Behemoth - The Satanist (2014)Release ID: 2528
I decided to rush ahead to Behemoth's chosen masterpiece (as decided on by the whole damn internet apparently) after having heard their first three albums. A little feeling in my gut told me that it would be a good idea to compare the albums after the first three to their best (if I agreed that it was good), so I jumped right into it. The moment I've been waiting for was rushed right into, and was it a good idea to get right to it? I think it was. Now I've got a real benchmark for the rest of the Behemoth catalogue.
Early on, the guitar work blew me away. It was a good idea to rush into this just to see how much they improved. The musicianship is very clever, and occasionally even phenomenal. Songs like “Amen” and “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” make the incredible level of epica feel like eight-minute epics rather than the standard length songs that they are. And each song has its own strengths. While “Furor Divinus” works beautifully on the melodic black death aspect with a brutal pace, the slower and more Gothic title track switches between the tribal influence and the genre art. Having said that, I would consider the title track the worst for being the most monotonous and least melodic. It even saves its darkest track for last, a seven-minute epic that gets really creepy and stays that way, throughout the slow-moving orchestral rhythms and the quick and quirky solo.
Now I did find one very important fault with the album, and it's the fairest one I can think of: In comparison to other eclectic and guitar-driven black metal albums, there are quite a few that I can think of that did it better. The first that comes to mind would be Blut Aus Nord's 777 – The Desanctification, which does everything this album does save the death metal, but with a more outgoing and experimental approach. And that's the worst of the 777 trilogy. Beyond that, The Satanist stays a pretty interesting album all the way through.
Well, I'm glad I've got a real benchmark for comparing future ventures into Behemoth. I would easily recommend this for the black metal fan, as it makes for a straightforward and talented entryway into both death and black metal. Having said that, I've already heard hundreds of other black and death metal albums, but I would still recommend this for those who want to try it... unless you're a strict Christian.
Album of the Decade? Not Quite
If you were to ask me what the most important albums of the decade were; the ones that we can look back on in another ten years from now and say "that's what the 2010s were all about!" I would assume most people would say Behemoth's The Satanist somewhere in their top ten. And I would have to agree. This album is pretty filthy blackened death metal that someone like me would come to appreciate. It doesn't sound sloppy or unfinished. The production is solid and Nergal's vocal delivery is some of the best it has been in Behemoth's entire discography.
However, Behemoth are a band that have been doing this shtick for a long time and it should come as no surprise to anyone. Ghost get a lot of flack for being a satantic worship cult even though their music is way too safe and mainstream. If normies are worried about cults, this is the group that they should be worried about! But where Behemoth falls short of Ghost is those grooves and hooks that are desperately lacking.Most people who listen to this won't need them and I can understand. But outside of some great riffage and technical proficiency, this album just lacks the core to keep me coming back.
This isn't a bad record. In fact, it's pretty damn excellent. I just wish that Behemoth could do something more with the genre, the subject matter and the songwriting than this. Behemoth created this album almost as a jumping on point into death metal and it serves its purpose surprisingly well. But I like my melodic metal, which does make me feel isolated from the rest of the crowd at times, but I'll stick with Omnium Gatherum, Insomnium, and Scar Symmetry.
Death Metal (conventional)
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