Review 1357 : Behemoth – Opvs Contra Naturam – English

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The year 2022 marks the release of Behemoth‘s twelfth album.

Since 1991 (under the name Baphomet, which was quickly changed), the band led by Nergal (vocals/guitar, Me and That Man), accompanied by Inferno (drums, Azarath, Witchmaster) and Orion (bass, Black River, Vesania), as well as by Seth (guitar, Nomad) on stage, spreads its unholy and blasphemous music. Get ready for Opvs Contra Natvram, released by Nuclear Blast Records, but also Mystic Production and Victor.

The album starts with Post-God Nirvana, a very disturbing track at first which offers us a Pagan oriented basis on which the frontman’s recognizable voice brings heavier mystical tones before the band returns to pure violence on Malaria Vvlgata. Although bass offers slightly more melodic elements, riffs are massive and aggressive, returning to the band’s most raw influences before The Deathless Sun returns to these majestic sounds which are now constituting their new identity. We also find tortured lead parts and energetic drums at times to accompany the devastating screams, then Ov My Herculean Exile shrouds us in a mysterious and oppressive dissonance before gradually bringing more aggressive and haunting elements. The soft melodies create a contrast with heavier explosions just like on Neo-Spartacvs, a faster composition which gives an important place to the rhythmic duo as well as to vocals, letting guitars offer harmonics which make the mix epic. This track represents the perfect mix between violence and dark atmosphere before giving way to Disinheritance and its airy sounds which rely on a frantic blast to become faster and more powerful. Tortured leads also join drums to allow vocals to feed this chaotic universe that will end with Off To War! one of the band’s new unifying anthems, which has already proved its effectiveness live this summer. The track will also offer us a quieter part before bringing the catchiest sounds back, then Once Upon A Pale Horse unveils a heavier atmosphere despite soaring melodies and a jerky rhythmic. The track is quite accessible, unlike Thy Becoming Eternal and its massive aggressiveness reinforced by screamed choirs, which are as heavy as the riffs. Speed and rage mix before this more majestic and incredibly efficient finale, then the album ends with the dark Versvs Christvs. Whether the first part of this track is very melancholic and soft, wait to see how the band progresses towards this visceral fury while keeping the catchy side until the last moment.

Whether the earlier fans will always find something to complain about, Behemoth perfectly masters its universe. Violence rubs shoulders with majestic, heavy, mystical and even melancholic tones, making Opvs Contra Naturam a rhythmic and surprising album.


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