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Demigod by Behemoth is by most means a death metal album as pure as it can be. With much more dissonant guitar works than on the previous records, even more complex and faster drumming and quadruple-layered vocals, this album is being pretty obvious on its message.
That is: showing off. Really, there is not much more to say concerning the actual substance of this record. It is still a matter of personal preference to criticize the decision of layering the vocals so heavily often you can't understand the lyrics even if you know them (as in death metal that is only of semi-importance), but the subtle message of this is an abundance of any kind of thought on what this album is trying to present apart from technical showing off.
While its predecessor Zos Kia Cultus at least tried to build up momentum in adding atmospheric skits and leaving room within the songs for melodic passages to switch with the brutal chugging and blasts, on this album it is limited to a minimum. Songs like Conquer All and Slaves Shall Serve are precisely still that popular because they show off creativity and melodic space within a slaughterfest of blast beats being accompanied with the most dissonant power chord sections imaginable.
It is by no means generally unrecommended to not hit the breaks on a death metal album and blast through it with full speed, such as records like Hour of Penance's The Vile Conception have shown fabulously, but you got to distinguish the songs by more than existing or non-existing steel guitar interludes. The whole midsection of this record is a mesh of continuous blast beats, hammer blasts, hyper speed chugs and a general atonal attitude with a melodic conclusion or pay-off that waits until Xul is played and at least provides a decent solo that is reminiscent of their work of their past two records ... until also this one fades out into an unending tornado of hammer blasts and repetitive down-A chugging. That said, the songs for themselves aren't total failures, but their arrangement in the tracklist hits the flow of listening experience on its head. It's monotone and it gets boring pretty quickly.
Another point of criticism is the production. Yes, from a discographic point of view, there is an evolution from their past record Zos Kia Cultus. A bad evolution. This album manages to sound even more dry than the previous one, with drums sounding so unnatural one might just well assume the band used a drum computer to record. The guitars are a muddy mesh and on the fast sections it is a challenge to hear out the arrangements. Meanwhile the bass is pretty inaudible. This is of course not uncommon for a death metal album but it is still a letdown considering how past records dealt with this.
And after all yes, Demigod tries to be a textbook brutal death metal album. And in all respect it should be dealt as such. The biggest problem for me listening to the album is the abundance of thought. As pointed out in numerous other reviews there is a strong lean to Nile, the problem being that Behemoth sort of don't really know what to do with this inspirational input. Most of the time the melodic passages go nowhere and the songs lose themselves within their levels of brutality, leaving behind an image of a band that is still undecided about their favored direction.
To me, Behemoth really lost some of their appeal when they decided to drop their earlier, blackened allure for a more streamlined death metal aesthetic. The writing was on the wall as early as Thelema.6, but the parlous genre balancing act present during the mid-period albums really fell by the wayside by the time Demigod swung around. On a surface level, this is certainly heavier than anything the band had committed to disc up to this point, but is that enough to sell an album on it's own? No matter how subsonic and earth-shifting as Nergal's multi-layered roar may be here, this material still pales in primal appeal to Thelema.6, even after taking into account the latter's flagging production.
If Behemoth gained anything in the downtime between Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) and Demigod, it was a cinematic scope and more massive-sounding guitars. Despite plenty of quality riffing, the earlier albums almost universally suffered from pretty meager guitar tones. You can go ahead and throw that flaw right out the window, because the guitars here sound rich and meaty; well deserving of the exotic subject matter at hand. Despite the first two tracks featuring an almost identical main riff, Demigod busts out of the gate angrily enough. Dissecting individual riffs is certainly no problem, and most of them slide up and down the phrygian dominant scale, occasionally tacking on a little melodic tail or fluttering tremolo section on the end. The biggest issue manifests itself by the time the listener reaches "Towards Babylon", at which point you realize that Demigod is on full-speed for almost the entire duration, never giving the atmosphere a chance to shine through. The only two tracks that are the exception to this rule are the more mid-paced "Conquer All" and the enthralling closer "The Reign ov Shemsu-Hor", which finally gives the aforementioned cinematic scope a chance to work it's damp sorcery on the listener.
Occasionally you'll get a churning tremolo like on "Xul" or some more spirited, controlled chaos like the majority of "The Nephilim Rising", but the bottom line is that the entire middle section of Demigod is slowed down by dead weight. Nearly everything between "Towards Babylon" and "Mysterium Coniunctionis (Hermanubis)" is wholly skippable and unworthy of Behemoth's good name. The Middle-Eastern overtones are also a lot to stomach this time around, almost constantly rearing up and forcing the proceedings into more terse waters that begin to stagnate as the band refuses to vacate and try anything else. Where is the lithe leadwork from "Vinvm Sabbati", which served as a much more effective ode to the deities that Behemoth so proudly kneels before? Maybe Havoc's departure forced Nergal to spread himself too thinly here, but the band managed to deliver a significantly heavier crusher in The Apostasy, even under a more sterile production environment. It's nice to see Orion here, but he is an accomplished guitarist in his own right (Vesania) and probably would have served as a better second mind to spark variation on the six-strings other than the faceless Seth. The only member that continues to demolish expectations is Inferno, who has come a long way from his humble beginnings around the Pandemonic Incantations era.
A final note has to be made of "The Reign ov Shemsu-Hor", which despite being over eight minutes long, manages to cram in as many interesting ideas as possible - certainly more than the rest of the album combined. The grooving, descending riff around the 2:30 marked with the cymbals fluttering in the background is certainly one of the high points of the album. Everything just moves at a much more structured and less hurried pace. Please Nergal, give us more of that! I understand that Demigod is pretty much universally praised as some landmark of brutality, but are we really that shallow and short sighted on the matter? It certainly has it's moments, but is far from perfect. Get Thelema.6 instead, or give The Apostasy a shot if you are fond of the heavier inclinations being experimented with here.
If you are already a fan of Behemoth, then you are no stranger to their evil, Satanic, and brutally-heavy style. From the haunting bleakness of their debut to the shell shock-inducing 'Zos Kia Cultus', they are well-known and respected for their hellish anthems of blasphemy. Just when you think they can't get any more brutal, they craft Demigod, which is nothing short of a musical earthquake. I will explain to you why Demigod is one of the heaviest albums I have heard recently.
The production on this release is crystal clear, which means that we get to hear everything perfectly. This adds to the sheer immensity of the album. The opening track starts with some Nile-esque clean guitars. After this menacing Middle Eastern intro the album explodes into an intimidating death metal assault. The drum work of Inferno is unbelievably fast in songs like 'Demigod' and the mighty 'Slaves Shall Serve'. His blasts are among the fastest I have ever heard, rivaling Kataklysm's 'Serenity in Fire', which is quite a feat. The guitar riffs are intense and furious with 'The Nephilim Rising' standing out. The opening riff to this song sounds like it was created in the fires of hell and it is one of the stand out songs on the album.
The vocals garnered mixed reception upon the album's released. Nergal's layered growls polarized fans with some taking a strong dislike. Do not listen to these critics. This effect makes the vocals sound more demonic, unnerving, and appropriate to the music. 'Towards Babylon' is the most brutal track on the album and this is mainly due to the vocals. Nergal sounds like he is commanding you to bow down before him with his hellish growls. The blast beats and guitar riffs make this song a formidable listen, and a clean pair of pants is needed after this one. The technicality of the guitars is mainly showcased in 'Xul', a beast of a track that features a guest appearance from Karl Sanders, a genius in complexity.
There are some interesting instruments on this record, such as a horn at the start of the title track. As well as sounding like the beginning of a death metal fox hunt (joke!), it provides the song with the atmosphere it needs. Although most of the album is more about overall heaviness than atmospherics, there are some brilliant little moments of experimenting. Some eerie ambiance at the end of the final track closes the album perfectly.
Production-wise, Demigod is probably about as heavy as it gets. Pristine, intense, and intimidating, it truly is a force to be reckoned with. Behemoth will have to work very hard indeed if they wish to outdo this avalanche of carnage, but as I thought the last album was as heavy as it gets, they may prove me wrong again. I am indeed hopeful for the future of these hardened death metal demons.
Virgin listeners beware. :)
This album is a solid death metal album by the Polish band Behemoth. The album starts off with a dark, acoustic riff before going deep. Nergal's vocals are deep and help to create an atmosphere that seems to put you into the middle of an occult, Satanic ritual. Some of the songs on this album sounds as if there was a goat being sacrificed to a Pagan god. Maybe Zeus or something like that.
The drumming has a good mix of blast beats on it, but there are a couple of times when it is rather slow drumming aiding in creating a darker, more fantasy-styled atmosphere. There could have been more blast beats though, but this was fairly decent for the context of the music.
The lyrics dealt with topics related to Nietzsche and left hand path ideologies. Examples like these include quotes of Nietzsche and being intoxicated with self-love. The word "love" seems atypical of a death metal band, but it shows that Behemoth is willing to go over and above to distinguish themselves from some of the other popular artists in this relatively underground genre.
The guitars are the greatest part of this album. There are some breakdowns, but then they progress into an almost neo-classical/blues rock solo before transforming into a Satanic acoustic melody at the end. The order is mixed up at times, though. With the guitars, Behemoth accomplishes the task of not only making their music match a Luciferian/Pagan chant, it ends up becoming a sacrificial ritual itself.
The only problem with this album is that the songs are just too short. As a consequence, a very beautiful album seems to end abruptly. It would be more preferable to consistently make "five minute plus" length songs, but this is only a minor problem and a problem that can be dealt with. There is one song on this album that exceeds eight minutes in length.
Overall, this album has a very strong chance of being Behemoth's best album. It is interesting to see a one-time black metal band evolve into the death metal legends they are bound to become. This album will more than likely be the one by which all other Behemoth albums are judged, even if it is not their best.
Let me first bore you with a personal anecdote. If you don’t care about such things, or are here just to read a music review, skip to the following paragraph.
When I was an innocent thirteen year old just dipping my toes in the vast ocean of metal, and still utterly convinced that latter-era In Flames and Amon Amarth was the heaviest shit out there, a more learned friend of mine loaned me this album by Behemoth. He warned me that it was a bit more out there than what I was already familiar with, but recommended I try it out with an open mind. I remember taking it home and studying the album cover and sleeve. Everything about it looked so foreign to me. What did all these symbols mean? What did the band name mean? What did he mean by “out there”? Intrigued, I popped it into my newly bought huge sound system which I use frequently to this day, and sat on my bed and listened. That moment was certainly one of the most significant experiences of my metal-listening career. Needless to say, I was blown away, but not necessarily in a good way. Behemoth didn’t so much open the door to actual extreme metal for me, but rather hurled me in head first and naked, unarmed, and entirely ill-equipped. Dumbfounded, I sat there listening with a certain traumatized fascination. How could human beings, such as myself, create sounds like this, and more importantly, what on earth would possibly drive them to do so? I knew that what I was listening to was so far beyond my understanding, and that’s what intrigued me most; the fact I simply couldn’t understand this. It wasn’t something I enjoyed listening to right off the bat, but I knew there was something about it that was so real, so honest, and so brutally powerful - key word being “brutally”.
For the sake of clarity, I’ll refer to this album, Demigod by Behemoth, as a death metal one. The exact genre has been debated, but analyzing it in that sense isn’t what I want to focus on here. What I will do, though, is offer you my proposition as to why it’s a modern classic. It seems to have become commonplace to praise a modern album based on its likeness to a previous classic. You often hear people saying things to the effect of “the sound of this album clearly harkens back to Entombed’s Left Hand Path” or “The savage guitar tone is definitely inspired by Dismember, and is therefore awesome”. Well, Behemoth on Demigod sound about as much like Entombed and Dismember, or any other “classic” death metal band for that matter, as they do Killswitch Engage, ie not alike at all. And that’s exactly why this is a “modern” classic. In days of yore, death metal was known for its filthy production, but you won’t find that here. The sound is clean and massive, just as it should be. Bands that aim to play in the style of past successes might put out good music from time to time, but their motives are about as authentic as the American Godzilla reboot. That said, I’m really not sure what inspired Behemoth on this album. I’d like to believe their main inspiration was their confidence in themselves to top Demigod’s already magnificent predecessor, Zos Kia Cultus, as the sound is actually a fairly clear continuation from that record, though tone and overall delivery is decidedly quite different and much more aggressive.
It’s hard to pinpoint just where the foundation of the distinctive sound on this album lies. When Sculpting the Throne Ov Seth opens up into the explosion of eastern-sounding melody, you’ll initially be blown away by the sheer memorability of the guitars, but listen closer, it’s actually Inferno’s sharp lead into blastbeats at 37 seconds that gives the music such a triumphant edge. It’s useful, of course, to elaborate on more examples like this, but really, the entire album is built up of these kinds of moments. The band works like such an intrinsic unit that without each member flawlessly backing each other, the isolated instruments would be without meaning, or at least not nearly as effective. Even Orion’s bass nicely adds to the overall heaviness. True, you can’t hear it very prominently, but you’re not supposed to, and I can’t imagine what the songs would sound like with a really heavy bass production.
Elsewhere, the drums have an excellent, crisp sound, and by the gods Inferno is a beast behind the kit. I suppose the legendary Slaves Shall Serve is the first track that comes to mind when I think of Inferno’s incredible endurance and precision, but really, each song is a testament to his immense abilities. Whether it’s the crushing, warlike, beats of Conquer All or the ceaseless blastbeats which are the backbone of just about every song, his performance here is enough to earn him a truly notable position in the history of extreme metal drumming. Listen loudly with headphones to the nuances of his fills and general performance in Sculpting the Throne ov Seth, Demigod, XUL, or Slaves Shall Serve and I dare you to keep your mouth from gaping.
The lyrics on this album are also my favourite from Behemoth. The subject matter is essentially the same as always; potent images of vast conquering armies, invocations of long forgotten deities, and other musings upon the occult, yet there’s a great continuity throughout the lyrics. Each song seems to interpret or expand upon the theme of mortality/immortality, hence the album title. There are simply some very memorable lyrics here, and I often find myself muttering the last verse of Conquer All under my breath:
I am the pure flame that burns,
I am Sirius’ son,
I am the infinite space,
I am the most conquering one.
The vocals that spew forth these scriptures of blasphemy are the most controversial aspect of the album. While Nergal’s technique is basically the same as on Zos Kia Cultus, his throaty death growls are heavily layered. I personally love them, because not only do they sound unlike anything I’ve heard elsewhere, but it makes him sound like some enraged entity somewhere between human and… something else. A demigod? Ah, now you’re following me. They’re also more varied than most people give them credit for. Always seethingly aggressive, but the range between songs like XUL and the more blackened death metal tracks like The Nephilim Rising or Before The Æons Came is very noticeable.
Some have accused this album of being mallcore, which is an argument so unfounded and ridiculous that I’m not even going to explore it. The popularity of it is definitely noteworthy, though. While I’d hesitate to call the music accessible, it is definitely memorable. I have most of the riffs engrained in my mind, and I often play the intro to The Reign Ov Shemsu-Hor in my head, as if meditating. Despite what you think of Demigod, there’s no denying that it was/is a very important extreme metal album. Not only did it catapult Behemoth further into the death metal mainstream, but it also became a gateway album for people who had just been discovering death metal but hadn’t yet wrapped their head around the depth of the genre.
All this time later, this album still gives me chills. I suppose the million dollar question is: would I still consider it in a league of its own had it not had such an impact on my virgin ears back in the day? Well, that’s impossible to say, and I’m not sure it’s entirely important. What I do know for certain is that I love this music with all my heart, and will probably listen to it for the rest of my life. I’ve never binged on this album too hard, lest its magic one day eludes me, but it’s been a steady mainstay in my listening appetite since I first listened to it. So whether you’re a newcomer to extreme music, or a seasoned fan, submit to Behemoth. Submit to Demigod.
***Please read this review as a suggestion. I’m not some conspiracy theorist, and I’ve not talked to any members of Behemoth for clarification of this album. I’ve been pondering whether I should write this review for a very long time due to the amount of reviews already received, but hopefully this will add more than what’s already been discussed.***
I'm getting really sick of the death metal scene. Death metal is a genre that has become too bland, too straightforward, and way too one dimensional. In order to find a death metal band that the listener enjoys these days, the listener needs to discover certain riffs or songs that spike for him or her. Blood Red Throne, for example, has a lot of riffs that just work for me, while all my other friends cannot stand their repetition. Cannibal Corpse all sounds so bland to me, but a considerably large amount of people enjoy them. However, both Blood Red Throne and Cannibal Corpse go after the exact same aesthetic; let's be loud, create "badass" riffs and try to fit into the extreme category of music. On the surface, Behemoth's Demigod may be the same thing. However, if one were to look into this album a little bit further, there's so much more going on that it forces further examination.
I don't know if Behemoth will ever make a better album than this. It's as if Zos Kia Cultus pushed the boundaries of their music and Demigod was an outrage of their creativity. Every song is a death metal song, with riffs that just might "spike" for you and some riffs that just move the song along for you while others find a huge enjoyment in that particular part. However, all the melodies on this album mean so much more than just pure ear candy. With this album, everything seems very thought out. Nergal and Seth both do a fine job with harmonization, as if they are playing catch with the melody. On Demigod, there's no "lead guitar". There are the guitarists that work together and cannot sound like anything worth a damn without the other. With this element, Demigod is now emancipated from the one dimensional sound that most of the death metal genre is filled with.
The riffs create a very thick sound, employing lots of chugging and great bass backup by Orion. While the drums focus on the speed of the album, the guitars take their time with the riffs. There are a few songs such as “Towards Babylon” that even the riffs speed up on, but overall the melodies on this album just move a hell of a lot slower than most death metal bands.
Inferno's drumming, however, is handled the complete opposite. Without his drumming, the sound wouldn't be nearly as aggressive as it is. His drumming is handled under great control with a ton of speed. The double bass isn't triggered (thank god), but it backs up the guitars very well. His drum fills work very well with the melodies, putting even more emphasis on the aggressive nature of this album. The overall sound on his set is very acoustic, creating a tribal feeling to the percussion. You can tell it's a purposeful thing that he's doing, to create that sound of antiquity that Behemoth has been generally known for.
Nergals vocal performance is a hit or miss with most people, and for that reason alone they need to be a bit more examined to be appreciated. It is obvious that the multi layered tracks that Nergal shrieks out puts the icing on the cake for brutality, but I get the feeling that there's a whole lot more to his vocals than just an aggressive punch. This album is titled Demigod. Demigods are a half god and half human species in Greek mythology. Being only half human, is it a species that humans can truly relate to at a human level? There’s a whole other half, a godly half to this creature that humans don’t understand. This is what Nergal depicts. His voice isn’t human, and will never be replicated by one human being. Yes, the vocal tracks are multi layered; but in the realm of expression it is one; the voice of a demigod. To top it all off, his lyrics talk a great deal about becoming something more than “mortal”. Just read the lyrics to Conquer All, Demigod, Slaves Shall Serve, or Mysterium Coniunctionis. While perhaps the main ideas behind this albums lyrics differ from one another at the base, the main theme that revolves around each set of lyrics is becoming the demigod. That is where this album becomes a work of fascination, because almost everything comes together at this point of illumination.
The guitars, the drums, the vocals; they work together to create a fantastic piece of art; the concept of a demigod. As stated earlier, the guitars move slowly, because the demigod of ultra-omnipotence moves just like that. The drums play loud, fast and aggressively to further develop the aggressive nature of the demigod, while the vocals illustrate the mighty voice of it. This being said, I could not see this expression in any better form than in the form of a death metal album. No other genre of music has ever been as loud and aggressive while still maintaining the stability of melody other than death metal. However, I stated in the beginning of the review that I’m sick of the death metal genre. Well, if more death metal was played like this, with a more innovative aesthetic in mind (much like black metal bands tend to do), perhaps I would start listening to more of it again.
If you are looking for the prime example of what Behemoth’s sounds like at their prime of modern death metal, look no further than the magnificent piece of art by the name of Demigod. This is by far one of the greatest pieces of music I’ve ever came across.
With all the past buzz about this cd, I wish I could write a simple review for this, something like “sorry, not brutal.”
All the elements are in place for this to be a killer cd, and Nergal decided to fuck up any semblance of greatness with his vocals. This is the most present factor in the album, and because of it, fan boys everywhere are screaming “BR00TAL!”. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. If you layer your voice several times in the mix, so much so that I can’t understand the words (not that it’s important in death metal anyways) then you’ve made a conscious decision to stymie the great music that’s going on behind that overpowering voice.
For that reason, this cd is going to get a bad review. I’m trying to think of a number that contrasts the greatness of drummer Inferno with the poorness of Nergal’s voice.
There’s a good deal of Nile comparisons that could be made about this cd, not just because of the guest appearance by Karl Sanders, but also in the content of the cd and the atmosphere that is attempted to be invoked throughout. Behemoth can’t pull off atmosphere like Nile. As for brutality, it can be achieved in a number of ways. It can be done with pure simplicity, which obviously is not the case here. It can be done through a build-up, a crescendo of sorts, but everything here is full blast almost all the time. It can also be done by a non-stop assault, which I’m sure is what Behemoth was attempting. The only problem here is that it fails to fulfill that attempt.
The guitar riff patterns are usually short repetitions of a particular power chord, then break into a tremolo pattern or some sort of scale-riding. You can find this especially present on “Xul”. If there’s a bassist here, you won’t hear it. He’s lost in the sea of drums, guitars, and oppressive vocals. In fact, if you were to take Nergal’s vocals out of the equation, you wouldn’t find this to be especially aggressive at all. Nergal is far more aggressive than the music. The second worst performance was by the guitarists, who can’t match the intensity of the drumming with any sort of coherence. To me, Demigod is like a poor man’s Temple of Knowledge by Kataklysm. The fact that Xul is in both recordings is more than coincidence in my opinion.
Tracks that I can appreciate are “Conquer All” and “The Reign ov Shemsu-Hor”. The latter has such a better flow than the rest of the cd. In many respects, it follows the kind of hardcore riffing pattern you’d find on any number of Hardcore music projects. To me, this is how the whole cd should have sounded, where the vocals compliment the structure of the song. If you have choppy guitar, you have choppy vocals. Oh my, what a concept. As for the former song, the band is allowed to play in “Conquer All”, and thus the song actually does what it’s supposed to do, which is apparently be “br00tal”. One thing is for sure, and that’s throughout the rest of the songs, either Negal is ruining the guitar riff, or vice versa. After I stop listening, that’s all I can think of.
I love to make fun of bands that dress in makeup and make image more important than the music. I’ve always found fault with that in bands, and Behemoth is no exception. I felt I would describe the musical content of the cd prior to mentioning this, but it must bear mentioning. Zos Kia Cultus had much better tempo and cohesion, and I will always hold it a much superior and more brutal effort than Demigod.
Behemoth was my first introduction to extreme metal, and this album was my first extreme metal purchase. As such, it has held a special place in my heart. Now, more than two years after I have first purchased it, I decided to try and use my knowledge of metal I’ve attained over that time to review this album objectively, regardless of my possible fanboyism.
The first thing one notices on listening to this album is the crystal-clear production. Relatively few releases of this type have this kind of clarity of sound, for the sake of the atmosphere of the music. In this case, however, the modern sound job is a bonus. The style of moderately technical playing used here is enhanced by having each instrument clearly distinguished from the others. At no time does any single sound drown out the others.
The next thing a listener will notice is the sense of atmosphere employed in the tracks. From the acoustic passage sprinkled at the end of “The Nephilim Rising” to the subtle choir recordings on “The Reign of Shemsu-Hor” to the light keyboard pieces throughout the album, each track feels like a piece of an occult ritual, or a tale in an epic from ancient Babylon.
Despite any atmosphere, a metal album is nothing if it does not have riffs, but rest assured, there are plenty of those! Much of the album’s guitarwork is an interplay between low plam-muted triplets and higher tremolo-picked riffs, and the use of counterpoint licks at the end of repeated riffs is a common theme here. The band manages to construct their music on a structure of technically competent playing without sacrificing the overall feel of the music. To anyone familiar with Nile’s music, the similarity in terms of melody is immediate and obvious, but Behemoth pull it off in such a way as to make it their own.
Unfortunately, on this record, as in many other death metal albums, the bass is practically inaudible. However, the rhythm section is ably filled by Inferno, the band’s drummer. His speed is impressive, and his fills are tasteful and creative. The vocals, on the other hand, leave something to be desired. Nergal never was particularly understandable, but the double-tracking of his diabolical roar makes it even less so. At times it almost sounds silly (as if you can call guttural vocals not silly), but they do not ruin the listening experience.
The songwriting is this album’s main downfall, as it varies between very solid, creative, and catchy songs (“Sculpting the Throne ov Seth”), and more derivative works (“Conquer All”). Some songs contain very cool riffs and melodies, and I feel they could be amazing songs, if only the musical ideas presented within were expanded upon (“The Nephilim Rising”).
Overall, though not entirely original, Demigod is a very solid album that tries a little too hard to be commercially accessible. Its short packages of brutality are entertaining and sometimes inspiring, but leave something to be desired. However, if you are a fan of modern death metal, this is a recommended purchase.
Skimming through these reviews, I notice that people are almost afraid to give this snooze-fest anything lower then a 90%, save for a handful. I dont think I'm listening to the same album. This is unlike anything Behemoth has released before, in a bad way. Where's the brutality found on Satanica and Pandemonic Incantations? Where's the insane technicality that was ample throughout Thelema 6 and Zos Kia Cultus? All I hear is watered down, boring and predictable "death metal" that is about as heavy as a box of tissues.
The first glaring problem is by far the vocals. Nergals new found "voice" is disasterous, to say the least. The few good songs that are on Demigod are destroyed as soon as you even hear Nergal breath. The multi-tracked growls are by far the worst idea any band has thought up. Wait, let me rephrase "growls", as they sound more like Nergal recording himself inhale four diffrent times and then tweak with the pitches so that they sound slightly different than the others. Listening to this sure makes me miss his amazing shrieks on Sventevith.
Listening to such songs as "Sculpting the Throne ov Seth" and "Before the Aeons Came", one can also conclude that Behemoth is borrowing some of Nile's ideas. Karl Sanders guest appearance cements my theory.
Instrumentally, Behemoth is at the top of their game. Blast beats are tighter than ever, riffs are fast and technical, and the Middle-Eastern scales that are heard in some of the aforementioned songs are very interesting to say the least. However, this album is also boring as all Hell. This is not "br00tal" or "Hevay", this is pretty soft, actually. The drums never do anything interesting, the guitar tone needs to be beefed up, as it sounds thin and weak, and the soft, acoustic intros belong somewhere else, like a Blowpeth album. Dont go down that route, Nergal.
Also, who thought it was a good idea to put in the meanings behind each song's lyrics in the booklet? Doesnt that defeat the purpose of someone trying to decipher what each song means themselves? Come on Nergal, when you mention "Sculpting the Throne ov Seth", we're pretty sure we know your talking about the Egyptian god Seth (or at least those of us who arent Hatebreed-like stupid).
Don't start here, try Pandemonic Incantations instead.
Behemoth has always put a little more into their music than most other metal bands. Just reading through Demigod's included booklet one will noticw how much thought and care was taken in writing the music. Nergal attributes every riff and every lyric to some experience or personal endeavor. This effort and high level of influence really seems to show in the music in the end. In writing, the band plays around with some odd cultural elements in their music to give it a truly distinctive edge, as well as throwing in some unusual timing and putting their own spin on the essential basics.
There's something about Polish death metal that really hits like a sledge hammer. Maybe it's an emphasis on genuine aggression instead of the noise-based blasting that most death metal bands use to sound "brutal". Behemoth, Vader, and Decapitated all manage to hit a new level of heaviness in their own styles. Behemoth distinguishes themselves by using said influences. In the opener, Sculpting the Throne of Seth, the appropriately unexpected use of acoustic guitars is immediately displayed. The following riffs also display excellent use of odd timing, as the guitars and vocals are offset in a strange, yet fitting way.
The rest of the album spans quite a spectrum of death metal styles. Slaves Shall Serve is a straightforward brutal antichristian rant, complete with the most menacing shouts in metal. The Nephilim Rising features an amazing acoustic outro. Xul throws out some of Behemoth's most melodic moments, as emotional licks compliment the usual heaviness. Karl Sanders from Nile provides an ultimately unneeded guest guitar solo, which adds an even more technical feel to the album. Conquer All and Demigod both bear some fucking merciless riffs worth of the unholy hairwhips. The epic closer, The Reign of Shemsu-Hor, ends with some simple but effective metal riffing and more acoustic guitars playing some eastern scales.
Demigod could be spoken of endlessly, so the only real way to learn of it is to listen for yourself. Rest assured any time spent investigating Demigod is time very well spent. This is Behemoth's crowning achievement so far and only The Apostasy can (and from the sound of things, most likely will) dethrone this as one of the best and most unique modern death metal albums.
Behemoth are one of those bands that genuinely have paid their dues. From their inception in 1991, they've clawed their ways rung by rung up the ladder of the metal scene, starting as a relatively unknown black metal band, and now being heralded as one of the largest extreme metal bands in the world today. It's difficult not to be inspired at the very least by how hard Behemoth have worked to come to where they are today, leaping over the corpses of lesser bands to stardom while still retaining their artistic integrity. In interviews with the band, one can always get the impression that they are striving ever forward in their particular field.
With 2004's 'Demigod', Behemoth went from second-tier (in status, not quality) death metal band to being catapulted into the very forefront of the extreme metal scene. This indeed made Behemoth a very public endeavor; suddenly the band was on the tip of everyone's tongues, even many people who you would never expect to be seen in conjunction with our breed of music. When one hears the album, it's not difficult to see why: 'Demigod' wasn't a request of the public to be noticed; it was an attack on the metal scene as a whole, grabbing every writer, artist, and listener by the collar and ordering them to listen. Such a sentiment is portrayed in the music: extravagantly bombastic and epic, nearing corpulence but never quite achieving such ignominy. It's an album that never backs down and is inherently aware of its own grandeur.
Element after element of brutal energy blazes by, while synthesized trumpets seem to announce (in an utterly arrogant yet undeniably compelling fashion) the Arrival Of Behemoth, capitalization necessary to capture the utter force that the band exudes with every snare roll and power chord. Behemoth doesn't need the listeners; they know well enough that the strength of the sounds on this record would act as a Pied Piper to those who had even the most passing interest in extreme music. Arrogance, pride, hate: all elements that, though typically viewed as distasteful, entranced the public and lured them into the fold using only forty minutes of death metal on plastic.
Step one: 'Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth', opening with an acoustic intro that lasts a mere twenty-four seconds before a riff of utter majesty descends upon the listener, accompanied by the thunderous double bass and crash cymbals of Inferno, like the riotous cries of the legions returning to Rome upon conquering a far-off land. And this is a theme that will be repeated numerous times before the album is out: this distinct Arrival of the Polish kings, and an impression that you really should appreciate such a gesture much more than you do. The same occurs on the next title track, where trumpets announce the becoming before the drifting guitar of Nergal ignites the very air, amid massive declarations of 'Rise now above the weakness ov flesh/Come forth! Join ye the arsenals ov blasphemy' from His mighty multi-tracked roars. Satan watches approvingly.
And such things are echoed in even the tiniest of movements: be it Inferno's tiny ride cymbal on 'Demigod', or the presence of the largest, most awe-inspiring riff crafted by man and god alike that makes its appearance on 'Conquer All' amidst the screams of blood from the mob, or the legendary 'Speak ov me not as one/Speak of me not as none/Speak ov me not as all/For I am continual' refrain of 'Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth'. Perhaps the very most decadent moment on 'Demigod' comes on the live staple 'Slaves Shall Serve', which can only be described as 'massive', putting all doom metal bands described as such to shame with its endless rivers of blast beats and sneering, triumphant guitarwork. Behemoth touches all, commands all, and, yes, conquers all. Every member plays, nay, composes to utter perfection.
'Demigod', while difficult to truly grasp on the first listen, is truly an album that can be described as 'great' in every fashion. Rarely does the world see an album of such majesty.
Warning! It’s taken me over a year to actually comprehend this, but “Demigod” is as near perfection as an album can be. Behemoth has taken the final step towards the elite within the metal genre, and in my book, they’re T-H-E band to look out for.
As I’m still confused over the whole progress of this band, and as I could not see this coming, their latest offering has literally put me in a trance. Rising very slowly from their (very) underproduced first albums, journeying over progression all the time with better production & more clever song-writing seems to really have paid off. Everything about this album is pretty much perfected from the beginning to the end. Whereas they developed over the years to a more talented band, here’s where they took it to the next level.
The vocals seem to have changed the most, and Nergal has without a doubt put an enormous amount of thought into this department. He now whips out darker screams than ever before, and while most of it surely isn’t effect-less, he’s developed a whole new style to it. Everything this band plays nowadays has been sped up times two compared to older material. “Zos Kia Cultus” (also a great album) was not the fastest album this band has created nor was it slow, but “Demigod” surpasses it on every level possible. The riffing, for instance, is quite more complex and thought through. More than once, my thoughts have told me Behemoth can’t make things better than they really are, but I’m glad to be proven wrong about that fact. Seth and Nergal make a good pair, and both deserve an equal amount of respect for this recording. They even share the solos, something I think is quite wise. How much part everyone in the band took part of the actual song-writing, I don’t know, but I’ve always seen Nergal as the head figure of the band.
This whole experience is quite overwhelming… Maybe not at first, but it definitely grows on you. The main reason for this is that they’ve pretty much invented a whole new style. Opener “Sculpting the throne ov Seth” bashes you instantly to the ground with its whole new concept, where the chorus introduces it fully. “Before Aeons Came” & “Slaves Shall Serve” are the only tracks on here which they had possible been able to write for another album, as they build equally on their trademark-style as the new. The last-mentioned one is the catchiest tune on the album, and they’re also releasing an E.P. under the same name as the song. “Demigod” (the track) features an odd, but good intro which slowly transforms into a good-as-hell song. “Conquer All” is twice the masterpiece its contender “Horns ov Baphomet” (off of Zos Kia Cultus) ever was, and “The Reign of Shemsu – Hor” closes the album with an absolute standpoint proving they will be back for more. Nothing wrong with the songs then, so how about the production? Refer to the score I gave this album. A whole record with bad production couldn’t possibly earn 99 points, would it? Correctomundo! It all fits very well together, and they must’ve used one hell of a compressor on the final mix, because it’s tight as hell and really compact. All the sound levels are excellent. Need I say more?
A standing ovation would be the only way to describe the drumming. “Inferno” will almost certainly become an icon for future drummers. He plays so fast and accurately to this music that I’m very surprised he’s not been praised and honoured in magazines etc. where comparable drummers always are. It has probably taken a long time recording this as it is very complex, and because of the variation between drum-patterns.
Enough has already been said about this splendid work of art. It is a hell of an experience and you won’t be dissatisfied after a couple of listening-sessions through the best album of 2004! Crystal-clear production, masterful musicians and a hell of a ride. What are you waiting for? Buy it or steal it, whatever you can, but once you do, try to really relax and kick your feet up on the table, grab a sweatband and get ready for a pair of shit-stained pants ready to be washed, because Behemoth WILL totally make you shit your pants… and change your musical taste forever.
Well ladies and gentlemen, here’s another overrated release. I get really sick of people making a mountain out of a molehill, and I’m afraid the same thing is going to happen to Behemoth. Too many good bands are getting more credit they deserve, by no means am I saying that Demigod is a terrible CD. I’m just saying that if people paid a little less attention to the metal major players (Cannibal Corpse, Nile, Slayer, Cryptopsy, Dimmu Borgir, not that there is anything wrong with those bands) we might have a little more variety with underground bands getting a decent chance at the spotlight. Behemoth is becoming one of those bands that stay the exact same (now that they have settled into their “Zos Kia Cultus” sound), but their reviews get better and better. No band should get better and better reviews for staying the same, and that statement is directed toward anyone who listens to Fear Factory (despite their two or three nu-metal songs on Digimortal), Norther, and Lamb of God!
Now, on with the actual CD. Don’t misunderstand me, Demigod was great, but the hype surrounding it is disgusting. Much like the hype surrounding Edguy, but that is all Tobias Sammet’s fault, so I don’t really blame any of their fans. Things really started picking up for Behemoth after the release of Satanica which was their departure from their original pure Black Metal sound. If you don’t like the underground, Black Metal isn’t for you! And I guess the underground wasn’t for Behemoth either, despite the fact that most (if not all) fans of their Tr00 Black Metal sound still like them to present. Nevertheless, they have changed into something quite special. That change being the use of musical scales affiliated with the middle-eastern world (specifically Egypt) and lyrics regarding civilizations predating the Ancient Egyptians (hence; Shemsu-Hor). It is correct for one to compare this band to Nile, especially now with Karl Sanders’ guest Guitar appearance at the end of the song “Xul”! But in all honesty, his appearance wasn’t really required, both Nergal and Sanders seem to be on the same page when soloing together so you can’t really determine which one is which. However, the biggest improvement they have made since Zos Kia Cultus is the percussion. About thirty seconds into the first song I was almost ripping apart the liner notes to see who the new Drummer was, only to find it was the same guy they’ve had since their previous release! So I must congratulate Infernos excellent technical skills on this album!
The entire album is quite consistent and no songs feel out of place or inappropriate with the rest of the CD (which enhances the Epic sensations one gets from it), so there aren’t too many that stand out either. But if I had to choose I would say “Conquer All” due to its beautifully melodic solo performed by Nergal, “Slaves Shall Serve” because of its torrid pace and brutality, and finally “The Reign of Shemsu-Hor” because of its Epic qualities, that are, in my opinion, more repetitive than Epic (even though the song has some very memorable moments; mainly the chorus). Nergal’s new Bassist who has taken Novy’s place in the band (Novy was the Bassist on Zos Kia Cultus but was not an official member, only a guest musician), suits the band just fine. Typically, he doesn’t receive too much spotlight much like most Bassists, so all that can be said about him is that he is a decent player because Demigod is Behemoth’s most technical release, and they didn’t fumble once! All of Behemoth’s riffs are derived from Egyptian (and similar areas of the world) scales, and therefore arouse a real sense of cognitive superiority over most Metal bands these days. The riffs are also massive, tormenting and exhausting. Their Guitars sound very similar to Decapitated’s Guitars on “The Negation”. The main difference being, that Nergal’s riffs and patterns are less repetitive and far more exotic and colorful Than Decapitated’s riffs (that do eventually become monotonous). Which is an accurate analogy because both Behemoth and Decapitated are from Poland.
However, Demigod does have a rather unfortunate downside, which is that the album as a whole doesn’t get too fast. It’s as heavy as hell, but the lack of speed drags its credibility through the mud. Much of the reason I consider “Slaves Shall Serve” as one of the best songs on the CD is because it is, in fact, the only song that is satisfyingly fast. Secondly, Nergal’s vocals on Demigod were actually pretty cool, despite what others might say, but my initial problem with it is that many times it overpowers the rest of the music. Sometimes his scream/growls (or bellows) are overwhelming, you can’t even distinguish how the riffs go. The rhythm isn’t lost, though. The percussion on this album was not overproduced – but fairly loud compared to the rest of the elements.
Overall, this is one hell of a Metal album! One or two more fast songs would have gotten them a perfect score, but no biggy! For Behemoth fans, this album will arouse immediate orgasms. For me, it just plain kicked ass. So get used to a more accurate and more melodic Behemoth; I expect nothing but good things from them in the future. Just don’t make mountain out of a molehill.
Oh...my...fucking...god. This CD (bought straight from them at their recent Houston appearance) will annihilate anything and everything in its path. And I do mean anything, it is that industrial strength badass. It has everything you could ever want from a modern death metal CD and then some; the intelligent, occult-based lyrics are a nice bonus given that our man Nergal is very, very serious about his craft. The music is top-notch to the extreme, tight as a duck's arse, impeccably produced, and delivered with every ounce of conviction in their bodies and souls from start to finish, and did I mention it is the most relentless and brutal CD yet from these Polish warriors of modern death?
After getting a good up-close view of Inferno playing live I have even more respect for the man, because his playing on this album is positively inhuman in its precision and intensity. I can imagine his legs pounding madly throughout every song as he mercilessly batters his drums into so much wood pulp. His overly-triggered drum sound is the one thing I don't like about this CD, one reason there were points deleted. His frenzied blasting really powers this album up into a juggernaut of unstoppable speed and power, but his blast beats are *so* fast at times that the music has a weird floating feel to it, another reason I deleted a couple points from the score. But that aside, the man deserves props for helping take the music to the next level as well as he does.
Nergal's vocals are downright frightening on this CD! His voice has gotten noticeably deeper and uglier, and his vocals will make poseurs everywhere fill their pants in terror! Screaming and roaring his occult message to the world, his is a most intense and comitted vocal performance. Even better than Steve Tucker's performance on "Gateways To Annihilation", on a par with David Vincent's greatest moments, he is. His playing has gotten even better, the riffs, harmonies, melodies and soloing reek of confidence. Seth gives a good account of himself too in that department with his acoustic playing and not inconsiderable lead prowess, and Orion's bass guitar is ballsy and deep, anchoring it all with effortless ease. The band sounds unified and awe-inspiring, more than they possibly ever have in the past.
Standouts? Try "Sculpting the Throne ov Set", the title track with its military-sounding intro, "Xul" (with emotional guest lead guitar from some guy named Karl Sanders from a little band called Nile you may have heard of), and "Slaves Shall Serve" with its eerie vocal sounds in the beginning that put "Demon of the Fall" to shame and easily *the* most violent and aggressive three minutes and change you'll hear so far this year. "SLAVES! SHALL!! FUCKING SERVE!!!"
Behemoth have well and truly arrived, make no error there. And if they come to your town, go see them and see what I'm talking about, because they also happen to be a stellar live band! This is their best album yet, IMO, and I am so glad they are hitting their stride with such authority and power unrivaled by most bands in the field. Give 'em your hard-earned dosh, they have earned it and then some with this CD.
Okay, let's get one thing straight. Progression sucks. Most bands have this awful habit of starting out good and gradually declining as they begin favouring experimentation over solid songwriting. However, occasionally a band will progress far beyond their humble beginnings and manage to hold the spark which made them great to begin with. Such is the case with Behemoth.
Their early output was midpaced pagan black metal, with typically
raw production and an enormous, overpowering atmosphere. Their early output, particularly the first EP "And The Forests Dream Eternally"
and the album-length demo "From The Pagan Vastlands" are timeless classics which helped define second-wave black metal as a whole, and will forever remain their best efforts. However, since the transitional "Grom" and "Pandemonic Incantations", Behemoth's sound has steadily moved toward a much faster, more brutal form of intense death metal. Demigod is essentially the pinnacle of this evolution, abandoning all black metal aesthetics in favour of swirling, blasting insanity interspersed with melodic genius.
The opening acoustics of "Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth" is a deceptive beginning, before Inferno's trademark blastbeats take over and push the intensity levels straight into the red. The guitars here are a fluid, groove-ridden onslaught of massive proportions, shot through with amazing harmonized lead work and a crushing bass undertow. Over all this, Nergal's demonic vocal exhortations summon a legion of demons to rip your face off. They're louder here than they've ever been, but not so loud that they overpower the music. The mix is perfectly balanced and meticulously controlled. No wonder they took so long to record this, for it's as much a work of studio wizardry as it is of songwriting genius.
Lyrically, the Crowleyan themes continue to hold court. The scepter on the brilliant cover art gives away the game quite effectively, quoting Crowley's well-known epithet - "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law - Love is the law - Love Under Will". Each lyric is accompanied by a quick explanation in the booklet, which is a good thing since the esoteric writing is often quite difficult to comprehend.
I seriously need to mention again the brilliance of the guitar work here. Words are insufficient to describe how much some of those solo's make my musical senses glow with their mastery. This is an album which never grows old - no matter how much you spin it, it continues to impress with it's inherent complexity and innovation. Behemoth have gone from being one of the best
black metal bands ever to possibly the best death metal currently active. No mean feat by any stretch - do yourself a favour and pick up this masterwork of metallic majesty.
I refused to think Behemoth could match "Zos Kia Cultus" but now I have to surrender to the evidence: "Demigod". This album is an improvement in almost every aspect. The songrwriting has reached levels reserved only for the masters of metal, moving over complex structures with surgical precision. Nergal has progressed a lot as a guitarrist, showing his new skills with generosity, especially in some great solos that would make Trey Azagthoth tremble in fear. The other axeman here is Seth who has also a notorious talent. In addition Inferno offers one of the most impressive performances in extreme metal drumming, more insane and faster than ever before. Finally Orion took the bass duties with a solid result. The producion is flawless and sets the standard on how a serious extreme metal band should sound
The music here is just mindblowing. Do you want fast? slow? technical? catchy? Here is plenty of that and much more. It requires many listenings to notice all the things hidden under the wall of war-like Death Metal. There you can find some Black Metal influences (i.e. listen to the second half of "Before Aeons Came") and other stuff that this masterpiece has for being discovered. This is definitely heavier than "Zos Kia Cultus". The guitars are more dynamic and have a broader and deeper sound, attacking with monstrous and intelligent riffs divided in different sections that devastate the ears of the listener. The vocals are composed of many layers of different voices and sound absofuckinglutely brutal, however it may take some time to get used to them.
Preceeded by a dark piece of classical guitar, "Sculpting the Throne ov Seth" shows the new Behemoth as a cohesionated entity ready to strike down any opposition in a less than 5 minute onslaught of breaks and riffs with amazing technique. The next song "Demigod" is the epitome of modern Death Metal, a full of hatred, fast, brutal and dark song. Then comes the first single "Conquer All", a catchy song with a powerful set of deadly riffs. After that comes, "The Nephilim Rising", an apocalyptic anthem that recalls the slower Morbid Angel and contains superb guitar work.
The maximum expression of brutality is "Towards Babylon". This is the answer to all morons that despise technical playing in metal, showing exactly what you could do when you have a lot of musical knowledge and you push it to the extreme. "Before Aeons Came" is a very interesting song with lots of changes like a different vocal style more like high-pitched screams and some fast black metal riffing. "Mysterium Coniuctionis (Hermanubis)" is a fine Death Metal work with 'evil' 7th string low riffs a-la Morbid Angel's later albums and emotive lead guitar tunes in the end. "Xul" again shows the faster side of Behemoth with burning guitars including awesome soloing by Seth, Nergal and Karl Sanders of the mighty Nile. "Slaves Shall Serve" is a speed monster with massive walls of sound in the middle section. Finally "The Reign of Shemsu-Hor" is a surprising 8 and a half minute epic hymn with a strange atmosphere that sound like a tribute to the ancient civilizations of the Eufrates valley. The arrangements are well done and not overused.
This album is essential if you like extreme music in any form. This is an exhibition of musical skill and inspiration and it should take out of the bussiness a lot of so-called "Extreme Metal Bands".
BUY IT OR DIE!!