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Behemoth > Opvs Contra Natvram > Reviews > jackies_eclaire
Behemoth - Opvs Contra Natvram

Behemoth's Return to a New Form - 78%

jackies_eclaire, September 19th, 2022

One of my pet-peeves is when bands release half the runtime on their album in singles before the album release date, which then lessens my excitement for the actual release. Often, once the full album is available, I find myself unimpressed, since the best material has already been released. Behemoth fell a bit into this trap with Opvs Contra Natvram, but for once I’m not disappointed.

I was, perhaps controversially, a big fan of The Satanist. Call me a poser, but I don’t think Behemoth’s best work ended in ’99. That album really got me started listening to black metal, and because of that I have major respect for it. However, the follow-up, I Loved You at Your Darkest (which felt very much like a poor imitative continuation of the album before it), was quite disappointing. All the same sort of songwriting elements were there, but they felt dull and formulaic. But with this new album, however derivative it may seem on the surface, bears a few unique twists every now and then which bring the well-executed blackened death metal sound a new enjoyable quality.

The sound in many ways resembles the previous two albums, with backing choirs, arpeggiated minor chords, and chromatic harmonized tremolo riffs which blend together to create a unique and in many ways unparalleled dark tonality. Not only does Behemoth incorporate these elements well, but they aren’t as afraid of straying further into straight-ahead black metal as they have been recently. In most of the songs on the album, there are several points where the texture and tonality feels so blackened that I could very well compare it to Immortal or Gorgoroth. Good examples of this can be found on “Malaria Vvlgata” and “Thy Becoming Eternal.”

The album comes to an end with an epic, romantic, symphonic closer- very much in the modern Behemoth style. Neural’s spoken and clean vocals are a pleasant surprise, and fit very well with the haunting piano and ambient textures.

I welcome the new direction Behemoth seems to be headed, and I implore anyone skeptical of the quality of their recent material to give this new album a listen.