Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Behemoth - Evangelion (2009)

Though I've been listening to Poland's superstars for many years (yeah, since the black metal years), I've never been a card carrying member of the international fan club that seems to revere them as the greatest thing since Cradle of Filth. Do not get me wrong! Behemoth is a GOOD band. In fact, I can't recall an album of theirs that I didn't enjoy to some extent. They write solid, angry material and Nergal's neo-occult lyrical themes are always fascinating to me. The key to this band is visibility. Constant touring, videos, and the like have thrust them well beyond their prior obscurity into the eyes of the Hot Topic Metal Generation.

Evangelion is the band's 9th full length album, and it starts with a bang, as a chaotic burst of symphonic madness and Nergal's gruff incantations transforms into the thundering "Daimonos". Choppy, punishing, and fast death metal, somewhere between Morbid Angel and Vader, and par for the course. Behemoth has been erupting in this style for the past decade, since Satanica. Some still consider their style blackish metal, but aside from an occasional snarl and the corpse paint the band wears, it's really not. This album rarely lets up, aside from its mystical interludes (like the great intro to "Shemhamforash"), but if you want just over 40 minutes of headbanging frenzy, this is pretty much guaranteed to send you to the emergency room. There are a few excellent, crushing tracks on this like "Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti", "He Who Breeds Pestilence" and the very Morbid Angel-like "The Seed Ov I" which make this album just as compelling as anything else they've released in many years.

I divine Iconoclast
injecting chaos into my veins
with life accepted
with pain resurrected
is the embrace ov god in man profound

Evangelion is effectively turbulent and sinister. The blasting is omnipresent, and Nergal's vocals are barbaric and disgusting. This band has certainly not compromised any of their aggression throughout the years of success they have attained. This is a death metal album worth hearing with a few tracks that I will return to, and has little less of the 'saminess' vibe that has plagued a few of their prior works. Behemoth fans will be jubilant, and death metal fans at large can find a lot to like here.

Verdict: Win [8/10] (this cosmos is way too small)

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