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Behemoth: The Apostasy

Fans of any one artist, or any one particular genre of music, always look forward to the newest releases by bands they listen to. Occasionally there are new releases on the horizon that cross boundaries, releases that everyone anticipates, releases that people expect to be special. After their killer 2005 CD Demigod, and a relentless touring schedule that saw them play 325 dates in support of that album, it seems as though the entire metal world is waiting with bated breath to see what Behemoth are going to do for an encore. Well the wait is over as the blackened death metal destroyers from Poland return better than ever, ready to annihilate with The Apostasy.

The album opens with the intro "Rome 64 C.E.", fading in to a Middle Eastern, chanting female vocal. (There is an underlying Middle Eastern flair throughout the album) This vocal leads the band into giving the listener a one minute warm up to the blitzkrieg that is about to follow. After this brief intro, Inferno fittingly starts things off with a blazing drum roll right into a measure of blast beats, as the band joins in for "Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa". It's just pure Behemoth ferocity, starting right where Demigod left off, only better. It's amazing how Behemoth can take a three minute, twenty three second song, and make it feel so epic. Most bands feel the need to write eight minute snooze fests to try and pull this off. Not Nergal, he packs everything in and makes it all work perfectly together in a very dramatic fashion. Moving on to "Prometherion" things don't get any more tranquil as it's another barrage and Nergal is at his daunting best with his vocals. One immediately noticeable difference on The Apostasy, as opposed to its predecessor, is the vocals. Rather than laying down several vocal tracks on every tune, the vocals are minimized and sound amazing. At times when pertinent there are layers of vocals, which add an awe factor and kick the listener in the face.

Things slow down slightly as an acoustic guitar welcomes us to "At The Left Hand Ov God", which is one of the albums finer moments. The song ends with tribal drumming and more Middle Eastern style chanting. This and "Libertheme" are two of the more subdued tracks on the album; subdued as far as Behemoth goes at least. They bring the speed down but still deliver the intensity. "Libertheme" is a mid paced brute with a pummeling groove. One more subdued and unconventional Behemoth track is "Inner Sanctum". Polish Jazz piano great Leszek Mozdzer plays the intro to the song and later adds small touches that create an eerie horror movie feel to the slow but powerful tune. Another surprise on "Inner Sanctum" are the guest vocals of Nevermore's Warrel Dane, which are fantastic and add to the atmosphere of dread that permeates throughout. The opus ends with another of its finer tracks, "Christgrinding Avenue", which sounds like another Behemoth classic. They bring everything together nicely on this monster of a closer, which ends with a pummeling double bass passage backed by symphonic horns, fading into the same female chanting that started the album. You've come full circle.

The musicianship from the band on the album is first rate. Inferno has taken his drumming to another level. Everyone knows his proficiency at playing hyper speed blast beats, but he really shows on The Apostasy that he's no one trick pony, using more tom and cymbal work then ever. "Tasty" is a term usually used to describe Jazz drummers who know when to throw in that certain small something that you weren't expecting, but that adds big flavor to the music. Well, Inferno's drumming is "tasty" to say the least. The guy has become an extreme metal monster. The guitar work shouldn't be forgotten either, it really stands out and grabs you by the throat. Nergal keeps it fresh and continually dishes out one original riff after another, as well as a slew of ripping guitar solos that are written perfectly for the music. Also thrown in are vocal choirs, horns, and the piano. It seems so cliché to say it, but Behemoth have really evolved as a band. One listen to The Apostasy will prove that. Everything seems much more mature and professional, from the songwriting to the musicianship. There are layers of sound and the music is thick, more complex, and more technical, while still remaining wicked. They create quite an engrossing atmosphere.

Nergal and company have always been one of the hardest working bands in music, touring relentlessly, and bringing themselves to the people. It's obvious they brought that work ethic back into the studio with them. This metal juggernaut just continues to get bigger and bigger. Behemoth are on the brink of great things, and The Apostasy is just the next step toward absolute world domination.

Track Listing
1) Rome 64 C.E.
2) Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa
3) Prometherion
4) At The Left Hand Ov God
5) Kriegsphilosopihe
6) Be Without Fear
7) Arcana Hereticae
8) Libertheme
9) Inner Sanctum
10) Pazuzu
11) Christgrinding Avenue

Added: March 7th 2009
Reviewer: Ken Sanford
Related Link: Behemoth Website
Hits: 6249
Language: english

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Behemoth: The Apostasy
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-03-07 15:49:41
My Score:

Having already reviewed the smoldering masterpiece that was Behemoth's "The Apostasy", we were happy to learn that a Deluxe Edition would be offered by the folks at Regain Records. This time around it would come out with a super special digipak and include a bonus DVD with content to enjoy. We figured it best to start on this one by representing our original comments about the release and then shall work out the finer points of difference about the special edition. Check it out.

"Given the amount of touring that Poland's juggernaut of a band Behemoth did for their album "Demigod", it seemed as though there was not enough downtime from the skull-crushing to offer up an album like "The Apostasy", but here we are and the album is perhaps the best in the bands catalog to date. It begins with a majestic intro passage in "Rome 64 C.E." and one can envision Nergal and his associates standing dominant over an unsuspecting world while it plays on. From there it is right into the smiting as the band delivers a pummeling with "Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa", a track that shows us very early on that Behemoth has not slowed down things by any stretch of the imagination. Across the board we get a wide array of blast beats from drummer Inferno, which serve well under the searing guitar of Nergal who on the recording plays both lead and rhythm parts. Of course those who have seen the group live know that they are joined by Seth on second guitar. Early favorites come via tracks like "At The Left Hand Ov God" which while a speed demon at points has a lot of stop and start groove to it that shows the band to be master technicians at their craft as opposed to finding them to be a one speed, one melody group. There is a strong Middle Eastern groove to this one that worked out very well. One of the key appeals of the release is not only the resounding power and majesty of the material but also the spot on musicianship that the band delivers from song to song. They are a talented band who manages to show you just how good they have become technically after all the rounds of touring that they have been involved in. Nergal's riffs can slice the skin off bone on a number of tracks while the bass of Orion crunches like some devastating thunder and driving it all home if the fantastic work of Inferno. We have praised him on a number of occasions but with "The Apostasy" he is raising the bar of Extreme Metal drumming very much. Yes, he does the conventional blast beats and incredible double bass patterns but there are so many time signature changes from track to track that he is bound to be referred to eventually as the leader in this style of drumming. He does not lose a second of his intense speed and yet manages to keep the fills flavorful and interesting.

One of the more interesting tunes that I found came by way of "Inner Sanctum" which had Nergal singing in a more normal voice than his usual growls. The band also played this one slightly different as while heavy, the track was not speeding by you at light speed. I've been a fan of Behemoth only since the release of "Demigod" and yet have made up for lost time with all of the remasters that came out via Metal Mind Productions over the past couple of years and I have to say that this one shall put the band on a higher pedestal than many others who seek to try and be as good as they already are. There is a musical maturity presented here and none of the changes found the band sacrificing their powerful style. It's safe to say that if you enjoyed what they did with "Demigod" then you will absolutely fall to your knees before their dark influence with this one. Amazing work guys and now you have to continue the process and destroy us with its follow up.

There is a booklet included that offers the listener all of the lyrics to the tunes but be aware that there are some heavy topics entertained in these tunes and the staunchly pious are instructed to maybe not look at this part of the release should they even bravely venture into its purchase. Photos and iconography are to be found all around the booklet and its done in darker grays, blacks and faded blues on top of white and as result comes off like some ancient text that when opened will unleash the unspeakable evil that is Behemoth upon the world. It's not often that I find the booklet to reflect the dramatic music of this release but in this case it came across as such. Behemoth is a very visually imposing band and I was glad that corners were not cut in this aspect of the CD.

This is truly an album that belongs in the collection of any Extreme Metal fan and I am confident that those who load it on their music players will be hitting repeat again and again. They tour often and the best way to experience Behemoth is in the live sense, so if you see their name listed you must make the time to go. Amazing work guys."

OK so now onto the subtleties of the Deluxe Edition and the first and most important part of this would be the incredible attention to detail that the packaging offered the fans. It's a thick digipak foldout and when the buyer opens it up completely it is the visual of an upside down cross that features some misshapen corpse on it. Very, very blasphemous stuff when it comes down to it but since we already know how the band Behemoth views organized religion from their lyrics it makes perfect sense. The booklet included appeared to be the same, but there is a DVD in this as well which is great if you easily understand the bands native language of Polish. Its most studio footage of the band creating "The Apostasy" CD and there is some interview footage with Nergal who while out of makeup and corpse paint goes simply by Adam. The deluxe package closes out with a nice poster of the album art and while the edition is a little more pricy than the regular one, this offers the purist of the band something very special. I would say if you must have this one then by all means go and get it because it's one of those releases that you cant get the full grasp of by merely downloading it via the conventional legal means. The packaging and the booklet make the statement even more brutal with this one. Long live "The Apostasy", Long Live Behemoth.

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