Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Death Metal World Cup Final Match: Origin vs Behemoth

The Satanist

Here it is, the final post of the series, determining the winner of this somewhat arbitrary, mostly personal, absolutely meaningless ladder match that I don’t expect anyone to care about but me.

The fact that these albums remained in regular play til the end of the year is part of the reason they ended up being my top two picks. Unlike other albums that seemed exciting when they were released but quickly deflated, I never grew bored with either one.

Also, both albums (Omnipresent especially) were in heavy rotation during my late night runs. Getting me to push the pace in this oppressive South East Asia heat during a 5k run is no meager accomplishment. [As much as I enjoy the new Cynic album, “yoga metal” is not real work-out music.]

But most impressively, both albums showed that Behemoth and Origin were able to simultaneously evolve while remaining vital forces in the genre. 30 years ago, this was a given for great metal bands; sadly, the current musical climate is one that bafflingly embraces unoriginality and stagnation. The death metal’s future belongs to those who pursue it - not all the idiots rehashing a past they weren’t a part of.

THE MATCH UP: It really just comes down to the songs. The best on The Satanist stand as the highlights of 2014, but the album never really maintains those highs throughout. Is half an outstanding album enough to make up for its deficits?

Omnipresent, on the other hand, feels like a whole album, rather than just a collection of songs that were written around the same time and then lumped together. Even the instrumental interludes, which too often felt like filler on past albums, seem indispensable even if they’re little more than segues.

In truth, this was only ever going to go one way for me. 2014 was a great year for death metal albums, but like I wrote back in July: After Omnipresent was released, I didn’t want or need another one.