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A Very Enjoyable Little EP - 71%

thomash, November 30th, 2008

Behemoth’s Apostasy, while still enjoyable, was a step down for the band. However, Ezkaton demonstrates that the band can still put out some quality material, even if it is in the form of an EP obviously cobbled together from assorted unreleased and re-recorded tracks. The version of “Chant for Ezkaton” on this EP, for example, has quickly become one of my favorite Behemoth songs; simple it may be, but it is nevertheless catchy and well-executed. Originally recorded for Satanica, the song sounds better on this EP with cleaner production and a better vocal performance from Nergal. While that song is clearly the best track on the EP, the rest of the tracks are good enough that this EP is about as worthwhile as an EP can get.

The first two songs are studio recordings of Behemoth tracks, the second of which, "Qadosh," is exclusive to this EP. The production is every bit as good as Apostasy and they feature the same simple, catchy riffs, aggressive drumming, and unique vocals that metalheads have come to expect from Behemoth’s death metal. Both “Chant” and “Qadosh” are certainly good enough to be on a Behemoth album, even if “Qadosh” feels a bit too long. In fact, I wish that “Chant” had been included as a bonus track on Apostasy as it would probably have made the album a bit more varied. In short, the EP kicks off with two catchy, well-produced songs.

Next, Behemoth has included a couple of covers. The production is a bit less polished than on the originals, but they’re still well-mixed. While their Master’s Hammer cover probably doesn’t do the original justice, it’s still pretty good. However, it’s not very essential. The way Behemoth plays it, the track just sounds like some generic, albeit catchy, old-school death metal. Their cover of “I’m Not Jesus” by the Ramones is a real treat, though. It’s thoroughly amusing to hear the classic punk refrain chanted by Nergal in his trademarked hoarse yells. Behemoth does a good job of making both songs their own, but the covers are most memorable for the hilarity of hearing “I’m Not Jesus” played in the style of death metal.

Finally, the EP is finished off with some of Behemoth’s classics played live with surprisingly good production. You can tell it’s live, but only just. Including a live version of “Chant” seems redundant, but hearing recordings of “Beyond the Pagan Vastlands” and “Decade Ov Therion” played live is cool, even if the crowd sounds a little less enthusiastic than they should. Both tracks feature some of Behemoth’s most memorable riffs.

Overall, the EP isn’t really for those who aren’t familiar with Behemoth, but Behemoth fans will enjoy having it. The selection of tracks is certainly above-average for an EP, even if it’s not essential. (It's certainly not substantive enough to merit buying the 4-disc deluxe box-set.) You’ll enjoy having it if you get it, but you won’t necessarily miss it if you don’t have it.