Behemoth – “The Satanist” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Near death experiences can have a profound effect on mere mortals: lives change and moreover, lifestyles are also drastically altered. Adam “Nergal” Darski was diagnosed with leukemia back in 2010 and for a while, it looked like the unstoppable force known as Behemoth might come to an end. Despite a bone marrow donor being found and treatment received, uncertainty continued as Nergal took a 3 year hiatus to fully recover. The question on everyone’s mind – how would this long break and the psychological aspect affect the band? Well, Nergal and Behemoth – as Poland’s premier black / death band – could guess, the only way to prove oneself again is to come up with an album that isn’t just better, but a whole lot more gob smackingly better than anything you’ve done previously! With a title as enticing to the critics as having a ‘kick me’ sign around their necks, Behemoth raised the stakes even further – and by god (or Satan – Ed) they’ve won hands down. This is their moment as it was for Slayer and ‘Reign In Blood’. “The Satanist” has already received reviews in national newspapers and has brought extreme metal to the mundane masses through it’s flawless professionalism and class – gone is the untamed beast of the night but tremble instead to a stalking predator savoring its prey. Songs like ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ and ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’ have a new found maturity that can only be found through the confidence of facing and embracing death itself. Massive riffs sound in accompaniment to decadent trumpets as if in prelude to Lucifer himself while Nergal’s dark drawl menacingly announces his arrival as if he were Satan’s herald. Yet there is no rush on “The Satanist”, precision played instruments are heard – and intentionally so – in the crystal clear mix that pushes the technological envelop out to challenge those who would mock the musicianship of (black / death) metallers while the detailed song arrangements could wither a poet. Dark melodies now unashamedly show themselves and vocal harmonies bestowing reverence upon the horned one clash with furious bursts of raw energy amidst ambient keyboards and outrageously heavy metal solos. Behemoth have taken the bad out of Burzum, the carnival out’ve Cradle and exorcised it into their own force that not even their government can shackle – their evil knows no boundaries, and I am awed by it.