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Behemoth's Endorama - 40%

6CORPSE6GRINDER6, October 10th, 2018

Behemoth stopped being relevant in the underground years ago; thanks to the good marketing skills of their leader Nergal that converted the band into a very good company. Changing styles constantly has always been another particular aspect of the band, starting with a traditional black metal proposal and morphing into a heavier and more brutal blackened death metal act a few albums later, which I consider a fine move since they managed to release memorable and intense music in both genres. Their previous album “The Satanist” (2014) shows the same theatrical and symphonic feel featured here but definitely had an extreme element in the percussion and some of the riffs. For this album, “I Loved You At Your Darkest” (2018) they used some of that intriguing and obscure elements as well but there’s no violence or aggression whatsoever. The children choir at the beginning of the album for example is kind of chilling and dark but in a goth rock way, not very black metal.

The visual work behind the album concept, the pictures, the live performance, the music videos and the lyrics; I admit everything has a high aesthetic value but I feel it looks and sounds way too much like a darker version of Ghost. Musically, the composition and arrangements are probably also one step closer to the narrative style that Nergal wants but they also sacrificed the little relation they had left with extreme metal. The first couple of tracks involve aggressive percussion in some sections, tupa-tupa beats mainly and a couple of bars of blast beats but the sense of melody shows there’s a conflict between the belligerent nature of extreme metal and the delicate concept of the album. This failure is materialized in track 4 “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica”, that’s exactly where things started going wrong. The nostalgic and sad arpeggios at the beginning of the song remind me more of radio friendly bands like Evanescence or HIM, the mid paced drums that accompany through the rest of the song are extremely boring and flat and the ecclesiastical choruses are absolutely vomitive, I felt I was in church. The rest of the album follows exactly the same formula.

The composition talent behind this piece of music is undeniable, what bothers me most is the intention to brand this as “wagnerian black metal” when there’s nothing or little of resemblance between this and the old Behemoth or even the genre’s raw and truly evil roots at all. There are a number of other contemporary acts like Bathuska or Cult Of Luna that tried to attempt something similar but remained true to the canons of black metal, with a fair share of blast beats, high tempos and low tuning; not of that featured in this album. The vocals are also lacking a lot of attitude and potency, you can blame Nergal’s age for that. The production of the album is top notch as you can expect, the symphonic arrangements and samples are intelligently placed in the mix to generate impact and impress but the riffing is pretty weak and the harmonies and scales used this time took the extreme metal part away from the band’s sound, leaving room just for the obscure but indigestible solemn and delicate ceremony-like tones.