|Review: Behemoth - Demigod|
Label: Regain Records
Year released: 2004
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: January 5, 2005
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Rated 4/5 (80%) (35 Votes)
Okay, let's get one thing straight. Progression sucks. Most bands have this awful habit of starting out good and gradually declining as they begin favouring experimentation over solid songwriting. However, occasionally a band will progress far beyond their humble beginnings and manage to hold the spark which made them great to begin with. Such is the case with Behemoth. Their early output was midpaced pagan black metal, with typically raw production and an enormous, overpowering atmosphere. Their early output, particularly the first EP And The Forests Dream Eternally and the album-length demo From The Pagan Vastlands are timeless classics which helped define second-wave black metal as a whole, and will forever remain their best efforts. However, since the transitional Grom and Pandemonic Incantations, Behemoth's sound has steadily moved toward a much faster, more brutal form of intense death metal. Demigod is essentially the pinnacle of this evolution, abandoning all black metal aesthetics in favour of swirling, blasting insanity interspersed with melodic genius.
The opening acoustics of "Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth" is a deceptive beginning, before Inferno's trademark blastbeats take over and push the intensity levels straight into the red. The guitars here are a fluid, groove-ridden onslaught of massive proportions, shot through with amazing harmonized lead work and a crushing bass undertow. Over all this, Nergal's demonic vocal exhortations summon a legion of demons to rip your face off. They're louder here than they've ever been, but not so loud that they overpower the music. The mix is perfectly balanced and meticulously controlled. No wonder they took so long to record this, for it's as much a work of studio wizardry as it is of songwriting genius.
Lyrically, the Crowleyan themes continue to hold court. The scepter on the brilliant cover art gives away the game quite effectively, quoting Crowley's well-known epithet - "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law - Love is the law - Love Under Will". Each lyric is accompanied by a quick explanation in the booklet, which is a good thing since the esoteric writing is often quite difficult to comprehend.
I seriously need to mention again the brilliance of the guitar work here. Words are insufficient to describe how much some of those solo's make my musical senses glow with their mastery. This is an album which never grows old - no matter how much you spin it, it continues to impress with its inherent complexity and innovation. Behemoth have gone from being one of the best black metal bands ever to possibly the best death metal currently active. No mean feat by any stretch - do yourself a favour and pick up this masterwork of metallic majesty.
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Interview with Nergal (Guitar/vocals) on March 5, 2003 (Interviewed by Barbara Williams (Crowley))
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