In the recent years, there has been resurgence within the world of Death Metal. There are a whole slew of bands attempting to recreate the majesty of MORBID ANGEL and SUFFOCATION, but most haven't been successful. A good deal of them just plain tries to be the fastest, most brutal thing out there, missing the point of why the first two bands mentioned here are revered. MORBID ANGEL and SUFFOCATION are legends, because they forged songwriting with brutality in a way that was unthought-of during their time.
BEHEMOTH has had a certain metamorphosis during the past few years. They started out as a Black Metal band, but now, they are Brutal Death. This change was met by scorn by some fans, and praise from others. Personally, as a fan of the band due to their latter albums, I was quite grateful for the change. They got the point on how to make not just a good, not just great, but an AMAZING Brutal Death Metal album.
I believe BEHEMOTH has been able to recreate the majesty of MORBID ANGEL, but have done so without compromising their identity and turning into a clone of said band.
This album contains what I would look for in a Death Metal band. A furious record, with semi-melodic riffing, a drummer who not only can blast the shit out of his kit, but knows WHEN to blast, a vocalist who is harsh and powerful yet understandable, and well written songs with emphasis on brutal songwriting, instead of brutality for brutality's sake. Man oh man, do I love this.
Musically, the band is in the same boat as MORBID ANGEL, SUFFOCATION, CANNIBAL CORPSE, etc. However, don't believe for one second that this band is 100% pure blast beats all the way through. BEHEMOTH knows that a 45 minute shred fest gets boring fast. Songs go from a mid-paced groove ("As Above So Below") to a fast number ("Blakest Ov The Black") to a song that starts off like a war chant ("Kia Cultus"). There are also instances taking their influences from Middle Eastern music ("Typhonian Soul Zodiak"), creating small breaks where the listener will be allowed to breathe, and gives the album an exotic feel.
BEHEMOTH also succeeds in doing something 95% of Brutal Death Metal fail in doing. I can listen to this album all day long and not be devastated to the point where I have to say "Enough!" and put something less harsh in order to take a break from the onslaught. The simple fact that they mix brutality with melody allows the listener to remember their songs more, and the drummer knows when to blast and when to hold back gives the band appeal to more than just fans of Brutal Death.
This is not only a great album; it is probably the high point in BEHEMOTH's career, and the perfect place to start if you want to check out this band. (Online March 25, 2003)