The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Behemoth – Zos Kia Cultus
Durning my vast exploration of melodic death metal, I occasionally came across black metal bands along the way, so it was inevitable that at some point it would eventually latch onto me. And like clockwork, it did. I quickly became a fan and I’m sure most of it is attributed to the speed at which these bands played, and the raw sound was something I wasn’t normally used to, so it had that going for it as well. I started listening to the usual suspects, such as; Bathory, Emperor, Mayhem, Immortal, Burzum, Countess and Darkthrone, just to name a few. Now I can understand why this type of music is either hated or not well received, mainly due to the misanthropic and anti-Christian standpoint of many artists, but there are some quality bands to be heard despite their beliefs, and one band in particular played an important role in establishing the extreme metal underground in Poland and have become one of the big names in todays world of metal, Polish blackened death metal band, Behemoth…
Since forming in 1991, Behemoth have run the gamut, going from pure black metal (early) to a more blackened death metal sound (later in their career), while providing a vast discography of solid albums, earning them their mark in the metal world. I could go on about their whole discography, but I’m focussing on a personal favorite of theirs, which happened to be my first foray into the music of Behemoth. I began listening to them in 2002, so I’m already behind, seeing as they have 10 years of material that came out beforehand, so suffice to say, I had a lot of catching up to do. But what better way to start than with their 2002 album, Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond).
“Horns Ov Baphomet” opens the album and you get all the traits of Behemoth, multiple guitar layers, fast tempos, epic progression, the technical drumming of Inferno, awesome breaks and the varied vocals of Nergal moving from death metal growls to diabolic screeches. It’s over 6 minutes of brutal black/death metal that lays the ground work of what to expect with rest of the album.
Now while I do enjoy the album as a whole, I found myself gravitating towards certain tracks more so than others, mainly, “Modern Iconoclast”, “As Above So Below”, “Blackest Ov The Black” and “Typhonian Soul Zodiack”, which are ever present with bone rattling drums, pummelling blastbeats, howling vocals and crushing riffs that create an overall sadistic feel that further carries the album and keeps it cohesive. It’s not until we get to “No Sympathy for Fools” that this album explodes. Simply put, this track doesn’t hold anything back. Right from the start it’s nothing but blistering, crushing riffs and thunderous drumming that when combined create enough speed and devastation that not only induces peoples necks to break from all the head banging, but easily makes this track stand out above the rest. You pretty much know what you’re in store for when the opening line to the song is, “FOOLS! I cast you all aside!” Good stuff…
The production on Zos Kia Cultus is perfect, the sound is clear and the instruments are well balanced. You will notice that the vocals are a bit louder, but not to worry, they never become a nuisance. In fact, with all the distorted screams and mid-guttural to very low brutal growls, Nergal further enhances the soundscape. The drumming by Inferno is nothing short of incredible, all the blasts, fills and double-bass seem twice as fast and brutal as hell. And the bass is audible with Novy delivering very strong chords.
Overall, Zos Kia Cultus is a great album by this Polish metal outfit. Is it their best, hard to say, since they have had a pretty good track record of albums since the beginning, so I will leave that up to the listener to decide. But in all honesty, with the combined talents of both Nergal and Inferno, you can rest assured that you will get two extremely unique and distinguishable traits of not only this album, but also the band itself. And that alone is reason enough to check Behemoth out.
Behemoth – “No Sympathy For Fools”