Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Behemoth, Daimonos, Evangelion, He Who Breeds Pestilence, Meshuggah, Nergal, obZen, Releases of the Week, Shemhamforash, The Apostasy
PREVIEW: Download Behemoth’s “He Who Breeds Pestilence” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts
Let’s get something straight: there are only 30 seconds on Behemoth’s new album, Evangelion, where you’re not listening to the heaviest, most brutal music released in 2009 — the album’s first 30 seconds. Once these are through, and opening track “Daimonos” hits full speed, the Polish quartet unleashes a death metal maelstrom and don’t let up for more than 40 minutes.
Evangelion improves dramatically upon Behemoth’s last album — 2007’s The Apostasy, which isn’t to say that The Apostasy was bad by any means. But this time around, everything feels like it’s done a bit better. The progression of the tracks is more natural, the symphonic moments more dramatic, and vocalist Nergal’s growls are more searing and visceral than ever before.
But despite the consistent heaviness of the album, Behemoth pulls off a rare trick: they’re more melodic than they’ve been in years. The melodies manifest themselves in different ways, from the use of a sitar on “Shemhamforash” to the doom metal-influenced intro of “He Who Breeds Pestilence.” On some tracks, the band combines this new affinity for melody with technical proficiency reminiscent of, but not quite at the same level as, 2008’s heaviest album — Meshuggah’s obZen.
Basically, what makes Evangelion so good is that it’s not just another Behemoth release. Dismissing it as everyday “death metal” doesn’t do it justice; you’re almost tempted to keep a tally of the number of different influences that present themselves. But why do that? Just sit back and get ready to be blown away.
— Dan Kaplan