Behemoth
Evangelion

I’ve kind of dreaded writing this review ever since I gave Evangelion a few spins. Seeing as Behemoth has reached Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Suffocation and Grave levels of consistency and quality, they have arguably surpassed Vader as Poland’s premier metal export and almost certainly should be considered death metal royalty at this point in their career. So giving Evangelion a lukewarm review was somewhat disconcerting for me.

Personally, Behemoth peaked with Zos Kia Cultus and while I enjoyed Demigod and The Apostasy, the band’s gradually increased nods towards Nile, over processed production and essentially interchangeable songs made the albums rather forgetful over the long haul, while I still play Zos Kia Cultus regularly. And to be honest, I thought Nergal might be running out of ideas with some lackluster covers and the 34th reworking of “Chant for Eschaton” appeared on the Ezkaton EP.

On the positive side, we have a new label, along with it a new producer (Colin Richardson) and as you’d expect, the result is a slightly different sound from the previous, huge, loose sounding efforts. Evangelion is much tighter, compressed and natural as opposed to the massive, layering and echoing tones of The Apostasy and Demigod. Nergal’s vocals are a little more natural and fluid instead of horridly over produced and processed, resulting in an album that sounds much less overbearing and synthetic. Also, there seems to be a slightly lessened role of theatrics and dramatic elements as Nergal and co seems to have battened down the hatches and focused on actual riffs and furious death metal delivery as opposed to some of the extraneous choirs and synths that graced The Apostasy– the change is minimal, as there are a few injections of synths and Middle Eastern tangents, but its noticeable.

And thus lies part of Evangelion’s disappointment for me. After the first couple of typically Behemoth-y tracks, (“Daimonos”, “Shemhamforash”) where the excitement of a new Behemoth album overrides expectation and the enjoyment is highest, the album tends to blend into a rather relentless, dare I say Hate Eternal blast fest that blows by with an admittedly furious presence, but leaves little other impression. A couple of the albums tracks like personal favorite “He Who Breeds Pestilence” (with more than a nod to Nile with a ‘Mars, Bringer of War’ synth line), “Alas Lord is Upon Me” and the slow closer “Lucifer” reign things in but other wise the entire mid section of the album left me rather flat; In particular, “Shemhamforash” (after the excitement from the first couple of listens wears off), “Ov Fire and The Void” (arguably the album’s most rehashed track), “Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti”, “The Seed Ov I”, and “Defiling Morality Ov Black God” just seemed ‘there’ to fill space with intense, relentless blasting flocked with some Esoteric Arabic tinkling here and there.

I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but the truth is, even with the opening tracks, nothing on Evangelion jumped out and truly commanded my attention like say “As Above, So Below”, “Pazuzu”, “Libertheme” or “Conquer All” did from prior albums, and to be quite frank, by the time the crawling 8-minute closer, “Lucifer” is halfway done, i’m prety sure i’ve heard most of the riffs on prior albums and I’m actually kind ov bored, which I never thought Id say about a Behemoth album.

That all being said, Evangelion is still a quality Behemoth album and you don’t expect anything ground breaking, but I didn’t expect it so sound so recycled, despite the strong performance of drummer Inferno and all the elements that made Behemoth so enjoyable and consistent before. Still, I imagine Evangelion will sneak onto a few shallow fan boy year end lists. But personally, I actually kind of miss the over the top, theatrical Nile worship of the last two albums.

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Written by Erik T
August 3rd, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Shane

    see now I really like this


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    haven’t heard this yet but sounds like I will agree. these guys lost me with the derivative Demigod; in fact I think Zos Kia Cultus already started running in place as well – Satanica is still the one I go back to most often.


  3. Commented by: Dan

    You and I are on the same page Erik. ‘Zos…’ was the last time I felt like Behemoth really interested me. Once they donned the masks and leather dresses for the kids on Ozzfest they lost all their mystique. It just felt a bit too theatrical to be taken seriously. The lean towards the Eastern (Western for them) Nile vibe didn’t help either. It’s just never been a tonality I can get down with.


  4. Commented by: dr_neo_cortex

    I really only got into Zos Kia Cultus, and Demigod, as far as Behemoth is concerned, but I feel this way about a lot of death metal bands lately, sure its fast and heavy but that doesn’t cut it nowadays. Everyone can play blast beats and ape Nile. Lets see something new and exciting. “kind ov bored ” hahaha.


  5. Commented by: emperorjvl

    I enjoyed Demigod more than Zos, but Apostasy was flat. I like this more than Apostasy so far though.


  6. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    That “kind ov bored” little snippet is pretty funny… I haven’t heard the album yet, but the cover art is great, killer, although the little picture here doesn’t do it justice.


  7. Commented by: Vance

    Thelema 6 is the best, back then Nergal actually had a good voice, he sounded pissed and unique, but then he started going for the ultra death metal grunt and sort of lost all the character in the process, nowadays it’s all just too generic sounding, I still buy each of the new CDs when they come out, but as far as enjoyment goes, I’d rather just listen to The Faceless or some Doom metal, haha.


  8. Commented by: appollyonx

    I’ve been listening to it constantly for the past few days.I listened to Demigod and then Evangelion and I have to say that the differences are there.I even went back and listened to And the Forests Dream Eternally.I’ve come to the conclusion that its a more mature Behemoth that we’re hearing.They are looking at Nile a bit too much in spots but that doesn’t bother me…probably cuz I like Nile,lol.But as far as polish death metal goes Behemoth will never knock Vader down.Can’t wait for Necropolis.


  9. Commented by: Reignman35

    I think this is a fucking masterpiece and firmly puts these guys at the top of the extreme metal heap. Awesome musicianship, and the vocals are truly unique. When you hear a Behemoth song you KNOW it’s Behemoth. Will be buying this the second it comes out.


  10. Commented by: SerenityInFire

    Behemoth is definitely more well-known and popular IMHO, but I don’t think Behemoth will ever topple them. They are on par with one another.


  11. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    odd title.


  12. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    it basically means gospel or good news

    “The English word Gospel is derived from the Old English godspel (good tidings), which is a rendering of the Greek word ‘evangelion’ (good news)”.


  13. Commented by: Joe

    “and I’m actually kind ov bored” HAHAHA that was clever!


  14. Commented by: Mardraum

    It’s not a bad album but it sounds rehashed. I think Behemoth peaked with Zos as well. Demigod eventually grew on me but the ridiculous layering of the vocals turned me off. The vocals on this album are not as over-produced but the mastering itself leaves a lot to be desired. I hear an excessive amount of clipping and distortion throughout the disc that really makes it difficult for me to enjoy the music. And while I think the packaging and artwork are great their schtick with the masks and blurbs explaining the meaning of the lyrics is laughable.


  15. Commented by: Blog › Teeth of the Divine Staff Picks of 2009 › Teeth of the Divine

    […] 9. Behemoth – Evangelion […]


  16. Commented by: BrutaLeviathan

    I know I’m late to the game with this comment, but I like this MUCH more than the Apostasy. Demigod was good too, but I think this beats it. Doesn’t live up to Zos Kia Cultus, though. I actually got this album before it’s official American release date because they were selling at their merch stand at Mayhem Fest.


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