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AmiralMauth, May 4th, 2014

Behemoth is an incredibly technical extreme metal band, and for that reason they have been renowned for the past decade or so. Theirs is a special style of extreme metal that has some influences in the band's Polish roots and black metal essence, but it's not really death metal. The newest album comes closer to true black metal, so why have I given it such a mediocre review?

The reason is that I listen to Behemoth for powerful, technical, creative riffing. In The Satanist we have guitar patterns that almost want to be black metal, but are just too dull and not dark enough to cut it. They're trying to be ominous and evil, but black metal is simplistic for a reason: so that you can focus on the atmosphere and the evil that the music it creates.

Behemoth fails in this attempt, because on top of their guitar parts, they muddle vocals over percussion work and various other instruments. There are precious few guitar solos in this album, and those that do exist are not great compared to what Behemoth can do. If Behemoth focused on the almighty riff a bit more and paid less attention to trying to create an atmosphere--which they aren't pulling off--this album would be far better.

Unfortunately, Behemoth is now at a point in its career when it can rest on the laurels it formed in past albums. Now, Behemoth seems more focused on throwing down (admittedly great) live shows, dressing up in metal clothing and facepaint, and taking threatening videos. They don't have much of a motivation to go back to what made them excellent, which is the almighty riff and drum work that compliments it rather than drowning it out.

The lyrics are still pretty good, but there's just too much going on in the music for them to really be enjoyed. This album is trying to do far too much at once, and even the masters behind Behemoth can't pull it off. The Satanist has its high points, but it's not what it could be.