Behemoth – The Satanist

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Review by Raymond Westland

Nuclear Blast

One the biggest and most compelling comeback stories of this year is the upcoming Behemoth album, entitled The Satanist. Mainman Nergal got stricken by leukemia back in 2010, which put all band activities on hold for the foreseeable future. However, he managed to overcome this terrible disease and as of 2014, Nergal and Behemoth are back in full swing ready to promote their new album.

Evangelion, the band’s previous effort, is generally seen as Behemoth’s ultimate musical manifesto and is thus a tough act to follow by any stretch of the imagination. Nergal realised this too when he started to work on new material that ultimately would end up being The Satanist. Compared to its illustrious predecessor, the new album feels more organic and it’s less over the top as far as arrangements go.The whole sturm und drang attitude which dominated Demigod, The Apostasy and Evangelion is pretty much gone on the new album. Is that such a bad thing? I beg to differ.

On The Satanist, the devil is in the details and those subtle little touches, like a little brass section or a melodic guitar solo, that makes this album such a rewarding listen. Yes, The Satanist isn’t an easy album to get into and at first there seems to be very little going on. However, when tracks like ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’, ‘Messe Noir’ and ‘Ben Sahar’ start to open up after each subsequent listen you simply know you’re listening to a genuine masterpiece.

By far the greatest achievement on this album is the way Nergal and Co manage to find the right balance between brutality and subtlety and between atmosphere and compact song-writing. Very few can pull that off like Behemoth does. ‘Amen’, ‘In The Absence Ov Light’ and the title track are great examples of this.

The Satanist is a very mature statement made by a musician who cheated death and therefore has nothing to prove any more. The album is a typical grower and it takes time and dedication before it start to grow on its listener. Evangelion may be the band’s ultimate statement in grandeur and extremity,  but The Satanist is a great musical manifesto in what can be achieved when the art of dynamics, textures and subtlety is properly mastered. Brilliant return to form!

Behemoth – The Satanist9 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
  2. Furor Divinus
  3. Messe Noire
  4. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
  5. Amen
  6. The Satanist
  7. Ben Sahar
  8. In the Absence ov Light
  9. O Father O Satan O Sun!

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