Behemoth - _Zos Kia Cultus - Here and Beyond_
(Avantgarde Music, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (
I was thoroughly impressed by Behemoth's _Satanica_, which marked the
beginning of Behemoth's more overtly death metal era. Its successor
_Thelema.6_ also made a considerable impact, but ended up exhibiting
a lot less staying power than _Satanica_ -- which means I overrated it
by one mark. This serves to illustrate the fact that I had mixed
expectations when I first opened the massive digipak that comes with
the special edition of _Zos Kia Cultus_: on one hand I was quite
certain Behemoth would again display their remarkable technical
merits, but on the other hand I wasn't so sure I would still be
spinning the album a month later. As it turns out, _Zos Kia Cultus_
is more of a _Satanica_ than a _Thelema.6_ for me. It shares both
albums' technical qualities and boasts an even more crushing
production than they do, but it is a lot closer to _Satanica_ in terms of
hooks that make you want to go back to it after a while. _Zos Kia
Cultus_ displays even more of a death metal influence than before,
with Morbid Angel and even Nile-like sounds stepping to the forefront here.
It is often slower and less frantic than _Satanica_, more calculated,
and that sometimes lowers the intensity level a notch. I would have
liked more of the flowing melodies of "Blackest ov the Black" in place
of some of the slightly overused slower riffs on a couple of tracks
early on in the album. But these are minor complaints, as _Zos Kia
Cultus_ shines for its massive production, superb drum work, intense
riffs, and monstrous vocals. If Nergal had been a preacher of some
sort, he would surely have been able to whip vast audiences into a
veritable frenzy with his distinctive, intensely harsh, determined
voice. _Zos Kia Cultus_ proves that Behemoth are a huge force in the
death metal world today, able to stand eye to eye with virtually any
other band. Together with Immolation's _Unholy Cult_, Blood Red Throne's _Monument of Death_ and Bloodbath's _Resurrection Through Carnage_, _Zos Kia Cultus_ is (although for different reasons) among the most powerful and engaging death metal records I've heard in recent years.
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