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The latest EP offering from Poland's corpse-painted death metal superstars is an interesting mix of material. You've got a few live tracks spanning their career. "From the Pagan Vastlands", "Decade Ov Therion" and "Chant for Ezkaton 2000 e.v.".
There is the studio version of "Chant for Ezkaton 2000 e.v." which is rather dull, and the far superior "Qadosh".
But most important here is the excellent choice of covers. They do a pretty hardcore cover of "I'm Not Jesus" by the Ramones! This is a classy cover here, from one of the punk gods' best and most underrated albums. And Behemoth make it their own with aplomb. Brutal! The other cover is "Jama Pekel" from the great Czech black Master's Hammer, one of my favorite bands from that country... and it sounds quite awesome in the hands of the Polish pretty boy brutes Nergal and company.
The covers alone make this EP worthwhile, and if you're a diehard for the past few albums you are also really going to enjoy "Qadosh". I could do without the live tracks and the "Chant for Ezkaton" wasn't so interesting, so in all I'm going to grade this in the middle.
Behemoth fans and their wallets are certainly being kept occupied in the downtime between "The Apostasy" and the next album to be released by the outspoken Poles, as with the recent release of "At The Arena Ov Aion - Live Apostasy" we are now greeted by "Ezkaton". A mish-mash of an EP, "Ezkaton" contains 1 new song, 2 covers, two live modern Behemoth songs and most strangely an old (but ultimately brilliant) one in "Chant For Ezkaton 2000 e.v." in both re-recorded and live versions. One must ask the question why an EP is being released to glorify a song released 5 LPs and nigh on 10 years ago when Behemoth have had countless great songs since, not least on "The Apostasy", a question to which I speculate only the record label know the answer.
Though hardly being a purchase for anyone but the Behemoth-obsessive, "Ezkaton" contains some oddities that may be worth a listen to the casual listener. "Jama Pekel", a Master's Hammer cover, is the best song on the EP, sounding like a visceral Napalm Death with the brutality pushed to the limit. The best compliment a cover can be awarded is if it motivates one to check out the original band; this one does. The Ramones cover of "I'm Not Jesus", while not bad per se suffers primarily through being exactly what it is - a sped-up extreme metal cover of a punk song adversely affected by the extra technicality and tightness of a Behemoth once-over; some things are just better in their simple form. Re-recorded from the original "Satanica" version, "Chant For Ezkaton 2000 E.V." is cleaned up and Inferno's drumming brought to the fore to initiate one of the best intro riffs to any extreme metal song; it's great live and on record but best in it's original "Satanica" guise I maintain.
Behemoth have earnt the right for a slightly pointless EP such as this off the back of a career of consistently advancing, and brilliant, albums which has seen rise to a titanic status in their field. A worthy purchase for a completist but really it's Behemoth album no. 9 everyone really wants.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net
I don't usually care much for EPs and usually buy them only if I'm really into the band in question releasing them. In this case this is very much so and I am not disappointed in it at all. Behemoth, as usual, bring the goods in their own inimitable style on this EP, and it makes a good stop gap effort until the release of "Evangelion" this summer. OK, I know, this came out last year, but still.
We start off with a re-recorded version of my absolute favorite Behemoth tune, the majestic "Chant for Eschaton 2000 EV", and it benefits from better production, a better vocal performance, and improved musicianship. Inferno is up to his usual godly standard on this and thoughout the EP as well, with his far more aggressive performance elevating this even higher in my esteem. Played on seven-string guitars it sounds even more evil to my ears. Followed by the one really new track on here, "Quadosh", this really shows Inferno at his best on here, whizzing through numerous tempo changes effortlessly ranging from slow and deliberate to his usual light speed blasting, and the intro even reminds me of Slayer's "South of Heaven", a very good thing to me. You can even hear Orion's bass near the end as it rears its head in the slow riffing. While it does seem a bit thrown together in spots, it still slays all in its path with eager bloodlust.
The cover tunes are actually rather cool, in my opinion. They chose atypical bands to cover--the little known Czech export, Master's Hammer, and the Ramones. Yeah, I know, the Ramones, but since when have you ever heard a death metal band cover them? Behemoth tears a new one in "I'm Not Jesus" and it sounds totally unlike the original to say the least. I've never had the pleasure of hearing the original version of "Jama Pekel", but I imagine they do it justice, and coaxing Root vocalist Big Boss into delivering the song (it is in his native language, after all) in an evil black metal rasp instead of his usual operatic style really works. His evil laughter adds an extra level of intensity, and this is powerful stuff. Gotta find the original now...
The live tracks are delivered well, but still cannot match the flat out blitzkrieg that is the Behemoth death machine in the live context. Having seen the boys live many a time now, I could imagine their trademark furious windmilling and Nergal's intense expressions as he delivered his vocals, but still...it's not the same. I'd really rather go see them live again, which will hopefully happen sooner than later.
Overall, this is worth getting for the studio tracks above all. I really don't go for live albums/tracks, hence the little time devoted to them in this review, and hence the less than 100% rating. Otherwise, it is still a worthy purchase, so give it a shot. Behemoth deserve your and my hard-earned cash for putting as much work into their craft as they do, so let's keep 'em rolling, shall we?
There’s a lot of people who simply don’t like EPs, mainly due to the fact that they don’t feel like they’re getting a lot for their money. With seven songs at 27 minutes, there’s certainly a lot of bang for ones buck, especially for those people who simply can’t wait for a new Behemoth release.
For those of you who aren’t that familiar with Behemoth, they’re a Polish export specializing in an evolution from raw black metal into the black/death band they are today. The evolutionary steps can be tough on certain bands, as when a band is known for making a different album every time, they’re expected to continue evolving, which I think Behemoth stopped doing on their latest album, “The Apostasy”. The first four songs, “Chant for Ezkaton 2000 EV” (a re-recording of an older Behemoth song), “Qadosh” (a brand new song), “Jama Pekel” (a cover originally by Master’s Hammer) and “I’m not Jesus” (a cover by The Ramones) all seem like they’re newly recorded for the EP, with the final three songs on this EP being live.
Perhaps they were going for an older black metal sound, but the guitars are on the treble side, and difficult to hear under the insanely fast drums, although for some strange reasons, the toms sound as though they’re leather. At this point Behemoth is doing things in their typical style, with Infernos style of drumming (change-ups in blasting) and Nergal doing the signature harmonized high and low screams. The game it feels old hat though, and the cover songs aren’t adding anything, nor are they recorded great. The actual stand outs are the live songs, which can easily be heard, and allow the power to come off in a live environment (although capturing the audience reaction was difficult, as it’s usually said to be).
From a quantity standpoint, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, but on the other hand, you’re only getting one new song and two covers, and the rest may have already heard.
Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com
Behemoth’s Apostasy, while still enjoyable, was a step down for the band. However, Ezkaton demonstrates that the band can still put out some quality material, even if it is in the form of an EP obviously cobbled together from assorted unreleased and re-recorded tracks. The version of “Chant for Ezkaton” on this EP, for example, has quickly become one of my favorite Behemoth songs; simple it may be, but it is nevertheless catchy and well-executed. Originally recorded for Satanica, the song sounds better on this EP with cleaner production and a better vocal performance from Nergal. While that song is clearly the best track on the EP, the rest of the tracks are good enough that this EP is about as worthwhile as an EP can get.
The first two songs are studio recordings of Behemoth tracks, the second of which, "Qadosh," is exclusive to this EP. The production is every bit as good as Apostasy and they feature the same simple, catchy riffs, aggressive drumming, and unique vocals that metalheads have come to expect from Behemoth’s death metal. Both “Chant” and “Qadosh” are certainly good enough to be on a Behemoth album, even if “Qadosh” feels a bit too long. In fact, I wish that “Chant” had been included as a bonus track on Apostasy as it would probably have made the album a bit more varied. In short, the EP kicks off with two catchy, well-produced songs.
Next, Behemoth has included a couple of covers. The production is a bit less polished than on the originals, but they’re still well-mixed. While their Master’s Hammer cover probably doesn’t do the original justice, it’s still pretty good. However, it’s not very essential. The way Behemoth plays it, the track just sounds like some generic, albeit catchy, old-school death metal. Their cover of “I’m Not Jesus” by the Ramones is a real treat, though. It’s thoroughly amusing to hear the classic punk refrain chanted by Nergal in his trademarked hoarse yells. Behemoth does a good job of making both songs their own, but the covers are most memorable for the hilarity of hearing “I’m Not Jesus” played in the style of death metal.
Finally, the EP is finished off with some of Behemoth’s classics played live with surprisingly good production. You can tell it’s live, but only just. Including a live version of “Chant” seems redundant, but hearing recordings of “Beyond the Pagan Vastlands” and “Decade Ov Therion” played live is cool, even if the crowd sounds a little less enthusiastic than they should. Both tracks feature some of Behemoth’s most memorable riffs.
Overall, the EP isn’t really for those who aren’t familiar with Behemoth, but Behemoth fans will enjoy having it. The selection of tracks is certainly above-average for an EP, even if it’s not essential. (It's certainly not substantive enough to merit buying the 4-disc deluxe box-set.) You’ll enjoy having it if you get it, but you won’t necessarily miss it if you don’t have it.