Behexen - The Poisonous PathFormer AMG writer, Natalie Zed, described Behexen in her Nightside Emanations review as a second-wave black metal band. Nothing more, nothing less. And, in all honesty, that is exactly what they are. But, Behexen—as well as Horna, Satanic Warmaster, and Sargeist—are not only innovators of the style, but are also damn good at it. With black metal musicians like Horns, Shatraug, and Hoath Torog steering Behexen (all members of one of more of the aforementioned Finnish outfits), the band continues to deliver powerful Satanic messages both captivating and crushing. Behexen may not bring much variation these days, but their consistency is commendable. Though The Poisonous Path is far from my favorite release, it’s another quality Behexen release and one that further proves their consistency.

Many fans (including myself) were a bit bummed with the territories explored on 2008’s My Soul for His Glory. But, for all its flaws, the slower pace and deeper vocal style resulted in a heavier, more methodical sound. With 2012’s Nightside Emanations the band took that mid-paced approach and rode it like a goat from hell. The album is crisp and loud with riffs heavy enough to crack concrete. Though I prefer older tracks like “Sota valon jumalaa vastaan” (Rituale Satanum) and “Watchers of My Black Temple (By the Blessing of Satan), the deliberate attacks, agonizing atmospheres, and restrained vocals of the newer material kept the band from falling into a rut.

The Poisonous Path kicks off with a track as stocked as a one-stop shop. Like the overture of a musical, “The Poisonous Path” teases the listening of things to come. It has monstrous riffs, church-bell chimes, and a conclusion wracked with hate and pain. “Umbra Luciferi,” “Tyrant of Luminous Darkness,” and “Pentagram of the Black Earth” also shop at the Behexen Market, and provide the album with thick atmospheres and memorable guitar work. The latter two have some of the heaviest Behexen-meets-Gorgoroth riffs on the album, but are somehow capable of restraining them when the melodic interludes come into play. “Pentagram of the Black Earth” rocks your possessed corpse with a Rituale Satanum-inspired riff before setting up a tremolo-led build that grows every time you listen to it. “Tyrant of Luminous Darkness” uses similar techniques, but its build doesn’t quite pack the emotional Watain-like punch of its counterpart. But “Umbra Luciferi” trumps them both with atmospheres so thick and consuming, you’ll be scrambling for your trusty scythe to cut through it.

Behexen 2016

Except for these few exceptions, the rest of the album is more or less focused on specific moods. “A Sword of Protean Fire” focuses on headbangable riffs and clever drum work, while “Chalice of the Abyssal Water” relies solely on its atmospheres. Unfortunately, these focused pieces don’t quite have the staying power of the rest of the album. “The Wand of Shadows” and “Gallows of Inversion” are decent black metal ditties, but they are rather standard. But, not all of these straight-laced tracks blend into the blackened ether. The epic “Rakkaudesta Saatanaan” goes far and above to prove the band is capable of capturing the desired mood. The song is simplistic and lengthy, but the emotions it conjures up leave me in a blackened haze.

The Poisonous Path isn’t as good as Ritauale Satanum and By the Blessing of Satan, but it is comparable to Nightside Emanations. The album is loud and lacks dynamics, but Hoath Torog’s vocals are ginormous and Horn’s blasts are surprisingly noticeable in the chaotic mix. In quality, I would place The Poisonous Path between the Sargeist‘s Feeding the Crawling Shadows and Gorgoroth‘s stellar Instinctus Bestialis. It’s a solid release and one worth spinning if you enjoyed Nightside Emanations.


Rating: Good
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Websites: behexenofficial.com | facebook.com/behexen.official
Releases Worldwide: May 27th, 2016

Share →
  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Really enjoying this. Fantastic review, definitely got some back-catalog hunting to do!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I appreciate it. It is a good album. Some of those tracks are just killer. tbey have better albums but, in general, you really can’t go wrong with Behexen.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        I’ve heard good things about By The Blessings Of Satan, so I will be spinning that right after this one is done!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Yeah, that one is a must. Many black metallers consider it one of the all-time classics.

  • De2013

    Thank you for pointing out and reviewing this record. Although a ‘meager’ 3.0, I totally dig the embedded track. How awesome must the older records sound like? I must admit, the genre for me is yet to be fully explored. Will definitely check this one out.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Compared to some of the other black metal coming out, this is a damn good release. So, a 3.0 does seem a bit harsh when compared to the other garbage of the genre. However, there are a few songs that don’t quite click and this album doesn’t stand up to some of their previous work.

      Definitely check them out. Awesome band.

      • De2013

        Just noticed sale on bandcamp for their whole discography!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          What?! Badass! Thanks for the info.

          • De2013

            Better wait with buying, strange things are happening! the page I mentioned above got pulled from bandcamp and the records are deleted from my collection. Another bandcamp page for Behexen has appeared….

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Fuuuuuck

          • De2013

            I opened 2 disputes with paypal to get my money back. First time I’ve encountered this using bandcamp.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Fuck dude. I’m sorry to hear that. Hopefully, they get it all sorted out.

  • Vassago Gamori

    …yet with shadings of the swarthy musky sexsweat passion of a Norwegian black metal church-burner.

  • Ilk_vomit

    Behexen are in no way a part of the second wave of blackmetal at all.The second wave consisted of bands like Darkthrone,Emperor and Immortal just to name a few.They are so far away from that wave lol…..come on now