The first time I heard Behemoth I was entranced. The aggression coming through the speakers was amazing, and unlike anything I had ever heard to that point. That album was Thelma.6. From there I went on to check out Demigod and The Apostasy, and I was more than satisfied with what I was hearing. Several months later I saw Behemoth at Ozzfest and heard a song in their set that I hadn't heard before, "Chant for Eschaton 2000." After doing some research I located that song, and the album it was a part of, Satanica. Needless to say, I purchased the album as soon as I could.
let me down. The album sounds recycled and rather uninspired, and here's why.
The vocals on the album are decent enough, but lack the overwhelming aggression that drew me to Behemoth in the first place. It sounds as though Nergal was still perfecting his growls during the recording of this album. They are not bad, they just don't stand out. That is not to say however, that they don't have their moments. On "Decade of Therion" and "Chant for Eschaton 2000", the vocals flourish and thrive over the crushing, brutal music, and provide the listener with the sonic brutality that has helped to increase Behemoth's popularity over the years.
The lyrics off of Satanica
are very well written. They are all written by Nergal, with the occasional help of Krzysztof Azarewicz, his mentor. As is the case on almost all Behemoth songs, the lyrics reference the occult (courtesy of Azarewicz) or the defiance of religion. For many bands these lyrical topics become their downfall, seeing as they can easily be recycled and reused, but Behemoth do a good job of writing interesting lyrics with little recycling.
Avatars of powers from four worlds
Bathed me in jewels of belief
I drink the nectar of Goddess - my eternal mistress
I am Shiva, Hadit or Beast himself
~Lyrical excerpt from Ceremony of Shiva
If Behemoth and more specifically Nergal have one consistency throughout this album, it's the lyrical prowess.
And now on to the portion that drags Satanica
down into meritocracy: the guitars and bass. From track to track the guitar work varies very little, and it sounds like Nergal and Havoc were stuck in a creative rut. For instance, the riffs in "Star Spawn" resemble the riffs in "The Alchemist's Dream", which resemble riffs in "Sermon to the Hypocrites." Now, it's common sense that the riffs actually do vary from song to song, but to the ear they sound very similar, and leave you with wondering "didn't I just hear that?" The bass on the album (assuming it was recorded) is not present. Usually one would be able to hear a fill or two, but no, for all of Satanica
the bass is absent, which is a shame because of Behemoth's latter works hearing the bass keep up with the guitars is a definite highlight.
Another disappointment comes in the form of the guitar solos. Usually the dueling solos that Behemoth record are amazing, and add a new level to the songs. Usually the solos are technical and captivating. Well, at least you get technicality. The solos do manage to show the obvious talent of Nergal and Havoc, but don't seem to suite the songs.
A definite highlight off of the album is drumming. Inferno never seems to disappoint. Despite the looming level of mediocrity that is present all around him for the most part of the album, he is fast and precise. His blast beats are on the level that they will be heard at on Demigod and The Apostasy, and his double bass work is rapid. On this album, he seems to use more of his kit though, which is a definite plus, seeing as he doesn't use just blast beat, and uses simple 4/4 beats at times to accent certain riffs. As previously stated, the drumming is a definite highlight.
In conclusion, Satanica
is quite possibly Behemoth's worst album. However if you are looking for new death metal or just adding to your Behemoth collection don't shy away from this album, just don't expect anything special.
- Decade of Therion
- Chant for Eschaton 2000
- Ceremony of Shiva
Also, there are a total of 93 tracks on this album, with only 10 of them having any audio. 8 of them come in the form of the tracks you see listed, and 2 come in the form of what sound like sound checks placed randomly amongst the empty tracks. Each one of the empty tracks is 4 seconds long, and it's annoying. Be prepared if you're going to upload this CD onto your iTunes.