Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Death Metal World Cup: Desecration vs Behemoth

Cemetery Sickness
The Satanist

There are very few things I demand from my death metal: Unrestrained speed, riffs that cut like razors, and arrangements geared for memorability. It sounds simple enough, but few bands seem interested (or able) bring those things things to the table. Surprisingly, one of the few that hit all those marks with aplomb were Welsh gorefiends Desecration. Cemetary Sickness came months after their fantastic run through South East Asia, and it's probably the best of the band's storied career. With memorable songs and a great production, this is an album that would hold its own against any other band in the genre…

…except Behemoth aren’t just any other band. Nergal has revealed himself to be one of metal's last remaining auteurs, a madman/genius whose every move bears obsessive scrutiny. After the surprising (and, frankly speaking, annoying) crossover success of Evangelion, there was some uncertainty whether Behemoth could deliver a follow up that would satisfy new fans and longtime boosters alike. The hallmarks are all here, from slow, creepy Morbid Angel-ic slow jams (nicely encapsulated by "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel"); to all out blastfests that show the band can still unleash hell when it wants to ("Furor Divinus", "Amen"); even occasional nostalgia for Behemoth's blackened atmospheric roots ("In the Absense of Light"). But beyond that, there's a drive to stake out new musical ground on The Satanist that makes it more than just a rehash of Behemoth's oeuvre - which is a relief, since its predecessor seemed too self-satisfied and content to recycle previous successes.

THE MATCH UP: Look, I love Desecration, and I'll be there front and centre the next time they come back to this region. But this match was only ever going to go one way for me.

WINNER: Behemoth

NEXT MATCH: Origin meets Cynic in the Quarter Finals