Behemoth

Behemoth

Thelema.6

Olympic/Avantgarde

Man, how times change. Indeed, Father Time has been kind to Poland’s Behemoth: From the modest and crusty Celtic Frostiness of the From the Pagan Wastelands demo (1993) to the epic and Morbidly Angelic Satanica (’98) opus, Behemoth have been a work in progress, continually delivering the goods every step of the way yet always challenging themselves and, more so, the listener. Well, three years have passed since the critically lauded Satanica, and now Thelema.6, Nergal and crew’s fifth full-length thus far, finally finds its way to our American shores. While Behemoth are certainly still enamored with the mighty Morbid Angel, few death/black metal bands • save for newcomers Anata and the vastly improved Krisiun recently • focus on that band’s forward-thinking spirit instead of solely on the sound, and perhaps this is Behemoth’s key to success • that, and the relatively insular Polish metal scene (all the death metal bands ape forebears Vader while the black metal contingent mires itself in conflated National Socialism • weird country, perhaps bested in this aspect only by Finland). Much like the Norwegian Gehenna, Behemoth started out as a relatively trad black metal band but have increasingly worked deathlier idioms into the mix • most undeniably Morbid Angel, a band who’ve always straddled both genres, musically and lyrically • the shift starting with Grom, following through both Pandemonic Incantations and (more so) Satanica, and now coming to a (death) head with Thelema.6, Nergal and fellow six-stringer Havoc cycling hypnotic riff unto hypnotic riff atop across-the-board blastbeaten tempos, really blowing minds with deliberately mind-fried yet finely articulated leads and some generally unconventional tweaks ‘n’ twists of the axe, the whole thing moving fast but somewhere • namely, the caverns of the mind and of the occult, bewitching layout included. So, in a way, call Thelema.6 the lost black metal cousin of Morbid Angel’s enjoyably loopy Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, maintaining that quintessential blackened atmosphere (say, like pre-At the Heart of Winter Immortal) but ram-rodding it into a non-obtuse death metal framework rife with memorable riffs and even a smattering of dark-hearted melody, the lyrics grappling with a similarly existential paganism like said Morbid Angel platter; with the lattermost element, credit Krysztof Azrewicz (“occultwise association, art of Obeah and Wanga”), who’s also helped out Vader and Dies Irae (a Vader side-project) recently, for such tripped-out lyrical grist. (Included on this domestic version are four bonus tracks, one a relatively modernized cover of Sarcofago’s selfsame song.) A real head-trip, but what else do you expect from the Poles?

Olympic, 1453-A 14th St. #324, Santa Monica, CA 90404; http://www.olympicrecordings.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Summerland
    Summerland

    In rural England, a cranky woman bonds with and evacuee boy and uncovers a strange connection to her past.

  • Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
    Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations

    These geniuses of early comedy finally get the presentation they are due in this Blu-ray edition.

  • Four-Letter Words
    Four-Letter Words

    No need to worry about offending delicate sensibilities with this playlist. We’re not talking about profanity, so just take the title at face value.

  • A Genesis In My Bed
    A Genesis In My Bed

    Former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett shares his life story in his story in an engaging and honest memoir. Reading his story feels like hanging out with a friend who’s interested in sharing how he felt living these experiences.

  • The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks

    XOXO (Sham/Thirty Tigers). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • 18 to Party
    18 to Party

    When you’re in 8th grade, sneaking into a bar is way cooler than it is when you’re 40.

  • Adam
    Adam

    A pregnant woman finds a home in Casablanca.

  • 2020 on Fire
    2020 on Fire

    Sound Salvation takes on current events with a playlist addressing the current fight for racial and social justice in America and the battles playing out in the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Landfall
    Landfall

    Cecilia Aldarondo takes a look at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

From the Archives