Review Summary: Behemoth produce another vicious album of Dark Age death metal, but with small twists.
It appears that frontman Nergal’s dating of pop stars has not dealt the expected deathblow to his black-cum-death metal band Behemoth. The band’s 9th album, Evangelion
, shows little negative stylistic change, and even slight progression from seemingly being all about speed and technicality to striving for intelligent, blastbeat-driven brutality.
Behemoth have the disturbing ability to make their brand of anti-music sound like the next Dark Ages without use of any atypical instruments. Even without the production he used to smother on his voice like the corpsepaint on his face, Nergal’s “blast-furnace” vocals and wicked ability to simultaneously shred make Evangelion
an album of war metal to make Amon Amarth
quiver in terror. Drummer Inferno double-kicks constantly, and at skin-ripping speed, thus the tempo very rarely slows down. His velocity is mirrored in Nergal’s fretwork, which is relentless and shows no shame when it comes to solos.
Past the distinctive lashing exterior, you can definitely hear something somewhat vaguely different on Evangelion
. Nergal’s writing is ever so slightly more mature than on previous albums, like he’s going for entertainment rather than shock value. “Ov Fire and the Void” and “Lucifer” follow a tempos that seem agonizingly slow compared to typical Behemoth cuts. The ripping “He Who Breeds Pestilence” sticks to blistering tempos, but the intro and long exitlude show a hesitance from the violence, maybe to show some artistic expression? A similar boiling exitlude is found on “Defiling Morality of a Black God,” and another well-written intro gleans in on “Lucifer”. Consensus? Compared to the only other evidence of such movements in “The Reign of Shemsu-Hor” from Demigod
, this expression is much more clean-cut and listenable. If Nergal has gone soft, so far it’s for the best.
Even the mainstay brutal songs are more mature than Evangelion
’s predecessor The Apostasy
. While Apostasy
was clumsy and unappealing, on Evangelion
the sloppiness slips into place. Nergal’s solos demonstrate better variance and listenability, the ones in “Lucifer” bring to mind Death
’s Chuck Schuldiner. In contrast with the intros on “Lucifer” and “Ov Fire,” the entrance of “Alas Lord Is Upon Me” stormily builds up to the thunder in the latter half of the song. The chord progressions show a hint of interwoven melody that many death metal bands have always used, but have sadly been absent in Behemoth’s shred-dominated style.
Behemoth surprised me with Evangelion
. After the disappointment of The Apostasy
, I doubted that the band would be worth another glance. This album shows a both a progression and a return to style. It’s brutal and entertaining, and Nergal's annoyingly overproduced vocals have been fix'd. Worth a listen.