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I think we all had a feeling of how this album would sound with "Lucifer" being the last track on Evangelion. It definitely hinted at a change in sound for Behemoth, lending itself more to black metal than the last 3 - 6 albums. I find that "The Satanist" is probably they're most black metal influenced album since Pandemonic Incantations.
Just to point a few things out, I have read several times that "The Satanist has a weak production" or "a more commercial production". How in god's name do people hear that in this? Fuck knows, 'cause this is one heavy, bordering on 'wall of noise' album. The production is amazing. It's crisp, it's full and it is no way over-produced. This is a brilliant change from... well all of Behemoth's albums in the last 15 years. For me, they have always been too softly produced, or just have quite a boring tone in general. Another big change for the band other than production is the songwriting. The songs are written in a far more "progressive" and in an all in all more interesting and less predicable way than previous efforts. For example "In the Absence of Light" is written in a very odd and fresh way. The song stops and slows right down twice; the first time being soft and atmospherically focused, the second more focused on the heavy deliverance of the bass and drums. This is one of my favourite songs on the album, as it is a good representation of the albums strengths.
Here are the negatives for the album. Nergal's vocals are brilliant!... Most of the time. Unfortunately I did not appreciate the vocal direction he went with in the songs "The Satanist" and "Oh Father, Oh Satan,Oh Sun!". Nergal's patterns seem to have rock influence in them and this is where I feel the album is trying to be a bit more commercial. They sound strained and awkward and I just don't think they fit at all with the swing of the rest of the album. Another thing I feel I must comment on is the god awful guitar wank in "Messe Noire". This is a shitty hard rock solo that destroys the last third of what would have been one of my favourite tracks on the album, not to mention it's way too fucking long. This wankery reappears a few times, but not song breaking amounts of it.
Though there are a few negatives for "The Satanist", it is a rather good album, with a few excellent songs. The major strengths of this album lie in the production, the atmosphere and the general new and unique direction Nergal has taken Behemoth. This shows promise for the bands future as the beast progresses and explores new territory, even if not always for the best.
Standout tracks - Furor Divinus, Amen, In the Absence Ov Light, Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel