Beholding Behemoth: A Discography Breakdown

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Discog diving with Boss the Ross.

Last time on discog diving, I explored Enslaved and asked for recommendations for future installments. Everyone’s favorite Terminator answered the call with Behemoth, and many rallied around him, resulting in today’s breakdown. To be up front with you, I had heard one album prior to this experiment. While I thought it was cool, it didn’t have that great of an impact on me, so my interest in the band waned. But for the sake of the Toileteers, I buckled down and made my way through the following 10 albums. Behemoth is a pretty well-known band in the metalsphere, and Nergal is a pretty popular dude in Poland so I will forego an extensive history lesson and get down to business. Let the dive begin!


 Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) [1995] & Grom [1996]

Behemoth’s debut sounds like nothing that I had heard from the band. Gone are the Death Metal tendencies that I am used to; Sventevith is 100% pure Black Metal. The lo-fi production on this album suits this style well, and the shrieked vocals show Nergal in his primal form. Sonically and visually, this album is drenched in Darkthrone worship, even going so far as to include a song titled “Transylvanian Forest.” Behemoth have done a fine job of evolving their style and becoming their own entity throughout their years as a band, but it’s interesting to see where they started.

Grom on the other hand is a very diverse album that features many sounds that were not included on Sventevith. The moment I heard clean female vocals on “The Dark Forest” I knew I was in for an altogether different trip, and the music progressed interestingly enough throughout. With this album Behemoth reminds me more of Bathory (just look at that cover!) than Darkthrone. The band utilizes many folk elements that would bring a smile to Quorthon’s grim face, yet altogether this album seems to lack cohesion. There are many good ideas present, but in my opinion they are executed poorly.


 Pandemonic Incantations [1998] & Satanica [1999]

Behemoth’s third album shows the band progressing even further and starting to develop their own identity. The most obvious change is the production. Pandemonic Incantations boasts a more refined sonic palette. The guitars are clear, and the drums are earthy, while Nergal’s vocals have also developed greatly, shifting into more of a growl than a bark. All of the changes wouldn’t matter if the songwriting wasn’t there; fortunately, the songwriting is solid. The riffs are constructed methodically, and it is clear that Behemoth have started their lean towards Death Metal.

Satanica eschews the atmosphere of Behemoth’s past albums for sheer brutality. The band is faster, heavier and more aggressive than on Pandemonic Incantations. If I had to choose one word to describe the sound of this album it would be “bombastic.” Musically, the band continues on their Death Metal path, but this time there seems to be the slightest hint of Thrash in some of the phrasing. The band is still trying to find themselves here, but they seem to be getting closer to what they want. To nit-pick some of the small details, I’m not a big fan of the electronic sounds utilized in “Chant for Eschaton 2000” or the odd noise outros for most of the songs. Also, that album cover…


Thelema 6 [2000] & Zos Kia Cultus [2002]

Behemoth leave their organic past behind on Thelema 6. The songwriting seems a little scatter-brained, and the production doesn’t do much for me. The technical prowess is relevant but the over-use of pinch harmonics, the thin sounding guitars and flat drum tones are distracting. Upon first listen, I hope Behemoth decides to forego this sound with their future releases.

Zos Kia Cultus fixes some of the issues I had with Thelema 6; the guitars have a meatier tone that exemplifies the riffs, and the drums are deeper and not-so-plastic sounding. The songs are also more concise in nature, lending to a better experience than Thelema 6. While listening to this album I couldn’t help but compare it to Nile‘s early works and notice the similar sonic qualities.


 Demigod [2004] & The Apostasy [2007]

Demigod is the one Behemoth album that I had heard prior to this breakdown, and it is very interesting to see the path they traveled to get here. Aside from the multi tracked suffocating vocals, I think this is Behemoth’s best sounding record since Pandemonic Incantations. It is a well-oiled machine that allows for smooth transitions between riffs and musical passages. One of my favorite aspects is the use of slower octave riffs that allow for a more open sound within each song. Instead of the chaotic sounds on Thelema 6, we hear a band that took the time to manipulate riffs to their fullest potential.

With The Apostasy, Behemoth takes the bludgeoning straightforwardness of Demigod and makes it more artistic. The inclusion of choral lines and orchestral pieces highlighting passages throughout the album gives it a worldly and ancient feel. The production is still very clear, though not crystal, this time resulting in a slightly more organic aura than Demigod. Nergal’s vocals are also a little less on the suffocating side; it sounds like there are just two of him instead of four.


 Evangelion [2009] & The Satanist [2014]

Behemoth crank out their next album on 11. Evangelion is for the most part, forty minutes of sheer, no-frills brutality that will leave you exhausted. There are a few “relaxed” moments, but the unrelenting force of the rest of the album assaults the listener, only letting up on the final track which is a slow churning beast of extra punishment. Behemoth doesn’t really seem to explore any new areas with Evangelion, a trait that I wasn’t expecting to attribute to an album so late in their career.

The Satanist boasts all of the exploration that Evangelion lacked. I must hand it to Behemoth; they truly renewed themselves with this album. The instrumentation and atmosphere are well thought out and constructed, feeling more open than their last few albums which had a certain constriction to them. The drums in particular have an organic essence that helps keep the album grounded while the bass is actually audible and stands out for once. Nergal and co. develop many new song structures and riff stylizations that haven’t been heard on their past 9 albums, all together creating a huge step forward for Behemoth. I now understand why it garnered so much attention when it was released and is still highly regarded by many.


After all was said and done, Behemoth still remain kind of “meh” to me. Sorry to break your hearts out there, but they just aren’t anything that I feel can’t get somewhere else. They have developed into a huge band, and while they are good at what they do, I felt like I had to work to get through most of their albums. I do not mean to sway anyone with my opinion by any means, however. If you haven’t listened to Behemoth before now, pay no heed to me and make your own decisions.

Now, go ahead and barrage me in the comments about how I’m wrong about everything. I’m just gonna sit here and listen to Nile. Who’s next? Let me know below!

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  • I did this myself not too long ago having only heard the last two albums. Their black metal albums were much better than the death metal ones and the only death metal ones I’m able to listen to constantly are evangelion and the satanist. Apostasy and demigod have some fuck awful production and the others didn’t do much for me.

  • Your commitment to the cause is commendable! For me it was “Lots of folks sure do like this Behemoth band. Better give it a listennnnnnnnnnnnn”
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_mJ1AxHX5uAQ/TPiB2Av-FiI/AAAAAAAAAVs/0oF1wCEI3mw/s400/funny-pictures-kitten-falls-asleep-on-keyboard.jpg

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      That was basically my thought as well. Haha

  • Brock Samson

    Now do the entire Motörhead discography, that will keep you busy for a while

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      That would take quite a bit of time.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Noted.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I still want you to dig through Hammers Of Misfortune. I’ll even give you my Bandcamp login details so you can download them

  • “Behemoth leave their organic past behind….”

    And so the downhill road began

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Hahahahahaha!!!!

    • Dagon

      This

    • Howard Dean

      My favorite Behemoth track. Stings of early Bathory, and I like it:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Nk-kuro9g

      • It’s been a really long time since I listened to these early Behemoth demos/albums. I need to revisit these for sure.

        • Howard Dean

          The …And The Forests Dream Eternally EP is probably my favorite Behemoth output. Kind of a smattering of demo tracks and early versions of songs that would appear on Sventineth.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    You know what you should listen to next for this article? Montrose. They are one of the best American metal bands. If you do listen to their five albums I recommend the third one most highly.

    • Dubbbz

      Did you like your own suggestion?

    • You do it.

    • Montrose is good, but I really love 2013’s “Artpop” by Lady Gaga. She went back to the fun style of dance/pop heard on her debut album “Fame” rather than keep chasing the repetitive, 80’s inspired beats of her sophomore album “Born This Way”. Her skills as a pop songwriter excel on this album, most notable cuts like “Manicure” and “Donatella”.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Jimmy plz!

      • Sy-Klone

        I so hope this is sarcasm and I’m just missing the obvious…

        • Put your hope in one hand and fill the other with pretzels..cause folks ’bout to get salty in hurr.

        • Sounds like a Patrick Bateman copycat.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            That’s what I was thinking.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      Mr. Duggan, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic
      things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent
      response were you even close to anything that could be considered a
      rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your
      soul.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        Ted plz!

  • I was fixated on him the whole time for both shows I saw. Dude crushes it. Just wish he’d one foot them blasts is all. Hahaha

  • Also, this comment is 24 days old. I’m scared.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    i think this breakdown is accurate/10

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Good to know!

  • I think I heard these guys once and they sounded like a 2nd rate Deicide to me. Had no desire to hear anything after that.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Behemoth is black metal for casuals

    • I always thought of them as a death metal band with satanic lyrics and imagery. They really took an abrupt turn into the death metal style there.

      • Howard Dean

        They are definitely a death metal band. They were only black metal for a few of their early recordings (demos, Svartineth, a little Grom), but most of their discography is death metal.

        They were kind of considered the “poster child” band for the maligned “blackened death metal” tag that was popular a few years, along with Belphegor and Zyklon. I’m pretty glad that genre tag mostly went the way of the Dodo.

        • Zeke

          I think blackened death legitimately describes zyklon

          • Howard Dean

            I just dislike the “blackened death metal” moniker. I have no qualms with someone saying a band is a mix of black metal and death metal–that they are “black/death”, if you will. I’ve just always found “blackened death metal” to be a weird genre descriptor, and one that feels kind of hokie. Personal qualm. I don’t really like the sound of “blackened-” anything. Unless it’s blackened tuna or salmon.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            That’s a weird bug bear to have

          • Howard Dean

            It is, I guess. But I think I’ve always viewed the term as a way for people to call any extreme metal with satanic/dark imagery and non-growled vocals “blackened-“, implying that it’s somehow infused with black metal (even though the music has little-to-no similarity to actual black metal).

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            I’m not that much of a purist to have given it that much thought but I generally use the term blackened (insert centre here) when the music itself has a black metal feel to it.

  • Megan Alexandra

    Used to love their old black metal stuff, still do really, but yeah the rest is pretty meh for me too. It isn’t bad or anything it just doesn’t hit those interest spots where a band like Nile definitely does.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Well done Bossman. I have only really given a few songs a shot here and there, and I feel about the same as you regarding the band. I really enjoy listening to each posted song and listening for the things you point out.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Thank you for the feedback! It is nice knowing someone else is enjoying this as much as I am.

  • Thelema 6 might even be worse than Demigod when it comes to production and triggered drums.

  • OVERRATED.GIF

  • Hubert

    I basically agree with everything you’re saying, but I still think The Satanist is a phenomenal record. I also think their live performance is good stuff.

    • ME GORAK!!!™

      SAW WITH 1349 & GOATWHORE!!!!!!! BAD ASS SHOW!!!!!!

  • Stanley

    Nice work Boss. It’s exhausting doing something like this, especially as you don’t have much time to listen to anything else. I remember when I did that Porcelain Throne thingy, I didn’t want to listen to CoL for a long time. Now go and listen to some good tunes.

    • Those first couple power metal 101 lists I did way back in the day we’re excruciating, and I loved those bands. Figuring out how to describe slightly different albums 10 times in a row is REALLY hard

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Good tunes coming in daily.

  • Rob M

    Something about this band just never did it for me…There were always black metal bands I liked much better and then there were always blackened death bands I liked much better.

    • Pretty much the same for me as well Rob.

    • Dubbbz

      I agree. Seems this is most of the commentariat’s consensus, which is interesting considering folks seemed to love El Satanisto. *shrug emoji*

      • The Satanist is GARBAAAAAAAAAAAAGE REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

        • Dubbbz

          Lol. Didn’t have any impact on me, but it was #2 for 2k14 in our site’s vote, so someone must have loved it.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            I can see why it made such large waves when it dropped, it was different enough from their early stuff and it was right after Nergal’s cancer battle. I hate to attribute it to just that, but I think a lot of people had that mentality.

          • tertius_decimus

            Somehow it’s hard not to align Nergal with Lance Armstrong. See, when that beautiful cancer-defeating story unfolded, topped with heck of a chain of glorious victories, something still irked me in his persona and I wasn’t one of who thought the same. George Carlin kept saying “Fuck Lance Armstrong” long before doping scandal. Now we know that battle with cancer was perfect curtain to cover his indecent deeds.

            Same with Nergal. Granted, no one deserves an illness as heavy as this and I symphatized to him for not giving up. But after reading his silly thoughts, especially his ugly adventures in South-Eastern Asia, there has nothing left other than attach a label “douchebag” to his persona. This aversed me from him the same way how people aversed from L.A.

          • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

            Know I’m a little late to the comments, but I felt the same way. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until now. He answered the interviewers questions in such a holier-than-thou way, he came off as if he know everything in the universe. It didn’t help the entire book was in a long-form interview format. I remember first opening it up and I’m like “this can’t be how the entire book is written.” Sure enough, it was.

          • tertius_decimus

            Thank you for the input! Very interesting.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Me

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Nerdgal

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            oMg

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          That’s because you’re too busy adulting

      • Rob M

        They seem to be one of those really love ’em or really dont care about ’em bands. I remember when Evangelion came out a bunch of my buddies, guys whose opinions I generally agree with, were really buzzing about that album

        • I will say that they are an entertaining band to catch live though. I’ve seen them twice and both times they crushed. They are a hardworking band, no doubt about that. Their music is just a pile of “Meh”.

          • Rob M

            Yeah…they kind of fall into the same category as Watain for me. They definitely busted their asses to get where they are and theyre perfectly enjoyable live…but as a band I just dont care about them.

          • Exactly. Case closed.

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Funnily enough, I saw Watain open for Behemoth last year. Watain(t) are definitely meh for mine

          • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

            Took my girlfriend to a Behemoth show during the Satanist tour. She’s pretty open with her music tastes but not a “metal head.” Like the Boss, I’m a casual fan who jams to a few songs every now and then. The show blew both of us away. The playing and showmanship were both amazing.

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    This band sucks and fuck you I’m not substantiating shit with actual concrete evidence. My subjective opinion is fact.

    • Super Nintendo Chalmers

      So there.

  • How much Running Wild have you listened to Boss?

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      An album or two.

      • Just an idea for another one to do. Only do it if that sounds fun to you, I don’t think they are popular or appeal to our readership as much as Behemoth or Enslaved

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          I like what I have heard and will most likely do my own personal Dive with them. Finding a band that will have a broader appeal is one of the difficult parts.

          • Yeha if you’re into them, their first like 10 albums are amazing

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            I thought they only had 3. Shows what a poser I am

        • Howard Dean

          I’d dig a Running Wild discography breakdown, for sure. I’m pretty excited for their new album, even though there’s a chance it ends up being a pile of hot garbage. The one track I’ve heard so far at least got my head moving a bit.

  • Kinda feel like 1/3 of Behemoths success is due to their visual ascetics, the second 1/3 is due to their longevity, and I chalk the remainder up to their talents/songwriting. They apparently make a solid living doing what they do, though. So more power to them!

    GL

  • wtf is up with disqus of late? lagging hard for me….

    • Dubbbz

      same

      • Topefully they push their update soon. I expect better out of this free service we use everyday. It is nearly unacceptable.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Topefully, indeed.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          Topes

      • I just imagine all of us… staring at our screens…. scrolling up and down. up and down. up and down. up and down. more so than usual…. never seeing any updates. ….

  • Dubbbz

    Suggestion that is better than Montrose: have you actually gone all the way through Nile’s discography?

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Heck yes I have. I enjoy Nile.

      • Dubbbz

        I was trying to think of a band decently known by everyone with a long discography with a number of twists, but if you’re already well-versed, it would be good to do something else.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Tapir’s suggestion might make an appearance.

      • Heckin’ Yes!

      • Xinen

        Hell yeah, I love one of my fave bands.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      From Behemoth to a band Behemoth worshipped, but wasn’t good enought to copy.

  • ME GORAK!!!™
    • This Behemoth >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      • Brutalist_Receptacle

        K-BILLY’s “Super Sounds of the ‘ 70s” continues. If you’re the th caller…you’ll win two tickets to the monster truck extravaganza… being held tonight at the Carson Fairgrounds…featuring Big Daddy Don Bodine’s truck, “The Behemoth.”

  • I hate to be that guy that suggests a band for someone else to work on. But, Kreator might be a fun one to do.

    • Dubbbz

      Good idea.

    • Rob M

      Yes…Kreator would be a perfect band for one of these articles

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      They have crossed my mind. I’m gonna have to go full Dubs and start making spreadsheets with this stuff.

    • I support!

  • One other thing. Is anyone else annoyed by Nergal’s vocals?

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      *raises hand
      *comments
      The first few albums don’t bother me

      • Nah, his black metal vocals are really good actually. It’s his attempt at death metal vocals that bothers me.

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      I like how he talked shit on Akercocke’s vocals when he has to layer the shit out of everything to get it to sound good.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Only those ridiculous triple-tracked ones that take up like half the audio of a song.

  • Dave Vincent’s Perm

    Satanica>>>>>>>>>>

    • You see all that drama concerning the Morbosidad tour? Guess it happened around your parts.

      • Rob M

        Wait…did this shit really start because of a fucking animal head?

        • From what I read, yes. Guess the band playing upstairs from them were animal activists and they got all butthurt about it. So dumb.

          • Rob M

            What a bunch of headcases.

            Whatever happened to…”Hey, fuck those guys and their animal head, we’d never play a tour with them” and just leaving it at that

          • Haha, yup! That exactly what Demonomancy said on FB.

      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        Antifa and anarchists being complete morons? Well that’s never happened before.

  • Pentagram Sam

    Yo Ross dude! I dig these dicog dives man. Was thinking, what if for one down the road you did a band that has had multiple singer changes OR do a discog on a particular singer dude who has played with a shitload of groups (Jorn) as well as solo. Comparing how his voice suits diff music and also how it is when he’s a strong collab or a hired gun.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Now that is an interesting idea! Do you have any bands or singers you’d like to suggest? Iced Earth comes to mind.

      • Pentagram Sam

        Haha for real man Iced Earth was the band that made me think of the first idea. Tertius had a good suggestion with Swano, but daaaammmmn that’s a huuge azz discog. Def over 20 cds but the style changes are all over the place.

        Hmmmmm. Plus, he basically is the creative force behind every release he performs on even if the shift in music gears is xxxtreme.

      • Sy-Klone

        Iced Earth is a great idea…I’d be interested to get your take on Barlow vs. Owens vs. Stu.

    • tertius_decimus

      That’s a nice idea! While everyone has heard almost everything by this man, still that would be an interesting read to read about Dan Swanö legacy.

  • Waynecro

    Fantastic work, Boss! Thanks! I think Behemoth is OK, but, man, when Zos Kia Cultus came out, I was all about that album. It’s still my favorite Behemoth album.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Thank you, Mr President

      • Waynecro

        Thank you, Boss. I always enjoy your contributions to the TovH.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Peaked with Satanica, Thelema and ZosKiaCultus are aight too, as are the following three I suppose. I liked Satanist at first, but lately it’s become a bore.

  • OldMetalHead

    I never paid much attention to Behemoth before, certainly not during their BM days. I saw them at Mayhem fest one year, meh. Then, someone turned me on to “The Satanist” album which I found quite interesting. It spent a significant amount of time in my playlist that year. I might go back and listen to Zos Kia Cultus since some of you dig it. If their next album was as good or better than “The Satanist” I would probably buy it. Otherwise…

  • CyberneticOrganism

    I really liked what I’ve heard of The Satanist; still need to pick it up and give it a full listen as it’s gotten some great reviews since it came out.

    I’ve always like Behemoth’s overall vibe more than any one of their songs – the stage setup with the ‘ancient cults/religions’ style, the atmospheric passages, the intense performances, etc. Guess the music up until now never hit me in the right spot.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      And great writeup, Boss. Thanks for taking my suggestion!

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Thanks for the idea!

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      I can understand that.

  • tertius_decimus

    Never cared for their music. Not in the past, not now, won’t care in the future.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Hahaha, thanks man!

      • more beer

        That will be in the mail for you tomorrow.

  • Xinen

    Pretty thorough and well thought out. I personally used to like them more a few years ago but Evangelion and The Satanist just didn’t click with me. I love Zos Kia Cultus and Demigod, I’ll still throw those on from time to time.

  • Hans Gruber

    Evangelion and Apostasy received many a spin some years ago, now I don’t really care anymore. Satanist lost flavour quickly. Recently got the Demonica comp, which together with the Forests EP has some of their best early stuff. Nothing groundbreaking though, unlikely to swing anyone either way.

    Christgrinding Avenue though? What a song title, right up there with Christcrushing Hammerchainsaw.