Behemoth – “Evangelion”

Evangelion

“All hail slain and risen god!
All hail Dionysus!”

They have returned, the most blasphemous force out of Poland since the heliocentric model. Evangelion translates to “good news,” in this case for the Behemoth fanboys; but recent critics should pay attention to this remarkable improvement over 2007’s The Apostasy. Fans of Zos Kia Cultus should delight in this return to form, while those who acclaim Demigod shall witness a stunning progression. However, that’s not to say either work has been surpassed. Still, it’s awkward to give such praise to a Metal act so commercially exalted as to appear at Ozzfest and like events so abhorrent to the Underground.

Expectedly, this is the modern Death Metal Behemoth has come to epitomize: professional production, chaotic riffing and solos, and gratuitous amounts of blast-beats. Add in the band’s trademark use of Asiatic melodies, ancient mythology, and overuse of the preposition “Ov.”

Opening hymn “Daimonos” blasts off with all guns blazing, as does “Shemhamforash,” with such passionate violence not achieved since “Slaves Shall Serve.” Arguably the strongest tracks on the album, they envelope the listener in a maelstrom of blast-beats and blood-pumping riffs. Behemoth sacrificed technicality so as to honor the wall-of-sound principle, often borrowing Black Metal elements to achieve depth and flow. Jumping ship to a new producer also helped.

A little known fact is that Behemoth started out as pure Black Metal in the mid 90’s, and such reminisces permeate the album: an arpeggio here, a tremolo there, and even some Mayhem-style melodies. You’ll hear this especially in the closing track, where the band steps out of character for a simplistic, yet utterly sinister postlude.

Of course, this is Death Metal at its heart. “Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti” could have come straight off of Demigod, sustaining a high level of brutality throughout the album. Matching this is Nergal’s vitriolic vocals, sounding pissed-off as ever. It’s a shame his Black Metal scream is completely gone. Inferno mixes up the cymbal work and fills on top of his nearly constant blasting, but his other drum patterns are too few and uninteresting. Orion’s bass, while adding firepower, does nothing remarkable (though I still recommend his band Vesania).

This being the band’s ninth studio album, it’s no surprise their dearth of fresh ideas. Few things, not even the guitar solos, are exceptional. Rather the album works on a consistent theme, rather than a mediocre sequence punctuated by sensational singles. However, the band has already premiered a music video for “Ov Fire and Void,” parts of which remind me of the one Rammstein did for “Mein Teil.” The downside of such homogeneity is that the formula gets tedious after a while. Three or four songs into it, you’ve gotten all it has to offer, and the rest is recycled material until the recessional hymn in this unholy mass of ordinary time.

This year has seen a dramatic resurgence of old school Death Metal, with stellar releases by Asphyx, Excoriate and Slugathor (personal chart-toppers). But as always, Behemoth continue to carry the new school’s standard into battle against religion, society and your eardrums.

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4 Responses to “Behemoth – “Evangelion””

  1. Ryan Page Says:

    I heard Nergal is an anime fan, and was forced to remove neon genesis from the title to avoid being sued… just saying.

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