Behemoth – Evangelion
Rating: 3.0/5.0 – Good, but lacks the energy from earlier releases
Label: Nuclear Blast (USA | EU)
Websites: behemoth.pl | myspace.com/behemoth
Release Date(s): USA: 8.11.2009 | EU: 07.08.2009
Maybe I’m alone in this, but Behemoth‘s tremendous success over the last few years, starting with the record Demigod has long been a great surprise to me. Not that the band isn’t good and doesn’t deserve the success. Frankly, they are great and they do deserve the success, but just the idea that a blackened death metal band from Poland would be causing such a stir wasn’t something that had crept into my mind a few years ago, before they released their first real popular “opus.” Demigod of course was followed up by a weaker The Apostasy which, while good, couldn’t possibly have lived up to the expectations of the earlier material. And, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, it’s probably never bad to be hotly anticipated) for the band, Evangelion is one of the most hotly anticipated records of the year. I’ve been trying to get my hands on it for a while and now that I’ve finally got a promo version of it, I’ve been playing the hell out of it.
And frankly, I’ve been fairly impressed. Behemoth consistently writes heavy (brutal even) tracks that pummel the listener into submission. The riffs are primal, heavy and the drums are a violent attack of extreme precision. Tracks like “Transmigrating Beyond Realms ov Amenti” rip your face off with their killer Egyptian sounding riffs and while the band isn’t really very technical the music is never boring (I particularly enjoy the orchestrations). Evangelion has just enough melody to keep you hooked, and enough brutality to make you want to turn it up as loud as you can and piss off your neighbors. The production on this record is slick, but thick, though not as thick as The Apostasy or Demigod, which I found to be surprising. And, from a songwriting perspective, it seems like there’s a lot more slow tracks, even “Ov Fire and the Void” is much more plodding than the band’s previous work as well.
Of course, since the band went from being “Christ Raping Black Metal” to being “Ra Raping Death Metal,” their records have been consistently great, but Evangelion seems to lack the energy of earlier records. While certain tracks and riffs might stand out, the whole album lacks the real visceral feel from Behemoth‘s two classics Demigod and Satanica. And while I was assured by Nergal that I would love the band’s “new opus,” I find that record feels a little blase at points. It feels, unfortunately, that while the image and the presentation gets bigger and bigger, the quality and originality are becoming less stand out. This might be due to fatigue, from working straight and hard for the last few years.
However, don’t be fooled by the fact that I didn’t immediately latch onto every moment of this record. Frankly, while it’s not the band’s new opus, it’s still a pretty good record and a lot better than much of the stuff that’s coming out this summer. Behemoth seem to have a very good feel for what they’re doing and walking the fine line between good groove, brutality and melody. The vocals are raw and riveting, the lyrics are as evil as ever and the approach is excellent (not to mention probably the coolest cover art on a record that I’ve seen in a long time–never underestimate the power of cool cover art), despite the use of the word “ov” in nearly every song, which I think is quite possibly the silliest black metal trend of all time.
Behemoth pretty much kicks ass and Evangelion is no exception to this, even if it’s not quite as good as some of their earlier material. Pick it up and go see these guys live.