Reactions: Behemoth’s The Satanist

I don’t normally do album reviews, but I thought it might be interesting to post my reactions to the releases from my Top 9 Albums I’m Looking Forward to in 2014 as they get released. First up is Behemoth’s The Satanist, which I’ve had for a couple of weeks, and which I’ve probably listened to at least once a day every day since I got it. 

My impressions: I was expecting the album to be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this different. Behemoth had seemed to me like one of those bands that had found their schtick and were going to keep doing it, at possibly greater or lesser levels of quality, for the foreseeable future. I like the more spacious and less crowded sound of this album – actually being able to hear individual instruments is a revelation. It’s kind of nice to be able to say the Orion is actually a pretty damn good bass player. 

This is also a beautifully triumphant album. Much as I love blackened death metal (or death metal, or black metal, or whatever), I don’t usually think of it as uplifting in quite the way The Satanist is. The final song on the album, “O Father O Satan O Sun!”, in particular, is an absolute fist-pumping hymn to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. 

There’s been a certain amount of talk of this being Behemoth’s “Black Album” in terms of commercial success. Honestly, I don’t expect anything as forthrightly Satanic as this album to really bust out into the mainstream in America, at least, but I do expect this album to do very well for the band. 

Favorite tracks: “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer,” “Ben Sahar,” “O Father O Satan O Sun!” (Stupid question – is leaving out commas the new spelling-of-as-ov? Because dammit, it really should be “Ora Pro Nobis, Lucifer” and “O Father, O Satan, O Sun!”, not to mention “Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel”.)

Overall verdict: I’m still not sure whether it will displace Zos Kia Cultus as my favorite Behemoth album, but this is a strong contender for my top 10 of 2014 list. 

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