The Apostasy review by Behemoth

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  • Released: Jul 17, 2007
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 2
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 5.7 Decent
  • Users' score: 8.9 (450 votes)
Behemoth: The Apostasy
0

Sound — 8
Behemoth is one of the biggest death metal bands in the world right now. They've got over 60,000 listeners on music tracking site Last.FM (that's more than Morbid Angel, Nile, Obituary and many other huge death metal bands), and have really brought the Polish metal underground into mainstream attention (along with Vader, Graveland and Sacrilegium). They started as a black metal band, with pagan lyrical themes and maximum atmosphere, since 1998's 'Pandemonic Incantations', they have begun a style change, from black metal, to blackened death metal. Since their last album 'Demigod', they have been a straight-up technical death metal band (though there are still some black metal elements), often compared to Nile due to their brutality, technicality and Middle Eastern influence (though I would say that Nile have more of all three). 'Demigod' was easily their most popular album, and introduced (along with the rather famous parody of 'Slaves Shall Serve', involving waffles) many people to their rather impressive back catalogue. They return in 2007 with 'The Apostasy'. Even when they were an incredibly unknown little black metal band, Behemoth's guitar work has been very professional. The only consistent guitar player has been founder Nergal, but, as with 'Demigod', session guitarist Seth has contributed guitar parts to the tracks (both rhythm and lead). The pinch-laden riffs are hard hitting but do not really contribute to the song in any way aside from give the music a thick layer of brutality (there's very few moments on the album where I think Damn, that's a good riff, though 'Inner Sanctum' is a very notable exception). However, the leads are a different story. Shared almost equally between Seth and Nergal, the leads and solos during instrumental sections blow me away. From simply harmonising with the riffs to diminished sweeping licks, these guys can play. They're always performed and produced with the right amount of emphasis (not all the leads are conventional 'solos' where the rest of the music repeats so the guitar can shine), and are played with taste and technicality (something which a lot of tech death bands find difficult). They've improved massively upon the sloppiness of some of the leads on 'Satanica' (I mean, if you don't have the chops to play something, don't put it in your song! ) and their compatibility with the riffs really impresses me. There's no moment when the guitarists let me down, because, despite the fact that the riffs can be rather generic at times (there's a riff in the middle of 'Libertheme' which reminds me greatly of Zyklon's 'Ways Of The World'), there will always be other things in Behemoth songs to listen to. The bass player 'Orion' must feel a little cheated. Behemoth bassists of old were given great room to do what they wanted, and could be clearly heard, particularly on their debut 'Sventevith (Storming The Baltic)' (then again, Nergal played bass on that album, and we all know how much he loves the limelight). Since Orion joined, their production has taken another turn which essentially removes him from any kind of audibility. Perhaps if I could see these songs performed live I would know what Orion's performance is like, but alas, I haven't and so all I can say is that he is simply backing up the riffs, and that Nergal has cocked up the production when it comes to bass. I feel that the one area where Behemoth's comparison to American titans Nile is justified is in the drumming department. Nile's drummer George Kollias is one of the best death metal drummers I've ever heard, and Inferno doesn't exactly pale in comparison. He can blast with the best of them (250+BPM blasting is no mean feat) and his fills are ridiculously technical. In fact, that's another reason I want to see Behemoth live, because this guy's hands must be a blur. I'm not a drummer myself so I can't go into too much depth, but honestly Inferno is instrumentally the best member of Behemoth. Listen to any album featuring him (that's 'Pandemonic Incantations' onwards) and you'll see what I mean. Brutal death metal is a very demanding genre to play in for a drummer, and it's played by such legends as Flo Mounier and Mike Smith, but Inferno definitely holds his own, once again. Onto the one sound of Behemoth which rather annoys me: the vocals. Nergal's low vocals are fantastic, and there's no doubting it. He's got a very gruff shout which sounds like a late-80's Glen Benton, but he's been layering his vocals, normally with two or three tracks, one with those brutal lows, and another one or two with high pitched, almost black metal screeches. Both of these sound good when separate from each other (the screams on their black metal albums are fantastic) but when stacked on top of each other it really grates your nerves. Thankfully, Nergal has toned it down a little for 'The Apostasy' ('Demigod' was covered in those horrible vocals) and I'm glad because this time around his vocals do sound a fair amount better (even when they are layered). He has a great sense of rhythm and timing (one aspect which certainly favours Behemoth over Nile) and his delivery is near perfect. The unfortunate part is what he's actually saying...

Lyrics — 2
The lyrics that Nergal wrote for 'Sventevith (Storming The Baltic)' and 'Grom' were excellent, though of unoriginal themes. He used great imagery and delivered the right lines with the right style of vocals ('Hell Dwells On Ice' comes to mind), however since their musical change from black metal to death metal, the lyrics have also changed. His lyrics are now infantile, and while researched, are incredibly poor. A lot of the songs have little sections about what the lyrics are about, or where the ideas came from, and it's hilarious. First of all, Nergal spells the word 'of' with a 'v', because he's hardcore like that. He clearly researches his lyrics, but behind all the old fashioned language and apparent historical awareness, his lyrics are incredibly bad. As with a fair few Behemoth albums, there's a silly anti-Christian song title, this time 'Christgrinding Avenue' (which is probably the most ridiculous yet). Nergal's use of language is fairly impressive (in parts); however what he is trying to say is ridiculous. Even Glen Benton is more logical than this guy. He can call himself a rebellious intellectual all he wants but if you're not going for dark-humoured gore lyrics, do not include Eat the weak! F--k the flesh! Slit the throat! Consume the dead! in one of your songs. The song that stanza appears in ('Prometherion') is supposedly inspired by John Milton. Apparently his pal Krzysztof Azarewicz performed some 'incantations and spells' too. Nice.

Overall Impression — 7
'The Apostasy' is a good album. It definitely beats 'Demigod', but I'm not sure if it's their best death metal album (I know that they'll never make a better album than Storming The Baltic, at least with their current style), beaten fairly convincingly by 'Zos Kia Cultus (Here And Beyond)'. It's a solid effort, and musically there are no major faults, but this is the first time that the lyrics have affected my enjoyment of an album in a negative way. They're, in a word, crap. Nergal thinks they're very clever and profound but honestly he just sounds like a little child who just found a dictionary of ancient words and decided he doesn't like Christianity. Despite being a good (music) writer, good guitarist and good vocalist, whilst I read the booklets of Behemoth albums I grow a rather strong dislike for Nergal. He's written some classic tunes (and there's a few on here, too, like 'Inner Sanctum' and 'Be Without Fear') but his lyrics are just ridiculous. Overall this album is a decent effort and definitely worth a purchase if you're into brutal death metal, though for Behemoth there are better places to start.

34 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ExplorerFreak
    I hate to see you not like it, I loved it. And yeah, he definately knows his shit because he is qualified to be a museum curator. The difference in religious views is due to the fact that they are prominent Thelemists and they decide to speak out against Christianity. Oh, and "ov" has more meaning than you think.
    laid_to_rest91
    You must give credit to Nurgel, firstly to write what he can is amazing, and secondally, you must remember that it is his second language too.
    Devin2112
    I agree that it's a shame the bass is almost inaudible, but I thought the lyrics were fairly on par as the usual for their style of music. It is a very good cd, I reccommend to any Death Metal enthusiast.
    King ofKumbucha
    TheThingKills wrote: Great review Ov instead of of lol he must rock lol
    Oh, and he spells of ov because in Polish the f doesn't make a v sound (like the f at the end of "of").
    King ofKumbucha
    I personally like this album much more than demigod but the layered vocals were amazing. I wish they kept them. Btw, Behemoth has the most stage presence out of any band I have ever seen. They were amazing live. Definitely go to one of their shows if you have the chance.
    ZepDeadSabbath
    I really like this band, but when they opened up for Danzig in Niagra Falls, they got almost no response from the crowd. Maybe buffalo fans just don't appreciate black metal...
    l)ragonForce
    DREAM EVIL 1138 wrote: definitely a good review. i'm gonig to see them on ozzfest,
    same!!
    zigz407
    First of all, Nergal spells the word of with a v, because hes hardcore like that. lol
    metalhead296
    i noticed how you said he layerd the vocals, which was true in demigod, but in the apostasy, he didnt do this. it sounds like it, but thats simply because hes been practicing it, i saw them live last night, he had it perfect, just like the album without any vocal effects or layerings like he did during the apostasy.
    duncang
    laid_to_rest91 wrote: You must give credit to Nurgel, firstly to write what he can is amazing, and secondally, you must remember that it is his second language too.
    Firsly, not an opinion I share. Secondly, note I said that his use of language is fairly impressive It's not HOW he's saying it, it's WHAT he's saying.
    Night_Lights
    duncang you bastard lol how dare you insult Nergals lyrics and magicking. seriosuly though, nice review. it held my interest and presented a fair judgement.
    Krisp
    To me it's the greatest album they ever did. It made me a fan of them. Before Nile was the king of death metal in my eyes, but that changed. Behemoth got that place now. They ****ing rock! They're really talented.
    Nightstrider
    A good read. You'll probably find yourself pretty outspoken (as you noted, Behemoth has a hell of a fanbase these days), particularly in the belief that Storming the Baltic is their best, but you write a compelling review and manage to justify your convictions well. Good job man!
    alexi_laiho18
    your review sounds like it should be getting more that a 5.7... Overall, that was a convincing review, but honestly, can anyone make out what Nergal is saying unless you look it up???
    TwistedVince
    Not a bad review, though only gave it a 5. You seemed kinda.. one-track on it, and very closed-minded about it. You listed "Morbid Angel, Nile, Obituary" as "mainstream metal bands", when they don't have near the fan base other bands do, but again, not bad. Behemoth is awesome.
    Tiamat
    I dont think I agree that its better than demigod, but its all personal choice. I think I was kind of annoyed because of all the videos and everything they had for the Apostasy, so I got myself heaps worked up for it. Its kindve the same for movies, if someone tells you the movie is awesome then you go in expecting a lot and it usually lets you down. A very very good album though, but I prefer demigod. Nice review aswell, well written
    duncang
    TwistedVince wrote: Not a bad review, though only gave it a 5. You seemed kinda.. one-track on it, and very closed-minded about it. You listed "Morbid Angel, Nile, Obituary" as "mainstream metal bands", when they don't have near the fan base other bands do, but again, not bad. Behemoth is awesome.
    Thing is, I didn't give it a 5. I gave it a 7 (the score for 'Impression' is what my actual score is) but the 2 for lyrics brought the average down to 5. Thanks for the compliments though Also...Morbid Angel and Nile have HUGE fanbases.
    Tiamat
    Also on the whole paying out his lyrics, they are well reasearched true but I dont think that he just decided one day that he doesnt like christianity. Demigod and Satanica both showed deep elements of his dislike of christianity and if you look at the meanings of his songs it will give you more depth to where he is trying to go with the words. Once I read them I found them to be quite well written, but as I said before, its all opinion.
    DREAM EVIL 1138
    definitely a good review. i'm gonig to see them on ozzfest, and i'm definitely getting The Apostosy.
    megwarrior
    as you can see Poland isn't that bad Grom means in engish - Thunder anyway ... I was waiting for "apostasy" and i'm not disapointed. my landers did a great job
    TwistedVince
    duncang wrote: TwistedVince wrote: Not a bad review, though only gave it a 5. You seemed kinda.. one-track on it, and very closed-minded about it. You listed "Morbid Angel, Nile, Obituary" as "mainstream metal bands", when they don't have near the fan base other bands do, but again, not bad. Behemoth is awesome. Thing is, I didn't give it a 5. I gave it a 7 (the score for 'Impression' is what my actual score is) but the 2 for lyrics brought the average down to 5. Thanks for the compliments though Also...Morbid Angel and Nile have HUGE fanbases.
    They do, but I'm talking about in comparison to some others. Along the lines of Behemoth's style, I suppose they're up there.. but we're talking world-wide, here. Can't specify on a band having a HUGE fanbase, to begin with, though. We could say Good Charlotte, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance have huge fanbases (which they do sure have a looot of fans, but "fanbase" is kindof a thing based on number of fans. not number in comparison, but yeah, you're right). Anyway, I said I rated the overall review as a five, not saying you only gaaave it a five.
    duncang
    alexi_laiho18 wrote: your review sounds like it should be getting more that a 5.7... Overall, that was a convincing review, but honestly, can anyone make out what Nergal is saying unless you look it up???
    As I've said, I DIDN'T give it a 5.7, I gave it a 7, it's just that my low rating of the lyrics lowered the average (which is not a score I gave myself, just the way the system works). My overall score will always be the score for the 'impression' section. Also, ExplorerFreak, I know that he knows what he's talking about and I know he researches his subjects well, but his lyrics are still pretentious and awful. But explain to me what relevence 'ov' has. I honestly want to know.
    fluffylump2
    you know what would be funny? a retired nergal working as a museum curator in Poland.
    o d y s s e y
    definantly not as good as there previous but its also not a lackluster offering from behemoth. i give it a 7
    dcloud
    Great album! Drumming and Musicianship is there as always. Vocals and solos are better. The songs freaking SLAY.
    Nelshizzle
    I actually thought opposite about the vox. I thought they were terrible in this album and that he should of continued with the mixture he had in previous albums. It made them unique imo.
    duncang
    King ofKumbucha wrote: TheThingKills wrote: Great review Ov instead of of lol he must rock lol Oh, and he spells of ov because in Polish the f doesn't make a v sound (like the f at the end of "of".
    I think there's one very good reason why that's not a good reason to spell the word with a v. HE'S SPEAKING IN FUCKING ENGLISH.