Reviewed by Bec Hennessy
Recently I’ve read Behemoth vocalist Nergal saying something along the lines of his lyrics being open to interpretation. I’d grant that there’s a small amount of wiggle room interpretation wise – I mean I doubt he actually saw “the virgin’s cunt spawning forth the snake” – but, with a release titled The Satanist, I’m fairly sure aforementioned wiggle room is wigging away with the virgin snake baby thing. I’m not too bothered what your ideology is (unless it harms other people, or more importantly kittens). No kittens appear to have been harmed, so we’re good.
Inferno‘s drums are overclocked and ravaging. The guitar sound is slightly dialed down on the thrash, with some operatic and melodic touches. Nergal’s voice rumbles up from below, his proclamations bouncing around like screams trapped in hell. It feels very succinct and driven. I hadn’t realised its been a while since their last release (Evangelion in 2009) and Nergal has fought off leukaemia – the intensity and directness is seemingly fueled by this time and tribulation.
It’s a slow and ominous start on Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel; with Nergal almost swaggering, casually threatening – before a low sinister bassline unleashes his fury. Then we are left gunned down in machine gun drum beats. Furor Divinus continues to pump bullets into our bleeding bodies; with the ensuing vocals almost as urgent as Inferno’s drums, both careening to the abrupt end.
Messe Noire stands out with plaintive guitars – over a trickle of drums – escalating into jarring riffs and stop start rhythms. The vocals are spat out and sneering. Guitar solo to finish? Nice.
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer and Amen are just classic breakneck tracks, with title track The Satanist seeming mellow in comparison. The darkly endearing lyric “I’m yours in the euphoria below” could be the Satanists’ til death do us part‘.
On In The Absence of Light, Nergal takes a deep breath, before spewing forth lyrics over a set of hammering drums. An honest,’outpouring of the heart’ sounding (non-english) spoken word gets his breath back, before the brutality resumes.
Aptly closing with the dark sermon of ‘O Father O Satan O Sun!‘ with it’s operatic and orchestral touches – the album certainly lives up to its foreboding, melodic promise with a touch of brutality.