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Due to the smashing success of Demigod, The Apostasy was the first Behemoth album that enjoyed a gestation period complete with wall-to-wall expectation of the highest magnitude. There was a lot of pressure on this album's shoulders to deliver, and to the band's credit they didn't take the easy route and release Demigod Part II. This record feels more like its own characteristic entity and in many ways superior to the material that came directly before it. As far as I've always seen it, the biggest positive on this album is the return of some of the feral, rabid and manic bloodletting savagery that made Thelema.6 so memorable. Demigod felt so overdone and bloated at times that the lasting power of the material suffered, and the less said about the vocals on that album the better.
Describing The Apostasy's sound requires focusing on the production first and foremost, which is an extremely sterile and "barren" sound without incessant overdubbing and the benefit of extensive synth use. Inferno truly comes into his own on this album, and the production feels more percussion-driven than before. This results in dry blastbeats that really slide into an effective comfort zone on tracks like the virulent "Prometherion." Other more tempered odes to iniquity include "At the Left Hand ov God" and the airtight chug-centric "Be Without Fear." Nergal's preoccupation with Middle Eastern themes and stylistic window dressing continues, but the incessant reliance on the same few melodic hooks isn't as debilitating as it was on Demigod, where many songs contained licks that were virtually identical and utilized in the same manner. Seth's irrelevance continues here, making me wish that Orion switched to guitars so he could provide a capable second mind for Nergal to bounce ideas off of. He simply feels so wasted in Behemoth, since I was familiar with Vesania first.
The Apostasy borders on the technical and complex, primarily concerning Inferno's masterfully-crafted drum tracks. Highlights of this include virtually all of "Kriegphilosophie" and the opening of "Arcane Hereticae," which is exhausting to even air-drum to, let alone play for real. Dissonant tremolos stir a murky brew of flesh-searing hooks and snappy, serpentine rhythms. I return to "Kriegphilosophie" as one of the best examples of the band locking into a killer cadence, with the drums and riffs playing off of each other near-perfectly. The Apostasy's biggest flaw is perhaps the fact that the second half of the record fails to muster even a fraction of the impact the first few songs do. The stolid, morose build of "Pazuzu" is good stuff, but many of the remaining songs evade long-term memory, which is a flaw Demigod avoided since its best track was the closer.
Regardless of how you look at it, The Apostasy is modern Behemoth slaying like they slay best, and it feels more focused and crafted with some measure of restraint, which does the band favors. Nergal's voluminous, sustained growls are parched, full and sepulchral as all get out, sitting atop a throne of blood, bone and pretense. I wouldn't say that this quite edges out Thelema.6 in raw power, but it easily outstrips the misguided Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) and made a memorable impact that seems to have been forgotten over all of the hype regarding the band's recent work. When I am in the mood for easy-to-digest Behemoth, I usually grab this one.
The Apostasy opens up with an introduction slightly over a minute long that starts out slow and quiet and then builds in intensity until exploding into "Slaying the Prophets of Isa" and 40 minutes of a brutal onslaught by Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth.
Behemoth's lyrical themes include paganism and references to the ancient, pre-christian world, and the band incorporates this into their sound. They do it in a way similar to how Nile makes their music sound like "Ancient Egyptian heavy metal," but with Behemoth, it's much more Mesopotamian sounding. This can be heard on tracks like "At the Left Hand ov God," "Prometherion," and others.
One of the best and my favorite aspects of the album and the band is Inferno's howitzer like drumming. It is simply phenomenal all the way through. At around 1:38 on "Slaying the Prophets of Isa," Inferno launches into a ( I apologize for sounding cliche ) artillery barrage that while short, showcases his talent as a drummer. His drumming is very fast, very precise, and very brutal sounding and reminiscent of tech death bands like their countrymen Vader.
Nergal and Orion's guitar playing is excellent as well. The best riff on the album in my opinion is the one featured on "Christgrinding Avenue," the last song on the album. The intro to "At the Left Hand ov God," is a dark accoustic one that again evokes the Ancient Greek/Mesopotamian sound that Behemoth incorporates into the album. Guitar solo's are also present on tracks such as "Prometherion", showing off Nergal and Orion's skills and showing just how much the band has changed since their black metal days, the only real remants of which are the outfits and the corpsepaint they use for live performances.
They are by now almost 100% a death metal band in the same league as other bands from their native Poland such as Vader and Decapitated. This album is in my opinion a must have for any metalhead.
The gods of musical self-reinvention Behemoth have returned after about 3 years of slumbering in the Polish death metal catacombs and have again graced us with their blessings of brutality and darkness. “The Apostasy” sees the band moving further away from their black metal roots and into a basic form of modern death metal. It differs from most other bands in the latter style only in terms of tonality, as the dissonant yet still largely tonal blending of Middle Eastern sounds and common practice chromatic chord relations that the band uses bear little similarity to either brutal or melodic death metal. In basically every other area, from Nergal’s barks to the fairly formulaic drumming of Inferno, each of these songs just come off as a more epic answer to recent Polish death bands such as Vader and Dies Irae, whom the band has had some connections with in more recent times.
Although the band has been out of the pure black metal realm for a good few years, this album marks the biggest deviation from their older selves, as it is the most structured and restrained of any of their offerings. Granted, the Behemoth version of restrained is still pretty intense, as the drums are still blurring like the tail of a comet, the riffs and base work on here meld together to create a thunderous low end stomp character that typifies the concept of heaviness, and there are plenty of impressive lead guitar slots to keep your standard Slayer loving old school metal fan satisfied. But compared to previous releases, most notably the equally modern sounding yet much wilder “Demigod”, this is structured in a manner that is mildly comparable to a modern variant on death/thrash.
The lyrics draw upon a mixture of pagan mysticism, Luciferian writings, historical events and even numerology to set the subjects upon which this heavily programmatic album is based. Nergal definitely takes a strong interest in all of these subjects as he includes an explanation of where he got the influence for each song. The most interesting of these is his tying of the Assyrian and/or Babylonian demon “Pazuzu” in with Seth and the Hindu goddess Kali, which results in a rather interesting set of lyrical references to all 3 over the top of a set of grim musical sections that bear the most resemblance to their black metal roots of all the songs on here. Take away the hyper speed drumming and what you have isn’t all that far removed from an Eastern dance song with an odd sensation of coldness.
If you went by songs such as the aforementioned “Pazuzu”, or others of a similarly extreme persuasion such as “Prometherion” and “Kriegsphilosophie”, you’d quickly assume that there’s not any restraint to be found on here. But largely the rest of the songs on here are pretty tame and melodic in character. “At The Left Hand Ov God” definitely has a doom-like character to it, as aside from the drums the music tends to progress slowly and serve the lyrical content. “Libertheme” and “Inner Sanctum” definitely go for more of a groovy and atmospheric affect, and are pretty easy to follow, the latter of the two actually utilizes clean vocals part of the time. The standout amongst the slower and more formulaic songs is “Be Without Fear”, which edges pretty heavily towards a death/thrash sound, with riffing that sounds fairly similar to a couple of songs heard on Iced Earth’s “Burnt Offerings” actually.
As a whole this is a very easy album to enjoy, but not really something that upstages the bulk of Behemoth’s back catalog. People who like big sounding epic themes and really polished production work will probably go for this, but if you’re looking for an album that shoots for intensity above all other things, “Demigod” is a more logical choice. But this is still a worthy album for the band and has some classic songs with real staying power, and definitely a cut above a lot of what is passing for death metal in recent years.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on April 21, 2009.
Sometimes in life, you just come across something that blows your mind. The first time you saw a 3D movie, for instance. Or a flaming vodka. But there are few things that blow your mind in quite the same way or on quite the same level as Behemoth's "The Apostasy" does.
"Demigod", Behemoth's last album, blew most people's minds when they heard it - it repositioned Behemoth at the forefront of modern death metal. Behemoth new they had to pull out all the stops to make the follow up even more brutal, even more chaotic and even more savage. The danger while making "The Apostasy" was to let Behemoth descend into the bowls of endless, generic brutal death metal bands and essentially backfire. But I'm very glad to report that it hasn't backfired in the slightest.
What "The Apostasy" does is take the classic Behemoth formula of chaotic, thick, detuned guitar riffs, violent drumming and the iconic growls of Nergal, and intensifies it to create an absolutely brutal and visceral onslaught of Satanism. Seth and Nergal's guitarwork is as tight as it should be, with razor sharp, articulate riffs that give each track its own character and leave you stunned every time – highlights include “Christgrinding Avenue” and “Libertheme”. The solos are filled with unpredictability and near flawless execution, sprinkled with a hint of whammy for that extra touch.
As always, Inferno’s assault on the drums continues, although as I understand it, a lot of the drums are triggered, so we can’t see his true, unedited, raw talent, which is a shame. This is probably my only criticism with the album – to gain an even more insane level of chaos, Behemoth adopted triggered drums, which is quite obviously fake, tainting the experience a little.
Nergal’s violent, ugly, primeval, growls rage on in “The Apostasy”, and it sounds better than ever. Notable excerpts include the doubling up of two, overlapping vocal lines in “At the Left Hand ov God”, which seem to answer back to each other. He also uses this same method to add in extra raspy screeches to contrast his thick, meaty grunts.
The lyrics, in a departure from true Behemoth style, feature for more historical and philosophical content - for instance, Kriegsphilosophie features a verse with the lyrics: “When heavenly chants mute/Thy apparition did I behold oh Venus/The sweetest ov them all/Let me bathe in Thy divinity descend!/Thou hast descended depart not yet!” – a massive departure from the usual Satanic and anti-Christian themes of Behemoth’s past. Personally, I find it much better for Behemoth’s style, which started to get a little stale and clichéd when I heard Demigod last, and allows them to break from the mainstream.
The songwriting in “The Apostasy” is top-notch, as always with Behemoth – track after track of catchy, melodic, articulate riffs, topped off with the brilliant vocals and a new addition – pianos and French horns, for a suitably majestic, epic feel and atmosphere. The album has a brilliant flow to it, starting with “Rome 64 C.E”, an instrumental that gears you straight into the mood for the follower, “Slaying the Prophets ov Isa”, a cracking opener that blasts off at more than 230 BPM and never lets up. Occasionally we here little acoustic interludes to break up the action, but everything seems to mesh together extremely well to create an album that’s brilliant to listen to both as single songs and as a whole album experience. Songs remain fast, violent, exciting and never bore – no complaints from me.
“The Apostasy” is a landmark achievement for Behemoth – it represents their peak of creating the finest and most refined brutal, chaotic, mindbending death metal of today. It’s not perfect, but it comes damn near it.
Behemoth strike again with their eighth full-length album, The Apostasy. There's happened some change since their last album Demigod. Though all the death metal ingredients can be found (the brutal pace included) , Behemoth has taken a step towards bit more melodic and modern spheres.
The first song, Rome 64 C.E., starts off with some church-like clean high-pitched female vocals, which quickly transform into a great riff and some very fast drumming. Great riffs swarm in and out of focus, and the music remains extremely fast-paced throughout the album. There are some acoustic parts as well, sounding a lot like some polish folk music, where Nergal’s polish background becomes more dominant. Inner Sanctum – with some great additional vocals – , for example, slows the pace down a little before the raging force of Pazuzu and the uncompromising power of the final song Christgrinding Avenue. Every song has a solid internal continuum, and despite the constant variability, the songs remain perfectly together and whole.
Even though the speed really stands out from the darkened soundscape, the complex and melodic guitar riffs form the main frame of Behemoth’s music. The melodies are creative and versatile: not at all as dark, as the soundscape as a whole, but almost clear; and so very beautiful. At times Behemoth’s music style seems to represent melodic, rather than traditional death metal (definitely not blackened death metal, as may have been on their earlier releases). The guitarist-vocalist Nergal’s and the additional guitarist Seth’s leads, decisively sprinkled all over the album, are fast and full of hatred, bringing in the last ingredient and completing the picture.
As said before, the drumming on the album is extremely fast. Different variable drum beats just keep coming -- in a pace much faster than could reasonably be supposed possible for a pair of hands and feet to muster. One might think this would drown other insteuments underneath. Not so. The drums do have a very dominant role on the album, but they somehow just fill the seams of the guitars, rather than control the whole music. The drums create anger, but also diversity to the soundscape, bringing out more dimensions and aspects, than the guitars can alone array.
The vocals, on the other hand, create most of the darkness and rawness of the soundscape. Nergal’s low harsh growls are saturated with wrath and infested with hatred. Nothing very different from other death metal vocalists, but there's no need for any extraordinaryties here. The lyrical content consists of misanthropical views and the lack of free will among men. People, religious people mostly, are seen as slaves of society and church. There is also a short introduction to each song written by Nergal, concerning the lyrical theme of the song, or the circumstances under which the song in question was born.
Overall, The Apostasy is a great release, and a major improvement on Demigod. I warmly recommend this album to any friend of modern and fast-paced death metal. Behemoth's music style has changed a lot since their debut; personally I hope that Behemoth would continue on the same rails they're riding on The Apostasy.
Part one of the best death metal released within the last ten years, or maybe of all time.
Many bands are constantly evolving one sound that is altered from album to album. Fans of the basic idea will tend to find a couple in a given discography that better suit their tastes. Sometimes multiple evolutions take place and Behemoth is a good example of this. Of course, many bands end up releasing one or maybe several good albums before plunging into the void of mediocrity. Thankfully, with Behemoth, this is not the case.
On The Apostasy, Behemoth manages to beat Nile at it's own game and in doing so, also completely "annihilates" 99.9% of other death metal acts out there these days. It's also worth noting that Behemoth released my favorite blackened death metal ever...their work still absolutely blows away the competition. Maybe they will make something of a return to this approach in the future. Either way, each era of Behemoth has it's gems.
That said, I really like a few of their albums. This one represents the best execution of the approach they've been advancing since Zos Kia Cultus. The vocals on Demigod are just horrible and the riffing and composition are not quite up to this level. Everything seems to be in balance on The Apostasy. It's very memorable, too. The production featured is also the best I've heard from them. Very clean and the instruments have good separation. Yes, of course the bass drums are triggered, heavily compressed, and equalized for that big sound.
Reduced are the near constant over layered vocals heard on Demigod. This is a very good thing. And they're also mixed far better. They're pretty standard death metal vocals which is to say "tough guy vocals". They're deep and growly. If you are just getting into it, I suppose this is one of the better introductions you could have. At least the vox don't sound like random burping or squealing. There's a hint of black rasp here and there but nothing really substantial as in previous blackened releases.
Inferno abuses his kit in ways unspeakable in a high school music class. Anyone saturating themselves with modern DM and it's offshoots will be used to all the blasturbation going on here. LOTS AND LOTS OF DRUM HITS. I'd repeat that like three times if I wasn't so lazy. The point is, there are maybe thousands of drum hits on this album, like most in the genre these days. At least he fits some interesting patterns into the beats sometimes and adds nice tom fills, too. They are definitely varied and he comes up with some really entertaining ones, so it's some of the best I've heard in this genre even if it is a little over played.
The riffs really make this album though. Lots of badass power chords, fast palm muting and face melting tremolo picking. Death metal, being extremely rhythmic in nature, is especially reliant on good riffing. The guitar tone is important, too and on here it's very searing yet satisfyingly crunchy. The Apostasy delivers big time in all regards and that's why it succeeds at it's goal -- basically a nonstop pummeling intensity. Like all good metal, powerful and creative drumming along with heavy riff work MAKES the sound. The vocals tie it all together. Even if an album or individual songs aren't composed well, I believe that a good overall sound will yield decent marks by itself.
Fortunately, Behemoth delivers masterful songwriting and also weaves together a satisfying album, further setting itself apart from similar efforts. The average tempo is pretty high but thankfully all of the songs get to breathe through numerous and engaging arrangements. The variety of sections stick around long enough to satisfy without dragging and the transitions make them flow. Nothing jumps out to distract or frustrate, thereby inducing headaches. I rarely notice song structure as a whole when it's enjoyable but when it derails it immediately grabs my focus and pisses me off because of it's grating annoyance.
Lastly, I will touch on the most nebulous aspect of music..."mood". This is built on the mesh of instruments, vocals, and pacing but also includes those intros, outros, samples, filler tracks, interludes within a song, etc. Backing keys can help. Or all of these things can fail and end up completely killing the experience. Here, they are tasteful and sparse. Probably for the better since the faster, more direct variants of extreme metal don't seem to gel with lots of atmospheric elements. When used, the additional mood setting is done in a way that doesn't distract from the brutal assault. Some samples here, a fancy intro there, or maybe some synths. The battle trumpets are always welcome to hear. Overall the feeling here is fast, ancient, bestial, and blasphemous. It's a Behemoth album!
In closing, this is one of my personal favorite albums from these guys. I hold it close to Thelema.6 in greatness. As far as pure death metal, The Apostasy is hard to beat. Fans who haven't heard this one will be guaranteed to enjoy it. The last two songs are a little meh, but forgivable since they're not completely dull and the rest of the album is killer.
An Apostasy is an act that marks a departure, and this album is indeed a departure for Behemoth. Released in 2007, The Apostasy is less of a mix of black metal and death metal, and instead tries for more of a melodic brutal death sound. Nergal, the frontman and manager of Behemoth, as well as composer and arranger and all sorts of great stuff, has produced another solid album. But that's all it is, solid.
It's not that I don't like it. On the contrast, I enjoy some tracks on The Apostasy quite a bit. It's just that it doesn't stand out, on an absolute or a relative scale. Tracks such as Prometherion, Be Without Fear, and Kriegsphiosophie are great headbanger tracks, whereas Rome 64 C.E. and Slaying the Prophets ov Isa are more melodic, none of them have made it into the pantheon of classics.
So, why an 85? The school I attend has an 85% being an average grade; this is what the album is, average. Almost pathetically so, but not quite. Inner Sanctum is a great example of what redeems it.
So, onto the meat of the review:
The production is pretty standard for most modern bands, and that's what makes the production average as well. It lacks atmosphere, and it feels like it's a further departure than even Demigod. Everything is clear, so you can hear all of the instruments, but the double-bass sounds triggered; it may just be that, through an arbitrary notion, I can't stand thinking of a triggered Inferno, or it may just be the production.
Probably the above average part of this album. The best example of Behemoth's incredible musicianship is with Inferno's drumming. It is both fast, and flexible. The most necessary trait for a drummer is to be flexible. As for guitars, their work is solid, but it is definitely not up to par with earlier albums or classic albums. Nergal's vocal work is an impressive growl/shout, but it wears down quickly, and leaves you wanting more: which is supplied in Inner Sanctum.
A lot of rudiments from brutal death and technical death are heard here, mostly in the vein of Nile, and can be easily recognized. It's not to say that Behemoth is using pure stock footage here, but they are certainly using generic forms that aren't up to speed with Nergal's writing talent, something he has demonstrated again and again.
Overall Reception (3.25/5):
Solid, definitely something that you want in your collection for slower days and for some enjoyment. Good for people who are a bit wet behind the ears in the death metal genre, as it provides an excellent bridge into bands such as Nile, who share a certain sonic kinship with Behemoth.
Behemoth is one of the biggest death metal bands in the world right now. They’ve got over 60,000 listeners on music tracking site Last.FM, which is more than Morbid Angel, Nile, Obituary and many other huge death metal bands. They started as a black metal band, with pagan lyrical themes and maximum atmosphere. Since 1998’s ‘Pandemonic Incantations’, they have started changing styles, from black metal to blackened death metal. Since their last album ‘Demigod’, they have been a straight-up technical death metal band (though there are still some black metal elements), often compared to Nile due to their brutality, technicality and Middle Eastern influence (though I would say that Nile have more of all three). ‘Demigod’ was easily their most popular album, and introduced (along with the rather famous parody of ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, involving waffles) many people to their rather impressive back catalogue. They return in 2007 with ‘The Apostasy’.
Even when they were an incredibly unknown little black metal band, Behemoth’s guitar work has been very professional. The only consistent guitar player has been founder Nergal, but, as with ‘Demigod’, session guitarist Seth has contributed guitar parts to the tracks in both rhythm and lead departments. The pinch-laden riffs are hard hitting but do not really contribute to the song in any way aside from give the music a thick layer of brutality (there’s very few moments on the album where I think “Damn, that’s a good riff”, though ‘Inner Sanctum’ is a very notable exception).
However, the leads are a different story. Shared almost equally between Seth and Nergal, the leads and solos during instrumental sections blow me away. From simply harmonising with the riffs to diminished sweeping licks, these guys can play. They’re always performed and produced with the right amount of emphasis (not all the leads are conventional ‘solos’ where the rest of the music repeats so the guitar can shine), and are played with taste and technicality, something which a lot of tech death bands find difficult. They’ve improved massively upon the sloppiness of some of the leads on ‘Satanica’ (I mean, if you don’t have the chops to play something, don’t put it in your song!) and their compatibility with the riffs really impresses me. There’s no moment when the guitarists let me down, because, despite the fact that the riffs can be rather generic at times (there’s a riff in the middle of ‘Libertheme’ which reminds me greatly of Zyklon’s ‘Ways Of The World’), there will always be other things in Behemoth songs to listen to.
The bass player ‘Orion’ must feel a little cheated. Behemoth bassists of old were given great room to do what they wanted, and could be clearly heard, particularly on their debut ‘Sventevith (Storming The Baltic)’. Since Orion joined, their production has taken another turn which essentially removes him from any kind of audibility. Perhaps if I could see these songs performed live I would know what Orion’s performance is like, but alas, I haven’t and so all I can say is that he is simply backing up the riffs, and that Nergal has cocked up the production when it comes to bass.
I feel that the one area where Behemoth’s comparison to American titans Nile is justified is in the drumming department. Nile’s drummer George Kollias is one of the best death metal drummers I’ve ever heard, and Inferno doesn’t exactly pale in comparison. He can blast with the best of them (250+BPM blasting is no mean feat) and his fills are ridiculously technical. In fact, that’s another reason I want to see Behemoth live, because this guy’s hands must be a blur. I’m not a drummer myself so I can’t go into too much depth, but honestly Inferno is instrumentally the best member of Behemoth. Listen to any album featuring him (that’s ‘Pandemonic Incantations’ onwards) and you’ll see what I mean. Brutal death metal is a very demanding genre to play in for a drummer, and it’s played by such legends as Flo Mounier and Mike Smith, but Inferno definitely holds his own, once again.
Onto the one sound of Behemoth which rather annoys me: the vocals. Nergal’s low vocals are fantastic, and there’s no doubting it. He’s got a very gruff shout which sounds like a late-80’s Glen Benton, but he’s been layering his vocals, normally with two or three tracks, one with those brutal lows, and another one or two with high pitched, almost black metal screeches. Both of these sound good when separate from each other but when stacked on top of each other it really grates your nerves. Thankfully, Nergal has toned it down a little for ‘The Apostasy’ after the layered abomination that was Demigod, and I’m glad because this time around his vocals do sound a fair amount better even when they are layered. He has a great sense of rhythm and timing and his delivery is near perfect. The unfortunate part is what he’s actually saying…
‘The Apostasy’ is a good album. It definitely beats ‘Demigod’, but I’m not sure if it’s their best death metal album, since it’s beaten pretty comfortably by Zos Kia Cultus. I know that they’ll never make a better album than Storming The Baltic, at least with their current style, though. It’s a solid effort, and musically there are no major faults, but this is the first time that the lyrics have affected my enjoyment of an album in a negative way. They’re, in a word, crap. Nergal thinks they’re very clever and profound but honestly he just sounds like a little child who just found a dictionary of ancient words and decided he doesn’t like Christianity. Despite being a good (music) writer, good guitarist and good vocalist, whilst I read the booklets of Behemoth albums I grow a rather strong dislike for Nergal. He’s written some classic tunes (and there’s a few on here, too, like ‘Inner Sanctum’ and ‘Be Without Fear’) but his lyrics are just ridiculous. Overall this album is a decent effort and definitely worth a purchase if you’re into brutal death metal, though for Behemoth there are better places to start.
Is it strange for me to say that the elements that made 'Demigod' such a great release are the ones that make 'The Apostasy' rather flawed? It's all a matter of degree, it seems. 'Demigod' was beyond overblown and melodramatic; it was a level of over-the-top that can honestly be only described with the word 'Demigod'. For some people, it was just too much to the point where it was absurd and dumb; to the others like myself, the uncompromising nature of it seemed sort of daring and original. There's not a lot of death metal bands willing to go to that level of theatricism in their songwriting. But a lot of the same elements just don't work on the new album, though I will admit it's a pretty good modern death metal album.
'The Apostasy' sounds like it's supposed to be 'Demigod: Timid People Edition'. Instead of EVERYTHING being constantly epic and soaring, Behemoth restricts it to only specific sections in each song when they're not absent entirely. It's an admirable (I guess) attempt at showing restraint. But for Behemoth being epic, it just seems to be an all or nothing game, because instead of creating an album with a heightened sense of drama through peaks and valleys in the songwriting structure, it just ends up destroying the necessary suspension of disbelief that is a part of newer Behemoth. You see, you have to be in the right mindset to listen to 'Demigod' or it's going to be too much; you have to suspend your disbelief to really get into something so insanely huge at all moments. 'The Apostasy' attempts to circumvent this by having more normal blasting sections and less enormous epic stuff. The issue, though, is that the transfers between these sections are overly clear and sharp, so when the various soaring, slow sections appear, they inspire more incredulous giggles than awe. It is admittedly a very find distinction, but I think it's a major part of the album. It's just impossible to take seriously. Instead of seeing Nergal as some divine god of destruction, you realize more that he's just some dude from Poland.
The wage of compromise is a loss of constant double-tracked vocals, trumpets, and triumphant war marches, and so 'The Apostasy' falls in quality accordingly. After the admittedly excellent 'Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa', all the tracks blur together for me, unlike the spectacularly unique songs on 'Demigod'. All the elements are still in place; sharp, vicious tremolo riffing, the insanely fast (as ever) drumming of Inferno, the sweeping, mystical solos, and Nergal's full, rich, roaring vocals (though the lack of omnipresent doubletracking does actually harm the performance, amazingly enough), but it feels like the band is restraining themselves from really going for the theatrical jugular like they did on 'Demigod'. It almost sounds like the band was pressured into doing a more 'normal' death metal album, which is exactly what they SHOULDN'T be doing. Behemoth carved a niche of super-epic death metal that verged on spawning its own, unique genre of heavy metal, but this is really step back from that new trail that they could be blazing instead.
I've been rather harsh on 'The Apostasy', and maybe it's unfair to view it in such close comparison to 'Demigod'. It's still very competent and fun to listen to. There's no real sense of failure; just a bit too much hesitance on the part of the band. I doubt you'd regret your purchase of this CD; it is admittedly a lot of fun to listen to, even if you're never really sure which track you're on. I guess I just expected them to go even further instead of dropping back like this. Here's hoping the next album is the full-fledged God that people like me always wanted.
I only recently became a Behemoth fan with the last album, Demigod, and after listening to it on a near constant loop; I had high-expectations for The Apostasy. I was so used to the (triggered to hell as they may be) drums of Inferno, the buzz-saw guitar work or Seth and Nergal, and the immense, multi-layered, demonic vocals of Nergal. Now, most people by now would be screaming, “But come on! The album delivers that and more, surely!” Well, yes and no.
At first glance, yes, the album is every bit as technical, as brutal and as immense as Demigod. But something’s missing. There’s an almost unenviably feel of repetition, boredom and a very uninspired Nergal.
The album starts off all well and good with “Slaying The Prophets ov Isa” and yes, the song is promising. It’s brutal, technical and makes you want to kill small animals. However, not long after this song ends and the next song begins, you start to wonder if they hadn’t just made one song and hit “loop” every now and again. The song’s are good, but the inventive riffs like those found on Demigod are few and fair between.
The good points for this album however, are really good. The vocal work is more precise and concise, less “I’M SO DEMONIC” and more “FUCK OFF!” The guitar work HAS stepped up in technicality (if not inventiveness). The drums are still insane, I doubt Inferno could ever not be as mad as he is. They have done away with the triggered drums which made me cringe a bit, as they’re choice of production has left the drums sound too…off in the distance. Almost like a live recording instead of a sound-proof studio.
The highest point of this album is Inner Sanctum, the song with Warrell Dane of Nevermore fame on guest vocals. The song is creepy and brooding with a large feeling of hopelessness. I was very impressed with how they managed to make Warrell Dane’s voice, the strings and a piano fit in with the brutal riffage, but they did it.
All in all, this is a decent album, with nothing really BAD about it, but to me, it’s still nothing special.
Let me just start by saying that Behemoth has been one of my favorite bands since I first got into extreme metal. Demigod seriously blew me away, and I proceeded to check out their other work. Zos Kia Cultus, Thelema.6 and Pandemonic Incantations, along with the aforementioned Demigod are all damn near masterpieces within the black/death genre. But when I got this and listened to it a few times, I found myself loving it sometimes and feeling downright frustrated at others. Why?
First off, the intro track, “Rome 64 C.E”. is awesome. It opens with some female vocals, leading into an epic-as-fuck chord progression, which resonates into the second track, “Slaying the Prophets ov Isa”. This song is probably the best song on the album, to be honest. The bridge with the chorus over it is fucking awesome, and there isn't a single bad riff in the song. The next song, “Prometherion”, while solid, is a little awkward. Here's why: the fucking blastbeats. They seem totally out of place considering the fact that the song is otherwise mid-paced, and they'd still be very overused even if they did fit the song's framework better. This routine follows suit for the remainder of the album; it seems like Inferno, while becoming more technically apt behind the kit, is just getting into the bad habit of using blastbeats way, way too much. But like I said, it's still a solid song.
From here, it just gets more and more dry. The arrangements on the longer songs (“Kreigsphilosophie”, “At the Left Hand ov God”, “Libertheme”) seem repetitive for the sake of being long. They probably wanted to cram more material into the album for length's sake (I mean, the album isn't even 40 minutes), but they fell right on their face in doing so. The aforementioned songs aren't necessarily bad, since they're chuck-full of great riffs, but they're just way too repetitive and drawn out. The more average-length songs (“Be Without Fear”, “Arcana Hereticae”, “Pazuzu”) aren't anywhere near the standards Behemoth set for themselves with previous releases. “Be Without Fear” is basically just a thrashier, not as good version of “Conquer All”. “Arcana Hereticae”, while a solid song, is basically just recycled from their other material. “Pazuzu” is a pretty bad song truth be told, it has some decent riffs and the choir saves it from being a total suckfest, but it's just not up to standards to be honest.
Now comes my biggest complaint: “Inner Sanctum”. The idea of this song may look great on paper, but the execution isn't just lackluster, it's awkward as hell. It starts promisingly enough: a cool piano intro, good lead-in riff, but the first verse with the narration and Warrel Dane singing is like I said, awkward as hell. Then the chorus kicks in. The riff in the chorus sucks, to be honest, and the drumming is metronomical and dull; not doing anything interesting but is just kind of there (and is pretty annoying). This repeats itself one more time, then it kicks into the second half which is just a collection of riffs that doesn't really add to the song, since they don't even fit the framework of the rest of the song at all and just seem like (again) an attempt at drawing it out. Basically, Behemoth tried to make an eerie, atmospheric song and failed.
So, even though so far I've mostly been complaining about the album, it's still decently solid. “Slaying the Prophets ov Isa” is downright awesome song, “Christgrinding Avenue” is great, and “Prometherion” is solid. Hell, alot of the songs have great riffs but are ultimately marred by poor/lazy arrangements. All in all though, The Apostasy just doesn't live up to the standards Behemoth has set for themselves over the years. If you’re looking to check out Behemoth, start with any of their other releases this decade.
Originally written by me for http://www.sputnikmusic.com
My introduction to Behemoth was less then stellar. 2005's critically acclaimed Demigod proved to me to be a boring and drab album, save three tracks that totally blew my mind away. So, even though Demigod proved to be for the most part a let down, I was still willing to give Behemoth one more chance. When I got word that Behemoth was releasing an album in 2007, I decided to give it a chance. I had heard a lot of good stuff coming from Darsky saying that the album was good, and had watched making of videos on Behemoth's youtube page seeing some interesting things going on in the studio. I was now more stoked to check out this new album then ever, and when the time came, I purchased my own copy of The Apostasy the same way I got Demigod, the great music purchase system called Itunes.
Well, the album was not totally what I expected. I did expect it to be a lot better then it actually was, but in terms of how good it was, it was ten times better then Demigod. The album is further exploration for Behemoth into the realm of death metal and an attempt to further distance themselves from their black metal past. On Demigod we saw them trying to do this while trying to be like a blackened death metal version of Nile. Here, we see Behemoth trying to be, well Behemoth. The Apostasy, through it all, is a much more consistent and stronger album then its predecessor, and it shows Behemoth getting better as musicians as well.
To start of, I think I should talk about the production here, and some of the key studio decisions taken to make The Apostasy better then Demigod. First off is the production, which is much more grittier and heavier, as well as being more stripped down and simplistic. Gone are the airy, effected vocals of Darsky and Inferno's plastic like drum tone. It is much better here. Big thanks to sound engineer/co-producer Malta for doing this. A main decision in this tone was because Inferno chose not to trigger any of the drums other then the bass drums. Normally, you think this would sound like shit, but here it sounds downright amazing. This album has some of the best drum tones ever, as everything sounds full and organic. Adam's voice is not effected at all, and it is simply left as it is to be. Really good part on the band for the making of the album. Still, the production has its flaws. The main problem is still, no good bass sounds, and the rhythm guitar tone is fuzzy sounding here (not Obituary's Xecutioner's Return fuzzy but still). But hey, it was all to accommodate Inferno, and the improvement shown by the band makes up for it here.
Like I said, Behemoth have gotten better, and Adam Darsky is no exception to the rule. His voice is now, for the most part, straight up death metal vocals. No more death metal growling and black metal rasps overlaid to make a demonic effect, just real good death metal growling that is much more clear and stronger sounding on The Apostasy. Great work there. As well, we find the lyrical themes moving away from Nile and Melecesh worship to back to Behemoth's black metal roots. We here more anti Christian themes (Slaying The Prophets Of Isa, Christgrinding Avenue), cults (Inner Sanctum, Be Without Fear), war (Kriegsphilosophie) and more. We still here a tad of Melecesh knocking off on Pazuzu and Prometherion, but for the most part the album is much better lyrically then on Demigod. Very well done on your part Darsky. You get a cookie now!
Our guitar work is much better here. Behemoth does not make riffs entirely based off of power chords on The Apostasy (something they did nearly all the time on Demigod), they actually play real riffs with real palm muting! Hence the album is much more tight rhythmically when it comes to the guitars, and the riffs are generally more organized and technical as well. Still, they are a tad rudimentary for death metal riffs, along with there are still lots of entirely power chord based rhythms here, and I think if Behemoth wants to achieve true technical death metal status they should work on that. As do they need to work on their lead work. No we actually hear them playing real leads, with Seth not getting much better but Adam getting a lot better then he was. Now we hear less tremolo picking and more alternate picking/hybrid techniques along with basic sweeps as well. Some of the stuff he plays is really actually pretty damn good. I know Behemoth uses their lyrics, stage prescence, and drummer to achieve a more beloved status with fans, but their lead guitar department has shown me that they are capable of more then that. No where near Nile (the band they just love to rip off), but it is still nice.
Once again, I cannot understand or make out Orion playing the bass, so I am going over to Inferno again. Alright, here Inferno is much better. Like I said, his drums are not trigged, so you would think they would sound like crap. Well they do not. I must commend him for paying homage to the days when drumer triggers did not exist and metal drummers had a tone that did not sound like hitting pieces of plastic. Now they actually sound very full and rich, much like something you would hear from a marching band. You would think this would sound like crap, but like I said, it does not. It is quite impressive to hear, and highly enjoyable. Inferno still has all the speed he had on previous Behemoth recordings and his beat style has not changed too much, but here he actually learned to reserve himself and not just go ahead at full speed all the time. His technicallity has even increased by much, so that gives The Apostasy a few extra points. Still, Inferno could be a tad more varied and still needs to work on reserving himself when required.
The songs here are pretty interesting. There are several whicn incorporate minor orchestral parts with brass, string, and woodwind instruments, which is pretty interesting. I am not saying they use these in a Nightwish kind of sense, but they use them to provide some dramatiscm to the sound. However, this was not really needed, and I think could have been dropped (I really hope Behemoth does not use this again). However, the songs are more rhythmically accomplished and technical then on Demigod, and are not merely black metal with death metal vocals. This is, for the most part real death metal here. We have plenty of balls out songs like Slaying The Prophets Of Isa, Christgrinding Avenue, and Arcane Hereticae. Also we got some more technical numbers in the form of Inner Sanctum, Kriegsphilosophie, Pazuzu, and At The Left Hand Ov God. The only song that really does not fit under these two banners is Be Without Fear, which is your typical modern death metal, mid paced groove oriented song. While not as good as its predecssor Conquer All, Be Without Fear is still pretty nice and a nice little death metal number that you can enjoy headbanging to. Also a good way to get some fans to without selling out.
All in all, The Apostasy is a pretty nice album. Behemoth shows improvement in terms of songwriting, guitar work, technicallity, vocals, and lyrical work. But still they continue to give into the trends of singing of ancient cutlures, orchestrals in death metal, and the philosophy of “More blast beats is better”. Still, it is a much more accomplished and consistent album then Demigod, so I would be willing to give Behemoth another chance to get it right. Until then, feel free to buy The Apostasy. It is enjoyable, and I think that unlike its predecessor, it is worth buying the whole CD.
Since the release of their groundbreaking Satanica, it’s only been upwards for these Polish masters of blackened death metal. Album after album they’ve set new standards and then surpassed them, again and again and this is no different with their latest creation, The Apostasy. The band has a reputation for the violence and intensity of their music. They’re probably the heaviest act in metal history yet and this album truly demonstrates this.
The Apostasy is everything we love about Behemoth, crazy fast riffs by the pound, skull-shattering drums and growls that would make the devil run away his tail between his legs. It’s blackened death metal in its purest, heaviest form. This band, actually, seems to be the only one who tried and merge black and death metal without failing miserably. The perfect combination of the harshness and speed of death metal and the melody of black metal gives Behemoth a unique sound and unequaled intensity. With The Apostasy, the formation delivers a nearly flawless album with performances by artists at the top of their game. On the album, you’ll first realize that Nergal has returned to a more “articulate” growl, straying from his performance on Demigod where it was almost impossible to understand what he was screaming without having the lyrics handy. This change adds to the intensity of the album and helps into creating an overall crisper sound. Same goes with the drums, which sound extremely organic and natural, definitely not synthesized. You can tell they wanted to recreate a purer, rawer atmosphere for this album, like they had on Zos Kia Cultus and Thelema.6 with the exception that this time, their budget allowed a much nicer production quality.
Inferno, as always, gives a tight, intense and dismembering performance. He maybe not the most technical drummer out there but his violent, fast-paced style his a must for the Behemoth sound. Nergal’s riffs are catchy, mean and original, with some short and unexpected solos. All in all, it’s what everyone could expect from the band. Behemoth is a very technical and talented band, but their talent lies not in being guitar heroes, drum gods and masters of innovation, it’s the overall sound that makes this band the beast that it is. Behemoth is all about the violence. It’s the ultimate mosh pit, headbang, scream out of you lungs music. All songs on The Apostasy, with no exception, deliver so much energy, so much intensity, that it could be difficult for some to listen to this album in one sitting. Also, there’s a new element in the band’s musicality, unlike previous albums, there is something somewhat epic about The Apostasy which was not present in their previous release. This addition to the band’s personality and musicality sends The Apostasy to a higher level than their previous releases, giving the listener more than just the well-known intensity and hatred. All in all, this is their best work yet, and his truly worth a place in this year’s top 10.
And here I thought the boys from Gdansk wouldn't be able to top 2005's monstrous breakthrough album, "Demigod". I thought "Alright, they'll equal it, but *top* it? This I have to hear!" Imagine my amazement when, after repeated listens, I've yet to hear anything I wholly disapprove of or outright dislike. In short, they *have* topped "Demigod", a tall order for any band to even attempt, and they are the ones to do it. WIth their determination to always improve on all fronts and Nergal's unceasing hard work and ambitious vision leading the way, "The Apostasy" is by turns stunningly brutal, atmospheric, original, grooving (dare I say it), martial, and overall outstanding in an overcrowded field. And that says volumes.
Intro "Rome 64 C.E." sets the tone with its haunting, wavering Middle Eastern vocal part leading into a pounding military cadence that in turn sets you up for the devastating opening track proper, "Slaying The Prophets ov Isa". And devastating it is with Inferno driving at his usual breakneck blast rate and navigating the song through a series of tempo changes that twist and turn and keep you on your toes throughout the song from vigorous start to breathless finish. This is one of several songs where a choir of 6 weighs in with performances that elevate this album out of the realm of the mundane and into the rarified realm of the unique, as they add an extra layer of depth and passion to the music. A horn section appears as well, their sonorous tones rendering the music all the more epic a la Sear Bliss; they are well-utilized and not overused, as is the choir.
Other standout songs:
"At The Left Hand ov God" features, again, a variety of tempos, most often an arresting riff on the verses where the choir enhances Nergal's thundering roars of rage and contempt against Christianity. The drumming and bass work on this tune are excellent, especially at the end where Inferno and Orion take you out on a tribal-sounding feel with a chanting part that adds immeasurably to that part that makes you want to bob your head in time with the catchy, bouncy drumming. This is probably my favorite song on the album musically and lyrically.
"Prometherion" is another blast fest that tears by at 100mph and packs a multitude of ideas into just over three minutes without seeming like overkill. Lots of guitar parts and some of Inferno's most frenzied drumming on this little gem.
"Inner Sanctum" in another favorite of mine that features some seriously dark and disturbing lyrics, enhanced by Nevermore vocalist Warrel Dane's menacing spoken parts and tortured cries of suffering alternating with Nergal's roaring delivery. Jazz pianist Leszek Mozdzer contirbutes a menacing (and all too brief) intro that sets up the song perfectly and really adds to the dark and doom-filled atmosphere. Nergal has been quoted as saying "I doubt that happy people can make good music," and the lyrics of this song really make you wonder just how sad/angry/self-hating/depressed he could very well be. And he's right, too; how many musicians who are on this level do you know of who make music this passionate and convincing and real?
"Pazuzu" starts off with thundering war drums and serpentine bass with hanging dissonant chords and takes off into light speed yet again, a real eruption of negative energy and fury as Nergal's liner notes imply. One of the most furious songs on this album, and a fitting war anthem for the demon of disease and destruction.
The production, once again mixed by Daniel Bergstrand at Dug Out Studio, is excellent again, with long time sound man/unofficial fifth member Malta handling the production duties. The bass is slightly louder in the mix than last time, but not by much; but when Orion's dense, metallic grind pops out for a few seconds near the end of "Pazuzu" it really hits you in the face. The drums are dry yet sound good, and since Inferno only triggers his kick drums now, the overall result is in your face and well-balanced in the mix, and sounds more organic than in the past. The guitar tone is full and dark, with lots of little bits and pieces going on that can't be caught on the first listen. Nergal and returning session member Seth weave a dense tapestry of sound with their amazing riffs (sooo catchy!), frenzied soloing and fills and they whip out the acoustics again here and there as on "Demigod" for nice variation. A good performance from all parties involved, I'm happy to say!
This is once again going to wind up becoming my album of the year for 2007, as "Demigod" ended up my album of the year for 2005. WIth such an impassioned performance from all members, the Behemoth war machine is firing on all cylinders and set to annihilate all in its path yet again as only they can do. Couple amazing, ambitious, and powerful music with vicious and sincere lyrics and passion to spare, and you have a modern classic that will be remembered for years to come, I think. And I got it right from Nergal himself that they are embarking on their first ever headlining tour this autumn! A fitting thing for a band this extreme who actually entered the Billboard Top 200 at #149, I dare say. Snap this up and justify that tour, you folks!
I'm sure fans of older Behemoth material are probably going to hate The Apostasy. Where Behemoth used to be a black metal band, they are quickly moving towards a more approachable death metal sound rather than the raw and atmospheric approach to black metal. The Apostasy takes off where Demigod left off and pushes the band further away from the "kvlt" black metal sound and into an expanded territory.
The music is well rounded especially for a band with a sound as solid as Behemoth. Behemoth have never needed to compromise on much of anything but their evolution in musical writing is the true brilliance behind The Apostasy.
The guitar work is stunningly brutal. Riffs have never sounded so mean and heavy before this album. Even Demigod sounds somewhat tame compared to the opening riff of "Be Without Fear". The leads are pretty sparse on the album - melody is something that Behemoth has always struggled with but every once in a while you find a good lead in the music with a nice accentuating pinch harmonic to counter the blast riffs. Most of the leads are somewhat pushed to the back of the production but it doesn't take too much away from the album. The solos are well written and good. Nothing too special about the solos in particular but they are not out of place. Occasionally an acoustic guitar does show up on the album, mostly for atmosphere's sake, and it does give your ears a break from being pummeled.
The drums are quite amazing on the album. Instead of the essential black metal blast beats for an hour on the album, there is quite a bit of variety in the presentation. There is a lot of tom use on the drums and alongside with good cymbal work it really creates a chaotic sense that really builds hellacious atmosphere. The drumming technique could use a little more emphasis in the mix but that isn't the bands fault - the drumming gets blasted out by the guitars.
The vocals have always been something that sets Behemoth aside. Nergal's satanic growls are something of nightmares and this time around they aren't overproduced. Going with a more "raw" live feel, there is only layers in the vocals for spots where as the rest of the album is a single voice that conjures some of the coolest images. Nergal does vary his presentation a little bit, adding a bit of color to his voice at spots - it is subtle but its there. I should also note that the duet with Warrel Dane is quite interesting considering both have very unique vocal arrangements. That song has some of the best atmosphere on the entire album. The addition of some choirs in the background also give the album an epic feeling.
The production is striking at how clean everything sounds. The drums and guitars are clean sounds and even Nergal's vocals (despite how harsh they are) are well recorded and mixed. This album is definitely approaching ground that isn't black metal anymore. There is death metal influence all about in the album which gives it an edge on some of the other bands out there. Rather than going melodic like some other "black" metal bands - Behemoth have moved even to a more abrasive approach. This is some modern black metal at its best.
Songs to check out: Be Without Fear, Slaying the Prophets ov Isa, Inner Sanctum.
The Apostsay is a very similar beast to Demigod. I'm surprised at how similar, considering the vast changes over their previous albums. It's not as dynamic but slightly more experimental with the add-on elements, such as keyboards/horns and choirs. Possibly even more death metal oriented here, they have shed almost all their black metal roots. Brutal aggression is the spirit of today's Behemoth. It's a very intense listen. So much so, at times you almost have to brace yourself to concentrate on the music or be overrun. This is not background music, it demands your attention.
The music is an aural landslide of technical riffs and inhuman drumming. Behemoth's interplay between guitars is always good, often playing different riffs to build a greater whole. They even have a strange way of sometimes "tricking" the listener, playing fast in slow parts and slow in fast pieces. Solos are present again but not as emotional as on Demigod. Going back to And the Forests Dream Eternally the bass played an important roll in Behemoth but as time went on it got pushed further into the background and that continues on The Apostsay. Inferno is one of the finest drummers around. He has great speed and uses frequent blast fills but always knows when a song needs to be pounded slowly. With only the kicks triggered this time the drums sound more powerful than ever. His performance alone makes the album worth listening to. Nergal's vocals are pure death metal growls now, often sounding like the Polish cousin of Deicide's Glen Benton. Fortunately he's learned from the mistakes on Demigod and disposed of the muddy vocal layering, using it sparingly he's much more clear. The addition of choirs was an excellent decision and only enhances the lyrical stance.
Anyone who has followed Behemoth from the beginning have heard them progress as musicians at an alarming rate from album to album, but they have lost some of their uniqueness from their creative peak of Thelema.6 and Satanica. On occasion they slip into generic death metal mode with The Apostsay, bringing to mind bands like Immolation or Incantation. The influence of Nile can be heard as well. But fear not, Behemoth dominates such bands with ease.
The only song on the album I didn't enjoy was Inner Sanctum because of the vocals. Warrel Dane from Nevermore does some clean vocals which just doesn't fit. His style very annoying and abrasive. It also has extensive spoken word pieces which remind me of the Aresius character from Rhapsody. "World famous" Polish jazz pianist Leszek Mozdzer (I don't listen to jazz.) also guests on the track, playing a very creepy intro. He is underutilized though, I suspect it's the most simple thing he has ever played. He appears later in the song as well but is crushed under the Behemoth sound.
The Apostasy is good but not great. Better than many other bands without a doubt but Behemoth have already set very high standards for themselves. Unfortunately The Apostasy must be judged against their past they have many albums that outrank it, both old and new.
When I found this album, I almost shat my drawers - I had been looking for it for weeks. I decided that I had to set the mood to let it sink in completely, so I got myself a nice pot pie, sat down in my room, and turned the volume on my stereo to "ear fuck."
When I first heard the intro, I thought, "okay, this sounds like an intro." It transitioned brilliantly into the first track, which was just the tip of the brutal, jagged, bloody iceberg that is Behemoth's 'The Apostasy.' On 'Demigod', the intro is fantastic - too fantastic - so it was a bit of a letdown when the actual first track began. I immediately jumped with joy when I heard the noticably less triggered-sounding drums - the snare drum sounds like a snare drum, instead of a digital representation of one.
The next thing I noticed was that the vocals are not as excessively overlayered as they were on 'Demigod.' Though I'm a big fan of vocal layering (I listen to Vital Remains), I found it kind of unnecessary that every single word of every single song was layered 48 times. Layering is for emphasis, and when it's used constantly, it's just cheesy. That being said, the layering on 'The Apostasy,' is used for just that - emphasis - and is used just the right amount. One Nergal alone is terrifying - when the other 47 Nergals come in just for a second, it scares the living shit out of you enough to keep you very, very excited.
The guitar sound is very sharp and lucid, without being overly clean - just as the guitar on a death metal album SHOULD sound. I was EXTREMELY impressed by the riffing on this album - it didn't seem beaten or repetitive at all, and the signature Behemoth chord progression was altered and fucked with enough on each track that they all stood out in their own way. I don't remember being bored or disinterested for a single second of this album.
The only problem I had with the album, which is more of a problem with death metal as a whole, is that the bass is practically inaudible. It simply serves as backing for the guitar riffs. I can't take points off of this particular album for that, however, because as I said, that's more of a problem with death/black/blackened death metal as a genre.
Essentially, if you listen to this album, you will shit your pants an average of 591.3 times, so once you get a hold of it, grab some really sturdy grown-up pampers and take a seat on the floor, because cleaning that chair is going to be a hell of a task.
I can confidently say that this is Behemoth's very best yet - it runs huge, flaming circles around their entire catalogue.
As one listens to this album they will have no doubts that this is in fact Behemoth, and they have returned with a fucking amazing piece of work. Right off the bat this album will drag you in with its subtle intro; some monotone "tribal" vocals, then FUCK, it hits you in the nuts with an explosion of classic Behemoth smash face riffs and brutal drum blasts, all layered behind one of the best black metal voices, quite possibly, ever.
Behemoth has evolved a bit with this album, but the thing that I think Behemoth has built on most during the creation of this beast is the use of more “obscure” sounds. Behemoth has always incorporated choirs and a few assorted brass instruments, but on “The Apostasy”, they just seem a little more precise and thought out, if you will. For example on one of the best tracks of this album, “At The Left Hand ov God”, Behemoth opens with what I understand to be a sitar of sorts, or some other obscure stringed instrument. None the less, each extra addition to this album not only contributes the whole package but actually improves what is already superb Black Metal.
Another aspect Behemoth has worked on a bit more it seems on this particular album is the layering of vocals. This is most obvious on the track “Inner Sanctum”. Here Behemoth incorporates an almost Carcass like formula, in where there is the main deep vocals, followed by some higher pitched vocals, and it sounds fuckin amazing.
All-in-all this entire album really isn’t too different from Behemoth’s prequel album, “Demigod”. Although it isn’t as good as “Demigod”, it does in fact show that Behemoth as a band have begun a little more experimenting it seems. Whether it be with the more obvious use of obscure instruments or the layering of vocals, Behemoth really has begun to “evolve” into something truly powerful, more so even then they are already. Basically, if you have yet to listen to this album and are eagerly awaiting it’s release, continue to do so, because although it may not be as good as “Demigod”, it is an amazing piece of work that will surely not disappoint.
Highlights: “At the Left Hand ov God”, “Kriegsphilosophie”, “Inner Sanctum”, “Christgrinding Avenue”