BEHEMOTH – The Satanist

BEHEMOTH – The Satanist

There was a time a couple of years ago that I feared we would never hear from our friends Behemoth again. So I rejoice with all of you out there who supported Nergal during his battle with ill-health and offer thanks that he is still here to lead his infernal horde forth once more.

My general feeling with the last four Behemoth releases is that they have been damaged by the band’s quest for perfection. Every song has been worked to within an inch of the grave to milk the best from it, but sometimes the effect is to take things too far… the song dynamics can often become ponderous, the lead-ins too indulgent, the riffs overworked. It sounds slightly too tight, too controlled. The production adds to this effect, erecting an unnecessary sheet of glass between the listener and the creation. The sound loses richness and immediacy. The end result is that I don’t feel compelled to listen to Behemoth very much, although I enjoy them immensely when I do. (Sometimes I only really learn to appreciate the songs when I hear them live, away from the sterility of Pro-Tools).

And yes, "The Satanist" is the next step in this evolution. All of these things are true, but more so.

But what is different? Well, for a start, I think there as much brutality here as ever. Nergal does some new things too, departing slightly from the straight-up DM vocals. The clean, bluesy solos add plenty of emotion and groove and work especially well. Some of the slower, more chugging tracks really do it for me, when traditionally I prefer Behemoth blasting away at the boundaries of hell. The rumbling bass breaks free now and again, ably leading the charge alone. Again, a welcome change.

So for the tracks; "The Satanist" offers the good and the great. But are ‘good’ and ‘great’ good enough? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. From the authors of "Demigod," we expect hell on a plate. What other band can put out such a great record, but still manage to slightly disappoint?