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As the sheep among wolves. - 60%

Diamhea, August 31st, 2014

Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) embodies one of the rare instances wherein I find my original appraisal woefully off target. I used to adore this one, but over recent years and through a fresh set of ears no longer as green to the lure of the Polish death metal scene, I found this album depressingly forgettable. Personally, I find Behemoth's transitional period one of dependable caliber and more absorbing from a curiosity standpoint. Pandemonic Incantations linked the band's blackened, raw backbone with a more weighty delivery and benefits greatly from its abnormalities. The often-disregarded Thelema.6 had some issues primarily revolving around the production, but found the band at their most primal and endearing. What was lost between said album and Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) is difficult to pinpoint at first blush, but this record finds itself functioning as some sort of final stepping stone of sorts that eventually led to Demigod.

However, instead of embodying the best of both worlds impression usually granted to bridge-gapping efforts, this just comes off as an inferior precursor to Demigod; similar in cinematic scope at times, but sorely lacking in memorable passages and ideas. To bring up Thelema.6 once more, one could feel the vexation seeping out of unhinged numbers like "Vinvm Sabbati" and "ΠΑΝ ΣΑΤΥΡΟΣ (Pan Satyros)." The occult atmosphere the band is lauded for today was perhaps at its most convincing, and it perfectly exemplified the often overused and frankly abstruse blackened death metal tag. So two years later this album comes down the pike, and suddenly the band is playing flaccid, featureless death metal with meager atmosphere and flat velocity? The hell...

A conundrum indeed, as Havoc and Novy are still here, two forgotten axemen who compiled half of what I believe to be Behemoth's best lineup. Ever seen the live DVD Mother Khaoz on Stage? The band has never come close in the live arena, but it begs the question, how much of a monopoly did Nergal have regarding songwriting duties? A quick glance at the liner notes cites Havoc's only compositional contribution as "No Sympathy for Fools." And guess what? It is the best song here, bringing down the axes as Nergal toils away in the corner hammering away what amounts to a nebulous mass of mid-paced gunk that eventually became Demigod. A worthy effort from a revisionist point of view, but wholly lacking in the massive scope and Phrygian authority later sealed in blood.

Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) is for better or worse modern Behemoth as we know them, replete with the overuse of pinch harmonics and reliance on Nergal's choppy delivery on the mic. What really kills it for me is the lack of gradation regarding tempo and time signature. For example, "Horns ov Baphomet" opens the gates in a quite meaty manner, but once the song settles into its groove, eyelids become heavy and many a watch is checked. It is almost as if the same song plays twice, a trend that continues in more instances than I care to count here. "As Above, So Below" has a cool stop-start camber along with some swirling tremolos, but even this is just "okay" by Behemoth standards. The rest is so faceless it fucking hurts. We still get the overuse of samples and interludes that the band was known for around this period, which only serves as syrup atop what honestly comes close to being a veritable shit sundae at times, especially considering the band's now-proven potential.

It isn't the worst thing ever, as the production values are stratospheric compared to what came before it, and for those that really dig the Demigod sound (I am on the fence but can appreciate it well enough), this should satiate to a certain point. I just can't recommend this over what came both before and after it, which leaves Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) out in the cold and an effort best forgotten in the grand scheme. A curiosity piece best left to Behemoth fanboys and those less fortunate who can't appreciate the early material.

Trying too hard - 35%

bandwurm, March 11th, 2014

While many reviews point on Thelema.6 to be some kind of experiment album, pretty much the same could be said about this one, only with one difference: there is almost nothing memorable about Zos Kia Cultus. The whole album sounds like having been recorded right after some jam sessions, it's repetitive and tries to shine through technical diversity rather than songwriting.

The guitar work, although technically flawless, doesn't provide chugs and riffs to headbang to. It's all pretty generous and just meh. The solos sometimes work and sometimes don't. On "Here And Beyond" it just seems to be thrown in there randomly, while in "Zos Kia Cultus" (argueably the strongest song on the album), it blends in perfectly with the overall atmosphere.
As another letdown from its predecessor, the bass drafts back into the shadows, being totally dominated by guitars and drums. Yes, this album has made a great step towards death metal.

Listening throughout the album, the songs permanently change from listenable to totally forgettable. There is barely variety within the songwriting, the only exceptions for me being the opener, "As Above So Below" and "Zos Kia Cultus". Those songs show Inferno slowing down a bit and focusing on rhythm and Nergal not trying too hard, instead leaving the guitar work relatively simple, with decent and well placed solos. Most of the other songs could well be just cut together to one long track. It just stays the same: blasts - chug riffs and random solos - more blasts.

The skits try to add to the atmosphere with some gloomy cult impressions, but fail precisely because the other songs don't get anywhere near that kind of theme. Instead the listener is exposed to heavily Nile-inspired, random chugging, often too fast drumming and unvaried growls. This
gets complimented by a bone dry production that doesn't serve such a themed album at all. It basically only makes sense if you imagine Demigod to come after it.

All in all, this should only be a concern to Behemoth fans. Everyone else, stick with Nile and cohortes. Because this is just trying too hard to be too brutal, and it didn't work often enough.

Song recommendations: As Above So Below, Zos KIa Cultus

Birth of the Gods of Death - 87%

XuL_Excelsi, February 20th, 2010

Since the release of this album, Behemoth has gone from strength to strength, releasing three mighty albums in its wake. Yet, even with the passage of time and its inevitable familiarity, “Zos Kia Cultus” remains immensely powerful.

Hell (and the world of metal) hath no fury like Behemoth. Try as they might, no band can mimic the enormity of this Polish 4-piece. While the preceding albums “Satanica” and “Thelema 6” saw a departure from the black metal of their early career and an experimental foray into death metal, “Zos Kia…” is where they got the formula right.

Much promise was shown on the albums before this, with astounding musicianship and composition, “Zos Kia Cultus” is a continuation of this. The sheer power of this record is addictive, and the infectious songs draw one in again and again. Behemoth managed to capture the ferocity of their live shows on this album, as every song is anthemic in its brutality.

Nergal is one of the greatest talents in the industry today, and he only recently started receiving recognition for his great work. Although most people consider “Demigod” to be their best release, and I tend to agree, “Zos Kia…” is also a fine example of why Behemoth is the most crucial death metal band since Death themselves. Nergal is the main creative force in the band, since he writes all the songs and most of the lyrics. Notably, the guitar-work on the album is amazing. It seems Nergal found his stride here, writing some classic riffs and not looking back since. Although the songs are written with natural death/black metal structures and progressions, the riffs themselves are everything but the norm. The guitars sound almost upbeat at times, whilst still amassing tremendous aggression. This is solid death metal fretwork, with palm-muting, tremolo picking and pinch harmonics to spare, but it remains fresh and original, nothing like the typical American death heard elsewhere.

One cannot speak of Behemoth without mentioning Inferno. The drums on “Zos Kia Cultus” (and everything else Behemoth released after it) are nothing short of incredible. The speed and technicality at work here would put Kevin Talley to shame. All the blasts, fills and double-bass somehow seems twice as fast and brutal as anyone else. The tuning is also spot-on, with crisp cymbals and pulverizing double-bass. The snare is sharp, and the drums overall feature quite prominently on the album.

Behemoth doesn’t compromise on anything, as even the bass is impressive. Finger-picking exclusively, Novy delivers very strong chords and the bass is even audible, for once. As the guitars and drums drive furiously forward, Nergal’s vocals add even more aggression. A typical throaty growl, the voice is immensely powerful and yet still unique for the genre. The lyrics round off the overall effect with immense fury and hatred.

Behemoth has come a long way since the release of “Zos Kia Cultus”, establishing themselves firmly as ambassadors for everything that is great in extreme metal. This album proved very early on that they are a force to be reckoned with. Behemoth is years ahead of the curve, and this was the start of their world domination.

Tickle Tick, Tick Tick Tick Tickle Tickle, Tick... - 87%

OzzyApu, July 17th, 2009

This snare intro is from the title track, and I’m beginning this review off mentioning this because let me tell you…

Between a Twix bar, telling your significant other you’re getting deployed, and killing Bambi’s mom, this snare intro is the BEST way to break the ice, escape an awkward moment, cut off someone from talking / cut off a song from playing, or just having a few seconds to think. It’s saved me from life-threatening situations and it, too, can save you:

“Honey, I’m preg-”

Tickle Tick, Tick Tick Tick Tickle Tickle…

“Mr. Obama, can you please explain how you intend to manage health care while dealing with soaring unemployment.”

“Yeah, um-”

Tickle Tick, Tick Tick Tick Tickle Tickle…

Not only that, but it’s probably the best track on here since it encompasses everything Behemoth are damn well known for: epic progression, authentic themes, beastly vocal assaults, contemporary battery annihilation, primeval riffs, and an overall vibe that slays all fakers by just the mere snare intro. The middle eastern influence that began having an impact back on Pandemonic Incantations has pretty much taken a full swing on this album, so you’ll be hearing tons coming from that direction during interludes, intros, outros, with monolithic riffs and more. It’s quite a spectacle how much of a comeback this album is compared to the letdown (in my eyes) Thelema.6 happened to be. I wouldn’t be lying when saying that even the bass does some justice to the ancient cultures. There’s more of a boom here than the pluck heard on the last album, so even the bass gloriously took back its founding duties.

At the time, this was the heaviest Behemoth album, but not by a ton. Satanica had a huge wall of sound, but here is where they really took hold of death metal and brought out all the guns. The production is perfect, with every instrument balanced properly and Nergal’s vocals back on par. Compared to Demigod they sound like a puppy’s shy bark, but they’re still powerful on their own, especially if you take into account everything his vocals mustered up before. Drumming sounds incredibly intense, precise, fast, and vicious – Inferno always had his shit together, but here he knocks it up one level to make up for being part of the last album. Gotta also thank his dumb ass for that snare intro.

The songs all have decent lengths, with the more ambitious ones obviously being the longer ones. However, even the shorter tracks pack a punch with compelling bridges – they never let up that besieging attitude. Even the two very short tracks add to the ritualistic vibe and heavily arcane atmosphere, which now sounds like the best time to bring the cover art into the fray…

You’re god damn right, the cover art… just look at it. Now when I started getting into Behemoth, I doubt I’d believe ever getting into this album solely based on the cover art. The man-goat-dude looks so sick, perverse, occult, and twisted as he’s brought to life in the aura of Hell’s scarlet zephyr. It’s just such a despicably evil cover art that I can’t help love – way cooler than the poseur on Demigod.

Definitely check this one out, guys. It’s a great album that I feel fully transitioned Behemoth into death metal while still having a small black touch. It’s not the blackest of black touches, but like pepper sprinkled in the cauldron of infernal devastation. It’s a nasty album that begs to be heard, and I’m sure it’ll possess you just as easily as it possessed me.

It's OK - 60%

WilliamAcerfeltd, July 25th, 2008

When you get Behemoth, you know you're going to get a heavy, brutal as fuck album. Behemoth are pretty bad ass musicians, especially inferno. They are all awesome on their respective instruments, but there is something about Behemoth which I just don't like. Usually with most songs, I don't like the riffs much and I find the songs a bit boring sometimes.

In honesty, the reason I got this album was because I have the shirt for it. I figured well, I have the shirt, I should probably listen to this album. I bought the shirt on impulse, having heard a few Behemoth songs and liking them, I forked out $15 for a Behemoth shirt.

I have heard two Behemoth albums; this seems pretty similar to Satanica. Here the vocals aren't laughably retarded and over processed like they are on Demigod. Nergal's vocals don't sound like your traditional death metal vocals. I've never been a big fan of his vocal work but it is never unbearable.

The guitar riffs as alluded to above never really appealed to me much. They occasionally hit the spot with songs such as Zos Kia Cultus (title track) and Here and Beyond. But displays of such brilliance were too far and between. Mainly the songs seemed pretty mediocre and dull sometimes.

Drums are pretty bad ass. Inferno is probably one of the best in the business and rips shit up on this album as he always does. Behemoth are lucky to have such a good drummer in their arsenal.

The album came with a lot of bonus material which are played competently. They cover several bands such as Mayhem and Morbid Angel. I liked the majority of these bands so I liked most of the cover songs. Seriously though what the fuck were they thinking when they covered Hello spaceboy or whatever the fuck it’s called? The song is terrible and it is agonizing to listen to. It’s almost like a bad joke. I always skip this song.

This is an OK album overall. There are some moments of brilliance but unfortunately there is just too few of them. On the brighter side, the songs never really get boring, so this album is not a snooze fest and its not torture to listen to. All in all, not bad but not that good either.

Conclusion: The above is recommended for download only.

Expect no mercy. - 89%

PigBenis, May 22nd, 2008

What we have here is a fantastic slab of black/death metal. Brutal in Behemoth’s soul-destroying, all-devouring way, with the usual Egyptian like guitars and crushing drumwork. It’s all here, with maybe a few minor flaws here and there, but altogether an album that would be fantastic with which to introduce someone to not only Behemoth, but the black/death fusion genre itself, as it showcases quite an effective fusion of death metal brutality and black metal atmosphere. This is certainly not a boring album. You never get the same thing in two different songs. Unlike most death metal, you can easily distinguish where one song stops and another one begins, and you can easily tell them apart.

Inferno’s drumming and Nergal’s vocals in particular are two extremely unique and distinguishable traits of not only this album, but also the band Behemoth. The former, being insanely fast and powerful, driving the noise along with a singularly crushing force and the latter being an insane, misanthropic howl. Certainly not your usual “cookie monster” stuff.

Horns ov Baphomet – Intruiging introduction, sounding almost like a binaural beat. We are introduced slowly into the guitars – fittingly horn like. And the first taste of Nergal’s vocals blows anyone who listens to it away. “RAISE! THY! HORNS!!” I must say, I definitely obeyed. Didn’t you? And the guitars work themselves up into a powerful, screeching, hateful climax. A great way to start the album.

Modern Iconoclast – Rushes along, the drumming breaking bones and Nergal’s howling crushing souls along the way, leaving you only the occasional pause for breath where it slows down, albeit slightly. During said pauses you can literally feel the band, corpsepaint and all, staring you down, telling you to “Get up, fucker! We’re not even nearly done!”

Here and Beyond – Behemoth’s unique sound. Even if there wasn’t Inferno’s drumming and Nergal’s howls, just the guitar work, it would be easily recognized as Behemoth. Despite this, it’s almost a throwaway song, although I certainly liked the brief orchestral touch at the very beginning. Sounds self-contradictory, I know, but this one doesn’t have quite the same effect, and is not quite as interesting as the rest of the songs on the album. Still worth listening to however.

As Above so Below – Almost Behemoth’s magnum opus, this opus is one hell of an epic opus, as opuses (opii?) go. From the really awesome name, to the crushing, sadistic riff (which is painful to listen to in the good way), this song is crushing, sinister and evil. Nergal’s vocals are a lot more distinguishable in this song, further adding to it by allowing listeners to decipher some of the mysterious, evilly cryptic lyrics.

Blackest ov the Black – Kudos to anyone who didn’t laugh at the name, which bears the obvious stench of someone trying too hard to be kvlt. However, though it may not completely live up to its name, this one’s one hell of a thundering number. The double bass kick is both insanely fast and perfectly executed. True for the whole album, but it is exceptionally noticeable in this song, for Behemoth are “BLACKEST OF THE BLACK!” Slows down a bit in the chorus, and fades out into the first interlude of the album.

Hekau 718 - Basically this interlude is a short but effective piece of dark ambient, odd sounding but certainly effective and not calming in the slightest. On the contrary, it’s extremely disconcerting.

The Harlot ov the Saints – After the ride slows down, albeit briefly, you are hit with the fast and aggressive “Harlot ov the Saints”. However, in all honesty, this one certainly feels a bit forced, like they tried to hard to physically break your neck after the “eye of the storm” interlude.

No Sympathy for Fools – CRUSH! DEVOUR! SLAY!! Easily the best song on the album, this one actually succeeds at breaking necks, unlike the song before it. The riffs are crushing, the drumming thunders along and adds a huge amount to the song. Nergal’s howls are perfect. “FOOLS!” This one grabs Christians by the throat, forces a bible down their oesophagus, crucifies them upside down, then explodes out with an unfathomable combination of force and speed. I highly recommend you get the album just for this song.

Zos Kia Cultus – Ah, the title track. We are introduced by a march-like snare drum, and then are whipped into following its unrelenting pace. This is a slower, but no less powerful number. One of the better tracks on the album, while being overshadowed by its predecessor. Bloodied, bruised, begging for mercy, the listener must march along to this battle hymn of the hordes.

Fornicatus Benefictus – Ah, and if it wasn’t for this bit in particular, the album would have received a 94% at least. This interlude, unlike Hekau 718, does not actually succeed in setting a mood or creating any sort of atmosphere. Just succeeds at being slow, and detracting. Albeit being only 52 seconds long, I recommend skipping this one.

Typhonian Soul Zodiak – Here we go. We’re back in business, after that short dip into boredom territory. Thankfully it was short, or it would have cost the album more points! One of the more Middle Eastern sounding songs on the album, this contains more of Behemoth’s trademark sound, actually done in a more entertaining fashion than “Here and Beyond”. This one has more of the alternate vocals in the background, which Behemoth also does effectively. Gradually this one speeds up, and turns once again into a powerful, brutal climax. Then it fades, into…

Heru Ra Ha: Let There be Might – Man, despite titles like “Blackest ov the Black” and “Dragon’s Lair”, Behemoth can make some really awesome song titles. Just how cool is that, “let there be might”? Oh, the song? Yes. Well. Yet more brutality. The survivors are found, interrogated, tortured and beheaded. The informants were spared, and permitted to serve as slaves. This one gallops past, with odd yet entertaining rhythms, and before you know it, the albums finished, with a final screech from Nergal and his happy pony kitten friends.

Expect no mercy from this one.

Exigently brilliant - 91%

Dulthasil, March 23rd, 2008

Zos Kia Cultus sees Behemoth on top form, this album just works, a good example of how to write extreme metal. It is a relentless as you'd come to expect, but not mindlessly so, this is relatively accessible extreme metal, the production is thunderous, the guitars and vocals are all extremely clear.

This album possesses many classic moments, the title track being one of the finest. It is certainly a very consistent album, each track delivers in its own way. Though each track is as to be expected of a consistent intensity, each track has its own appeal and unique way of working, with Egyptian sounding guitars aplenty in the same vein as alot of Niles music.

Behemoth is a band driven by their drummer; Inferno provides an onslaught on the drums throughout the album, clearly and solidly. This is a feature which comes through alot on the album, it is the first thing to really grab you as you listen to "Horns ov Baphomet" and doesn't let you go until the end of “Heru Ra Ha (let there be might).

Having said that, the album also contains some distinctive and decent guitar work courtesy of Nergal, delivering those Nile esque riffs and technical but effective solos, adding enough variety to retain the listener’s interest

The only small flaw in the album i felt was the interlude tracks such as "Hekau 718" which felt unnecessary and more filler than anything else as it did little to add any more colour to an already brilliant album, but to be honest it is a very minor flaw.

Overall if you like black or death metal (or maybe if you don't like extreme metal at all) there is something here for you, possibly as good as albums such as Morbid Angel's "Alters of madness". to be listened to and if you haven't I strongly recommend you do.

Overrated - 50%

Stien_Says_Hi, September 7th, 2005

I am so goddamn sick of hearing about how great this CD is, when it really isn't.
This is where they begin to start with their sucking of balls.

The CD opens with "Horns ov Baphomet", which is a great song despite the redundant audio sample of some indian guy talking in the beginning above radio static. Symbolic or not, it's a pain in the ass. Once you get to the music, you see that they've changed greatly since Thelema6 and Satanica, to a much more aggressive, Death Metalish nature. Inferno's drumming kicks ass when he does triplets with the guitar and Nergal's vocals show a deeper growl than a Black Metal yell. After the music is done, there's another retarded audio clip and then the next song starts.

The next two songs are extremely monotonous. They even begin the same way! They have the worst riffing in Death metal ever. Most of the song is lyrics strung together mixed with meandering bad solos from Nergal. The only noteworthy thing to mention here is the drumming. Inferno is truly the star of this CD.

"As Above, So Below" is argubly the best song here. Though very overplayed, it doesn't get better than this. It's greatly catchy and headbangable without being annoying with solo egomania like in the previous two songs. The music video is pretty interesting too. The guitar work is awesome here, very thrash, I would say.

"Blackest ov the Black" loses steam, but is actually ok. I think the main problem is that there is another moronic solo that no one cares about. Nergal does way too many solos, and this time, it ruined a song that was actually alright. The riffs here are good, so Nergal should get credit for the grim songwriting he did here, both musically and lyrically.

The next song, "Hekau 718", is really dumb.
This is Nergal's religious superiority complex showing, by making a song to honor something no one is really familiar with or even cares to listen to, but rather just to say, "Hahahaha, it's so good to be smarter than everyone". There aren't any instruments, just weird synthesized noises and nergal screaming incoherently. He actually is saying something, but it's not music, so it sucks ass.

After that, "Harlot ov the Saints" is this blunt drumblasting with really fast-yelled vocals. It's lame. It's not even 3 minutes long. This entire song is a lot like the first minute of Satyricon's "Possessed". Gay, I know.

"No Sympathy For Fools" is the last good song here. Again, more odd song structure, but it's pretty headbangable and the synchronization between Nergal and Inferno is awesome here, especially in the first 2 minutes. And yeah, another solo that doesn't even fit the song.

After this, all the other songs are crap not even worth mentioning because they honestly offer nothing new to the CD besides more overdramatic solos, ANOTHER SYNTHESIZED SPOKEN WORD EMOGAY POETRY SESSION WITH NERGAL, and exellent drumming, no thanks to the actual songwriter of the band.

All in all, "Horns ov Baphomet", "As Above So Below", "Blackest ov the Black", and "No Sympathy for Fools" are your best bets here, but honestly, don't get this CD unless you're a real fan. I would just download them. This CD is so overhyped, it's sad.

Satanic Brutality - 92%

Headbangingcorpse, October 15th, 2004

This album is incredible. When I first heard this, I was actually disappointed. It didn’t appeal to me whatsoever. But when you sit down at actually listen to it intently a couple times, you will have a complete change of mind.
Behemoth play a combination of death and black metal, which is very nice. It has a very heavy, satanic feel to it, but with that hint of melody that keeps it entertaining.
First, as always, the guitar/production. This CD has an incredible sound to it. Everything is very well-rounded, but the vocals are slightly louder. The guitar, as I mentioned before, is fast, brutal, satanic, and has a touch of melody. They put notes together so it sounds awkwards in an evil, yet awesome way.
The vox can be described very simply. Fucking insane. Nergal screams in a mid-gutteral tone, but sometimes breaks a very low brutal growl. He also lets loose a very distorted and twisted growl once in a while, and just at the right times, like at the beginning of a riff.
Finally, the percussion is outstanding. There aren’t really any tempo changes as far as I can remember, but the beats change a lot and are very precise. A nice amount of blast beats, and a lot of fast double bass with some fucked up yet awesome gallops added to the mix.
This is a well done album by the Polish DM band Behemoth, filled with satanic brutality that you should definitely check out.

Their Band Name Says it All - 99%

WitchCraft, July 23rd, 2004

Amazing. Simply Amazing! This is a death metal masterpiece. This is one of the heaviest albums i've heard to date, and alot of the heaviness is due to the tone of the guitars. They are crushingly heavy and the bass drums don't have that wussy clicky sound. They have enough punch to break through a brick wall. Nergal's vocals are really intense, not your typical deeper than hell death grunting but more like deep, slightly raspy growls. Behemoth's musicianship is incredible, maintaining bone crushing heaviness with melody and intricate rhythms. And speaking of rhythm, the use of stop-and-go riffs really get your head banging. Each song is memorable and stand out. Very little excessive repitition going on here. Also, i can't stress how intelligent this band is. They're lyrics are so well written and cover themes of antichristianity, mythology and the occult. It's very obvious they know their stuff. Also, the cover artwork is incredible. Most notable tracks would be Typhonian Soul Zodiac, As Above So Below, and Natural Born Philosopher. Zos Kia Cultus is a must buy.

-I- - 97%

HealthySonicDiet, February 12th, 2004

This is such an interesting album. There are so many awesome things about it. First of all, the cover art is absolutely godly. I'm not sure what deity that is with four arms and a goathead, but it evokes fear and wonder in me. Even the band's logo is a bit frightening.

Second of all, in the liner notes, Nergal explains the lyrical inspiration behind almost all if not all the songs on the album and he goes on little tangents about certain philosophical beliefs, the history of them, relics, and on and on and on. This guy, and the band in general, is so intelligent and heavily questions the world around him. I find it especially interesting when he denounces Christianity. I'm not atheist or satanist and I'm not telling people not to believe it, but I respect artists that will openly express their views on it, especially in their own CD slipcase.

Perhaps the most impressive attribute of this album is the music, of course. I just got done reviewing Immolation's latest album Unholy Cult, in which I proclaimed it to be "A necksnapping nightmare", but after sitting through this monster, I'd have to say that headbanging to this may very well cause an aneurysm, whereas Unholy Cult would probably just cause a very sore neck. Pretty much every song on here, with the blatant exception of As Above, So Below(which is very cool in its own right)is just totally annihiliating. Pummelling blastbeats, incredibly strong death/black vocals, thick/crushing guitars similar to that of Nile(in fact, this album heavily reminds me of Nile because I sense a very exotic, unconventional theme to this music, although I sense that it has more of a Sumerian atmosphere than Egyptian), and just an overall engrossing atmosphere prevails on this album.

I've been wondering whether it would be practical(and safe) to headbang to this. Well, almost every song is so damned fast that I end up violently bobbing my head to the music rather than headbanging. I usually associate headbanging with mid-tempo metal, including some thrash, but I look like I'm having a fucking seizure trying to headbang to this. Somebody please teach me another method of headbanging, because I just CAN'T sit still while listening to Zos Kia Cultus and I don't want to damage my neck too badly. Haha.

A lot of people I know have heard bands like Behemoth who have very harsh vocals and they automatically assume that the band are a bunch of devil worshippers and say "Man, you can't even understand what the guy is saying". I'm sorry, but I have a hard time understanding rap and even bubblegum pop sometimes too, but does that mean that the whole purpose of the song is devoid now, just because I just can't fucking understand some words here and there? NO. Harsh vocals in this style of metal are existent for a show aggression and to help supplement the dark atmosphere of the music. I dare you to invite Justin Timberlake to take the place of Nergal. That's right, all you teenyboppers of the world who happen to run across 'underground' music and totally brush it off...if you don't like the vocals, just replace them with your favorite stars of the moment. I'm sure the music will make a whole lot of sense.

Sure, some bands are blatantly satanic, but people don't take time to read into these bands. Often, there is much more than meets the eye. From reading the liner notes and listening to the unbridled fury of the music on this album, the listener can see that he or she that is dealing with a band that is tired of the corporate bullshit and has many interesting things to share with the world. One can tell that Behemoth and similar bands just aren't shallow enough to be on the radio talking about their recent breakup or how they like the way that girl dances across the room, etc.

Heh, forgive me, I got a little ahead of myself, but since broadening my horizons into the very controversial world of death metal and reading the liner notes to this album, I felt very compelled to shed light on the many fallacies attached to this genre of metal, and show that there are more death metal and black metal bands out there who aren't explicitly blasphemic. I just realized that Satanism is something privy to Behemoth, but respect has to be given to them for having a very open, solid belief system that governs their music. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the music isn't in praise of Satan necessarily. I just think Satanism is a recurring theme. If more controversial bands would just explain how they operate mentally in their CD slipcases and such, death metal, black metal, and many other controversial forms of music would be more popular and tolerable,etc.This album is just a work of art. Highly recommended.

Just one word: Killer - 100%

Mormir, September 4th, 2003

This album is one of the best i have bought in the death/black metal field.
The horns ov Baphomet is a good and dynamic track, at beggining the riffs and the drums being a little bit slow, but later it starts the skull beating that we love so much.
Nergal has a powerful voice, giving a lot of energy and feeling to the music. He has that growling voice that makes you feel the salive boiling in his throat.
The drums (oh, the drums) are excellent. Maestro Inferno beats the shit out of those cans.
The cover of the album is one fucking sick four-handed antropomorphic goat, doing a strange sign with two of its hands and stabing itself with the other two, that are holding something that looks like a golden knife.
All the tracks in the album are excellent and powerful.
I highlight The horns of Baphomet, Modern Iconoclasts, Heru Ra Ha (good chorus "Ia Ta Bae"), no sympathy for the fools. Anyway, you should listen to this when youre cutting somebody's head or raping a girl in front of her muzzled parents.


A Work Of Death Metal-Art - 99%

MHITO, June 15th, 2003

For years and years Behemoth has been known as a Black Metal band. A thing they quite radically changed with the album “Satanica” an album which showcased a more Death Metal orientated style. Sure enough there were a lot of Black-purists who shouted rhetoric like “treason” and “sell-out”. All of these gay idiots, who can’t seem to grasp the fact that it’s a band’s choice to evolve into a different style and that that is something the scene just has to deal with, were abruptly silenced by “Thelema6”, an album that brought a nice balance in the Morbid Angel-style and the more Black Metalish style. The only problem that album had was a kind of clinical sound and ditto vibe. In these kinds of situations you’re always a bit anxious when it comes to new material by a band so obviously talented and with such potential.

And the new album, "Zos Kia Cultus - Here & Beyond", is indeed a breath of fresh air in the Death Metal scene. In my (not so) humble opinion Death Metal has been creatively dead for a few years now only pushed forward by a few bands (faster execution on every consecutive album is not progression) and Behemoth is one of them. My God! What An Album! I really don’t know where to start so I’ll start at the beginning. After a brooding intro filled with religious samples the guitars start laying down a very heavy riff which is the spine for the song "Horns Ov Baphomet". And straight from the top it’s clear; this album is ALIVE. It feels like an almost sentient being that breathes and moves. I know, I’m beginning to sound like some kind of tree hugging hippy that’s still coming down from last night’s LSD-trip but don’t take my word for it and listen for your self.

Now let’s see if I can find something negative to write about this album... As hard as my speakers will allow (which is considerable) this album sounds so fucking beautiful. The dynamic and overpowering sound sometimes remembers me of Morbid Angel’s “Covenant” albeit a tad more layered and varied. Of course that’s not the only comparison with MA that’s on this album. Listen to songs like "Modern iconoclasts" and the brooding “As Above So Below” and one can easily define the foundations of this style, but still without losing their own face. So when it comes to the music it’s all-good.

Maybe the technique then? By now it has become somewhat redundant to mention individual musicians in this type of music because if a band is going to keep its head above water they need a brilliant drummer and a pair of tight guitarists. What I am going to mention is Nergal’s solos, the man isn’t a genius when it come to this but he knows how to use that which is at his disposal often creating beautiful and exciting effects. The use of a Harmonizer is a nice touch and ads a certain eastern vibe to the whole.

Maybe I can Bitch about the lyrical content? Hardly, Nergal and Krysztof Azarewicz again have looked deep within. And the dominating theme is the power delved from themselves, the music and the band. With a light cabalistic approach there’s being looked into a cultural source of more than 6000 years old in a well informed way that’s highly unusual for this genre. They have found a way to combine this old wisdom with modern feeling and emotions thereby closing the gap between philosophy and feeling. So again, nothing to complain.

The sleeve maybe? This one comes down to taste really but I love this kind of artwork. No blood, no limbs and amateurish Photoshop bungling. What we do get is a lot of dark symbolism, which makes some of the lyrics very hard to read, so that’s one little point of criticism (I just need glasses).

There is not a bad note on this album!

The only reason this album doesn’t get the full 100 points is a sneaky suspicion that the next album will be even better!!!

(This review was originally written for and is republished with kind permission of the webmaster)

Holy........Shit........ - 100%

ABHORRED, April 10th, 2003

I don't even really know how to review something this good. I'm sure as hell going to try, though. Here goes...

Zos Kia Cultus, the ten millionth album from these Polish Black/Death crossover gods, will surely be the best of 2003. I remember vividly the feeling I had when placing this disc in the stereo in my car for the first time, while on the way back from the record store. I felt like a little child on christmas day. I thought to myself "I hold here in my hands, the new Behemoth...Will it live up to the hype?!". I was overcome with anxiety and anticipation. My palms got sweaty. I started shaking. Not that I ever doubted Nergal and friends, as they consistently turn out extremely high quality Blackened Death Metal. This is the reason I have remained a fan for quite a while now, and this CD is the reason I will continue to remain a fan.

Continuing in the same fashion as their last effort (massive success, if you ask me), Zos Kia Cultus is a grand blasterpiece of monstrous proportions. Every single song on this disc is just so damned good. It's so chock full of those moments that make you wish you could fellate the man who invented the 'rewind' button. Again, Behemoth's influences are quite apparent; drawing most significantly from the likes of Morbid Angel. But somehow, as so many others have failed to do so, Behemoth come off as something entirely new and fresh. As Floridian as it may sound at points, you have never heard anything quite like this before. One addition to their repertoire I greatly enjoyed was the tasteful usage of those stop and go 'chug' riffs. Which are also beautifully accented by the timely double bass drums of percussion virtuoso Inferno. This is most evident on songs such as "As Above, So Blow" and "No Sympathy For Fools" (Those two coincedentally happen to be my favorites on the album ;) Also of note is the vocal prowess of Nergal himself. This man has so much range and emotion in his growls.
I mean, if his voice isn't so full of contempt and hatred, I don't know what is.

I think I'm starting to ramble a bit, so I'll wind this down...

In short: If you are a fan of hook laden, and brutal yet intelligent Death Metal, buy this album upon your next outing.

If you aren't a fan of that stuff... What the fuck are you doing on this site to begin with?!