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Just Keeps Getting Better and Better - 94%

darkreif, May 31st, 2007

I'm sure fans of older Behemoth material are probably going to hate The Apostasy. Where Behemoth used to be a black metal band, they are quickly moving towards a more approachable death metal sound rather than the raw and atmospheric approach to black metal. The Apostasy takes off where Demigod left off and pushes the band further away from the "kvlt" black metal sound and into an expanded territory.

The music is well rounded especially for a band with a sound as solid as Behemoth. Behemoth have never needed to compromise on much of anything but their evolution in musical writing is the true brilliance behind The Apostasy.

The guitar work is stunningly brutal. Riffs have never sounded so mean and heavy before this album. Even Demigod sounds somewhat tame compared to the opening riff of "Be Without Fear". The leads are pretty sparse on the album - melody is something that Behemoth has always struggled with but every once in a while you find a good lead in the music with a nice accentuating pinch harmonic to counter the blast riffs. Most of the leads are somewhat pushed to the back of the production but it doesn't take too much away from the album. The solos are well written and good. Nothing too special about the solos in particular but they are not out of place. Occasionally an acoustic guitar does show up on the album, mostly for atmosphere's sake, and it does give your ears a break from being pummeled.

The drums are quite amazing on the album. Instead of the essential black metal blast beats for an hour on the album, there is quite a bit of variety in the presentation. There is a lot of tom use on the drums and alongside with good cymbal work it really creates a chaotic sense that really builds hellacious atmosphere. The drumming technique could use a little more emphasis in the mix but that isn't the bands fault - the drumming gets blasted out by the guitars.

The vocals have always been something that sets Behemoth aside. Nergal's satanic growls are something of nightmares and this time around they aren't overproduced. Going with a more "raw" live feel, there is only layers in the vocals for spots where as the rest of the album is a single voice that conjures some of the coolest images. Nergal does vary his presentation a little bit, adding a bit of color to his voice at spots - it is subtle but its there. I should also note that the duet with Warrel Dane is quite interesting considering both have very unique vocal arrangements. That song has some of the best atmosphere on the entire album. The addition of some choirs in the background also give the album an epic feeling.

The production is striking at how clean everything sounds. The drums and guitars are clean sounds and even Nergal's vocals (despite how harsh they are) are well recorded and mixed. This album is definitely approaching ground that isn't black metal anymore. There is death metal influence all about in the album which gives it an edge on some of the other bands out there. Rather than going melodic like some other "black" metal bands - Behemoth have moved even to a more abrasive approach. This is some modern black metal at its best.

Songs to check out: Be Without Fear, Slaying the Prophets ov Isa, Inner Sanctum.