Satana’ twenty years ago. Consummately brilliant.
galneryus! took notice of this band because i watch hunter x hunter. i was previously introduced to this band before i started watching hxh but didn't really take note of their music. the singer's voice is powerful!
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