Words About Music
Behemoth “The Satanist”
Behemoth was always one of those bands to me. One of those bands I’d always heard about but never bothered to listen to. One of those bands I’d always see on lineups for dude-bro death metal festivals that always got bands like Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch to headline. Just another European death metal band with a ton of albums that all sound exactly the same. Again, these were all generalizations I’d made prior to listening to their new full length album “The Satanist,” and let me just tell you that I was dead wrong.
Behemoth is a Polish blackened death metal band that formed in the early 90s as a fairly middle of the road black metal group. They eventually developed into a death metal band with black metal undertones and influences and kind of enjoyed a cult status as not only one of the most controversial live acts ever but also as a reliable heavy metal group. With their 10th album “The Satanist,” which comes following the longest between-album gap of the band’s career, they bring back some of the black metal and write catchy riffs and all-around great music.
Now as far as black metal, death metal, or blackened death metal goes, Behemoth don’t necessarily do anything completely original on “The Satanist.” I mean you have a few bouts of blast beats, screamed and growled vocals, Satanic lyrical content, all the usual stuff. But for some reason, the way these guys go about doing it this time around is far more appealing to me than plenty of other bands that do the same thing. Maybe it’s just how unashamed they are about it. Behemoth perform with an aura of attitude and gaul that seems to be lacking in modern heavy metal. A lot of bands either take themselves too seriously or don’t take themselves seriously at all, and I think Behemoth have found a perfect balance to where they’re not laughable but they’re still fun to listen to. Even if you think that Satanism is an “edgy” and “overplayed” topic, which I tend to agree with, you shouldn’t have much of a problem with what the band does here.
Another noticeable aspect is the progression of these songs. Some bands like to write a riff and let it play out for a song’s entirety, but Behemoth often go with several equally well written riffs per song and sometimes layer them on top of each other. I also appreciate the way the band uses space to make sure basically every instrument gets equal play. They’re atmospheric without being super lo-fi, and they’re emotional without incorporating post-rock and shoegaze. It really sounds like Behemoth is doing what they want to do while still creating art capable of generating acclaim from critics that don’t write for sites with “metal” in the URL. My preconceived notions about the band were pretty much shattered in one fell swoop.
Now sure, every now and then the band indulges themselves in a guitar solo here and there. And sure, I might not be able to pick their earlier albums from a lineup of Insert Death Metal Band Here. And yeah, this album is mostly good considering that I’m comparing it with what I thought the band was capable of and what other bands have done in the past. But, and I’m being as objective as I can here, “The Satanist” is a great heavy metal album. It’s rare that I’m able to enjoy music from a band like this, and I never thought in a million years I’d pay Behemoth any mind when for all I know I could be listening to Job For a Cowboy, but here I am enjoying it. Forget what you think you know and give it a listen because you might something you like.
SCORE – 8.4
FAVORITE TRACKS – Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, Messe Noire, Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, Amen, The Satanist, Ben Sahar, In The Absence Ov Light, O Father O Satan O Sun!
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