Behexen - The Poisonous Path - (9/10)
Published on June 18, 2016
Finnish black metallers Behexen continue their assault on the underground ever since their formation as Lords of the Left Hand back into 1994 before the name change to the more-iconic Behexen in 1996 that has been carried by the band since. Released May 27th, 2016 from Debemur Morti Productions, these ten tracks of scathing black metal offer a glimpse of the bands’ true power and devastation that has carried them thus far into their career.
This one actually manages to get quite a lot of enjoyable elements here with the music as this pretty much continues on with their previous works. Swirling tremolo-picked rhythms that carry a frantic sense of chaos that recalls the main patterns of the second-wave groups but carrying on with that intensity found more often in Swedish groups where those types of riffing arrangements are given a boost by the utterly ferocious drumming that truly sounds like a cacophony blasting along throughout here, giving this one such classic tracks the opening title track, “The Wand of Shadows” and “Tyrant of Luminous Darkness” which explore that set-up wholly effectively. The other big element found here, the extended droning and mid-tempo charge that comes into play here with “A Sword of Promethean Fire” and “Chalice of the Abyssal Water” offers a rather enjoyable amount of variation present while still being somewhat similar in style to the album’s main tone overall.
Though this all makes for a wholly enjoyable set-up, the fact that this one does have a rather odd set-up in regards to it’s structure is rather curious. The first half of the album is set-up and filled with more of the blasting, chaos-filled tracks that run through without much deviation at all, and while that makes for a truly blistering opening there’s very little to distinguish these tracks beyond the overall tempo and the assorted lengths of the intros before settling in on the furious riff-work into a series of tight, lean efforts. Later, in the second half this changes into extended, far longer pieces that are driven along more by the mid-tempo gallop with occasional bursts into more frenetic endeavors before settling in on the mid-tempo work, so it’s all curiously split without more balance between them.
On the whole this is a truly strong and highly enjoyable effort that doesn’t offer up too many truly troubling areas at all with the music within it yet curiously falls only through it’s track arrangement, leaving this one as a readily recommended piece perfect for fans of the style, Finnish black metal or just dark extreme metal as a whole.