|Review: Behemoth - The Satanist|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2014
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: February 28, 2014
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
This one had been a long time coming, and there's been a fair bit of excitement and buzz surrounding it, which is fair enough as Behemoth are a pretty big deal, and it's good to see Nergal doing well. I really enjoyed their last album, and found it to be the pinnacle of their modern sound, and as such held reasonable expectation for its follow up. Sadly The Satanist couldn't live up to my expectations, and ultimately comes off a little dull.
I was hoping this would blast out of the gates, with some pummeling blackened death metal the likes of which they've inspired in a whole ton of other acts. Opening number "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" failed to strike a chord with me; it really isn't the proud statement I would have liked. "Furor Divinus" fortunately provides the rage, albeit relatively subdued, which is something I feel can be said of the whole album. It feels very calculated and meticulous, with its tremolo picked lead lines, and relatively slower tempos. It's like they've leashed the chaos in their sound, and are keeping a tight hold on it despite it snapping and yapping to break free. To further this, I'll say that the material very much paints a picture of a spectral wagon trudging through a recently vacated battlefield with the otherworldly horrors pulling the gargantuan spiked wheels as hard as they can to award themselves even a taste of violence still warm in the aftermath.
It just feels that the band are always on the verge of breaking out and whipping heads off left right and centre. Even when the music is of a relatively quick tempo, it still feels like they are desperately clinging to their composure, refusing to free themselves to excess. On one hand it's admirable, in the sense that it gives the album a completely unique feel with good dynamic and atmosphere free of their prior work. On the other hand though, it takes away some of the violence I'd once loved about this band's sound.
Nonetheless, there are still moments when they pick up the pace, and this isn't completely different from their prior work. I've found it relatively easy to zone out listening to this one, which isn't ideal, and is pretty much why I feel it comes off dull in places. I'm sure fans of the band will fall in love with this, and it's cool to have a new full-length. Certainly worth picking up and an interesting look at where the band could go. Adding some more intensity to this precise and calculated approach could well make for something exciting down the line.
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