"The Satanist"

By Lord Randall

I’ve never been a huge fan of BEHEMOTH, and I’m not even gonna pull one of those “I liked them ‘til they went death metal” elitist rants out of my ass, because, in the case of Adam Darski & co., I just. Didn’t. Like. Them. Now, before every Pole worth his kielbasa blows up my email with stories about how influential, how key BEHEMOTH were in the development of polskie podziemie metalowe, let me assure you, I know.

 I think it all came to a head with me once I heard the blatant rip-off of (of all things) ANTHRAX’s ‘Be All, End All’, ‘Conquer All’ from 2004’s Demigod, the band ceased to exist in my universe. Again, I just. Didn’t. Care. Of course I heard about the leukemia that nearly took Nergal’s life, wished him the best, but otherwise remained largely unconcerned if BEHEMOTH made more music or not. Turns out The Satanist, the first album since the guitarist/vocalist’s 2010 diagnosis, shows a band on a definite ascent. ‘Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel’ is majestic, but only slightly, coming off as more an intro dragged forcibly into the length of a song, but ‘Furor Divinus’ ramps up the aggression, showing that, while disease may have taken years from Darski, it didn’t make him any more peaceful in the process. ‘Ora Pra Nobis Lucifer’ rages, BEHEMOTH unfurling a sound more akin to WATAIN and their Swedish comrades-in-arms, yet the title track falters, stumbling into the equally clumsy ‘Ben Sahar’. It’s not that BEHEMOTH are doing anything blatantly bad when looking at the album as a whole. It’s just that it’s more of the same that’s always cursed the band to my ears – abysmal lows, and highs not high enough to ascend to greatness.

 Still and all, the ending double-shot of ‘In The Absence Ov Light’ and ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’ are as fine an ending point as I’ve heard from BEHEMOTH – ever. Fans of the band will – and should – see "The Satanist" as a triumphant return. Those who’ve never been on board, though won’t see any reason to pay the ferryman this time around either.