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Behemoth - The Satanist - 100%

The Clansman 95, June 14th, 2018

Behemoth's "The Satanist" may as well be considered their so-far masterpiece. Crytics all over the world have praised the album for being original, inspired and definitely excellent; personally, I totally agree: The Satanist is the best blackend death metal record of the decade. It even went gold in Poland. That's saying something. Now, off to review.

Nergal decided to abandon the multi-layered vocals typical of Behemoth's previous albums (think to "The Apostasy") in favour of a more natural approach, and the result is his best vocal performance, hands down. His screams and growls sound demonic although not sounding too artificially elaborated. Then, the bass sound. Orion is finally clearly audible in the mix: the bass shines in every song of the album, and is not overwhelmed by the guitars any more, providing some interestig grooves and riffs, as in "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" or "O Father, O Satan, O Sun". The guitar sound is heavy, dark, sinister, beautifully distorted and hefty, in other words: beautiful. The riffs are a mixture of death metal and black metal, and the songs are also distinguished by the presence of arpeggios and tremolo picking. The solos are tasteful and really add elegance to the mix: they are never self-indulgent, sometimes they are simple, sometimes they are elaborate; they can sound either furious, or sinister, or both, according to the case. The whole production is crystal-clear, as expected from Nuclear Blast. The simple, really heavy, sinister and full of energy riffs are accompanied by Inferno's furious and typical double bass drumming; his performance proves him once again being one of extreme metal's best drummers, without any doubt; spot on his blast-beat sessions too. Nergal chose to give a slighty symphonic touch to the album, writing sessions where the guitars and the drums are backed by classical instruments (trombone, strings, saxophone...), and this really adds atmosphere and makes sound everything even more epic. The lyrics are deep, somehow cryptic and beautiful, as always: they talk about occultism and satanism, inspired by Nergal's own philosophy.

Let's talk about the tracks: we have mid-paced songs, like the opener "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel", the title track or the fantastic "O Father, O Satan, O Sun!" (an incredible epic that includes a really catchy bass riff, and which is probably also the best track on the album), and fast, furious songs, like "Furor Divinus" or "Amen": each and every track is extremely well composed and enjoyable to listen, as well as well distinguished from the others. It's interesting to notice that, in some tracks ("In The Absence Ov Light" and the final epic), Nergal made an excellent use of spoken parts, an expedient that really adds to the whole atmosphere and listening experience, feeding the dark splendour of this musical masterpiece.

"The Satanist" proves to be one of Behemoth's finest albums: excellent song structure, clear production, fantastic lyrics and a great vocal performance by Nergal make it an obliged listen to any black/death metal fan. Don't miss it!