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Thunderous Black Metal
Posted by: RBubb from: Upstate, NY on
In a year of phenomenal metal releases, both in terms of quantity and quality, this release, 'Nightside Emanations' by Behexen is easily one of my favorites. Although I listen to a lot of black metal, from polished symphonic stuff like Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and Carach Angren to the raw, nasty blast-beast riven stuff by Gorgoroth, 1349, and Marduk these guys, Behexen, were, until now, flying under my radar. One day out of curiosity I sampled a couple tracks off of this album and was immediately hooked and had to own it (that rarely happens).
Every single song from the organ intro to 'Wrathful Dragon Hau-Hra' to closer 'Kiss of Our Dark Mother' is just outstanding. My favorites are 'Circle Me', 'Awaken Tiamat' and 'Temple of the Silent Curses'. 'Awaken Tiamat' in particular, is one of those songs like Satyricon's 'Black Crow on a Tombstone' or Immortal's 'At the Heart of Winter' that will be stuck in one's head for days on end. IMO, this album will (or ought) to be a break-through, career highlight kind of album that moves these guys from the relative obscurity of the black metal minor leagues to the majors along side more established bands like Gorgoroth, Marduk, Immortal and Satyricon etc, -they really deserve it.
What really makes this album hit on all 12 cylinders is the perfect epic sounding production that makes everything sound so big and full. The drums and bass sound like tectonic plates rumbling and the guitars sound so thick, just mammoth. The vocals fit the music perfectly, not the ultra-high pitched shriek of say, Dani Filth or Isahn, but more of a deeper bass, commanding bark reminiscent of say, Satyr or a deeper -sounding Ghaaal.
This is one of those rare black metal albums that is just enjoyable to listen to, like Immortal's ''At the Heart of Winter' or 'Sons of Northern Darkness' or one of my favorites Satyricon's 'The Age of Nero'. So many black metal albums are a 'hard won appreciation' were its almost an endurance event to eventually appreciate them, eg, Emperor, early Gorgoroth, but this Behexen album (like the afore mentioned Immortal and Satyricon albums) is effortlessly enjoyable. It just hits right away.
In closing, this is truly a great modern (2012) black metal album that is so good, so catchy and epic sounding that I'm afraid many black metal snobs will unfairly dismiss it as merely 'black and roll' as they did with every Satyricon release after 'Nemesis Divina'. That would be truly unfortunate for the band and fans alike.
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