And so, Mesdames et Messieurs, one of the most anticipated albums in recent heavy metal music history is here: BEHEMOTH's ‘The Satanist’. Already besetting North American (and Japanese) stores since February the 4th, 2014, courtesy of Metal Blade Records, the album will become available in Europe and Australia tomorrow, February the 7th, through Nuclear Blast Records/EVP Recordings. Relentlessly (and not always prudently: “And last thing before [yo]u masturbate and fall asleep… vote [for BEHEMOTH] in this poll…” likes to instruct the band's front-man Nergal – more here) promoted, we have been thus far informed that BEHEMOTH's “sounds and words on the album are like huge phallus that brutally rapes every taboo concept or sanctity” and that “ ‘The Satanist’ is a manifesto of wise man, a free man, a man who dares to say no” (Nergal, Prologue I), that ‘The Satanist’ is “to show [BEHEMOTH's] best features but also [their] imperfections” (Orion, bassist, Prologue II) and that “at one point rhythm and arrangement became the consequence of musical maturity [since] the drums often play the role of an introduction to the trance” (Inferno, drummer, Prologue III). And since Seth (guitarist) doesn’t do prologues, many thousands of fans watched bespectacled Nergal throwing darts in expertly dimmed room located somewhere in BEHEMOTH castle in Prologue IV, heh (more here/BEHEMOTH YouTube channel). And the critics are responding: AllMusic's Gregory Heaney describes the album as “a vital, crushing monster of an album - fans should be ready to either go along for the ride or be crushed” (more here) and Decibel's Adrien Begrand writes: ‘The Satanist’ is “one hell of a statement - an album that leaves an immediate impression, one that’s difficult to shake” (more here). For me, what constitutes a good album/album of the month is the absence of a frantic need to find the “next track button” on my iPod, and I am allowing the possibility ‘The Satanist’, of all BEHEMOTH albums, comes closest. Or to borrow Adrien Begrand's words once more: “the band has created more space for the music to breathe”. And now to the technical stuff: ‘The Satanist’ was produced by BEHEMOTH, Wojtek and Slawek Wieslawscy and Daniel Bergstrand in Hertz Studio in Białystok, Poland, mixed by Matt Hyde and mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound. The cover art was painted by renowned Russian painter and occultist Denis Forkas (the paint used allegedly included some of Nergal's own blasphemous blood), with additional art and design completed by Metastazis and Zbigniew Bielak. Lyrically, you know the drill by now; the group's chief lyricist was put on trial in his home country for publicly denouncing religion, after all. (They, the lyrics, also read as tourist guide to the Holy Land: with ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’ we visit עמורה (Gommorah/Dead Sea/Masada), with ‘Furor Divinus’ we tour גת שמנים (Gethsemane/Jerusalem), with ‘The Satanist’ we dip our toes in the Red Sea (הר סיני/Mount Sinai) and so on). Anyhow, what’s left is to point you to your usual music store, here (Nuclear Blast store), here (Metal Blade store) or here (BEHEMOTH store), or over to iTunes, Amazon or Spotify, where ‘The Satanist’ awaits.
Formed in 1991 in Gdańsk, Poland, BEHEMOTH underwent quite a few line-up changes during the years after the band's formation, with singer and guitarist Nergal being the only constant member. And EP, ‘And The Forests Dream Eternally’, was issued in 1993 on Enthopy Records, followed by the group's first full-length recording, ‘Sventevith (Storming Near The Baltic)’, in 1995. On 1996's ‘Grom’, Nergal, accompanied by drummer Baal and bassist Les, experimented with acoustic guitars, synthesizers, and female vocalist but was quickly stirred back into ferociousness by the new drummer Inferno, first introduced on the 1997's EP entitled ‘Bewitching The Pomerania’. BEHEMOTH's third album, ‘Pandemonic Incantations’, was released in 1998 via Solistitium Records and featured Mefisto on bass, followed by 1999's ‘Satanica’ on a new label, Avantgarde Music, featuring L-Kaos on guitar. Officially blackened death metal band by then and with Novy on bass and Havok on guitar, ‘Thelema.6’ came out in 2000 which “made its virtues clear right from the onset: excellent, full-sounding production (as opposed to the basement blur favored by many black metal bands); tirelessly executed blastbeats and double-bass drumming; and powerful vocals” as put by William York, AllMusic (more here); the album was the first in the group's career to receive a worldwide distribution. Next, BEHEMOTH embarked on their most substantial tour yet, performing alongside MORBID ANGEL, NILE and others. After the release of their sixth album, 2002's ‘Zos Kia Cultus (Here And Beyond)’, the group had toured North America for the first time. Squeezing an EP ‘Conjuration’ in between, 2004's ‘Demigod’, featuring bassist Orion and guitarist Seth, was released through Regain Records in Europe and Century Media in North America:
“In ‘Demigod’ [BEHEMOTH] may well have completed what may one day be looked back upon as their defining, unholy trinity of masterful death/black metal. Lending this bold statement weight is the band's readily identifiable style: a brutal assault built on machine-gun playing so technical and precise, yet so instinctively primal, that one's basest and most sophisticated metallic desires are almost always equally sated,” [wrote Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
After much touring that ensued the release and after ‘Slaves Shall Serve’ EP came out in 2005,
the band had finally settled down in 2006 to record their eight full-length, ‘The Apostasy’. Released in 2007, it became BEHEMOTH's first album to chart on the Billboard Top 200, debuting at number 149. Their sixth EP, ‘Ezkaton’, (“a taster of sorts, to hold over fans until BEHEMOTH unleashes their [next] full-length album,” as put by Greg Prato, AllMusic) was released in 2008 (Regain Records/Metal Blade Records), followed by ‘Evangelion’ in 2009. The album peaked at number 1 on Polish Albums Chart, at number 55 on the American Billboard Top 200 and had made it to position number 56 on the Top European Chart:
“BEHEMOTH are absolute masters of the craft of making extreme metal. Every record is a savage beating one doesn’t so much listen to as withstand, and ‘Evangelion’ is no exception,” [commented Phil Freeman, AllMusic – more here:]
BEHEMOTH features: Adam “Nergal” Darski – vocals and lead guitar, Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass, samples and backing vocals, Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion and Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber - rhythm guitar and backing vocals