Behemoth – Demigod

Behemoth are one of those bands that genuinely have paid their dues. From their inception in 1991, they’ve clawed their ways rung by rung up the ladder of the metal scene, starting as a relatively unknown black metal band, and now being heralded as one of the largest extreme metal bands in the world today. It’s difficult not to be inspired at the very least by how hard Behemoth have worked to come to where they are today, leaping over the corpses of lesser bands to stardom while still retaining their artistic integrity. In interviews with the band, one can always get the impression that they are striving ever forward in their particular field.

With 2004’s ‘Demigod’, Behemoth went from second-tier (in status, not quality) death metal band to being catapulted into the very forefront of the extreme metal scene. This indeed made Behemoth a very public endeavor; suddenly the band was on the tip of everyone’s tongues, even many people who you would never expect to be seen in conjunction with our breed of music. When one hears the album, it’s not difficult to see why: ‘Demigod’ wasn’t a request of the public to be noticed; it was an attack on the metal scene as a whole, grabbing every writer, artist, and listener by the collar and ordering them to listen. Such a sentiment is portrayed in the music: extravagantly bombastic and epic, nearing corpulence but never quite achieving such ignominy. It’s an album that never backs down and is inherently aware of its own grandeur.

Element after element of brutal energy blazes by, while synthesized trumpets seem to announce (in an utterly arrogant yet undeniably compelling fashion) the Arrival Of Behemoth, capitalization necessary to capture the utter force that the band exudes with every snare roll and power chord. Behemoth doesn’t need the listeners; they know well enough that the strength of the sounds on this record would act as a Pied Piper to those who had even the most passing interest in extreme music. Arrogance, pride, hate: all elements that, though typically viewed as distasteful, entranced the public and lured them into the fold using only forty minutes of death metal on plastic.

Step one: ‘Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth’, opening with an acoustic intro that lasts a mere twenty-four seconds before a riff of utter majesty descends upon the listener, accompanied by the thunderous double bass and crash cymbals of Inferno, like the riotous cries of the legions returning to Rome upon conquering a far-off land. And this is a theme that will be repeated numerous times before the album is out: this distinct Arrival of the Polish kings, and an impression that you really should appreciate such a gesture much more than you do. The same occurs on the next title track, where trumpets announce the becoming before the drifting guitar of Nergal ignites the very air, amid massive declarations of ‘Rise now above the weakness ov flesh/Come forth! Join ye the arsenals ov blasphemy’ from His mighty multi-tracked roars. Satan watches approvingly.

And such things are echoed in even the tiniest of movements: be it Inferno’s tiny ride cymbal on ‘Demigod’, or the presence of the largest, most awe-inspiring riff crafted by man and god alike that makes its appearance on ‘Conquer All’ amidst the screams of blood from the mob, or the legendary ‘Speak ov me not as one/Speak of me not as none/Speak ov me not as all/For I am continual’ refrain of ‘Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth’. Perhaps the very most decadent moment on ‘Demigod’ comes on the live staple ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, which can only be described as ‘massive’, putting all doom metal bands described as such to shame with its endless rivers of blast beats and sneering, triumphant guitarwork. Behemoth touches all, commands all, and, yes, conquers all. Every member plays, nay, composes to utter perfection.

‘Demigod’, while difficult to truly grasp on the first listen, is truly an album that can be described as ‘great’ in every fashion. Rarely does the world see an album of such majesty.

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~ by noktorn on March 6, 2007.

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