“Hail My Return”
The year 2014 kicked off to a flying start for metalheads, as Polish Blackened Death Metal legends Behemoth resumed from a four year hiatus to release what is probably their finest record to date. This album has a lot of emotional value to the band and the fans who had doubted a possibility of this happening due to the front-man, guitarist, and songwriter Nergal's long battle with leukemia. The viral and infamous music video for the album's opening track “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” is an allegory of Negral's psychological pressures and spiritual transformation during his fight against leukaemia.
The explosive and yet hauntingly hypnotic opening track “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” begins and leads the listener down an unbeaten dark territory where we see a much older and ambient self of the band resurface. What really sets this album apart from the earlier works of Behemoth is how they incorporated the original Black Metal sound from their rookie days on to the more recent imperial, pacy Death Metal sound they are so well known for. Yet, the album is not just another Death Metal album.
The production behind the album was impeccable. The sound of instruments was perfect and rather minimalist to some degree (considering how heavy it usually is) to pave a way for the background ambience which amplified the use of orchestrations, horns and choir voices. The effect was thus immense. The song-writing was very intricate and the grooves well placed, and somewhat reminiscent of 80s' Black Metal pioneers. The album was a very different type of heavy. It was heavy in terms of density of instrumentation and orchestration if not necessarily just the distorted guitar heavy. The lyrics were ethereal, yet vague and I'm still spending every spare minute poring over them and trying to connect the dots and find allegorical ties.
The golden age of Black Metal may be long gone but there is still room for bands who defy the stereotypes to find a foothold in metal music. Experimentation has become a bit of a trend (for example, Altar of Plagues who incorporate post metal elements in Black Metal) and it has opened doors for bands to diversify and expand horizons of the genres. Behemoth's “Satanist” is yet another example of experimentation which paid off.
A beginning to the metal year this good leaves a lot to expectations, especially with the prospect of possible releases from some very big names. As they say, 'morning shows the day.' This year might still turn out to be quite an amazing year for metal after all!
Must Hear songs from the album: “Blow Your trumpets Gabriel”, “Furor Divinus”, “Amen”, “Oro Pro Nobis Lucifer”, “O Father O Satan O Sun!”