Behemoth’s tenth studio album The Satanist has been highly anticipated - it’s been a long road for them since 2009’s Evangelion.
Frontman Nergal is a man who is very lucky to be alive due to his battle with leukaemia since 2010 but he’s fought through and beaten it. Not only are Behemoth back on stage and touring the globe once again but they have also just recorded and are about to release what I consider to be their greatest album yet; The Satanist is incredible!
Their last album Evangelion was a blinding record and I couldn’t see where they would go from there, as it was such a progression from what they had done previously. However, from the moment I put The Satanist on and the first few haunting notes of Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel bled out of my speakers I was instantly drawn in. The battle that Nergal has personally endured since late 2010 really comes through in such a powerful way that it grips you by the throat and heart and doesn’t let go.
The Satanist is as beautiful as it is sinister and unlike anything they have done before. It’s very rare that you hear an album that is filled with such raw emotion these days, there is nothing fake or contrived here, it’s a very dark and vicious record and the title The Satanist sums it up perfectly as it is fuelled by a journey of personal strength. Production wise it is not as polished as Evangelion, it’s a lot grittier which really works and the style of music is constantly changing throughout; from brutal tracks like Amen to more slower paced dark ones such as the title track.
The guitar work is phenomenal. There are some blistering riffs here as well as some incredible solos that give it an almost slight classic heavy metal vibe in places (check out Messe Noire for a prime example of this) and it’s full of chord progressions that really surround you in darkness but in an uplifting way. Its 100% Behemoth but the next level.
This is NOT an average, run of the mill blackened death record that relies on blast beats from start to finish, but it’s Behemoth so it was never going to be. There are a multitude of layers to The Satanist and every time I play this record I discover something new as I’m sure you will when you hear it. This is not an easy feat to achieve when composing, but Behemoth have gone from strength to strength throughout their career and are already in their rightful place amongst other big players such as Dimmu Borgir, Morbid Angel and Satyricon in the black and death metal worlds.
I’m certain that The Satanist will propel them to new heights – and rightfully so too. Check out the break neck speed of Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer (which is a personal favourite of mine) or In The Absence Ov Light that has a beautiful acoustic section in it (which wouldn’t sound out of place on an Opeth album) for reasons why.
But it’s the album closer O Father O Satan O Sun where things really open up. The atmospherics literally send shivers down your spine. It’s dark, haunting and an amazing way to close one of the best blackened death albums to ever be recorded.
The Satanist truly is a work of art, and although its only January, it will certainly be in my top 10 releases of 2014 at the end of the year.