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Behemoth - Thelema.6 - 90%

jdmunyon, August 18th, 2013

Thelema.6 is definitely a weird album coming from Behemoth. Introducing myself to the band via Evangelion, and later Zos Kia Cultus, Thelema.6 required several listens before it slowly opened itself up to appreciation. With Evangelion being, in my opinion, a great introduction to Behemoth, and Zos Kia Cultus having song after song of intensive death metal riffing that never ceased to be perfect, Thelema.6 comes across as a little strange, not like the beasts of the other 2 mentioned albums. But repeated listening reveals an album with great songs, production, and enjoyment to be had.

Production wise, everything is solid. The guitars sound good, Nergal’s voice is menacing and passionate, and the drums have the perfect production that makes Inferno’s consistent blast sections just sound amazing.

As a whole, and speaking general, Thelema.6 can essentially be divided into 2 parts – the first part being the opener up to “Christians to the Lions”, and the second part being the rest of the album. Cutting the album in half, we find the first-half of Thelema.6 more-or-less “Orthodox Behemoth”, while the latter half gets stranger and stranger until the album ends. But don’t take this to be a bad thing. There is much enjoyment to be had over this album as a whole, as long as it is given a little patience.

Over the first half of the album, we find what is to be expected of the band around this period. Heavy riffing, usually at a fast tempo, Nergal growling out passionate words condemning Abrahamic religion and embracing unorthodox philosophical ideas, while Inferno pounds away at his drums like a madman. It’s never overdone though, and the beating and blasting and double-bass never gets boring, even if we find the same kinds of drum patterns in most of the songs. “Antichristian Phenomenon” is a great opener, teasing with its mid-paced opening before it erupts into tremolo riff madness and Inferno pounding away. This is the longest song on the album, and still under 5 minutes. These early songs contain lots of unique riffing, but nothing is too unorthodox yet, and especially here, but over the course of the entire album, Behemoth know how to put together great riffs with powerful blasting to run you over.

Once we get past the live-favorite, fast and brutal “Christians to the Lions”, the album changes to a slightly different beast. As we go on through the rest of the track-list, the album gets stranger and stranger. The riffing gets more weird and unique, the song titles get stranger, and the lyrics get much stranger. Take “The Universe Illumination”, which, after opening up, sports a chugging riff and keys in the background, very bombastic and epic while still being strange, before moving to tremolo riff goodness and highly-passionate vocals from Nergal. Or the next track, “Vinvm Sabbati”, with its restrained, melodic opening riffs, before the strangest verses on the whole album commence. This song never even gets really fast or blasts at all, nor does the closer, “23 (The Youth Manifesto)”, which features a tapping riff and Nergal growling about his life journey so far, before transitioning into a slow, chugging riff with double bass and industrial effects, to finally fade out. My version doesn’t have album closer “The End”, but if I recall it well, it’s just static/effects for 20 seconds until Nergal screams one weird line into your ear, ending the album.

However, over the course of the whole album, a few things constantly hold true: the riffing, whether heavy death metal or tremolo picking or chugging or the weird stuff, is always memorable and likely to get stuck in your head with repeated listens, and Inferno can do no wrong with his mostly blasting and double-bass drumming.

Thelema.6 is worth the patience that is probably required to get into the album. Don’t be alarmed by the strange cover-art, song titles, or song descriptions. This album is unmistakably Behemoth, and is definitely worth purchase.

*Get the digipak version with the 4 bonus tracks – 1 original song, 2 covers, and 1 re-recording of an old song, and they’re all good*.