Behemoth: The Satanist

Words can not express the sheer level of joy and excitement for this record. Shortly after the release of  Behemoth‘s 2009 landmark record, Evangelion, the band obtained a new level of commercial success, which few non-commercial sounding bands could ever achieve. Shortly afterwards in 2010, frontman Adam “Negal” Darski was diagnosed with leukemia and thus began one of the most metal recoveries ever. Behemoth began touring again in 2012 and rumors of a new album surfaced, and now the highly anticipated album, The Satanist is here and fully exceeds expectations. 

Behemoth have made their mark in metal music by being uncompromising and unafraid to challenge themselves and music industry. This is especially evident in Nergal’s Bible-tearing antics that almost came back to haunt him and has nearly prevented himself from being able to play in his own home country of Poland. Behemoth is a band that has crafted a sound and image around the members’ knowledge of both the artistic and business aspects of the music industry and as a result, the band have created some of the best music of their entire career on The Satanist

The album opens up with “Blow your Trumpet’s Gabriel,” which many of you may have heard and possibly seen if you saw the music video for it (which is also great. It’s properly bizarre and of course, highly satanic in its symbolism). Right away though, you can hear an immense change in the sonic production and sound of the band on this record and Evangelion. Evangelion was extremely dense and looking back on it now, the sound is almost being choked out. The production on The Satanist is much more spacious and every instrument is able to breathe much more, making everything seem more refined and deliberate instead of mashed into a blender and seeing what comes out the other end. I also really enjoy the horns on this record. To me, it almost sounds like the horns are “echoing” throughout the record from when they first appear on “Blow your Trumpet’s Gabriel.” I’m sure that’s not the case, but it seems cooler in my head when I think of it that way.

While being heavily rooted in black and death metal, as the band have always been, there are some shining examples of punk-rock in this album that are slightly unusual to what the band have done in the past, but at the same time, I couldn’t picture it sounding any other way. The entire album is relentless, but relaxed, not trying to squeeze anything out and almost laid back, especially on “The Satanist.” It goes back and forth between tearing your head off with relentless blast-beats and then backing off with some of the spacious guitar parts mentioned earlier. It’s so beautifully crafted and is definitely a contender for album of the year already. 

The Satanist is important not only because it’s a great record and quite possibly the best thing the band have put their names on, but because it proves that only death with stop this band and that they are still digging into the blackened abyss to see what else they can find and further carve into metal music. 

Luke Helker

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