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A Twisted Force In Sound and Contruction - 87%

orionmetalhead, March 1st, 2007

Behemoth's Pandemonic Incantations is the third full length from this steller polish metal force. What this album tends to invoke really are chaotic blackened hymns. Not the sort one would imagine black sorcerers singing in a twisted wood, but more akin to the conjuring recitations of a demonic entity itself. The production is strong and powerfull though I can't but help to, at times, wish for something slightly rawer. Overall the production is fantastic with every instrument really standing out in the mix but at times, standing apart in the mix - notably some of the horn parts.

The guitar tone is powerfull and raw; trebly but not irritatingly so. Nergal unleashes torrents of riffage upon us with each song. Each song has a twisting demeanor like black food dye dropped in a glass of murky water. The bass is fairly simple compared to the intricate noodlings of Nergal. Mefisto's tone is quite clean but somehow refuses to contradict the album's dirty atmosphere. His simple bass lines could be a bit more involved in some places. Many times he is keen to simply play the basics which doesnt always sound bad but, sometimes doesnt always sound the best. Inferno's drumming is a highlight for me. It is varied beyond belief and he utilizes tons of techniques. Nergal's voice is, well, ridiculous. Like a screaming visage of death emerging from blackened clouds of fire and brimstone, his vocals simply pummel you at every chance. Although the vocals are fantastic, they aren't really breaking the bounds of...well... anything in the metal spectrum like I suspect he can do. The hint of clean vocals at the beginning of The Thousand Plagues I Witness is a slight blip that he has the ability. There are some horns and trumpets strewn about also which sometimes add and sometimes detract.

"Driven By The Five Winged Star", despite what seemed to me a hasty ending, is a favorite of mine as is "The Thousand Plagues I Witness". Both twist and turn, bubble and churn, but are still enjoyable regardless of the complicated compositions. I would have really enjoyed several more straight foward tracks to break things up and just let me enjoy the brutality but that is a minor complaint really. For the most part the album lives up to a standard compositionally that allows the songs to be complex without sounding pretentious and stupid. Behemoth could have used some different methods of switching between parts aside from the absurd amount of drum fills but I think that this is more a mark of a developing band than a mark of bad songwriting. With Inferno's drumming prowess, his fills are always good which also is a big help.

Overall Pandemonic Incantation sounds awesome and really does bludgeon decisively. Songs like the above mentioned and "The Past Is Like A Funeral" show a band capable of writing music that is melodic, destructive and brutal but retaining a credibility within the style created for them. Behemoth show a huge array of techniques and influences on this album which helps give them a unique sound and style. Backing keyboards help give an epic sound but, unlike so many other bands, don't ruin the sound totally. I would say that if your a fan of Behemoth from some of the more recent albums and have not had a chance to listen to this, your missing out on a major part of their repertoire. If you have never listened to Behemoth at all, then this wouldn't be a bad place to start since the albums afterward just get better and better.