Behemoth - The Apostasy
Ah, polish death metal, is there any finer? Behemoth have proven that the answer is 'No' yet again with their latest album 'The Apostasy', an album which builds on the successful formula of their back catalogue whilst having a character all of its own. With a slot on Ozzfest in the US and a rising profile in the UK and Europe, Behemoth have a great opportunity to make it big and 'The Apostasy' is an excellent first step in doing so.
If you've heard any Behemoth before then you know what to expect: crushing guitar riffs, monstrously gruff and harsh vocals with more blast beats than you can shake a burnt church at. The death-black mix that Behemoth pedal is certainly nothing new, but the band are so adept at it that doesn't matter at all. There are a few new and interesting touches thrown into this mix though, for example the piano parts and guest vocals of Nevermore singer Warrel Dane on 'Inner Sanctum' make this track particularly stand out and mix things up on the album well. Also, the choir samples on 'Pazuzu' (you've got to love a song named after an ancient Babylonian deity) add another nice little touch to the sound. Overall, the song writing on the album takes the best bits of the classic Behemoth with a few innovations to keep things fresh. Perfect.
The production on this album is as good as you'd expect; crisp, clean and powerful. The guitars are strong, without being overbearing, the drums are blasting without drowning out anything and altogether the mix is put together just right for Behemoth's stylings. Nergal's vocals in particular are given just the right sound, they never sound anything but powerful and booming: just right for Behemoth's music.
Overall then it's hard to say what makes this album special. The formula itself is certainly no different than 'Demigod', its predecessor, the production is no better and on the surface the songs are no more powerful. Somehow, perhaps through the sheer consistency of the album, this has managed to be yet another step up in the Poles' career and represents their finest album to date. If polish death metal is your thing, then, well, you've probably already bought this album. If you're just a general metal fan or even an interested onlooker, this album isn't definitively classic, so it just has to miss getting a 13, but it definitely is an excellent, excellent release.