By Danielle Griscti
As a tenth album, Poland’s Behemoth offers longtime fans and new listeners The Satanist. This collection of nine tracks is both instantly recognizable as the work of these blackened death metal legends, and a new and distinctive entry into their already impressive and worthwhile catalogue. Their 2004 monster Demigod was one of my first forays into the world of blackened death, and on first listen I was veritably crushed by the sheer brutality – which I simply was not musically prepared for. This time around I was again overwhelmed, not by the sonic wall of aggression and characteristic death metal ‘crush everything’ attitude, but now by a variety of elements layered into the mix.
Feelings of boldness, strength and empowerment dominate the opening tracks, as intro “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” calls out a war cry and “Furor Divinis” continues to paint the atmosphere. With “Messe Noire” and “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer,” direct quotations from Catholic prayers begin to make an appearance. For a band known for (dramatically, theatrically and thoroughly entertainingly) tearing up bibles on stage, this should come as no surprise. Opening with a clearly enunciated statement of his purpose – ‘I Believe in Satan’ – vocalist/guitarist Nergal sets the stage for a black mass in which the climax is a glorious guitar solo.
The use of distinctive elements like the organ, sax, and trumpets, as well as spoken-word chant in both Polish and English, are extremely well incorporated throughout the album. At no point do they detract from the overall feel; the title track does this especially well. At the same time as lyrics like ‘Fear I cast aside!’ (“Ben Sahar”) continue to call out the message of The Satanist, I was reminded strongly of the strength and unforgiving aggression of previous albums, exactly what makes me continue to be curious about what Behemoth has come up with.