“The Apostasy” by Behemoth

Artist: Behemoth
Title: “The Apostasy”
Label: Century Media Records
Release Date: 7/17/2007
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

Given the amount of touring that Poland’s juggernaut of a band Behemoth did for their album “Demigod”, it seemed as though there was not enough downtime from the skull-crushing to offer up an album like “The Apostasy”, but here we are and the album is perhaps the best in the bands catalog to date. It begins with a majestic intro passage in “Rome 64 C.E.” and one can envision Nergal and his associates standing dominant over an unsuspecting world while it plays on. From there it is right into the smiting as the band delivers a pummeling with “Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa”, a track that shows us very early on that Behemoth has not slowed down things by any stretch of the imagination. Across the board we get a wide array of blast beats from drummer Inferno, which serve well under the searing guitar of Nergal who on the recording plays both lead and rhythm parts. Of course those who have seen the group live know that they are joined by Seth on second guitar. Early favorites come via tracks like “At The Left Hand Ov God” which while a speed demon at points has a lot of stop and start groove to it that shows the band to be master technicians at their craft as opposed to finding them to be a one speed, one melody group. There is a strong Middle Eastern groove to this one that worked out very well. One of the key appeals of the release is not only the resounding power and majesty of the material but also the spot on musicianship that the band delivers from song to song. They are a talented band who manages to show you just how good they have become technically after all the rounds of touring that they have been involved in. Nergal’s riffs can slice the skin off bone on a number of tracks while the bass of Orion crunches like some devastating thunder and driving it all home if the fantastic work of Inferno. We have praised him on a number of occasions but with “The Apostasy” he is raising the bar of Extreme Metal drumming very much. Yes, he does the conventional blast beats and incredible double bass patterns but there are so many time signature changes from track to track that he is bound to be referred to eventually as the leader in this style of drumming. He does not lose a second of his intense speed and yet manages to keep the fills flavorful and interesting.

One of the more interesting tunes that I found came by way of “Inner Sanctum” which had Nergal singing in a more normal voice than his usual growls. The band also played this one slightly different as while heavy, the track was not speeding by you at light speed. I’ve been a fan of Behemoth only since the release of “Demigod” and yet have made up for lost time with all of the remasters that came out via Metal Mind Productions over the past couple of years and I have to say that this one shall put the band on a higher pedestal than many others who seek to try and be as good as they already are. There is a musical maturity presented here and none of the changes found the band sacrificing their powerful style. It’s safe to say that if you enjoyed what they did with “Demigod” then you will absolutely fall to your knees before their dark influence with this one. Amazing work guys and now you have to continue the process and destroy us with its follow up.

There is a booklet included that offers the listener all of the lyrics to the tunes but be aware that there are some heavy topics entertained in these tunes and the staunchly pious are instructed to maybe not look at this part of the release should they even bravely venture into its purchase. Photos and iconography are to be found all around the booklet and its done in darker grays, blacks and faded blues on top of white and as result comes off like some ancient text that when opened will unleash the unspeakable evil that is Behemoth upon the world. It’s not often that I find the booklet to reflect the dramatic music of this release but in this case it came across as such. Behemoth is a very visually imposing band and I was glad that corners were not cut in this aspect of the CD.

This is truly an album that belongs in the collection of any Extreme Metal fan and I am confident that those who load it on their music players will be hitting repeat again and again. They tour often and the best way to experience Behemoth is in the live sense, so if you see their name listed you must make the time to go. Amazing work guys.

Track Listing:
1. Rome 64 C.E.
2. Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa
3. Prometherion
4. At The Left Hand Ov God
5. Kriegsphilosophie
6. Be Without Fear
7. Arcana Hereticae
8. Libertheme
9. Inner Sanctum
10. Pazuzu
11. Christgrinding Avenue

Official Website: http://www.behemoth.pl

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