It takes a truly blackened and disturbed soul in order to create genuinely convincing death metal. In order to express the solemn emotions the genre wears on it’s sleeve, you need to be a visionary with a dark and twisted soul. Behemoth have pulled this off many times in the past creating many of the genre’s classics with their extreme yet accessible and polished sound of blackened death metal. But now, frontman Nergal (aka Adam Darski) has stared death in the face after his diagnosis of Leukemia in 2010. An unimaginable experience, such as that can only make a person become darker and even more twisted. Four years later, Behemoth have released their new album The Satanist, and it’s darker than anything you’ve ever heard.

The opening slow chords of ‘Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel’ set the gloom filled tone of the album instantly. Slow is unusual for Behemoth, but slow is good, slow makes everything sound more grim and even more evil. Nergal’s tortured and truly terrifying vocals force the band to live up to their name as they sound truly unstoppable. Behemoth didn’t want to return and celebrate, they wanted to return and desolate.

This intimidating display of excellent, innovative and menacing is continued throughout the album, standing out on tracks like ‘Messe Noire’, ‘Furor Divinus’, and ‘Amen’. Nergal’s vocals surpass anything else done in death metal, often sounding inhuman, this truly legendary frontman’s vocal chords sound like they were forged in Hell itself.

The album also shows diversity, it’s consistently innovative from the aforementioned ‘Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel’ to the clean guitar solo at the tail end of ‘Messe Noire’, and all the way to the end of the seven minute long closing epic that is ‘O Father O Satan O Sun!’ Every single track is dripping with originality and creative vision. Because of this, despite it’s complex charm, it’s in no way a hard listen. The dynamic between the rhythm and vocals as well as the exploration of instruments keeps the album in your face and exciting.

No matter if you’re a death metal expert if you only dabble, whether you own Behemoth’s back catalogue or you’ve never picked up an album, this album is for you. You’ve never heard an extreme album with the personality, sleekness and unique disturbing beauty of The Satanist.

Jack King

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