I first saw Behemoth play live at the Mayhem Festival in 2009. Before then, I had never even heard of Behemoth. A couple of days after I was left speechless by the power of Behemoth’s performance and the level of violence of their moshpit, I got my hands on the first Behemoth album I could find, and it turned out to be Demigod. This is one of the first extreme metal albums that I can remember that blew my mind the FIRST time I heard it. And not only that, my feelings for this album have grown exponentially since then.
Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few people out there in the world that consider Behemoth just to be black metal. Although black metal is very evident in Behemoth’s music, these guys are just simply WAY too fucking brutal and insane to just be black metal. The only way to make black metal THIS extreme is to throw a hell of a lot of death metal in there. The main thing that makes Demigod unique is that it doesn’t seem to mix in death metal…it sounds more like brutal death. And I’m not talking about the “slamming” brutal death stuff that’s BRUTAL, but not SUPER barbaric, I’m talking about the kind of brutality that’s created by bands like Hate Eternal, Aborted (particularly Goremageddeon), and Nile.
As difficult as it is, I’m going to put the sheer brutality and chaos aside and see what lies behind it. This album’s (and actually Behemoth’s) most recognizable trait is the seemingly forced out growls performed by Nerghal. Ever since I first got this album, Nerghal’s growls have been the thing that I’ve always recognized the most…those absolutely demonic vocals. Nerghal’s growls ARE NOT the deep, guttural kind that I have a major soft spot for. They sound very strained and forced out with a lot of voice; which could make “mid-range” a fairly (although not totally) accurate description of the pitch of his growls. Here’s why I particularly love the vocals on the Demigod record: the other guitarists does deep guttural growls and/or mid-ranged screams right along Nerghal’s unique vocals. This altogether makes one hell of a powerful vocal package.
The drumming is so breathtaking that it’s indescribable. Although he didn’t to this either of the times that I saw them, but I’ve seen live videos on YouTube of the drummer breaking out into a massive solo that left the audience paralyzed. Just the fact that he has the confidence to even DO a solo onstage makes him a fantastic drummer! But regardless, he is the spine-chilling growl of this Behemoth that has the power to consume the stars in the night sky. Ok, now let’s look at the bass. You can’t hear the clanging of the bassist picking the strings, but his bass is so deep and so loud that you can hear every note that he’s playing; which (yet again) only adds to the immense power of this Demigod. The reason why you can’t hear the higher-end of the bassist’s guitar is because the two guitars have so much power, crunch, and volume that they pretty much swallow it all up. Any other case, this would be a bad thing; but the vocals and drums have enough power to smash through the barbaric sound of the guitars in order to be heard clearly.
Speaking of guitars, one of the best guitarists of all-time is featured on the most extreme and brutal song on this album, Karl Sanders, who plays on the song Xul. Basically, if you want to hear the definition of mayhem, play this song and it will jump out of your speakers and relentlessly take you by the throat. Honestly, even though there is a large amount of black metal that has been incorporated in this album, the term “melodic” fails to describe any part of this album; it just simply doesn’t exist within this Demigod. Although some of the songs are much more brutal than others, the “less brutal” songs still manage to surpass the brutality of Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, and Skinless; as well as MATCHING the brutality level of Hate Eternal, Devourment, Nile, and Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Overall, this album couldn’t possibly be any better. Behemoth needed to spend some time in the realms of extreme brutality to give a new twist to their sound that was starting to become monotonous. I would give this album a perfect score and would consider it an absolute essential for ANY metalhead’s music collection. There’s only one other Behemoth album that I’ve given a perfect score to, and that’s Pandemonic Incantations. After this literally grabbed the attention of the mainstream rock and metal media, Behemoth then released their most famous and bestselling album, The Apostasy. My favorite song off of this album is the HEAVY headbanging track which is the last song off the album as well as Before the Aeons Came and the title track, Demigod.