Behemoth - _Evangelion_
(Nuclear Blast, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (9.5 out of 10)
Say what you will about MySpace and the like negating the fruits of hard graft in heavy metal, but while the digital age has certainly been responsible for fanning the flames of several fires that shouldn't have been lit to begin with, cream (almost) always rises to the top. Behemoth presents a strong case in point. Once the preserve of a choice few, their tireless dedication to spending more time on the highways and byways of the touring circuit than is healthy, has ensured that anything bearing their logo -- even something so comparatively lowly as an EP -- is treated as a grand event by both the underground and mainstream metal media.

Of course, their love affair with the open road hasn't been their sole virtue. For the past several Behemoth albums, this quartet has proven itself an increasingly enthralling and reliable commodity, and while Adam "Nergal" Darski's gallivanting with Polish pop strumpets may suggest otherwise, _Evangelion_ is the sound of the band at their most confident and aggressive. The blueprint remains a familiar one: expertly exercised blackened death metal, doused in several discernible but subtle musical eccentricities. That said, _Evangelion_ is immediately less playful than its predecessor. Where _The Apostasy_ had its moments of respite, this opus will keep its foot on your throat from the outset and sounds all the more menacing for it. Nergal's throaty rasps sound like a king cobra spewing venom on "Daimonos". "The Seed Ov I" mainlines Morbid Angel and echoes Azagthoth and Co's finest moments, while "Transmigrating Beyond the Realms Ov Amenti" works its way toward a spiralling crescendo that easily ranks among the most brutal sequences to bear the Behemoth stamp of ownership.

However potent these songs, the crown jewel in _Evangelion_ rests in the more than eight minute "Lucifer". Foreboding, inventive and utterly engrossing it will leave you breathless not only by virtue of its sheer bombast, but as a stunning testament to just how far Behemoth has come since _Grom_. Simply put, these boys have done it again, and if you aren't yet convinced that they are one of the most important and vital acts in extreme music today, you're probably reading the wrong website.


(article published 16/8/2009)

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