Sound — 7
By nature, black metal is supposed to sound like it was recorded in a tin can, with minimal production values that complement its nihilistic, blasphemous nature. The music is as raw as a fresh wound and attempts to clean up the sound only leads to dilution of the overall aggression inherent in the genre. Ezkaton is Behemoth's seventh EP over the course of its blackened history and it retains a nasty, unpolished sound that fans come to demand from the band. The guitar assault of vocalist/guitarist Nergal and guitarist Seth cut through the din of the ominous Qadosh like a whip over flesh, while Nergal spits his vocals with the venomous snarl that's come to define both his and Behemoth's career over ten albums. The re-recording of Chant For Ezkaton 2000, originally featured on the 1999-released Satanica, is a sonic treat for the Behemoth legion, while the cover of The Ramones' I'm Not Jesus is a hoot, as the already-lightning quick band keeps up with three-chord firepower. Jama Pekel, the Master's Hammer cover, is so fast that Nergal and Seth may want to check their fingers to make sure they haven't worn them down to stumps. The live songs serve the purpose of satiating the diehards and collectors who are patiently waiting for the band's tenth full-length, which Metal Blade plans to release sometime next year. It wouldn't be a stretch to worry that the live versions would come across like a muddy mess when recorded, but the songs are much more listenable and put you smack dab in the center of the live fury that Behemoth rustles up.
Lyrics — 8
At this point, it doesn't really matter what Nergal is saying. It's the way that he says it, spewing angry, agitated syllables about officially licensed black metal topics such as anti-Christianity. Nergal barks with such a vengeance that'll leave stop the listener dead in his or her tracks. The viciousness of his delivery lends that extra element of blood-chilling evil to Behemoth's already nefarious music. Even the bits of banter that precede the live tracks is filled with the bile, proving that Nergal is either quite the angry man or he is a master showman. It's probably a combo of both. The cackle he lets out about a minute into a is further evidence of the vocalist's demonicness.
Overall Impression — 8
Ezkaton encapsulates the entire Behemoth package. A new song, a re-done classic, left-of-center covers, live songs and a gorgeously eye-catching silver and black package. The new song indicates that the band is remaining true to the sound that it has been peddling what feels like forever. Qadosh doesn't turn the corner or go off in a direction we don't expect and with a band like Behemoth, that's certainly a good thing.