Behemoth - _The Satanist_
(Nuclear Blast, 2014)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (9 out of 10)
Four and a half years ago, Poland's most notorious extreme metal act Behemoth released their ninth studio album _Evangelion_ to a highly anticipating world. The anticipation did not stop at CoC's doors and our former colleague Jackie Smit had a lot of positive things to say about this album. Yet since the release of _Evangelion_, Behemoth didn't just stay out of the limelight for the better part of five years. Frontman Adam 'Nergal' Darski entered into a battle with leukemia and underwent a successful bone marrow transplant, after which he had to endure long months of convalescence while the global metal community waited anxiously for his recovery. If that wasn't enough, there was this whole legal ordeal where he faced charges of religious offence because of a bible tearing incident at a Behemoth concert; a case that was later dropped.

After making some headlines with non-musical news, Nergal finally announced his complete recovery and return to music, and later unveiled Behemoth's plans regarding studio album number ten. Given all that has happened before this album, calling it metal's most anticipated album of 2014 would seem reasonable given the usual buzz created by any upcoming Behemoth release. The album was to be titled, rather uncompromisingly, _The Satanist_; a bold heading for a bold album wherein Nergal, Orion and Inferno further lurk into the darker depths of Satanism and continue to present a very theatrical artistic experience where the music, image, videos and stage performances come together as one.

Act one of _The Satanist_ begins with the previously released single "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" which sets the stage with its brooding, dark ambience and extreme urgency. Chaos is unleashed midway through the track, which signals the beginning of an ever-tightening grip on the listener's attention. The grip is strengthened by the viciousness of "Furor Divinus" and Nergal's downright disturbing vocal delivery on "Messe Noire". The intensity continues to rise with the back to back assault of "The Satanist"'s fantastic lead guitar work and the sublime rhythmic flow of "Ben Sahar". After thirty seven minutes of arguably the most dynamic death metal record to be released in 2014, the formidable seven minute long ode to the dark lord "O Father O Satan O Sun!" ends proceedings with one of the most gripping and dark pieces ever put to a Behemoth disc.

Some may argue that a name like _The Satanist_ would be more acceptable coming from a band half Behemoth's age, or argue that guys in their mid-thirties should be well past the point of Satanic fascination. Yet _The Satanist_ itself serves as the counter argument. The album's incisiveness and potency in its very well measured forty five minute duration is indeed a lesson in balance; a lesson in pushing the envelope of extreme metal without falling way out of bounds and losing any kind of sense of what the band needs to sound like. The gentlemen in Behemoth have indeed lived up to the expectations laid before them and delivered an outstanding extreme metal album that will definitely haunt listeners for days on end.


(article published 2/3/2014)

9/9/2007 J Smit Behemoth: Lords of the Left Hand
11/19/2004 J Smit Behemoth: Keeping It Real
4/9/1997 S Hoeltzel Behemoth: Bards of the Black Baltic
8/16/2009 J Smit 9.5 Behemoth - Evangelion
1/23/2009 J Smit 9 Behemoth - At the Arena ov Aion - Live Apostasy
11/19/2008 Y Zhu 8 Behemoth - Ezkaton
9/9/2007 J Smit 8.5 Behemoth - The Apostasy
10/19/2004 T DePalma 7.5 Behemoth - Crush.Fukk.Create
10/19/2004 J Smit 9 Behemoth - Demigod
11/6/2003 X Hoose Behemoth - Antichristian Phenomenon
4/11/2003 P Azevedo 9 Behemoth - Zos Kia Cultus - Here and Beyond
1/10/2001 P Azevedo 9 Behemoth - Thelema.6
10/12/1999 P Azevedo 9 Behemoth - Satanica
9/1/1998 A McKay 7.5 Behemoth - Pandemonic Incantations
10/16/1997 S Hoeltzel 9 Behemoth - Bewitching the Pomerania
1/2/1997 S Hoeltzel 10 Behemoth - Grom
10/31/2004 J Smit Krisiun / Behemoth / Incantation / Ragnarok A Beauteous Riot
1/10/2001 D Rocher Morbid Angel / Enslaved / The Crown / Dying Fetus / Behemoth / Hypnos Belated Tales of the Unexpected
3/5/2000 M Noll Satyricon / Behemoth / Hecate Enthroned Untied Bronze Chains
3/14/1999 P Schwarz Deicide / Rotting Christ / Aeternus / Ancient Rites / Behemoth Dead by Dawn
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