Behemoth – The Satanist
The sharpened songwriting and successful risk taking supremely sets up Behemoth to continue their reign of doing whatever the fuck they want in the realms of extremity.
You all know the story by now. The new millennium saviours of extreme metal – heavier, more terrifying and more engaging than all challengers – were stopped in their tracks when their anti-Christian ideologue of a frontman developed (and subsequently defeated) leukaemia. A sign from the almighty for Nergal to cease his blasphemous ways, perhaps?
Nice try, God, but the result of all this turmoil is the most direct Behemoth record in message yet. The Satanist revolves around Behemoth’s celebration of all things – wait for it – satanic, with a surprising amount of fervour. It’s less about pissing on crosses and throwing matches on altars as extolling the joy found in rejecting the light – “I believe in Satan!” the first words out of Nergal’s maw on the sludgy intro of “Messe Noire”.
This mantra is backed by the now-standard blasting fury of Behemoth but that is merely the jumping off point. European rock’n’roll by way of black metal à la latter day Satyricon rears its head on the title track, an anthem you can envisage the masses at Wacken fist pumping to; guitar solos evocative of classic ‘70s rock carry out “Messe Noire” and the ever-present audible bass playing adds a whole new dimension you might have forgotten extreme metal could possess. Yes, you read that correctly – clearly audible, defined bass playing on a metal record. It drives the mid section of “Amen”, carries the length of the weighty title track and propels the lumbering “Ben Sahar” before the blast blitzkrieg.
The Satanist isn’t the blast-o-calypse many were no doubt hoping for, and it really is quite accessible, but the sharpened songwriting and successful risk taking supremely sets up Behemoth to continue their reign of doing whatever the fuck they want in the realms of extremity.
The Essential Track: The album’s first line: “I saw the virgin’s cunt spawning forth the snake.” Awesome.