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A Work Of Death Metal-Art - 99%

MHITO, June 15th, 2003

For years and years Behemoth has been known as a Black Metal band. A thing they quite radically changed with the album “Satanica” an album which showcased a more Death Metal orientated style. Sure enough there were a lot of Black-purists who shouted rhetoric like “treason” and “sell-out”. All of these gay idiots, who can’t seem to grasp the fact that it’s a band’s choice to evolve into a different style and that that is something the scene just has to deal with, were abruptly silenced by “Thelema6”, an album that brought a nice balance in the Morbid Angel-style and the more Black Metalish style. The only problem that album had was a kind of clinical sound and ditto vibe. In these kinds of situations you’re always a bit anxious when it comes to new material by a band so obviously talented and with such potential.

And the new album, "Zos Kia Cultus - Here & Beyond", is indeed a breath of fresh air in the Death Metal scene. In my (not so) humble opinion Death Metal has been creatively dead for a few years now only pushed forward by a few bands (faster execution on every consecutive album is not progression) and Behemoth is one of them. My God! What An Album! I really don’t know where to start so I’ll start at the beginning. After a brooding intro filled with religious samples the guitars start laying down a very heavy riff which is the spine for the song "Horns Ov Baphomet". And straight from the top it’s clear; this album is ALIVE. It feels like an almost sentient being that breathes and moves. I know, I’m beginning to sound like some kind of tree hugging hippy that’s still coming down from last night’s LSD-trip but don’t take my word for it and listen for your self.

Now let’s see if I can find something negative to write about this album... As hard as my speakers will allow (which is considerable) this album sounds so fucking beautiful. The dynamic and overpowering sound sometimes remembers me of Morbid Angel’s “Covenant” albeit a tad more layered and varied. Of course that’s not the only comparison with MA that’s on this album. Listen to songs like "Modern iconoclasts" and the brooding “As Above So Below” and one can easily define the foundations of this style, but still without losing their own face. So when it comes to the music it’s all-good.

Maybe the technique then? By now it has become somewhat redundant to mention individual musicians in this type of music because if a band is going to keep its head above water they need a brilliant drummer and a pair of tight guitarists. What I am going to mention is Nergal’s solos, the man isn’t a genius when it come to this but he knows how to use that which is at his disposal often creating beautiful and exciting effects. The use of a Harmonizer is a nice touch and ads a certain eastern vibe to the whole.

Maybe I can Bitch about the lyrical content? Hardly, Nergal and Krysztof Azarewicz again have looked deep within. And the dominating theme is the power delved from themselves, the music and the band. With a light cabalistic approach there’s being looked into a cultural source of more than 6000 years old in a well informed way that’s highly unusual for this genre. They have found a way to combine this old wisdom with modern feeling and emotions thereby closing the gap between philosophy and feeling. So again, nothing to complain.

The sleeve maybe? This one comes down to taste really but I love this kind of artwork. No blood, no limbs and amateurish Photoshop bungling. What we do get is a lot of dark symbolism, which makes some of the lyrics very hard to read, so that’s one little point of criticism (I just need glasses).

There is not a bad note on this album!

The only reason this album doesn’t get the full 100 points is a sneaky suspicion that the next album will be even better!!!

(This review was originally written for http://www.lordsofmetal.nl and is republished with kind permission of the webmaster)