It’s not uncommon for the first great or even very good album of the year to be met with an avalanche of praise from all corners of the press and internet, if you have picked up a magazine or visited a metal forum in the past month or so then you will undoubtedly know that this is most certainly the case with Behemoth and their new album “The Satanist.”
Many January/early February albums get this hype because they are simply the first piece of quality that has arrived that year but in a year where there has already been a string of quality releases, Against Me, Truckfighters, Of Mice & Men etc how will “The Satanist” stand up? Well, in truth, Behemoth‘s tenth studio album decimates all of them within the first few chords of ‘Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel’, in short, “The Satanist” is nothing less than an extreme metal triumph.
The album messes perfectly the balance between face melting blast beats, insanely brutal solos and grandiose ambient passages with such seamless ease that it almost staggers belief. Doing this would be good enough but to do all that and also make it accessible to people who do not listen to a lot of Black metal is on a whole other level of brilliance.
The bigger than Jesus production of the previous album “Evangelion” is toned down a little and is made slightly more subtle whilst still packing a punch. This only helps bring out the spacier Neurosis moments on the album which add a completely new dimension to the album allowing it to breath before taking your head clean off your shoulders with another colossal barrage of blast beats and riffage.
Musically, it’s the band’s tightest to date with Inferno delivering his best and most powerful drumming performance so far, the layers of percussion elevate the album from a simple blastathon. But it’s the guitar work that steps the album apart from all others, both Nergal and Seth deliver some of the most stunningly crafted solo’s you will hear all year, especially the one in the album’s title track which is just magnificent in terms of its construction. Nergal also delivers on the riff front as well giving many of the tracks a hard rock stomp to them making the tracks have a kind of Black Metal Alice In Chains vibe to them.
Overall, “The Satanist” is everything everyone has said it is and so much more than what they could possibly explain in words, though not the strictest of concept albums the record flows like some sort of a Satanic journey into the darkest pits of the hell but at the same time proves to be a purifying experience delivering a strange up lifting if not purging sense of cleansing. In short its probably as close as this year will come to a “Crack The Skye.” 2014 the bar has been set mighty high already.