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A great release of modern death metal - 95%

GrimR, November 24th, 2008

Behemoth strike again with their eighth full-length album, The Apostasy. There's happened some change since their last album Demigod. Though all the death metal ingredients can be found (the brutal pace included) , Behemoth has taken a step towards bit more melodic and modern spheres.

The first song, Rome 64 C.E., starts off with some church-like clean high-pitched female vocals, which quickly transform into a great riff and some very fast drumming. Great riffs swarm in and out of focus, and the music remains extremely fast-paced throughout the album. There are some acoustic parts as well, sounding a lot like some polish folk music, where Nergal’s polish background becomes more dominant. Inner Sanctum – with some great additional vocals – , for example, slows the pace down a little before the raging force of Pazuzu and the uncompromising power of the final song Christgrinding Avenue. Every song has a solid internal continuum, and despite the constant variability, the songs remain perfectly together and whole.

Even though the speed really stands out from the darkened soundscape, the complex and melodic guitar riffs form the main frame of Behemoth’s music. The melodies are creative and versatile: not at all as dark, as the soundscape as a whole, but almost clear; and so very beautiful. At times Behemoth’s music style seems to represent melodic, rather than traditional death metal (definitely not blackened death metal, as may have been on their earlier releases). The guitarist-vocalist Nergal’s and the additional guitarist Seth’s leads, decisively sprinkled all over the album, are fast and full of hatred, bringing in the last ingredient and completing the picture.

As said before, the drumming on the album is extremely fast. Different variable drum beats just keep coming -- in a pace much faster than could reasonably be supposed possible for a pair of hands and feet to muster. One might think this would drown other insteuments underneath. Not so. The drums do have a very dominant role on the album, but they somehow just fill the seams of the guitars, rather than control the whole music. The drums create anger, but also diversity to the soundscape, bringing out more dimensions and aspects, than the guitars can alone array.

The vocals, on the other hand, create most of the darkness and rawness of the soundscape. Nergal’s low harsh growls are saturated with wrath and infested with hatred. Nothing very different from other death metal vocalists, but there's no need for any extraordinaryties here. The lyrical content consists of misanthropical views and the lack of free will among men. People, religious people mostly, are seen as slaves of society and church. There is also a short introduction to each song written by Nergal, concerning the lyrical theme of the song, or the circumstances under which the song in question was born.

Overall, The Apostasy is a great release, and a major improvement on Demigod. I warmly recommend this album to any friend of modern and fast-paced death metal. Behemoth's music style has changed a lot since their debut; personally I hope that Behemoth would continue on the same rails they're riding on The Apostasy.