Friday, March 21, 2014
Behemoth – The Satanist
Come to me, my disciples of darkness. O ye wraiths of impurity, gather to me! Come all ye faithless. The hour is at hand, and this is your soundtrack. Let the blackness descend, and let us all sink into the bliss of the abyss. It calls, it beckons. Now is the time to answer.
Behemoth has been around the block a few times. They are despised and feared for their openly Satanic beliefs in Poland, their homeland, which has a population that identifies as well over 90% Catholic. Nergal, their leader and guiding force, survived leukemia. This is an album that only a band that has gone through all of this could write.
“The Satanist” is an absolute stunner, a tour de force. Gone are the days of Behemoth blazing and blasting away on their instruments for the length of an album. Their music has always been punishing and relentless. This album is just as relentless, but in different ways. There is variation in the music. There is a fearlessness that can only come from one who has been near death, but survived, and has nothing to lose, nothing to worry about. Songs slip and slide through death and black metal in the same track. Blackened death, even blackened thrash can be found on this album. Most of it is an all out black metal assault, with tasteful touches of actual symphonic instruments.
Behemoth seem to have found a new way of playing. They have managed to show just enough restraint on this album that it really shows the talents and abilities of the band. The songwriting is superb. Each track is different sounding, each song stands alone as an individual entity worth exploring. One knock I've had against these guys in the past is that you put an album on and lose track of where you are in your listening journey because everything came at you at full speed with little variation. They seem to have discovered all the little nuances that truly make a masterful performance. There is nothing lacking in the intensity of the performances, rather the intensity is just better directed to create really noteworthy music.
These are all magnificent tracks, but the title track and the final track,”O Father O Satan O Son!” just take my breath away. There is something about these two tracks that really pulls me in and I have listened to them over and over again. They stick with you, they get inside your head and take up residence. You want to listen to them multiple times to glean the messages. “The Satanist” features a real live guitar solo that is melodic and adds to the texture of the song. This is just amazing stuff.
I've listened to a lot of metal, both recorded and live, and I will readily admit that I've become pretty jaded. For me to feel like his about a record it really has to have something to offer. There was quite a bit of hype and anticipation around the release of this album, and it has lived up to every bit of it. Turn this one up and feel alive.