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Album Reviews : Behemoth – Messe Noire

By on April 13, 2018

Behemoth. A name that will have you momentarily bow your head down as a sign and gesture of respect for quite possibly one of the greatest metal bands in the world. For many years now, the Polish black metal outfit has made a significant mark for themselves; with every release, every live show, every interview and more, they have earned the love, dedication and respect of hundreds of thousands across the globe. On stage; they are a fierce force to be reckoned with – off stage; some of the most beautiful people in the metal scene (and the world). Their success comes not from, superficiality or crazy stage antics (well, maybe a little) but from the sheer originality and ingenuity behind both the music they create and their performances. So, of course, much to the pleasure of all of us fans, a live CD/DVD was the only natural step in the evolution of Behemoth, a step taken before we hear their next offering of music.

Enter ‘Messe Noire’, which releases today, Friday the 13th, an auspicious day for such an occasion. ‘The Satanist’ is one of my favourite albums ever, not just from that year or in metal but of all time. Hearing the songs of this record, come to life on stage with the maddening energy of a live Behemoth concert is, well for a fan like me, almost a spiritual experience of sorts. Recorded live in Warsaw in 2016, it is truly an aural and visual treasure trove for Behemoth’s legions; I’d even go as far as saying that those who aren’t fans of the band, can appreciate its strength and the band’s generally powerful persona.

Right from the very beginning of this live album, you can hear the sheer dedication, passion and respect that the fans have for these Polish overlords. With an intro that will make your soul emerge from within, the powerful sounds of ‘Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel’ ring into a roaring cheer from the crowd chanting the name of their favourite band as loud as their lungs will allow, all of whom gathered to witness the absolutely mighty Behemoth. Nergal’s vocals are raw and as deadly as ever. You certainly don’t need to see it to believe that Behemoth commands the attention of the crowd from the moment they come on stage; you can hear how magnificent their stage presence is just by the response of their fans. ‘Furor Divinus’ follows as does the eerie title track ‘Messe Noire’ beginning with the unholy Satanic chants in Latin, and is quite simply put, as flawless as it was the day I first heard these tracks a few years ago. That is the beauty of this live album; it has the perfections of a studio recorded release but has that touch of an electrifying live crowd making the listener feel as close to Behemoth as possible from wherever they are.

Another favourite ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ comes surging forth from the darkest pits of hell, and the continuous chants of the crowd before each track, as well as Nergal psyching the crowd out even more in Polish, will have you losing your shit in your living room or wherever you are. That mid-section gets me every single bloody time and even more so when you can hear the energy of it being played live. I would definitely go into a track-by-track analysis, but to be honest, I don’t want to for the main reason being that we already know how absolutely glorious this album is. However, what has shined through with ‘Messe Noire’ is this: Behemoth is, undoubtedly one of the most powerful bands in the world. The chemistry of the band is stronger than ever, I can almost hear those swift transitions Orion and Seth make when they perform; every track has been performed effortlessly and brilliantly, truly living up to their reputation of being one of the best live bands out there. Their ability to the command the attention of thousands not with just their music, but their whole stage presence, and ritualistic demeanour is proof enough of this.

While the DVD features more tracks from the concert, the CD dives straight into an absolutely spine-chilling ‘O Father, O Satan, O Sun’, probably one of my favourite tracks from ‘The Satanist’ record. The emotion and passion that surges through Nergal’s vocals are insane; and really, that’s what Behemoth’s music has always been about – feelings of such an intensity that it almost takes you into another realm.

“I bow to none”, and they certainly do not. Even Satan himself would be shitting his pants. Behemoth has set the bar very, very high in extreme and black metal, it’s almost impossible to fault anything that they do. This live album is a beautiful ode to the band’s history, what they stand for, everything that they’ve been through and what lies ahead. Surrender yourself to ‘Messe Noire’ and let it consume you.

Band: Behemoth
Album: Messe Noire
Year: 2018
Genre: Extreme Metal
Label: EVP Recordings / Nerve Gas (Australia)
Origin: Poland

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.