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Behemoth - "Evangelion" (CD)

Behemoth - "Evangelion" CD cover image

"Evangelion" track listing:

1. Daimonos (5:16)
2. Shemhamforash (3:56)
3. Ov Fire and the Void (4:28)
4. Transmigrating Beyond Realms Ov Amenti (3:28)
5. He Who Breeds Pestilence (5:41)
6. The Seed Ov I (4:58)
7. Alas, Lord Is Upon Me (3:16)
8. Defiling Morality Ov Black God (2:50)
9. Lucifer (8:07)

Reviewed by on July 24, 2009

"'Evangelion' is at the pinnacle of death metal. Behemoth has taken their tried and true sound and brought it up to the next level, which makes it an instant classic for any death metal fan."

Front man Nergal has stated that “Evangelion” is the only Behemoth album he’s ever actually been happy with, and it’s easy to hear why. “Evangelion” is an absolute beast of an album that’s hungry for blood. Anyone who doesn’t immediately feel the need to bring out the double devil’s horns and head bang until they break their necks probably doesn’t have it turned up loud enough. The band sticks pretty closely to the same style they’ve been refining for the past several albums, but the formula works exceedingly well even if it doesn’t allow for many surprises.

“Daimonos” begins with evil strings and distant screams from hell below to build up to Nergal’s demonic growl. The heavy drum beat drops into the mix as Nergal continues his satanic chanting, which gives the audience a few moments to work out how truly damned they are going to be if they continue listening. Massively heavy guitars with a touch of technicality work their way into the music next, meshing with the other sounds to create a musical battering ram. Before long the drum beats leave behind mere heaviness and reach a level of blasting that’s mind-boggling. Some of the drums are so completely out of control that one has to wonder if a pact with a certain fallen angel wasn’t required to prevent broken wrists.

“Evangelion” is crushingly heavy death metal through and through, but it’s played well enough that the music can actually stick with a listener for quite some time. Music that is this technically proficient and uncompromisingly brutal shouldn’t be forgotten as soon as the disc ends, and Behemoth has found the right mixture to prevent the album from suffering that fate. There are small moments of catchiness to break up the huge wall of force brought on by the guitars, as well as a few sound effect-laden moments that give the music a specific mood without going full force into symphonic territory. From time to time the guitars also attempt more tricky and showy passages, but they don’t ever lose their evil vibe.

Those with a predilection for music with more occult leanings will find plenty of interesting tidbits throughout the album. “Shemhamforash” is a good example, as it is a corrupted form of the name of God and is used by some traditions for binding and controlling angels or demons. A good deal of the music also deal with the decidedly diabolical notion of breaking free of religious tradition and emerging as a true individual. Of course it can’t be all high concept lyrics, as what album would be complete without someone screaming “let the blood ov the infants flood the streets ov Bethelehem?”

“Evangelion” doesn’t particularly break out of the established sound of Behemoth, but that isn’t a bad thing. These musicians know what they can do, and they do it well. The album is a continuation of their previous sound with enough advancement to make it distinctly its own entity, but no one should hold any illusions about an evolution of sound occurring. Much like with the last few albums, the black metal aspects of early Behemoth is almost completely gone. Some of the atmosphere is there, but the sound and the production are firmly entrenched in death metal.

The album doesn’t ever redefine metal, but it’s still among the best that metal has to offer. While there’s nothing progressive or new to be found, “Evangelion” is at the pinnacle of death metal. Behemoth has taken their tried and true sound and brought it up to the next level, which makes it an instant classic for any death metal fan.

Highs: Unrelentingly brutal, perfectly demonic growls, enough minor variation to prevent the songs from bleeding together

Lows: Never really breaks off from the standard Behemoth sound to try new things

Bottom line: Behemoth has birthed a true abomination that is destined to become a classic of death metal.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)