Behemoth - _Ezkaton_
(Metal Blade Records, 2008)
by: Yulon Zhu (8 out of 10)
Behemoth has gained plenty of commercial success in the metal scene. Unlike many bands that shall remain anonymous, they have not allowed for this popularity to affect the high quality of their music. Delivering respectable, non-trendy blackened death metal every with every release, I doubt you'll hear much complaints about their albums or live blasphemies unless it's "Why isn't there more?" They've released a teaser called _Ezkaton_ which will have to keep Behemoth addicts fed until the next full-length from these Polish masters arrives.

"Chant for Eschaton 2000" is a great Behemoth song to blast at unsafe volumes. _Zos Kia Kultus (Here and Beyond)_ saw the band at the highest level of brutality and gnashing ferocity they'd ever attained, with a raw passion swayed by none. I adore the original, but this re-mastered version does it justice with heavier firepower topped by a shiny, black bow. "Chant for Ezkaton 2000 e.v." proves that this is the evolved version, thrashing even more feeble gods and once again proclaiming Behemoth as rulers of the land.

"Qadosh" is what everyone's been yearning for: a freshly made Behemoth track. As is a favorite of the band, an ancient, suspenseful beat greets you as Nergal's primal growls and throbbing, slightly wave-like guitars follow. The furious drums and mighty bass kick up the dirt whilst battle riffs lead the way. The imagery they achieve through music is amazing, as it's easy to imagine a huge storm bursting across the crumbling ground while the massive Earth opens up to a sparkling, gold-inlayed altar built for some archaic god; classic Behemoth. A brass section increases the formality of watching the summoning of a god with origins in Hebrew, Egyptian, Sumerian or any old civilization Behemoth has been inspired by. Going along with a title that means "set apart for a special purpose", this song is unique and distinct from anything the band has done before, but holds onto the integrity of Behemoth's unsympathetic sound.

The Ramones cover of "I'm Not Jesus" has Nergal spitting up some fast growls and sets off much more gun-powder than the Apocalyptica version. For people who've been missing the early black metal days of Behemoth, prepare to become a grinning devil with "Jama Pekel," a Master's Hammer cover. This is Behemoth playing for fans that are familiar with anything before _Pandemonic Incantations_. Behemoth are indeed the cream of the crop when it comes to death metal, but those infernal night rites of dark mischief and wandering snow covered woods, showed a band playing some of the best old school black metal. The three live tracks are great to have, especially since they are "From the Pagan Vastlands", "Chant for Ezkaton 2000 e.v." and "Decade of Therion", which are intense live. Actually, there could be any Behemoth song included here (excluding intros) and your blood would still pump faster than usual.

_Ezkaton_ is a prelude to what is sure to be a Behemoth pushed from maximum all the way to ultimate. They rule the land of apostolic and "qadosh-ic" death metal and they don't even need Satan to do it!


(article published 19/11/2008)

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