September 3, 2009 | | 3.5

Behemoth, Evangelion

Behemoth: Evangelion

Having not been a huge fan of Behemoth‘s The Apostasy I wasn’t really all that looking forward to their latest treatise of anti-God principles. Lucky for me this Polish group of blasphemous bastards shied away from the elements that I wasn’t overly fond of — overly layered vocals, ego boosting orchestrations… you get the picture. Sure, Evangelion encompasses a few of those elements, but does so in a rather subdued and accompanying nature.

The vast orchestrations are used to build upon the thrashing guitars and Inferno’s outstanding drum work. The layered vocals are still present, but less obvious, allowing the music to come to the forefront. Nergal’s delivery is just as massive as before, but more natural and controlled. His guitars are thick and bruising, ultimately riding the back of Inferno’s manic blasts and precision strikes. Where The Apostasy lacked, Evangelion more than makes up for, pushing the band’s sound into familiar, yet powerfully constructed territories.

The opening song fades in quickly with distant vocals and production noise (guitar squeals, reverb, screams). The drums are measured at first allowing you a brief moment to get ready before unleashing the hounds of Hell with furious blasts and fills. The guitars push you along smoothly after the drums have leveled everything in the band’s path. This and the second (possibly the third as well) tracks are the strongest on the album and should not be missed. The chorus is catchy and easy enough to shout along with. Don’t miss the series of leads starting just before the four minute point, especially at 4:11.

“Shemhamforash” keeps the blood flowing with a bit of sitar along with crushing drums and driving riffs over the first 20 or so seconds. Luckily, Inferno has had enough with the sitar and slits its throat with manic blasts and thundering drums. This one has a pretty eclectic feel overall, but is still all Behemoth. The layering effect on the vocals is used sparingly and well throughout the track, instead of filling every bit of growl and scream with too much. 2:20 sees a slick lead over top the rapid fire skull bashing of Inferno.

Ov Fire and the Void
Here’s the track that’s been getting so much hype — from the controversial video to said video’s banning from Youtube. Without the imagery supporting it, “Ov Fire and the Void” is certainly enough on it’s own to stand out. It’s catchy, heavy and aggressive, even with the light orchestration throughout. The song is a chugging monstrosity of epic proportions with just enough dramatic touches to keep it from getting stagnate.

Transmigrating Beyond Realms ov Amenti
I’m digging the opening to this next one. It’s rolling rhythms and thick guitars let you know the band means business. Thrashy guitars come in at :40 with a big scream from Nergal. Once the vocals come in full, the band settles into the standard Behemoth formula, but it’s been augmented with layered screams, Infernos intent on global destruction through his drums and slick guitars. A huge scream ends a pretty decent song.

He Who Breeds Pestilence
“He Who Breeds Pestilence” starts off with a few crows and slightly blackened, desolate guitar work. This one has a bit of an off-kilter feel to the main rhythm coursing through it, the staccato drums keeping you on your toes from beginning to end. Nergal’s vocals are especially vicious on this one, as well. The layered din of effects, choral moans and Nergal’s vocals around 2:30 is pretty eerie. The song’s latter half is a bit more melancholy and solemn with slow moving guitars and steady drums.

The Seed ov I
Some of the beefier riffs on the album open up “The Seed ov I” as the band settles into a pummeling pace with Inferno at the wheel of a mac truck and a brown bag full of trucker-grade speed. There’s a solid, head banging groove flowing through this one. There are a few dramatic softer spots which are quickly overtaken by massive screams and thundering drums. The lead work on this one is fantastci (2:40 and on…). I love the drum work around the four minute mark.

Alas, Lord Is Upon Me
“Alas, Lord Is Upon Me” begins in the distance with black metal charred guitar work that’s punctuated like thermite to the eardrum with Inferno’s drum work. This one builds nicely over the first minute or so to a chugging beast with layered vocals, thick rhythms and more. This is one of the shorter songs on the album, but no less violent.

Defiling Morality ov Black God
A frenetic starts with blasting drums and memorable guitar work gets this next one rolling along nicely. Nergal’s vocals consistent and unrelenting. There’s a pretty slick lead at 1:40. After 2:40 the quickest track on the album ends abruptly with Infernos drums ringing in your ears.

Continuing the trend heard over the last couple of albums, Behemoth opt for another lengthy and somewhat long winded finale to round out a pretty decent album. After a bit of sound clips of Egyptian slaves working on a pyramid perhaps, the band gets into the meat of the song with rolling drums and solid orchestration. The slower paced track moves along like a great beast, but really doesn’t have much punch to it. There is, however some nice guitar work around 2:30.

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Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: