Behemoth - _Zos Kia Cultus - Here and Beyond_
(Avantgarde Music, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (9 out of 10)
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.


(article published 11/4/2003)

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