Friday, January 4, 2013


Behemoth - Conjuration
Olympic Recordings, 2003
Genre: Death Metal

1. Conjuration ov Sleep Daemons
2. Wish (Nine Inch Nails Cover)
3. Welcome to Hell (Venom Cover)
Live at Mystic Festival, 13/10/01:
4. Christians to the Lions (Live)
5. Decade ov Therion (Live)
6. From the Pagan Vastlands (Live)
7. Antichristian Phenomenon (Live)
8. LAM (Live)
9. Satan's Sword (I Have Become) (Live)
10. Chant for Eskaton 2000 (Live)

The new limited edition “EP” from Behemoth, which seems to be their new niche for producing new material when they don’t want to put out something fully brand new.  Basically this is a pseudo EP since it has over forty minutes of music, thus making it really a full length.  This album boasts one newly recorded song, two covers, and a bunch of live tracks.  I won’t even bother talking about the live tracks because by now we’ve all heard them.  Not to mention I haven’t even bothered listening to them yet, and I possibly never will.  The thing I don’t understand is why Behemoth typically releases their live material with limited edition stuff.  Such as the box set for example, it has a whole live album on it, but the box set is also limited edition too.  I don’t know why Behemoth just doesn’t get it over with and release a full length live album.  Maybe that is why all the live stuff is limited, so people will actually buy a live album when they eventually get around to it.  Regardless, the live recordings are usually good, hence why I did not waste my time even listening to them; it is all songs I have heard live before anyway.

Now the newly recorded opening track is impressive and slightly disappointing all at the same time. Now the key point is the very impressive technical playing found throughout this.  Guitar wise it sort of reminds me quite a bit of the early ‘90’s technical Death Metal sound.  Now where it gets disappointing is that Nergal returned to the rawer vocal production.  Honestly the thing that caught my ears the most on the newer albums is the incredible care taken to make a vocal arrangement.  However, this was put aside, for what seems at an attempt to bring back the early technical Death Metal sound, once again.  They’re somewhat similar to the dumb downed vocals like Possessed and other raw sounding bands in the mid ‘80’s.  The drumming on the song is as to be expected, extremely over the top.  Inferno definitely fits in with the style perfectly since it seems that his technique was more Death Metal oriented anyway, rather than the conventional Black Metal sound.

As with the last EP this one has a cover song that just catches me off guard and seems out of sequence for an extreme metal band.  Last time it was the David Bowie cover of “Space Boy,” this time around it is Nine Inch Nails’ “Wish.”  Now my roommate showed me the original version, and I am surprised to say that Behemoth did a good job with this, but does not quite match up with the original.  Nergal did a sort of blending between extreme vocal work and clean vocals.  Although, like with the newer song, it sounds a little more raw, and I think, had they used more vocal processing as can be found on the likes of “Satanica” then the songs and this cover would have turned out much better.  However, the part that really stands out is… you have guessed it, the drums.  Now thank the ancient lords for the creation of Death Metal drummers because Inferno as usual rearranges the drum lines and puts in heavier and more power parts.  Thus, this concludes that all popular music should be played by Death Metal drummers.  And I mean come on, how cool would the new Christina Aguilera album be with a Death Metal drummer playing drums on it.  I mean picture “Genie in a Bottle” with blast beats and really fast double bass.  Ok, maybe that is a little too crazy, but whatever, there needs to be more cool drummers out there is all I am saying.  Regardless, if Behemoth had just done what Trent Reznor programmed for the original song it would have been an insult to their skill.

The next song is a Venom cover and it is not like that has never been done before.  So I will opt for laziness and not even bother talking about it because everyone knows a band of Behemoth’s caliber find such covers to be a menial task.  Overall this is an interesting release.  Although it is limited to 2000 copies, but honestly do not feel disappointed if you cannot get your hands on it.  I will say this though; the one thing I do not get is the U.S. version has more songs on it.  I mean what the hell kind of marketing gimmick is that?  Is it so the people in Europe have a hard time finding one of the 2000 copies in the U.S. or so that people in the U.S. will not try to buy the album from Europe?  Either way it is retarded.  It could have been done much better with more evened out distribution.  Now it just seems like we are segregating everything again.  

Behemoth - Zos Kia Cultus
Avantgarde Music, 2002
Genre: Death Metal

1. Horns ov Baphomet
2. Modern Iconoclasts
3. Here and Beyond
4. As Above so Below
5. Blackest ov the Black
6. Hekau 718
7. The Harlot ov the Saints
8. No Sympathy for Fools
9. Zos Kia Cultus
10. Fornicatus Benetictus
11. Typhonian Soul Zodiack
12. Heru Ka Ha (Let There Be Might)

Behemoth has been a band I have follow for quite some time now and I was confident to receive yet another great album from them.  This did not fully live up to my overall expectations, but it was fairly well done.  A few years back Behemoth changed their overall songwriting formula.  Many were shocked at the drastic change Behemoth now took, however, just about all felt it was better.  Behemoth used to play fairly raw Black Metal, as did most bands at the time, and as recording technology got better and more accessible to the average person Behemoth took advantage of all this new technology at their fingertips.  Already with “Pandemonic Incantations” we saw a changeover from General Black Metal to something more sinister.  Within this new realm Behemoth strives and became even heavier, but still with a fairly apparent Black Metal edge to their sound.

With the much anticipated release of “Satanica” we all saw with full force what Behemoth could do by performing this new heavier style of Death Metal quickly putting them near the top of my list as one of the heaviest bands I had ever heard.  No words can truly describe the onslaught of unrelenting venomous metal they performed with unparalleled precision.  Behemoth truly had become a band that would not be locked within a single-minded framework of Black Metal.  So with the pleasantly shocking “Satanica” the public and their newly increased fan-base eagerly awaited, yet again, for the next album “Thelema.6.”  While this album proved to be quite similar to “Satanica” they reworked the overall songwriting formula and refined certain key points.  Unfortunately for “Thelema 6” the songwriting did not have that overall timeless feel from my perspective.  I did not find myself listening to that album.  I would always return to “Satanica” which had a slightly different feel to it.  The only track that warranted releasing was “Christians to the Lions” in my opinion.

On a more personal level Behemoth redefined what Death Metal was in a time when I thought this scene was starting to become dry and overrun with uncreative minds.  However, Nergal prevailed where many were currently failing armed with his knowledge of Arcane Magic and H.P. Lovecraft’s writings; he redefined an entire metal genre, in terms of what I look for at least.

This all leads up to the latest album “Zos Kia Cultus,” which is yet another fairly big change for the Behemoth formula in my eyes.  No more are they relying on straight speed and intensity to get them through an album.  Maybe they felt the public would not settle for that type of setup again.  Behemoth has taken a stranger path than I thought, by slowing down their music for the most part.  This I found especially shocking because the current scene seems to just want to go faster and faster, then to add more intensity onto the speed.    But Behemoth brought it into a different direction, once again showing how they think outside the scene and try to redefine again what they have already re-defined.  Needless to say once again they have managed to impress to a fair degree.

The guitar tone and vocals are quite similar to the previous albums.  However, the skill with which the guitar is played has increased.  Possibly on the part of Novy’s playing because I did hear a sweep solo used in one song, and the last interview I read with Nergal he stated he was not an overly impressive guitar player.  However, he may just be modest.  Bottom line is the guitar playing is better and the overall riffing is groovier, possibly due to the new slower pace.  There are of course a few fast songs, such as “Heru Ra Ha: Let There Be Might.”  The drumming performance once again is absolutely flawless, but I have come to expect this of Inferno.  I think this album sort of tested his creativity as a drummer because he did not do nearly as much blasting on this album.  He did indeed test well, for the drumming remained an intricately interesting part for me to listen to. 

Nergal has also started to search for other things to influence him lyrical.  Something I have long sought to do as a musician was to include a lot of things from ancient Egypt.  Thankfully, my idea is on a much grander scale and Behemoth has not totally thwarted me yet.  However, Nergal has included some very occult Egyptian factors into his lyrics now.  I think this adds an air of mysterious evil to the overall lyrical presentation.  They went so far as to include the lyrics in standard phonetic transcription as well as the hieroglyphs.  I would have just used Demotic rather than phonetic, but that’s just me for all you language buffs out there.

I realize that all this sounds like this is going to lead up to a great rating, but unfortunately this does not have much repeat value for me.  The riffing is groovy and the songs are well structured, but if it comes right down to it I would still listen to older Behemoth over this.  There was just a certain essence “Satanica” possessed that this is missing in my world.  This has a certain degree of progression to it.  I felt “Thelema 6” and “Satanica” were very closely related, but “Zos Kia Cultus” is wholly different in feel and even in a production sense.  I think this will be more appealing to the newer fans of Behemoth, but the older fans may find themselves listening to “Satanica” and prior much more than this album.  “Satanica” had that forceful assault that instantly grabbed your attention and “Zos Kia Cultus” just does not do that.  “Hekau 718” is another change-over as well, Behemoth never had their strange transitioning tracks and this may become more instilled in their album creation.  “Hekau 718” was a great transitional track though, better than most bands can pull off.  Regardless of these newer elements, it did not pull the album together for me.  I think the newer fans would simply say this is probably their best over the previous efforts though.  Just my personal outlook on the situation.

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