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I write this review trying not to be biased or as many people would call a "fanboy" towards Behemoth's music since I am a huge fan of their discography. It has been a while since their last release due to Nergal's diagnosis with cancer so of course I don't blame them for the wait. Since Demigod was released I never expected another one of their albums to fall into comparison to to it, but I can say with all honestly i have been proven wrong.
First off, the first thing I realized right off the bat was the improvement of Nergal's vocals. I was completely blown away by his delivery and still am every time a replay the album. Over all of their discography I have never heard so much emotion in his voice before. There are points in this album like for example on "Messe Noire" where the vocals seem so passionate that it almost seems like Nergal is gonna cry, but this emotion provides for one of my favorite aspects of the whole album. As for the lyrics I've always found Behemoth's lyrics very interesting, some times I can decipher them and other times they are way past me and this album is another example of that.
The instruments on this album were great as well for me. Inferno has never disappointed me on a single album, and at this album being a bigger step into the black metal genre he still managed to implement some great drumming besides just typical blast beats you would hear on a regular black metal album. Orion's bass work was also top notch as well and through the great production on the album i could hear it much clearer then on past albums. The guitar work on this album was overall good, there weren't really any real original riffs coming from it. But some of the soloing however was pretty fun to listen to like on "Messe Noire" or the title track where they actually used some pentatonic scales in it too. The use of Saxophone on "In the Absence Ov Light" turned out surprisingly good and i think its safe to say that's the first use of a saxophone in black metal. Overall the atmosphere of the album is fantastic. I noticed some ambient vocals too in some of the tracks like "Amen" and the title track. This seemed to add more of a haunting quality to the album as well. The last track on the album "O Father O Satan O Sun!" had some amazing back choir following Nergal's vocals which turned out to be one of the most memorable parts of the album.
As far as complaints I have only a few for this album. Like i said before i wish some of the guitar riffs were more original, and some of the solos in the album weren't that good. The song structure on "Blow your Trumpets Gabriel" I found was a little goofy too but an overall great song. The whole Satanism lyricism is a bit redundant, but they did seem to have a great take on it.
Overall this will probably hold to be the album of the year for me, but never say never. Every track on this album I found to be original and not a spot on the whole album bored me. The vocals on the album were godly, the instruments provided a great atmosphere and still gave room for Inferno's talent to show itself like it always has. I cannot say enough good things about this album, it makes me truly proud to be a metal head.