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You know that noise a screaming baby makes just after you slit her throat? Torog captured it perfectly on Rituale Satanum but has since bled out and now sings with the voice of the demon that possesses him. The most obvious change is more growl less shriek and the vocals are less powerfully rendered in the mix.
All the sacrifice and adherence to proper ritual has paid off, their master has heard and blessed them with a steady stream of ideas. They have not had to rehash old glories in a hopeless attempt to capture Satan’s attention. Now that they have sold their souls, they should start to resemble Steve Vai.
Over the years Behexen has released some great discs with quite the diversity of ideas, like the folk middle section on “Eternal Realm” the high shriek on “Rituale Satanum” long slowly building songs on the Horna split, slow pace with heavy bass on Blessed Be The Darkness, or the majestic keys on Rituale Satanum. The fast and noisy “By The Blessing Of Satan” works just as well as the keyboard driven mostly instrumental “ The Land of the Troll” So the question is what next.
“Let the Horror and Chaos Come” gets the proceedings going with chants and choir and combines the mesmerizing quality of “Distant Call From Darkness” with more speed. The all out speed continues with “Born in the Serpent of the Abyss”, catch a ride on the Motorhead express then catch a steady flow of simple riffs and gravelly vocals for a high memorability factor to which is added backing choir and a very nice guitar solo to end. On “O.O.O.” you will need H.P. Lovecraft as your interpreter. And, as proof that drummer Horns offered up his soul as well I refer you to “Cathedral Of The Ultimate Void” In the title track, you have been led to the secret meeting room blindfolded, the ongoing chants are audible as you receive your instruction, until finally the blindfold comes off…let us rejoice…by listening to “And All Believers Shall be Damned”.
I wish I had the booklet art to look at, but Moribund did not send it with the promo, not even a cardboard sleeve with the cover art, just a two inch square black and white image on a scrap of paper mostly taken up with the barcode.
This is the way Satanic black metal is meant to be played, do not let anyone tell you different. If they try to you have just been introduced to your next sacrificial victim.
Originally written for http://teethofthedivine.com
Gather your circle of claws to rip apart another Scandinavian black metal album folks, on our agenda today is Finnish fornicators of all things pure Behexen. My Soul For His Glory will no doubt be hotly anticipated after the ripping By The Blessing Of Satan way back when in 2004.
Let’s begin as nature intended; at the beginning. The intro to first track “Let The Horror And Chaos Come” has a genuine unease within. For those who remember Doom 64, how the music on said game generated chilling atmosphere. Obtuse and unexpected, the opener is powerful and chord-driven, much like the rest of the record, and much unlike the previous record which was an ominous blasting of high-strung riffs.
Not without its charms such as “And All Believers Shall Be Damned” with its maelstrom of evil riffs is a nod to past incarnations of Behexen and “My Stigmas Bleeding Black” sporting its irrepressible two note riff this album has some evidence to sway the balance in its favour.
Raw and unchained yes, but nowhere near as bloodthirsty as By The Blessing Of Satan. Despite being colder than a nun’s thighs, My Soul For His Glory washes over rather than sinks in, save for a few brilliant highlights. If you like Finnish black metal try Azaghal’s Omega instead.
There are very few albums out there from which every single song can be called a favorite. Each track from Emperor’s “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk,” for example, is prone to get stuck in my head, beckoning me to return to that album for another go. The latest long-player from Finland’s Behexen, for me at least, has become one of those albums. I can’t remember the last album I listened to so many times in such a short period of time.
And of course there is reason to this. “My Soul For His Glory” is a fresh mix of the best Black Metal has to offer. Dirty riffing and blasts serve only as the necessary filler to make the majority of this album sound even sweeter. Most songs feature this formula of faster sections giving way to slower, mid-paced sections. “Born in the Serpent of the Abyss” is a prime example of this, as it transitions from blasting chaos, to a mid-paced groove, and then into a sonic landscape of chanting, backed by the very audible bass, and even an emotional guitar solo. The following “Demonic Fleshtemple,” however, provides memorable moments at a consistently fast pace.
As just mentioned, the bass is not only well-represented, it plays a role almost equal to the guitars, often playing its own harmony and deepening this already profound work of “orthodox” Black Metal. The Finnish sound is known for its heavy bass, but Behexen work it into a production quite similar to that of “Casus Luciferi” and “Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice” (again with the orthodoxy). Guitar leads waft like ether above the heavy rhythm section, while the drumming never stagnates.
We all have those individual songs we love to go back to again and again to give just one more listen. The same notion applies to this entire album. That statement alone speaks for the quality songwriting presented here. Tapping into the darkest emotions, “My Soul For His Glory” sustains a cathartic ebb and flow. Daily it beckons me to another satisfying listen. We’re halfway through 2008 and so far nothing has topped this. It’s got another six months before it might join Aborym (’06) and Deathspell Omega (’07) for my “Album of the Year” certification.
Treading the footsteps of 2004's "By the Blessing of Satan" has proved a hard act to follow for BEHEXEN. Considered by many the band's magnum opus, "By the Blessing..." set the mark for what black metal audiences have come to expect as standard fare from a band seen as one of the leading exponents of abrasive, blasting black metal.
Startlingly different from the outset, "My Soul..." unfortunately fails to come close to its predecessor's notoriety, even in its obviously most determined and well-written sections.
However, this album's material is not completely beyond redemption. Some "Casus Luciferi"-era WATAIN sections have been thrust into the mix, most noticeably on the track, 'Demonic Fleshtemple', demonstrating BEHEXEN's appreciation for Swedish metal sensibilities and haunting, serpentine riff structures. When the long-awaited, trademark blasting begins, it is sustained and consistent, if a little short lived. Yet, the majority of sounds on this release hum of mediocrity and a sluggish, uninspired approach to creating black metal that robs this release of any tangible potency.
BEHEXEN's vocal style up to recently was always a memorable and notable feature. High-pitched and endlessly extreme, it suited their strong, deep, heavy guitar tone perfectly. The majority of the vocals on this release could only be described as mid-level growls; the type that sit on the cusp between death and black metal, never truly pledging allegiance to either camp and are left sounding tired and generic.
The addition of clean, chant-like vocal passages is one of the few redeeming features of this release. These are used to great effect on the track, 'Born in the Serpent of the Abyss' and later on in the title track, which presents itself as a hymn of total devotion, and is utterly anthemic in its delivery: "I believe in the one clandestine and the unspeakable Lord/And in the one Star amongst stars/Of which black flame we all have been created/And in to where we all will return."
Strangely, even after 11 years in existence, BEHEXEN continue to opt for juvenile, entry-level black metal song titles. Whether this is due to a loss in translation or an attempt to make the band more accessible to the "typical" metal audience is not clear. A band such as DEATHSPELL OMEGA are often lyrically and thematically impenetrable, yet are still lauded by wide-ranging metal audiences. However, a closer inspection of the lyrics on the release does reveal a devotion and sincerity that goes beyond the usual Hollywood-tinged and marketable Satanic sentiment.
If a record's artwork and imagery was to promise a level of content, "My Soul..." would have been a contender to knock any of black metal's most seminal works off its pedestal. Artwork rendered in the style of medieval woodcuts may seem commonplace or even clichéd when found in black metal, but BEHEXEN's imagery on this outing sees this style at its pinnacle.
As a band concerned with primitive Devil worship and occult obscurity, the art shows versions of a deformed, reversed Christianity. The cover image depicts a Christ-like figure surrounded by supplicants, his stance emulating that of the Nazarene, resplendent with darkened halo, as serpents stream from the ends of his garments. The inlay booklet is masterfully created in the style of an ancient magical text: incense-stained pages with archaic fonts are sullied with splashes of blood and candle wax.
For what was billed as an attractive and promising package set to silence all unbelievers and scatter the "fashionable-metal" mob, it is truly a pity that "My Soul..." fails to deliver in all the areas that should now come as second nature to an outfit such as BEHEXEN.
Their four year silence was spent touring alongside bands of note such as ARCHGOAT and HORNA while composing the material found on this latest work. With ARCHGOAT's uncompromising output as inspiration, it would not have been punishable to think that keeping such company would result in a release that could easily contend for 'album of the year' status.
An album solely for collectors and BEHEXEN fanatics, "My Soul..." loiters as an embarrassing stop-gap of a release, an offering condemned to never fully appease a ravenous and flitting audience.
Standout tracks: 'Born in The Serpent of The Abyss', 'Cathedral of The Ultimate Void', 'My Soul for His Glory'.
My Soul Sold…My Soul Is Theirs
As a proud black metalist, I also try to keep somewhat of an open mind. Yet again, every review is almost a no-ends match when it comes to personal opinion and taste. Which is why, contrary to the last two reviews, I would have to say that Behexen’s third and long-awaited follow-up LP, ‘My Soul For His Glory,’ is another accomplished and consistent work of art as black metal should be. Frankly, I don’t care what any naysayer mentions otherwise.
‘My Soul For His Glory’ is yet again another devotion to Satan, which is understandable for this band being consisted of honest (and I emphasize ‘honest’) Satanist and being a prominent Finnish black metal act since the tail end of the Second Wave. Keeping consistent with their themes, aesthetics and repertoire the album opens up with a very creepy, doomy toll on “Let the Horror and Chaos Come.” The song is both “groovy” (as in a punk rock-like groove) as much as it is more restraint. This isn’t to say this is bad, but I believe it to be a nice change from the rather predictable beginning of constant machine-gun fast tempos with blazing blast beats and humming bird riffs.
The next bunch of songs all seem to share the same amount of dynamic variance between fast, medium and slow paced tempos, allowing for moments of higher omen and baleful aura sung by the rather excellent male choir voices (I’m guessing it’s mainly the voices of the band members – well done), specifically heard on “Born In the Serpent of the Abyss” and the title track. The whole album winds down to the same ending vibe of tempo, atmosphere and emotion on the closing track, “My Stigmas Bleeding Black.”
The production could have been a little sharper on the drums and the vocals, but the schematics are set to have the drums just holding the guitars and vocals above as the “baseboard” of the mix. Fortunately, the drums possess a natural sound all over with absolutely no triggers, not even on the kick drums. Just the way I like it! The vocals are a little more “cleaner” in production with less mirror-like reverb, but it does allow for greater clarification and annunciation to be heard with Hoath Torog’s voice. To some extent, there are many moments on this album that remind me of older Darkthrone a la ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ and ‘Under A Funeral Moon’-era.
Reiterated, his fearsome Finnish quartet truly takes the time to craft together another evil spell for the first time in four years. This album may be a little more restraint, slowed in pace to a certain degree and may not pack the exact same amount of sharp sonic blades as ‘By the Blessing of Satan,’ but that doesn’t make it a bad record. It just has a slightly different edge on the same blade.
As I’ve mentioned before, Behexen are a band that put the heart & soul effort into their music which can only be interpreted and understood by those who connect on the same level as them. If others may think this album sucks, well…your loss. I would recommend that those who have trashed this album to give it another listen first.
Worthy of the respect it deserves, my soul has been sold to Him, for His glory!
Highlighted Tracks: 'Let the Horror and Chaos Come,' 'Born in the Serpent of the Abyss,' 'Demonic Fleshtemple,' 'O.O.O.,' 'My Soul For His Glory,' 'And All Believers Shall Be Damned.'
The greater their past albums were, the greater is the disappointment in my shorts when hearing this album. Two fucking names that deserve a lead intoxication from an AK-47 for being mere punk-tinged whineballs rendering black metal directionless are Behexen and Malleus Malleficarum, on their latest albums.
Behexen, unlike Malleus Maleficarum, were able to pull the string and unleash fierce onslaughts over the heads of the audience. Judging from the way it starts, this album would be a huge change of pace, with that over-stretched intro-douchion containing the oh-so-clichee screams of men, chicks and infants and whatever I might have forgotten. One can quickly realize that the black metal scene is split between the traditionalist worshippers and "atmospheric" scientists, and some bands try to combine these two aesthetics. Behexen is one of these cases. Fact is, as in many other cases of this kind, they fail. Moonblood was a successful case of blending melancholy and aggression.
What Behexen did is a collection of sonorities transformed into the stereotypes of this genre, with a different presentation. The general pace has been slowed down (I would say a lot, considering the teeth-shattering bombast of By The Blessing..., for example), and some uninteligible/badly recorded/badly played bursts of speed rip through the songs. Some sort of leads are present in the album, and a few are enjoyable, albeit not a considerable enhancement. The vocal part is not as loud as on previous works, and it hardly shows any trace of emotional involvement. I just guess Satan will become allergic to black metal, since so many black metal bands include his name in their verses just like a steak includes a piece of flesh. An odd moment is when the screaming part is replaced by a hollow chant, which sounds great nonetheless! Though, you can't give a platinum medal to an album that steps so many times in a big pile of confusion and shows only a few traces of inspiration. It's almost comical how a band of such a caliber promises a triumphant comeback to blow off the competition and manages only to blow.
This album could be qualified very justfully as "buy or don't buy", with emphasis on the second part. Or, if you prefer the first part, just write "download" instead.
If you were expecting a brilliant follow up to "Rituale Satanum" or "By The Blessing of Satan," then don't. This album is awful. I was really anticipating this album. I was a big fan of their first two albums and thought that they couldn't go wrong, well we were both wrong.
First off, the vocals are completely different from the traditional Behexen. I thought that the traditional blood curdling vocals added a special intensity and uniqueness to the Behexen atmosphere. The vocals on this album are just generic and add absolutely nothing to the music.
Secondly, the sound is muffled. The previous albums had a sharp sound to the music , in addition to the higher pitches of the vocals. They still use the same grainy guitar distortion, which is good, but the riffs aren't anything special.
I only listened to this entire album with hopes of at least one decent track, I honestly couldn't pick out the best track of the album for you, they all sound the same, not only to each other, but to about 70% of the black metal that's out there. I feel like I've already heard this album before, too many times. I was really excited for this release, since it had been 4 years since we'd heard anything from Behexen. However, this album is just another sub-mediocre, less-raw, generic black metal album.