Review Summary: With upwards of twenty years of experience to their name, Behemoth prove that they are still capable of surprise.
Behemoth - The Satanist
For the better part of the last twenty years, Behemoth has been providing heavy metal fans and satanic cults alike with a relentless onslaught of dark, brooding and oftentimes-frightening distorted guitar driven anthems. Hailing from the depths of Gdansk, Poland, Behemoth have successfully carved their own niche in the metal community, mixing the always fervent vocal and axe styling’s of group ringleader, Adam Darski with the insane and virtuous drum prowess of Zbigniew Prominski, or better know by his stage name, Inferno. Behemoth’s newest effort, The Satanist finds the trio of heavy metal titans doing what they do best - creating some of the most catchy, evil music around, and having a damn good time while doing it.
The onslaught of metal insanity begins with the slowed tempo intro of “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel,” which features a repetitive guitar riff and Darski’s signature, throat tinged growls all while a choir and orchestral strings are heavily layered and held under. Half way through, the track burst into the band’s signature blast beat madness, only to crescendo into a horn driven outro, setting a blistering pace which is maintained impressively throughout, more or less, the entirety of the album. Tasty riffs are in abundance on The Satanist. “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer” is easily one of the records more consistent numbers as it weaves back and forth through tremolo picked minor-tinged arpeggios and palm-muted, dissonant power chords. Half way through the track, an infectious and head bang inducing breakdown seeps through the madness which leads its way back into the main theme of the track and provides a satisfying and grand resolution.
The Satanist gains momentum as it goes along. The second half is far more coherent and consistent as it incorporates many of the elements that have made the band’s prior releases successful. The record’s title track is a standout as the intro builds up into a dizzying sequence of tom rolls which makes way to ominous guitar styling’s and some of the more adept vocal deliveries presented. The guitar solos on The Satanist are deserving of accolade, as they are easily some of the most impressive, soulful and raw of the band’s entire discography. The album’s closing number is a prime example of the aforementioned as a guitar comes seamlessly out of nowhere and rips through much more than the oftentimes-subpar pentatonic driven offerings the band has become somewhat notorious for. The closing track is easily one of the record’s more intense moments and concludes The Satanist on a dark, accomplished and cool note.
While Behemoth has arguably riffed harder throughout their ten records, they have hardly ever exuded as much bravado as on The Satanist. Comparisons to the group’s classic record, Demigod are inevitable but unfair when taken into the proper context of the album. This is not the usual non-stop riff fest that Behemoth fans and casual listeners might have become accustomed to but that’s not to say it doesn’t lack its fair share of white-knuckled grit. The Satanist is more than a couple individual tracks crammed with endless filler; it’s an intermittently coherent whole that might prove difficult for Behemoth to top with subsequent releases.