Since they burst onto the scene in the early 90's, Behemoth have been at the forefront of Polish extreme music. The black metal outfit, arguably Poland's biggest musical export, have gone from strength to strength serving up the best in the dark extreme.
Twenty-six years and ten studio albums after Nergal, the only surviving original member, founded the band it has come to that risky point in any groups career. To release a live album or not? Nergal has not taken the decision lightly and in releasing Messe Noire (Black Mass) the band have packaged a formidable live show from Warsaw on CD and even stronger track listings on vinyl and the DVD / BluRay offering. The package as a whole is enough to have any Behemoth fan frothing at the mouth in orgasmic anticipation.
As the disc spins in my CD player, the hum of the crowd grows, the atmosphere almost electric and this comes across so well on record. Not many live albums can capture the true feeling of a live show, but within 20 seconds, you get sucked in through your speakers, enveloped in the essence of the performance.
The CD version I have the pleasure of listening to is The Satanist album played in full, their latest album on the stage. The vinyl offering has a selection of other live tracks and the Blu Ray/DVD edition is a whopping 33 tracks over three live performances.
Thus, as the intro track rolls and chants of "Be-he-moth" emanate from the speakers filling our offices, a drum beat slowly rises as guitars and bass steer us anthemicly into Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel, the opening track for this and their previous studio release. Rolling drums and Nergal's narration thrust us forwards through this slow dark number.
As we are taken into the live album's title track the atmospherics continue, if you've never experienced the band live, the recording gives you a hint at just what you can expect. Blacker than black metal with a heavy hint of death, giving forth to that “Blackend Death Metal” genre.
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer kicks up the pace, drums roaring at a ferocious pace with guitars screaming to hang on and the crowd audibly lapping it up. The Satanist, opening with latin chants and blood curdling screams, is six minutes of black metal heaven.
When you think they couldn't improve they round out the CD recording with O Father O Satan O Sun! Flawless in delivery, Nergal and indeed the rest of the band prove they can produce on stage exactly what they do on record. Where many often fail, having on point recording yet weak live shows, Behemoth not only succeed, but do so in style.
The CD release of Messe Noir is an out and brutal assault of perfection, the vinyl and BluRay releases will be every fans dream. In the live arena the band are masters and this live album is up there with the best.