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Since the release of this album, Behemoth has gone from strength to strength, releasing three mighty albums in its wake. Yet, even with the passage of time and its inevitable familiarity, “Zos Kia Cultus” remains immensely powerful.
Hell (and the world of metal) hath no fury like Behemoth. Try as they might, no band can mimic the enormity of this Polish 4-piece. While the preceding albums “Satanica” and “Thelema 6” saw a departure from the black metal of their early career and an experimental foray into death metal, “Zos Kia…” is where they got the formula right.
Much promise was shown on the albums before this, with astounding musicianship and composition, “Zos Kia Cultus” is a continuation of this. The sheer power of this record is addictive, and the infectious songs draw one in again and again. Behemoth managed to capture the ferocity of their live shows on this album, as every song is anthemic in its brutality.
Nergal is one of the greatest talents in the industry today, and he only recently started receiving recognition for his great work. Although most people consider “Demigod” to be their best release, and I tend to agree, “Zos Kia…” is also a fine example of why Behemoth is the most crucial death metal band since Death themselves. Nergal is the main creative force in the band, since he writes all the songs and most of the lyrics. Notably, the guitar-work on the album is amazing. It seems Nergal found his stride here, writing some classic riffs and not looking back since. Although the songs are written with natural death/black metal structures and progressions, the riffs themselves are everything but the norm. The guitars sound almost upbeat at times, whilst still amassing tremendous aggression. This is solid death metal fretwork, with palm-muting, tremolo picking and pinch harmonics to spare, but it remains fresh and original, nothing like the typical American death heard elsewhere.
One cannot speak of Behemoth without mentioning Inferno. The drums on “Zos Kia Cultus” (and everything else Behemoth released after it) are nothing short of incredible. The speed and technicality at work here would put Kevin Talley to shame. All the blasts, fills and double-bass somehow seems twice as fast and brutal as anyone else. The tuning is also spot-on, with crisp cymbals and pulverizing double-bass. The snare is sharp, and the drums overall feature quite prominently on the album.
Behemoth doesn’t compromise on anything, as even the bass is impressive. Finger-picking exclusively, Novy delivers very strong chords and the bass is even audible, for once. As the guitars and drums drive furiously forward, Nergal’s vocals add even more aggression. A typical throaty growl, the voice is immensely powerful and yet still unique for the genre. The lyrics round off the overall effect with immense fury and hatred.
Behemoth has come a long way since the release of “Zos Kia Cultus”, establishing themselves firmly as ambassadors for everything that is great in extreme metal. This album proved very early on that they are a force to be reckoned with. Behemoth is years ahead of the curve, and this was the start of their world domination.