The Satanist review by Behemoth

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  • Released: Feb 7, 2014
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.3 (138 votes)
Behemoth: The Satanist
5

Sound — 9
Behemoth has been around since the early '90s and somewhere along the line they jumped from anonymity to cult-celebrity in the world of metal. They've remained one of the best, if not THE BEST, bands in their specific sub-genre of blackened death metal. All of this seemed to be coming to an end as Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, but a bone marrow transplant seemed to turn everything around and Nergal began recovering. "The Satanist" is the first release from the band since that time, being their 10th studio album. The album contains 9 tracks and clocks in at just under 45 minutes. The album is being released by Metal Blade Records in the US, and Nuclear Blast in Europe. 

The album opens up with the track "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel," with a guitar riff in the intro that has a very classic metal feel to it but quickly turns into something else entirely when the vocals come in. "Furor Divinus" opens up with a guitar melody and some serious double bass pedal going on with the drums, and builds into a slow tempo groove-heavy creepy-as-hell masterpiece. "Messe Noire" opens up doing some interesting things with near-atonality in the riff and a vocal assault that carries the song. "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" is one of the most interesting tracks to me, instrumentally, and probably has the strongest vocal "hook" to be found on the album. "Amen" is next up, and this track is balls-to-the-wall from beginning to the end. Next up is the title track, "The Satanist," which is where the album starts getting pretty experimental - this track actually includes an almost traditional guitar solo and utilizes volume and space dynamics in the song unlike what I'm used to hearing from Behemoth. "Ben Sahar" is pretty much a standard heavy track from the band except for a little more use of "atmospheric" negative space in the music. "In the Absence ov Light" is next which starts out pummeling you in the face, both musically and lyrically - but then what is this but a long acoustic and saxophone interlude with a vocal monologue - this isn't the Behemoth you're used to. The album closes out with the track "O Father O Satan O Sun!," which contains in the single track some of the best atmospheric stuff going on in the album as well as the most hook-laden passages I've ever heard from Behemoth. (You gotta give me a little slack with the way I'm using the word "hook" in this review - definitely no "pop" hooks, but in the world of extreme metal there is a lot of hooks on this album.)

Lyrics — 8
All the lyrics on the album were written by Nergal, except "Messe Noire," "Amen," and "O Father O Satan O Sun!" which Nergal co-wrote with Krzysztof Azarewicz. Nergal fits into a really good niche with his vocals, as they sound really wicked and guttural without crossingthe line into campy, which happens with a lot of his contemporaries (to my ears). His vocal performance is pretty much flawless from beginning to end. What to say about the lyrics? These lyrics are seriously all-out aggression and fury. The album starts out with the line "I saw the virgin's c-nt spawning forth the snake" and never backs down. Here is another example of the lyrics, taken from the track "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer": "Scholar of the unlight/ Great volcano of excrement/ Rippling eager to erupt/ Reconstellate the firmament/ Behold the great accuser/ A megalinga of throbbing zeal/ Raptor yearning to pierce/ To rape the seventh seal/ Destroyer of cosmos/ Implore the ungod/ Implode the sun/ There is none wronging the serpent's cult/ Untouched and ignored/ With the serpent's might/ And the trumpets blow/ In the shadow of the horns."

Overall Impression — 9
As a "casual fan" of blackened death metal, death metal and deathcore I have found Behemoth to be one of my favorite bands in the genre, musically, though I don't always appreciate the lyrical content. I have to give them credit, though, my problems with the lyrics are personal to me as they are well-written and definitely have the impact that metal lyrics SHOULD have. Nergal is a beast on vocals and guitar, and "The Satanist" is a good example of why he's such a prominent figure in his genre. What stands out on this album above, or at least separately from, their other releases is the use of negative space in the music as well as a general feeling of experimentation. My favorite tracks from the album would have to be "Furor Divinus" and the title track, "The Satanist." There are a lot of other great songs on the album and fans of Behemoth or the blackened death metal genre will not be disappointed.

53 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Cavalcade
    "User rating- 1; votes- 3" Come on UG, we don't downvote Christian albums for being Christian! We downvote them for sucking.
    LordEarthworm
    I'm a legitimate Christian and I agree with everything you just said. This album is a masterpiece, btw.
    Sir_Taffey
    Also as a Christian, downvoting a Christian album because it sucks is the right answer. We are about the music. Not the moral background of the artists. I say let the votes fall where they should!
    Lancer506
    "We are about the music. Not the moral background of the artists" This is wonderful
    MetalRock4ever
    This is the problem with letting anyone vote. Polls, reviews, etc. tend to be judged by either faith, popularity, etc. when the actual content doesn't get judged. This album was great, for me. There was a difference in the album which made it unique to the others, I guess.
    Mahoru
    I'm not even a Behemoth fan. I always thought they were a good band with a lot of potential, but they never really made a truly outstanding album (not a bad album either) so I didn't follow them much. Until now, THIS is the album. By far the best in their career, so congrats for Nergal & company, they finally did hit the nail!
    ridinglightning
    I normally don't like black/death metal, but all I can say for this album is "wow." Nergal and company really outdid themselves on this one- for someone not really a fan of this subgenre to really, really enjoy an album in it, it needs to be truly great, and they did it perfectly.
    Lersch
    For me, Evangelion and The Satanist are Behemoth's best albums. I can't stop listening to this album,and Black/Death Metal isn't really my cup of tea. The only complaint I have is that they could have put "If were Cain" in this album.
    noodles07
    Their best album in my opinion. Outstanding. Its my favourite album of year(yes I know it is february.) I dont think that anything can beat this. I would never thought that they can do something better then Evangelion or Demigod. But they can.
    osiris12
    Not a huge fan of Behemoth (as many have already said), but I highly enjoy their music. I'm mainly glad that Nergal's triumphed over leukemia and is back doing what he loves. Haven't heard all of it, but the four or five songs I have heard are ridiculous.
    pim.voormeulen
    Idc if they're satanist, muslim, christian, hindu another form of theism or atheist.If they make good music they make good music, and thats what its all about.
    Corandy
    I like the first part of the album more than the second part, but I think the second part will grow on me. Great album! Also the video is very well done.
    SleepFan
    I never was a big Behemoth fan, but I love this album. SO glad I bought it!
    swave75
    This sounds so cool. But the cover is amazing! I would buy it just for that. And I will.
    Raven_Flight
    They were going downhill after Demigod, but this one's a game changer!
    Om_Bongo
    Curious, what's wrong with Evangelion? I think that's a pretty badass album from start to finish.
    woflcopter
    Love the album and Nergal sounds great as ever. Also, I know this is unrelated to the music itself but I bought the plain ol' CD and the packaging was actually really cool and had a lot of work put into it. Lyrics and stuff handwritten by Nergal with individual song descriptions, drawings, translucent pages, the fact that it came with a DVD... I like that. It cost the typical price of a CD and it was totally worth it for the music alone, but the extra work put into making the physical product awesome for the fans was very cool.
    Morphogenesis26
    I don't understand the hype for this album. Checked it out and it seemed like really bland death metal with awful vocals. I feel like there had to have been one hell of a marketing team behind this.
    SGofawesome
    Or, it's already a contender for AOTY and you just simply don't like it. There's not a good reason why an album does good other than the fact that a lot of people just like it. It's a great album to me, and obviously a lot of others agree, so just say you don't like it and move on.
    Morphogenesis26
    I don't like it and it's no better than any other mediocre death metal album. There we go. c: Moving on now.
    Iommianity
    I don't get think you get to tell someone to move on when you're only replying because they didn't like an album you did. There's room for both negative and positive opinions, don't be a baby just because someone didn't like the new Behemoth album.
    Mahoru
    There's a difference between opinion ("I don't like it") and ignorance ("It's no better than any other mediocre death metal album", or "really bland death metal with awful vocals").
    Morphogenesis26
    Want to know what's really boring? People who don't want to have a discussion about music. See, I say it has bland vocals and mediocre music, you could give a counter argument to that. Neither of us will probably change our minds, but it'd be a lot more productive than, " I like this IMO" and "I don't like this IMO".
    Mahoru
    Absolutely, but anyone who has listened to a few death metal bands could tell that, regardless of the enjoyment of the music, Behemoth (and this album in particular) objectively has very solid songwriting, vocals and instrumentation. If you don't like how they use those things it's fine, but this objectively isn't a bland album from any point of view. If you explained why you think Nergal's vocals are bad, or what you think is wrong about the music that's what I'd like to know, but the statements you made before aren't enough.
    maowcat
    I have no idea why anyone can call this album one of if not their best. All rehashed ideas, bland vocals and shitty, shitty guitar tones. Then again i don't like these guys, just as delusional and insane as the religious fundamentalists they insult.
    savilaakso
    Deafheaven is so much better.
    osiris12
    Deafheaven is a bit different from Behemoth. They're great, but they're relatively new and have a lot of room to still grow.
    maowcat
    I have no idea why anyone can call this album one of if not their best. All rehashed ideas, bland vocals and shitty, shitty guitar tones. Then again i don't like these guys, just as delusional and insane as the religious fundamentalists they insult.
    Random9000
    I feel this album can be compared to the phrase used to explain Strapping Young Lad; "the audio equivalent to coming under gunfire." This album from beginning to end is just madness and heavy. Not my favorite, but I think a solid addition.
    TripLid
    Only a hour left before I am off work, I can't wait to get out of here so I can get this album!
    Wylde@Heart
    I'm a pretty big fan of death metal, and have been listening to a lot of Behemoth's later catalogue (from Demigod and onwards). I thought Demigod was great, The Apostasy was good and Evangelion was brilliant. To me, Behemoth had a lot of work to do to top Evangelion, but I have to say, I feel like they did it with this album. Sadly, I don't own it yet. My local HMV hasn't gotten it in stock yet, so I've had to download it, just because I couldn't wait. But, the moment I get the call that they've got it in, I'll be driving down to pick it up. A brilliant album, from start to finish. I'll definitely be listening to this one for a long time to come.
    SkepsisMetal
    I was so disappointed that they didn't manage to show for Mayhem fest last year when I went. But after this godliness they are forgiven, and they had better get their asses back out on tour for it.
    SOF187
    The drummer needed emergency appendix surgery, not something you can blame on the band. They got Krimh to fill in for Euro dates, but they didn't have time for him to get ready before Mayhemfest.
    Who Sh0t Ya HxO
    I can't believe the positivity for this album. This album doesn't even touch their past ones. I haven't heard a song just as good as some of the ones from the past yet and I'm half way through the album.
    zirkonflex
    Very, very evident Watain influence. Not really a bad thing, but a bit too obvious to me. Some a the riffs feel a tad boring to me, while some other, very interesting melodies are used only sporadicly. Overall a great record.
    spudoka
    Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer is ****ing awesome! The rest of the album is lacking cohesion.
    damillion
    I think almost all songs had parts I really liked, but most got a bit repetative and could have been shorted down. The title track is really interesting. Overall a pretty good effort.
    maowcat
    I have no idea why anyone can call this album one of if not their best. All rehashed ideas, bland vocals and shitty, shitty guitar tones. Then again i don't like these guys, just as delusional and insane as the religious fundamentalists they insult.
    maowcat
    I have no idea why anyone can call this album one of if not their best. All rehashed ideas, bland vocals and shitty, shitty guitar tones. Then again i don't like these guys, just as delusional and insane as the religious fundamentalists they insult.