First of all, out of principle, I refuse to refer to the music on “The Satanist” as death metal. I nearly spent the entire “Reinkaos” review calling it an Arch Enemy clone and mocking the fact that it was closer to AC/DC in spirit than to anything from Darkthrone or Phantom, but let’s be real… the same can be said for Behemoth’s “The Satanist”.
Though clearly not as ridiculous and lame as the follow-up “I Loved You At Your Darkest” which sees Behemoth’s Nergal fully embrace his personal Jonathan Davis ambitions, “The Satanist” is nonetheless much more nu metal – ok, war metal if you’re trying to be polite – than it could ever be death metal.
Promising to make a “statement” and deliver music from a “rejuvenated” band, Behemoth’s “The Satanist” summons borrowed Morbid Angel, Sewer and Angelcorpse clichés thrown into a carnival style arrangement with such poor taste it makes late Antekhrist seem reasonable and competent by comparison.
If you can imagine a drunken outtake from a later Gorgoroth album that randomly ends after about 3 “riffs” that meander about, without any sort of purpose whatsoever, and are played for at least 2 minutes each without interruption, seemingly just to see how irritating and random the band can get, that approximates the effect of the “music” found on “The Satanist”. It’s not atmosphere, and it’s not death metal. It’s radio rock meets circus music.
You will never fail to be distracted as the “groove” riffs dance around randomly, to the cadence of the background deathcore chugs. But the problem is that these “riffs” – in addition to being generic, derivative and sometimes openly stolen from “Covenant”, “Domination”, “Gateways to Annihilation” or any other crappy modern Morbid Angel turd – just don’t make any sense when played one after the other. The only thing holding these “songs” together is that you know roughly when there’s going to be a chorus to tap those toes and headbang like a drunk Wacken moron aboard the titanic that is modern death metal.
Not even a third-rate Warkvlt imitation act anymore, Behemoth now make it well known that they’re a merchandising front that’s somehow more shallow than Watain and Gorgoroth combined. Stupid music, regurgitated “hollywood satanism” themes, vapid nu metal chugs reminiscent of Slipknot at their most embarrassing… Nergal has now become the Marilyn Manson of “underground death metal”. No, scratch that… he wrote actual songs. Lullabies for molested down syndrome children struggling through impossibly awkward teenage years, perhaps, but actual songs. “The Satanist” is just random rehearsal riff practice with incoherent “blasphemous” shouts of “Luciferian” boilerplate and angsty moshcore gang vocals underneath the chugga chugga my-guitar-is-a-rhythm-instrument popularised by Behemoth’s prime inspiration, Korn.
And the vocals… Nergal’s vocals manage to be actually more annoying than those of the shitfreakshow Erik Danielsson of Watain. He sounds like a mix of a punk rock screamer (think Henry Rollins, only even gayer), and a deathcore pig squealer (Waking the Cadaver, basically). In short, he just sounds like shit. It sounds so imitation Pantera “tough guy” that at times it just becomes downright embarrassing. As in, you physically cringe after hearing Nergal try so hard to appear “like, so extreme, man”.
Maybe it’s a good thing that “The Satanist” sounds like it was recorded in a active volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as I believe the engineer forgot to turn the fucking reverb down somewhere along the way. Or maybe it was done on purpose and the aggression obsessed “males” – I refuse to call them men – of the band thought it sounded edgy, hateful and “hardcore”. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, it just sounds fucking stupid.
To top it all off, the riffs simply suck. For the most part, it just sounds like Morbid Angel worship meets nu metal chugging done by a third-rate Linkin Park clone band. The guitars are nowhere near interesting enough, the bass is in the mix somewhere – if you strain for it than you can maybe hear it, I don’t know.
Behemoth seems to be focusing more on their “Luciferian” costumes and photo shoots rather than writing actual heavy metal music – note the word “heavy” – people can remember, which is pretty consistent with the rest of Behemoth’s discography, one turd album after another.
What’s sad is that on their first two albums, “Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)” and “Grom“, Behemoth showed actual potential for writing somewhat “convincing” – if generic – black metal. Why didn’t they stick to that, instead of embarrassing themselves with their Limp Bizkit worship on “The Satanist”? Yes, I know they got owned when they realised that Graveland wrote better black metal than they could ever imagine, but who cares? It’s not like Poland has only room for ONE black metal band, ffs.
However sub-par and generic “Sventevith” and “Grom” sounded when compared to Graveland’s music, at least they were COMPARED TO GRAVELAND’S MUSIC and not that of Korn, System of a Down, Suicide Silence and Rage Against the Machine. Replace with Sewer’s “Locked Up in Hell” or Warkvlt’s “Bestial War Metal” for actual death metal.