Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The power of Christ compels you to listen to this album, dammit.

Like satanic clockwork, that merry band of Polish pranksters better known as Behemoth are back to spill forth yet another blood-stained platter (their ninth!) of tenebrous, death-laden occult dirges from the depths of those extra spooky places that always put a devilish smile on my wretched face. Too much purple prose? Fuck off -- if you haven't already since I'm reviewing something that very few of you (thanks, Tom) wouldn't spin, even for cold, hard cash or a competent and affordable health care plan -- I ain't Hemingway. Let's compare:

See Mephistopheles run.

See the Blakeian emanation Mephistopheles run, bursting through the poorly circumscribed magical protection of the pitiful human prey, banishing them to unspeakable torment, their screaming pleas for mercy heard by none but eternity.

See?

Since I'm in a charitable mood, let's address the needling cons and save the pros until the end, on both album and post. In grimy metal circles, Behemoth is known, despite their brutally efficient professionalism and impressive musical chops, by some wags to bear the virtue of consistency, by others, the dreaded sin of sameness. These latter charges have also been leveled at more popular outfits such as AC/DC and Motörhead -- hell, recall Vivaldi or Telemann in comparison to Bach. The former are masterful, often memorable notesmiths. Then there's the freakishly otherworldly Johann Sebastian. Are such accusations without merit? Since 1999's blistering yet hooky -- yes, death metal can have hooks, wankers -- Satanica, still their Churchillian hour -- and aside from the stray track here and there, for all of the subsequent albums' collective quality, has there been a full-length moment of transcendence? A couple did indeed howl at the door with wolf-like ferocity. Little pig, little pig, let me in. A string of year-end top tens? Without doubt. But for every three-to-six minutes of evil genius such as Slaves Shall Serve or Horns ov Baphomet, there's an In the Garden of Dispersion or Prometherion. Excessive, primal rage often slays the wrong target. Is complex, sinister sentiment saved from being collateral damage on Evangelion?

I pause in deep, Neoplatonic contemplation, then say you betcha.

Not that most of the past compositions didn't breathe -- which is where the menace comes from; Sabbath taught us that from day one -- but having all the raw materials you desire at your disposal means nothing. Architecture is always key. The lungwork here is subtle, and on a sickeningly vicious tune such as Transmigrating Beyond Realms ov Amenti, these spaces can get washed away on a cursory listen swamped in ambient sound, but that's what headphones in the dark are for. Witnessing more dynamic yet manifestly rampaging excursions like He Who Breeds Pestilence and Alas, Lord Is Upon Me, it's overt, but the pinnacle comes with the album's magnum opus closer, the flagstone-by-flagstone crawl of a majestically dark homage to the Miltonic hero, with its trackless, blackened alchemy, bubbling sulfur solos and lyrics composed by former Belle Epoque poet and current corpse Tadeusz Micinski, thanks for the lack of translation you bastards. I'd ask my 82-year old grandma for foreign language assistance but I don't want her devoutly Roman Catholic heart to spontaneously combust and then it's a case of no presents for Christmas.

Album of the year material? Depending on the supremacy of the as-yet-unreleased Katatonia, I'd lay a Lincoln or two down in Vegas. Transcendental? Did not Asia once croon in many a Gremlin that only time will tell? Venomous, sinewy, catchy, brutally imprinting its message upon the psyche, 'tis everything a metal album should be. Kudos, gents. Now be on your way, corrupting the innocent is a thankless task without end.

21 comments:

Übermilf said...

I read this book. That's all I'm willing to read about metal.

But I am Polish, so I read that part. About the Polish people.

By the way, my grandma refused to put potatoes in her pierogies, claiming that only Russians did that. She sneered while she said that. How do you feel about potatoes in pierogies, and Russian culture in general?

sunshine said...

Well since I'm Catholic, if the power of Christ is compelling me then.. I'd better have a listen.
I'll illegally download.. ahem I mean go onto itunes later and buy a couple of songs ....

Is this going to make my ears bleed?
((Hugs))
Laura

Randal Graves said...

übermilf, wuss. Since when are potatoes in pierogies a commie thing? My grandma is 100% Polish and potatoes have always been one of the ingredients of choice.

I don't know any Russians, but I love Tchaikovsky.

sunshine, do you know any Polish? Yes, it's bloody ear music, so have some paper towels handy.

Dusty said...

OK, my cats just dragged the innards of my turkey all over the kitchen..as I forgot the fuckers were sitting in the sink...and we spent forty-fucking-five minutes looking for the neck.

Now, you want me to listen to some heavy duty metal?

Right on..I am in the mood..let it fly fuckers!

S.W. Anderson said...

Maybe in the dark depths of dead-cold January, maybe when hope of spring and life renewed seem so distant, I might — if absolutely no other music were available and I was in the frame of mind of a gawker at an accident scene — venture one moment's listen to what spills forth from a "blood-stained platter" such as this.

But now, in the dog days of summer, I hope it doesn't come to that.

Randal, better you should concentrate on Gladys Knight & the Pips. ;)

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

Have you heard the new Up with People album? It's really hip!

Regards,

Tengrain

Randal Graves said...

dusty, you have greasy turkey innards all over the kitchen? Yuck. The cleanup certainly does call for angry riffing!

SWA, sorry, no pips. Nor any of those peeps, like eating raw sugar. I'm still an angry young man. And some day I'll be an angry old man. Of course, by then, I'll be deaf.

tengrain, you bastard, they suck. Let me know when there's an Osmonds reunion.

okjimm said...

Polish Death Metal? Gees, serve a little Golabki with that review?

Gees... and "Neoplatonic contemplation"?????


Well, I'm gonna mosey on home... listen to a little Zappa, have me a smoke and a bratwurst and contemplate the ingrown toe nail that is driving me nutz!

Polish Death Metal... guess I ain't heard nuttin' yet!

Tengrain's right... you swine!! :)

Holte Ender said...

I love Polish music as long as it's Chopin.

Tom Harper said...

OK, if you're invoking the power of Christ, then I'll give it a listen. If Jesus is involved, how could anything go wrong?

I already have some CDs by Ministry and Lamb of God. I haven't played them yet, but I can just tell by the names that their music is cleancut and Christian.

Beach Bum said...

But someone told me today that Christ was compelling me to listen to reason about that racist Obama.

Because I'm tired I'll just go dig out my John Denver and John Tesh CD's.

S.W. Anderson said...

Tengrain, if you're trying to equate Up With People and the Osmonds with Gladys Knight, I can only conclude you've had little if any exposure to Knight and her group.

Liberality said...

Can you blip it? A song or maybe two? Then I'll give it a listen.

susan said...

Ah well, it's late, it's hot again, I've been working, painting, discussing the possible consequences of the UK and Holland trying to get their non-existent money back from Iceland. Now I think I'll join okjimm in spirit and listen to Peaches en Regalia. Maybe some Polish metal tomorrow..

sunshine said...

Since I don't know any polish I guess I'll pass.
;)
((Hugs))
Laura

Randal Graves said...

okjimm, once I had an ingrown toenail that was actually curling like a swirly whirlpool into my flesh. Gave me a local, then they cut the sucker out.

holte, I love Chopin. This sounds nothing like Chopin. But since they're both Polish, kielbasa for everyone!

tom, amen. And don't forget that Mr. Jourgensen has a close relationship with the Lord. Remember, He built his hotrod.

BB, I hope you're joking about those John Tesh CDs. I can't believe you haven't upgraded his masterworks to mp3.

SWA, I sure hope you aren't disparaging the musical prowess of the Osmonds.

liberality, I haven't actually used blip since I signed up, and I'm about 99.9% sure you'll hate it, but I'll see what I can dig up.

susan, why don't they just print more money? That's what I do when I run out.

sunshine, well, you're no help, Canuck!

Dr. Zaius said...

I don't know if I will like it. Are there any accordion tracks?

Randal Graves said...

There are on the Japanese import.

S.W. Anderson said...

RG, inferring the Osmonds' music is like or on par with Gladys Knight & the Pips, IMO, is disparaging the latter's music. The Osmonds had their fans. I just wasn't one of them.

Randal Graves said...

Anyone with half a noodle knows that the Osmonds suck, whereas GK+P doesn't, but given that I love the still-doesn't-get-respect bastard child of rock, you really won't get any sympathy from me. ;-)

Snave said...

Indeed, this sounds like Beelzebubblicious music. I will have to check it out!!