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"The Satanist" is the portal into which Behemoth's evolution, trials, tribulations, and triumphs all remain in dark meditation. I won't exhaust the long list of issues that landed the group in a state of dormancy for several years, but traces of Behemoth’s journey are more evident than ever throughout "The Satanist," which is an extremely significant restoration in both sound and style. I've always held the band's black metal releases above "The Apostasy" and other records based more on the foundations of death metal, but "The Satanist" stands with a profound element of power with more dynamism than their other works. "The Satanist" is a superb blend of Behemoth's musical evolution through growth and distress, towering in a renewed sense of vitality. It is exceptional work.
"The Satanist" is a synthesis of Behemoth's various eras yet something beyond them all; rebirth, a theme not foreign to the group, gives way to what is definitely the most profound musical direction of any testament before it. The black metal elements make a dramatic presence in the death metal spine, returning Behemoth to a form that would fit more in the vein of God Dethroned or Belphegor than, say, the Nile-ish works of yesteryears—the strengthening of these elements leads to an incredibly passionate and artistic assault. It's essentially a masterful culmination of all faces and masks worn by the band, led by the epic march of doom of "O Father O Satan O Sun!" and followed closely by "In the Absence ov Light," a sinister onslaught of dark atmosphere and ferocious riffing.
But I can't in good conscience downplay the rest of the record: the other songs dawn on a new age for Behemoth that eclipses most of their prior releases. Everything "The Satanist" offers makes it a massacre of blasphemous blasting, starting strong with the macabre atmosphere of the boiling "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" and progressing into the sin-loaded chambers of blackened death metal mastery throughout "Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer" and "Messe Noire." The potent anthems are complimented by the tightest, strongest, most electrifying performances that have ever appeared on any Behemoth record; the unit sounds utterly ravenous and profane, especially Nergal, whose barks are clean and organic against the blackened backdrop and sound much better than the guttural bellows of his previous efforts.
I never would have guessed in a million years that an album of this quality was still in Behemoth's arsenal of cabalistic violence, but the Polish squad has reincarnated its craft and looks sharper than ever. Nergal's voice has never been stronger; the songwriting is extremely vigorous and dominant, leaving no track to capsize; Inferno's percussion remains top-notch; and the production satisfies the musical direction immeasurably. All in all, the blackened death metal direction of "The Satanist," whether it'd been intentional or not, leaves not a single throat of its impious tribe athirst. "The Satanist" is just fantastic from start to finish; it is Behemoth's finest endeavor, and a monumental victory in many forms.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com