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I have a love/hate relationship with Behemoth. Some of the work they have done is undeniably outstanding, while on the other hand their more recent work has been a pretty big miss with me. Where did it all go wrong?
To me, Demigod is the last truly great Behemoth album. I remember really enjoying that record when it came out, almost as much Zos Kia Cultus which came before it. They had the energy, the drive, the motivation and the most importantly, the riffs to drive their music across, not shying from using sheer power and force to suck you in.
What we have now seems to be a mere shadow of what was once a great band. It sounds like Behemoth are trying too hard to be Behemoth, if that makes sense. After being somewhat let down by “The Apostasy” (it had a hard album to follow) and even more let down by “Evangelion”, I was expecting greatness this time.
So why is “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” such a snooze fest? It sounds like it’s on the right path with an intro which is clearly classic Behemoth, yet it takes the song over two minutes to kick in properly, and when it does, it just sounds like a mess. I absolutely hate the mix on this album – the guitars sound like shit, you can’t hear the bass, and even the vocals seem to be recorded underwater or something. If this is the return of Behemoth, then oh dear. This is not what I would call a good start.
The next track however, “Furor Divinus” somewhat redeems the first track. At least it has some sort of pace to it, something to say. It’s nothing I would call great, but it’s not bad either.
After somewhat painfully plodding through the next few tracks, the problems with the album become quite clear. First of all, it sounds like shit. No, it’s not my headphone setup. If my Fiio DAC and Shure SE535’s can’t make it sound good, then it just simply doesn't sound good. If you were to put this CD in your car, it would probably sound like elephants having sex. Second, the album seems to be lacking in riffs. You know, actual riffs, which drive a song forward and stick in your head. The riffing here is very basic, more atmospheric rather than actual, solid rhythms. It’s just not a style I enjoy or find interesting.
I know I will get blasted for the next reason, and that’s the vocals. Nergal’s vocals are actually annoying the shit out of me now. He sounds like a mix of a hardcore screamer, and a black metal screecher . In short, he just sounds like shit. It sounds so pseudo “tough guy” that at times it just becomes downright annoying. Maybe it’s a good thing that the album sounds like it was recorded in a fucking volcano somewhere, as I believe the engineer forgot to turn the fucking reverb down somewhere along the way. Or maybe it was done on purpose and the boys thought it sounded cool and eerie – well it doesn't it just sounds fucking stupid, and even with a $1000 setup I can’t make out what’s going on half the time.
The more I listen to it, the more certain things start to annoy me. Like, stop spelling “of” incorrectly. The V and F keys are very close to the keyboard, perhaps it was just a typo back in the day and they thought it sounded more kvlt or something. But it doesn't. It just sounds fucking stupid. If it has some other purpose besides sounding fucking retarded, then someone please enlighten me. Though I’m quite sure it’s just an effort to appear more kvlt. Thing is, the joke or whatever it is wore off a long time ago. Now you just appear to be three dudes dressed in clothes no one wears anymore, paints their faces, and can’t even spell.
To top it all off, the riffs simply aren't that good. Just not good enough. For the most part, it just sounds like Morbid Angel worship. The guitars are nowhere near interesting enough, the bass is in the somewhere - if you strain for it than you can hear it. But when you do, unfortunately it's nothing special. The only acceptable part about these songs are the drumming - yet sadly, just good drum playing does not make good songs.
Behemoth seems to be focusing more on their costumes and photo shoots rather than writing actual good songs people can remember, which is a shame. Maybe there are some songs on here that will pass for good, problem is, you can’t hear them properly. Kind of like what happened to Deicide’s “Till Death Do Us Part” – that album just sounded like total shit, no amount of good songs could redeem it. Kind of the same thing here.
It really is disappointing. Right after I gave this album its final spin after spending about a week of my time on it, I put on “Decade of Therion” and was blown away. Clear, concise, proper song writing. No gimmicks and idiotic sections which only distract the listener. The only redeeming quality on this album is Inferno’s drumming. Too bad it’s mostly lost in a sea of bland riffs, amateurish orchestral sections and that shitty sound which they've adopted.
Such a shame. “The Apostasy”, “Evangelion” and now “The Satanist”.. that’s three strikes in a row, Behemoth.