Polish blackened death metal veterans Behemoth have had a microscope placed upon them since the release of their tenth studio album, “The Satanist.” It is no secret to anyone that the band’s charismatic leader, Adam “Nergal” Darski, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, which led to having to find a bone marrow match into an eventual transplant. After a setback due to an infection after the transplant, the surgery was finally deemed successful and Nergal is now in good health. Originally, his leukemia was thought to be too advanced for chemotherapy treatments to be effective, which turned this horrible scare into an obstacle that Nergal overcame in the way that he overcomes most obstacles in his path.
Since the band has had a five-year drought between studio albums, and have had to battle this disease, you assume that there would be something different about “The Satanist.” Believe it or not, I have never been a huge Behemoth fan. A lot of what the band did previously did nothing for me to ever set them apart from the dozens of quality metal acts out there. I never found that the band was truly worthy of the praise that they received from the metal community. With the release of “The Satanist,” I am proud to say that the band is finally worthy of its praise. “The Satanist” is one of the most kick-ass albums released in recent years and my top pick for album of 2014 at this early juncture of the year.
Even after Nergal’s battle with leukemia, he has managed to be uncompromising about his faith and seems to have used his battle back as more incentive to push the boundaries further. “The Satanist” makes a definitive statement about Nergal’s beliefs in the only way that he knows how. It will always be marked as being closely affiliate with Nergal’s triumph over leukemia.
The sound of “The Satanist” draws back to their black metal side as well as pushing further with their death metal sounds. Behemoth has always been one of the best examples of what blackened death metal really is and this latest release displays this even more. The production values of this release is about the best that I have heard from anyone in a long time. Where there last few albums were good, they never had nearly the songwriting quality evident with “The Satanist.”
Messe Noire is one of the most intense songs that I have heard in a long time with its pace changes and epic progressions, but not many songs are as epic as Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer. It has a groove that flows so nicely during its five plus minute length. Every time I listen to the album, I have to replay this one a few times before moving on. Between the song’s pace and the amazing bass sound toward the end of the track, this one is legendary.
Most of the tracks still follow that same Behemoth pattern, but other tracks, like the title track, The Satanist, offer a change of pace and mood that meshes so well with the remainder of the album.
If Nergal was out to prove a point, the point has been understood and I applaud you for that.
The Satanist Tracklisting:
01. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
02. Furor Divinus
03. Messe Noire
04. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
06. The Satanist
07. Ben Sahar
08. In the Absence Ov Light
09. O Father O Satan O Sun!
10. Ludzie Wschodu [Siekiera cover] [Australian bonus]