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Stunning - 100%

flightoficarus86, October 21st, 2014

This is one of the most difficult albums for me to review. Everything about it is stellar to me, but I can’t quite put my finger exactly on the elements that make it so great. I encourage you to spend more time listening to the album rather than trying to glean the quality from my bungling words here. However, I will do my best.

If you listen to extreme metal of any kind and have not seen the video for Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, you must be living under a rock. This amazing track opens the album and is by far one of the best introductions ever. Most of the elements at play here help to sum up what to expect from the album. There are minimalist, doomy sections with grim, caustic growls from Nergal. There are your more decidedly “Behemoth” moments of completely chaotic blastbeats. The riffs are memorable, and the atmosphere is as thick as fog.

This album could be considered a sister album to Evangelion, as it shares many of the same elements. But if that is the case, The Satanist is the prodigy child. There is an increased focus on melody and scope. Behemoth expertly lace haunting choir parts, horns, and other instrumentation into their dark compositions. Yet they keep them fairly low in the mix in most cases. To me, this differentiates The Satanist from other symphonic albums. Rather than being loud and bombastic, the subtle inclusions give a more eerie effect. It is as if we are hearing the echoes of ghosts or the distant cries of hell.

Production here is miles above anything Behemoth have done in the past. Gone is the murky boominess of Thelema 6, the clangy bass of The Apostasy, the overwhelming loudness of Demigod. Everything comes through clearly thanks to an increased focus on overall composition and well-crafted slow sections to better emphasize the fast ones. As a result, each track has more of an identity than on previous albums. This does not sound over-polished either. The band sounds very live and doesn’t suffer from a compressed feel. I’d compare it to the nice balance achieved by Blackwater Park.

I could go on and on about all of the devastating factors going on in Nergal’s life during this recording that make this accomplishment even more astounding, but I’ll let the music do the talking. Aside from the aforementioned single, Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, Amen, Ben Saher, and O Father O Satan O Sun are among the standouts. But honestly, this is one of the few albums that I keep every track with me at all times. There are plenty of detractors out there who seem to want more of the same, but they are fools. This is one album that deserves every bit of praise being heaped on it. I have listened to every Behemoth album and find a different enjoyment in each of them, but none grip me the same as this one has. If you want to listen to Satanica, listen to Satanica…it didn’t go anywhere. Nergal is so happy with this one, he has stated that they may never make another album again. This could be one of the best swansongs ever.