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Over the course of their career, Behemoth has constantly been a tour-de-force in the metal community, now, with Evangelion they appear to be slowing down.
With the good times, there must always be bad times, this album for starters, feels rather rehashed and sort of rushed to me. It doesn't appear to hold the same magic as many of their previous releases, however it has a stronger feel than that of Demigod.
The worst aspects of this album are the generally monotonous vocals and generally stale guitar work. The vocals don't hold as much variation as the previous releases, nor the oomph found on their black metal releases, but the good side of Nergal's vocals is that he is able to deliver them in a manner that can still be captivating for the first couple of spins. The guitars also have some high points, such as the bridge work on "Ov Fire And The Void" which sends a feeling of discomforting dread into your veins, whilst the riffing remains run-of-the mill with it's over use of the octave intervals as found on songs like "Conquer All", this only pertaining to the first few songs. Another point of interest for the guitars would be the solos that are heard on Evangelion. If any point of the guitar work was to stand out amongst the heard on this, it would be its much heavier and aggressive than the last two albums.
The highlights of this release are the drums and the more "brutal death metal" oriented approach to the middle portion of the album. The drums sweep in and assail your ears with avengence! They show an improvement on the already excellent musicianship. The only negative point of the drums on Evangelion would be some of the fills, good examples of these said fills are on the first three songs. After the first three songs are finished, you'll notice how the band has taken a much more brutal death metal approach, this being evident once you notice how the music blends together.
If you aren't a fan of most of Behemoth's work, but are willing to give this a try, I suggest the songs "Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti," "The Seed Ov I", and "He Who Breeds Pestilence"; the last of that set having an intro that gives a little bit of the feeling their first three releases did, in particular Sventevith Storming Near the Baltic.
Though I've been listening to Poland's superstars for many years (yeah, since the black metal years), I've never been a card carrying member of the international fan club that seems to revere them as the greatest thing since Cradle of Filth. Do not get me wrong! Behemoth is a GOOD band. In fact, I can't recall an album of theirs that I didn't enjoy to some extent. They write solid, angry material and Nergal's neo-occult lyrical themes are always fascinating to me. The key to this band is visibility. Constant touring, videos, and the like have thrust them well beyond their prior obscurity into the eyes of the Hot Topic Metal Generation.
Evangelion is the band's 9th full length album, and it starts with a bang, as a chaotic burst of symphonic madness and Nergal's gruff incantations transforms into the thundering "Daimonos". Choppy, punishing, and fast death metal, somewhere between Morbid Angel and Vader, and par for the course. Behemoth has been erupting in this style for the past decade, since Satanica. Some still consider their style blackish metal, but aside from an occasional snarl and the corpse paint the band wears, it's really not. This album rarely lets up, aside from its mystical interludes (like the great intro to "Shemhamforash"), but if you want just over 40 minutes of headbanging frenzy, this is pretty much guaranteed to send you to the emergency room. There are a few excellent, crushing tracks on this like "Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti", "He Who Breeds Pestilence" and the very Morbid Angel-like "The Seed Ov I" which make this album just as compelling as anything else they've released in many years.
Evangelion is effectively turbulent and sinister. The blasting is omnipresent, and Nergal's vocals are barbaric and disgusting. This band has certainly not compromised any of their aggression throughout the years of success they have attained. This is a death metal album worth hearing with a few tracks that I will return to, and has little less of the 'saminess' vibe that has plagued a few of their prior works. Behemoth fans will be jubilant, and death metal fans at large can find a lot to like here.
And so, with the new Nile review is my review of Behemoth circa 2009, representing the newest LPs of two of the most highly respected and genre-pushing bands of today. Like Nile, I view Behemoth as coming off the back of one of their weakest albums in some time, 2007's "The Apostasy", a disappointment extra so considering my affection to the Poles which extends back to the release of 2002's brilliant "Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond)" and a whole slew of devastating live performances in the meantime.
The similarities to Nile don't just end at a correlating release schedule and the band's positions within the genre. A million miles from the band's black metal beginnings, Behemoth are today the epitome of hyper-technical death metal, hyper-serious about the message they aim to spread, weaving anti-religious tales and mythology in a tapestry that melds Nergal's sore-throat vocals, the band's breakneck complex rhythms and some serious skin-bashing courtesy of longtime drummer Inferno. Notice any connection to Nile?
Where these two giants do differ most greatly is found in the black metal upbringing of Nergal, and Behemoth, and it’s influence on the band's current output. "He Who Breeds Pestilence", "Lucifer" and "Alas, The Lord Is Upon Me" are the most blatant examples at any point in recent years of BM's atmosphere seeping into the death/black metal blast that has more recently taken over the collective soul of Behemoth. With this we get the delicious concoction of death metal's brutality and technicality and the evil nihilistic spirit of prime-time Mayhemic BM, and ultimately the reason for Behemoth's rapid ascent since the turn of the century from when they have seen off highly noteworthy attempts (Belphegor, Anaal Nathrakh just to mention two) as the best demonstration in combining the ugly, chaotic worlds of black and death metal.
Explaining why I haven't found the same satisfaction in "The Apostasy" and "Demigod" in relation to "Zos Kia Cultus" and it's predecessor "Thelema.6" is difficult, and anyway, probably not a view I expect many of you out there share with me. Father time will be the answer as to whether "Evangelion" manages to reverse that downward trend I am confident that it will. Where the most recent releases have had their moments ("Slaves Shall Serve", "Prometherion") they have become obscured in a wash of over-intensity and too much blasting. Here Behemoth have learned from those mistakes and created an album that knows how to blast the skin off your face, but one which also shows a pleasingly willingness to show the band's strength at slower tempos.
And in respect to the new Nile? Well, that's too close to call - you'll have to buy both and decide for yourself.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net
I have been a very close follower of Behemoth since the release of "Demigod" in 2005, and have since simultaneously covered their already illustrious back catalog as well as the new material that surfaces from them every 2 years or so. If one were to judge things by my LastFM account, Behemoth is my favorite band, topping all others by number of overall plays. And while I always desire to avoid the dreaded title of "fanboy", I must admit that I have, and most likely always shall have, a special place in my metal heart for Poland's finest. So where does Evangelion belong in the historic discography of Behemoth? Well this fan says it belongs at the top of it.
Why do I say this? Very simple. Because its their newest. While most bands release their magnum opus at the middle point in their career, spending years afterward trying to reanimate its success to no avail, Behemoth does the opposite: they continue to improve. Behemoth gets better with every album. There is almost no doubt that "Demigod" was their breakthrough album, The Apostasy was absolutely not Demigod Pt. Two. Their sound had evolved, while still containing the "Chemical X" of sorts that made it so obviously Behemoth. I recommend the skeptical start with Satanica, and listen from there on to every song they have released up until "Lucifer", at the end of Evangelion. Keep in mind that Satanica was not their first full-length, or their second, or their third, but their FOURTH. Long after most bands either call it quits or are at least done making good albums. The fact that Evangelion is Behemoth's ninth studio album, and very easily their best, is a testament to their undeniable skill at creating solid, blistering metal.
Evangelion begins with an utterly cacophonous intro, dissonant strings mix with the grating sound of helpless tortured screams, and then Nergal's voice forces itself high above the chaos, creating the same unnerving atmosphere that one felt in "Hekau 718". Before one is completely taken over by the unrest, the the band enters with relentless fury, thus kicking off the album opener, "Daimonos". This song does nothing to lessen the flame that is apparent in all Behemoth openers, in fact, it sets the whole album off with an unrelenting energy.
"Shemhamforash" begins where "Daimonos" ends, with the same chord, which gives the song a continual feel to it, as it follows its predecessor with almost no pause for breath. Noodlings courtesy of sitar set the tone as a middle-eastern one, and the stage is set for the fastest track on the album. This track is my personal favorite, as it is to me the album's most memorable track. Inferno drives the song as only he can, and the solo is absolutely amazing, second in my mind only to the "Conquer All" solo.
The third song, "Ov Fire And The Void", while very precise in its execution and a very classic Behemoth sounding tune, is the odd-man-out on Evangelion. While I do enjoy it very much, it screams "single" almost immediately. That being said, it also brings many of the black metal influences prevalent on Demigod back to the table, influences that were almost nonexistent on The Apostasy. And if anything saves this track, its the absolutely stellar music video that was made for it. My respects to the dudes at Grupa13 (who also made videos for Behemoth's "At The Left Hand Ov God" off The Apostasy and Amon Amarth's "Guardians Of Aasagard" off Twilight Of The Thunder God), they can make one hell of a music video.
Perhaps its the contrast of the album's most predictable tune to its least that makes "Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti" so unexpected, in a good way. With this track, Behemoth experiments with an odd meter, and the results are damaging (in the wonderful way that only metal can be). The main riff is beyond doubt the most death metal riff of the whole album, and the ending chant is undeniably catchy: "JERUSALEM IS FALLING!"
"He Who Breeds Pestilence" is another example of Behemoth experimenting. The faint sound of carrion birds flying overhead is overtaken by a mournful dissonant chord, almost doomy in a sense, picked string for string. After a blisteringly black metal moment, the song revolves back to the dissonant chord, this time with Orion getting a chance to shine over Inferno's fills. A return to speed is accompanied by screeching guitar slides and a horn section, with a haunting choir mimicking Nergal's vocals. The song succumbs to a very blackened lead, taken to the end by a monstrously militant snare roll from Inferno.
The album's most epic riff launches "The Seed Ov I". Black metal influences are again very prevalent in this track, and a pseudo-breakdown leads into another slower melancholic chord progression, featuring the only acoustic guitar on the album (a surprise for a usually heavily acoustic-laden band). The slower moment only lasts so long, as the band puts into high gear again for another rather memorable solo before going into the main riff once more to conclude the song.
The raw, primal black metal sound that is signature of this album returns in full force on "Alas! The Lord Is Upon Me!" The song retains an interestingly evil atmosphere to it (even for Behemoth). This song is undeniably a vocal song, as the beloved layering returns for the chorus as Nergal yells "Lord ov hosts! Whore ov salvation! Tear the skies as you spread your legs! Vomit forth upon my head all afflictions and abominations known to man!" The song runs its course in rather short order, but not without leaving an impression that lasts.
The shortest song on the album, "Defiling Morality Ov Black God" has the same urgent feel that was felt with "Pazuzu (The Desert Storms Cannot Be Tamed)". It almost has a grind feel to it, although admittedly not near as much as the previously mentioned track. A lone guitar solo gives way to the song's only real "reflective" moment before returning to the main riff that closes the song.
Behemoth returns to "epic-length last song" form with the album closer "Lucifer". The song structure is deceptively simple, but mindlessly epic, as tribal drum fills and horn sections abound. Lyrically borrowing from a poem by Tadeusz Micinski of the same name, the intro leads into an almost ambient moment, complete with choir mournings and windy soundscapes, before Nergal recites a part of the poem (entirely in Polish for those hoping for vocal clarity), and the main riff kicks in, accompanied by a tapping lead, for the rest of the first "verse". A more "reflective" riff follows, marking the slowest point of the album. This process repeats itself, with an eerie (but epic!) spoken word part. The atmosphere of this particular song is very busy but never hectic, and is very easy to be drawn into. The song resumes itself for the next several minutes, repeating the reflective riff as it slowly evolves, while Inferno shifts the emphasis of the beat to keep things interesting. This song ends in the same way as the album begins, with a dissonant string ensemble that builds quickly but disperses in an even faster fashion to conclude the album.
In conclusion, Behemoth has made a stellar album that leaves a craving that can only be satisfied by continued listens. It brings back the heavy atmospheric background (i.e. horns, choirs, etc.) and blackened sound of Demigod while continuing upon the blistering speed that drove The Apostasy. Recommended to anyone who likes metal, really, because Behemoth makes some of the best metal in the business nowadays.
Behemoth have become something of an institution onto themselves, essentially developing the loose relationship that black and death metal have with each other in a very unique way. One could qualify their sound as being the peculiar marriage of Vader and Immortal, bringing the rapid fire brutality and monstrous vocalizations of the former in alignment with the unique melodic character of the latter. Of late this hybrid has been brought into a somewhat more pristine light production wise, to the point of resembling the polish of Metallica’s “Black Album”, which is probably the chief source of the band’s newfound popularity, despite being leagues above the most advanced deathcore or metalcore band in both technical prowess and songwriting.
Many approach their recent works, particularly “Demigod” up to the present as modern in character, which is a good bit misleading. I admit to being guilty of attributing this label to their recent works as well, of which I’ve been fairly lukewarm when compared to their 90s material in both their old and new style, but what does that really tell anyone about their music. When most think modern they tend to picture repetitive groove riffs, dumb down song structures, few guitar solos and a smattering of Industrial influences, none of which are to be found in this band’s sound. In fact, apart from the super clean and loud production and Nergal’s Piotr Wiwczarek inspired guttural barks, there’s almost nothing modern about “Evangelion” apart from it coming out this year.
While “Demigod” came off as just a bit too polished for its own good and “The Apostasy” was a little bit light in the songwriting department, “Evangelion” proves to be the strongest of their last 3 offerings. Part of this can be attributed to a somewhat more tasteful use of atmospheric affects and a more memorable set of ideas being put together just right. “Defiling Morality Ov Black God” and “Ov Fire And The Void”, in particular, just stand out with really well crafted Middle Eastern themes and blackened melodic riffs. This is the sort of stuff that Dimmu Borgir could be accomplishing right now if they weren’t so stuck in such a tight songwriting box, or later Emperor and Ihsahn’s material if it weren’t to the opposite extreme of wandering aimlessly in search of a coherent song.
Everything on here is consistently entertaining, avoiding a redundant Deicide approach of dwelling on a particular feel or beat for too long, and avoiding the overuse of blast beats common to this style. Inferno’s drum work proves to be adept, as well as aggressive, switching from blinding double bass blurs to restrained straight beats like a well tuned machine. When combined with the dense textures of dark thudding riffs and woeful tremolo leads, and the occasional flash of guitar solo intrigue, what emerges commands attention like a legion of war paint totting savages would. Particularly noteworthy is the closer “Lucifer”, which outclasses “Demigod” closing epic “The Reign Ov Shemsu-Hor” and actually comes close to matching some of Immortal’s post “Pure Holocaust” epics.
There are enough Theosophy junkies and head banging lunatics out there to keep bands like this going forever, but in the end all that really matters is the game of notes behind the ideology, and here Behemoth really delivers a formidable contribution to the sound. What they’re doing is very unique and new, yet will also likely outlive the recent deluge of brutal bands who thinking blast beating the listener into oblivion alone makes for a great album. They are one of the few bands out there that deserve the popularity they’ve received, and have achieved by doing the exact opposite of what many metal bands tend to do, which is water down a good idea. This vintage is as pure and strong as pure liquor, but will shock your ears rather than your liver.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 26, 2009.
“All hail slain and risen god!
All hail Dionysus!”
They have returned, the most blasphemous force out of Poland since the heliocentric model. “Evangelion” translates to “good news,” in this case for the Behemoth fanboys; but recent critics should pay attention to this remarkable improvement over 2007’s “The Apostasy.” Fans of “Zos Kia Cultus” should delight in this return to form, while those who acclaim “Demigod” shall witness a stunning progression. However, that’s not to say either work has been surpassed. Still, it’s awkward to give such praise to a Metal act so commercially exalted as to appear at Ozzfest and like events so abhorrent to the Underground.
Expectedly, this is the modern Death Metal Behemoth has come to epitomize: professional production, chaotic riffing and solos, and gratuitous amounts of blast-beats. Add in the band’s trademark use of Asiatic melodies, ancient mythology, and overuse of the preposition “Ov.”
Opening hymn “Daimonos” blasts off with all guns blazing, as does “Shemhamforash,” with such passionate violence not achieved since “Slaves Shall Serve.” Arguably the strongest tracks on the album, they envelope the listener in a maelstrom of blast-beats and blood-pumping riffs. Behemoth sacrificed technicality so as to honor the wall-of-sound principle, often borrowing Black Metal elements to achieve depth and flow. Jumping ship to a new producer also helped.
A little known fact is that Behemoth started out as pure Black Metal in the mid 90’s, and such reminisces permeate the album: an arpeggio here, a tremolo there, and even some Mayhem-style melodies. You’ll hear this especially in the closing track, where the band steps out of character for a simplistic, yet utterly sinister postlude.
Of course, this is Death Metal at its heart. “Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti” could have come straight off of “Demigod,” sustaining a high level of brutality throughout the album. Matching this is Nergal’s vitriolic vocals, sounding pissed-off as ever. It’s a shame his Black Metal scream is completely gone. Inferno mixes up the cymbal work and fills on top of his nearly constant blasting, but his other drum patterns are too few and uninteresting. Orion’s bass, while adding firepower, does nothing remarkable (though I still recommend his band Vesania).
This being the band’s ninth studio album, it’s no surprise their dearth of fresh ideas. Few things, not even the guitar solos, are exceptional. Rather the album works on a consistent theme, rather than a mediocre sequence punctuated by sensational singles. However, the band has already premiered a music video for “Ov Fire and Void,” parts of which remind me of the one Rammstein did for “Mein Teil.” The downside of such homogeneity is that the formula gets tedious after a while. Three or four songs into it, you’ve gotten all it has to offer, and the rest is recycled material until the recessional hymn in this unholy mass of ordinary time.
This year has seen a dramatic resurgence of old school Death Metal, with stellar releases by Asphyx, Excoriate and Slugathor (personal chart-toppers). But as always, Behemoth continue to carry the new school’s standard into battle against religion, society and your eardrums.
Behemoth's ninth studio effort titled 'Evangelion' was the most anticipated release of the year for me but to be honest it let me down on some fronts. The album is epic sounding but not an outstanding by any measure. The rating that I have given here is a little more than what it should get solely based on the fact that I am a big fan of Behemoth.
Technically the album is at the same level as the previous two efforts 'Demigod’,’ The Apostasy' and it could be safely said that they have come down on the technicality of drums and the guitar solos as well. As pointed out very well in the earlier review that Nergal seems to be running out of ideas for creating songs. The first thing that you will notice instantly in the songs is the variation which is missing like earlier albums. The songs continue keep going on a main riff unlike other albums. I have always loved solos on a behemoth album because they stand out from the song as an individual entity but it does not feel so in this album as the solos are not that effective.
But now moving on to the positives of the album which help you grasp this album. Firstly the production on the album is crystal clear and what exactly you would want on a metal album making it possible to hear every single riff and cymbal, crash and toms being hit by Inferno. The vocals are more human like and raspy as compared to Demigod but not as aggressive or passionate as Zos Kia Cultus or Thelema.6.But a definitive change from all the other albums that songs also include long shrieks which were absent in almost all behemoth albums. The motive of Nergal and Co. seemed to make an album sound more epic than 'in your face’ because there are lesser blast beats, more groove based song structures, more riff-age and songs that could be played in big arenas.
The album starts with a very dynamic intro in the opening track 'Daimonos' which sets the stage for the epic feeling that goes on from the 1st second of the album to the last one. It is a fast song with an intense build up and brutal choruses which finally progress into a long solo which just gives it a perfect behemoth song and one of the best openers that Behemoth has had. Another stand out track is 'Ov fire and Void' which is by far one of the slowest songs by Behemoth but is an epic song and has a brooding feel which really hits you hard and makes you bang your head with a lot of intensity. The grooviest song to come out from the Behemoth camp is also in this album by the name of 'The Seed Ov I' which has one of the best breakdowns I have come across in a Behemoth album. Other stand out track would be 'Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti' and 'Shemhamfarosh' which are typical blast beat affairs with the Behemoth rage that makes them more enjoyable.
Another high point of the album is as usual Inferno's drumming, he has shifted from blasting like a typical death metal drummer to one who includes intricate patterns between songs and add flavor to these brutal creations. There are much more drum rolls and better fills as compared to any drummer out there. If this is your first Behemoth album then I would suggest you to start with Demigod or Thelema.6 as they are one of their best pieces but this album is good nonetheless.
Behemoth is a band I know little about. In fact, before this, I hadn’t heard more than a few songs, which were good, but not good enough to hook me into any albums before now. Call it one of those situations where there’s just too much music out there to hear everything. Keep that in mind as I bite deep into the throes of their newest release entitled Evangelion.
So, really, why are these guys popular? Because they fucking kick ass, that’s why! There’s nothing here but a solid forty minutes of riff-tastic, blasting, blasphemous Death Metal fun, executed with enough polish to stay relevant in the metal mainstream but not enough to weaken the excellent crunch on display. The songs are all of manageable lengths, Nergal’s vocals are energetically visceral and punishing, the guitars are heavy and malicious and the drums blast away like cannonballs at a fortress. Pretty much every track has some killer parts to it, with some great grooves and blasting and unholy riff assaults on the ears, and it’s so furious and intense that you might actually need to pause it for a second and take a breather!
Behemoth as a band have clearly got a good sense of songwriting here; epic, angry and tight as hell. They vary up their sound a fair bit, as on the especially groovy and commercial “Ov Fire and the Void,” which still manages to kick ass, and on songs like “The Seed ov I” and several others that have slow, doomy stomps to trade off with the blasting frenzy of the rest of it. The riffs are relatively simple and basic, but they’re done with enough aggression and power to remain thoroughly fun for most of this album’s duration. A couple songs like “Defiling Morality Ov Black God” aren’t as distinguished, but it’s not a big deal, as everything still generally sounds good.
At the end of the day, what the hell can you say about these pure-evil Polish bastards? They may not spell the word “of” like we do, but they do make some solid fucking music. Evangelion, packed as it is with songs as good as “Daimono,” “Shemhamforash” and the crawling, dirgey 8 minute monster “Lucifer,” is a good album that any Death Metal fan should be able to enjoy in 2009. Worthy.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com
While many bands or albums that have been coined with the term “epic”, I have found that most of them are undeserving of the title. In the case of Behemoth and their latest release, “Evangelion” it’s safe to say that the term “epic” is easily appropriate in describing both the album that has been released, as well as the band that has released it. So now that we’ve determined that Behemoth’s “Evangelion” is epic, we need to determine just how epic it really is.
So lets say “Demigod” and “The Apostasy” had some horrific and all-powerful offspring together. That offspring would be “Evangelion”. All of the intensity and power of both previous albums, but with a more blackened feel reminiscent of older Behemoth releases like “Zos Kia Cultus” and “Thelema 6”. Add a level of technicality that Behemoth has never before displayed along with the surprise of not sounding anything like their disappointing “Ezkaton EP” (which is a very good thing) and you have something that’s achieved a level of greatness that none of the other Behemoth albums have ever come close to reaching.
Nergal’s vocals are top notch throughout all of “Evangelion” from the all out yells to his mighty growls and never seem strained or too forced. As always, the lyrics are both creative and inspiring, which only add to improve the feel of the songs. As I mentioned before, the level of technicality that Behemoth has reached on this album is much higher than anything else that they’ve released. Songs like “Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti” prove this right off the bat from the opening riff, which is both heavy, and complex. Not only are the riffs created by Nergal and Seth more technical, but they’re also incredibly memorable. Just try listening to “Ov Fire and the Void” for the first time and not repeat it again for the sake of hearing the main riff over and over again.
As for the rhythm section of Orion and Inferno, both have made improvements in their playing. Orion is now clearly audible throughout most of the album, and often times makes creative runs of his own throughout a song to add more feel while still providing a thick low end. Inferno, who was already a modern day drum messiah to begin with, has somehow increased his playing abilities to the point of attaining a god-like status as a drummer. His playing his both blindingly fast, as well as immensely precise in each song.
Overall, this is Behemoth at its best. Relentless, heavy, and truly epic. Stand out tracks: “Diamonos”, “Ov Fire and the Void”, Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti”, and “Lucifer.”
Although I have rarely felt that an album has deserved a full 100%, I strongly feel that this will not only be a prime contender for metal album of the year with enough push behind it to win over all other albums, but I also feel that this has the potential to be considered a classic, and standard setter by many people from here on out. For these reasons, I’m awarding this album with a perfect score.
Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
I’ve kind of dreaded writing this review ever since I gave Evangelion a few spins. Seeing as Behemoth has reached Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Suffocation and Grave levels of consistency and quality, they have arguably surpassed Vader as Poland’s premier metal export and almost certainly should be considered death metal royalty at this point in their career. So giving Evangelion a lukewarm review was somewhat disconcerting for me.
Personally, Behemoth peaked with Zos Kia Cultus and while I enjoyed Demigod and The Apostasy, the band’s gradually increased nods towards Nile, over processed production and essentially interchangeable songs made the albums rather forgetful over the long haul, while I still play Zos Kia Cultus regularly. And to be honest, I thought Nergal might be running out of ideas with some lackluster covers and the 34th reworking of “Chant for Eschaton” appeared on the Ezkaton EP.
On the positive side, we have a new label, along with it a new producer (Colin Richardson) and as you’d expect, the result is a slightly different sound from the previous, huge, loose sounding efforts. Evangelion is much tighter, compressed and natural as opposed to the massive, layering and echoing tones of The Apostasy and Demigod. Nergal’s vocals are a little more natural and fluid instead of horridly over produced and processed, resulting in an album that sounds much less overbearing and synthetic. Also, there seems to be a slightly lessened role of theatrics and dramatic elements as Nergal and co seems to have battened down the hatches and focused on actual riffs and furious death metal delivery as opposed to some of the extraneous choirs and synths that graced The Apostasy- the change is minimal, as there are a few injections of synths and Middle Eastern tangents, but its noticeable.
And thus lies part of Evangelion’s disappointment for me. After the first couple of typically Behemoth-y tracks, (”Daimonos”, “Shemhamforash”) where the excitement of a new Behemoth album overrides expectation and the enjoyment is highest, the album tends to blend into a rather relentless, dare I say Hate Eternal blast fest that blows by with an admittedly furious presence, but leaves little other impression. A couple of the albums tracks like personal favorite “He Who Breeds Pestilence” (with more than a nod to Nile with a ‘Mars, Bringer of War’ synth line), “Alas Lord is Upon Me” and the slow closer “Lucifer” reign things in but other wise the entire mid section of the album left me rather flat; In particular, “Shemhamforash” (after the excitement from the first couple of listens wears off), “Ov Fire and The Void” (arguably the album’s most rehashed track), “Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti”, “The Seed Ov I”, and “Defiling Morality Ov Black God” just seemed ‘there’ to fill space with intense, relentless blasting flocked with some Esoteric Arabic tinkling here and there.
I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but the truth is, even with the opening tracks, nothing on Evangelion jumped out and truly commanded my attention like say “As Above, So Below”, “Pazuzu”, “Libertheme” or “Conquer All” did from prior albums, and to be quite frank, by the time the crawling 8-minute closer, “Lucifer” is halfway done, i’m prety sure i’ve heard most of the riffs on prior albums and I’m actually kind ov bored, which I never thought Id say about a Behemoth album.
That all being said, Evangelion is still a quality Behemoth album and you don’t expect anything ground breaking, but I didn’t expect it so sound so recycled, despite the strong performance of drummer Inferno and all the elements that made Behemoth so enjoyable and consistent before. Still, I imagine Evangelion will sneak onto a few shallow fan boy year end lists. But personally, I actually kind of miss the over the top, theatrical Nile worship of the last two albums.