Behemoth – Messe Noire (Metal Blade Records)

Behemoth disciples rejoice...
Release Date: 
13 Apr 2018 (All day)

Anyone who has witnessed Polish extreme metal titans Behemoth live knows they deliver one of the most intense, immersive, and elaborate concert experiences around today.  In 2014 their tenth studio album The Satanist was released and consequently (…and literally) ignited stages around the world with Behemoth’s dark theatrics and unique brand of extreme blackened death metal. To herald to closure of The Satanist album and touring cycle, and to celebrate the album that marked vocalist Nergal’s triumphant victory over leukaemia, Behemoth are set to release their sixth live album on April 13 2018. Titled after one of the iconic tracks from The Satanist, Messe Noire is a deluxe live album package that indeed captures the ‘Black Mass’ of The Satanist live with vibrant cinematography and the thriving energy of Behemoth’s home crowd in Poland.

Messe Noire’s offering is a generous one, containing a double DVD/BluRay directed by Dariusz Szermanowicz featuring engaging footage of The Satanist live in Warsaw (8 October 2016) and a bonus live set at Brutal Assault 2016. Also included in this celebration of The Satanist is a ‘cinematic archive’ of all the official videos made for the albums tracks. An impressive vinyl edition is also available for avid Behemoth collectors. Furthermore, an audio CD of The Satanist live rounds out this live edition.

The central piece on Messe Noire is the concerted filmed live in Warsaw, and it is certainly a premiere example of Behemoth’s live performance.

The concert contains the full album of The Satanist, opening with the stately menace of ‘Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel’ emerging from the fire and mist amongst the roar of the audience in Warsaw. Szermanowicz captured the dark, lurid majesty of the Behemoth immersive live set. It is visually consuming with impressive theatrical elements, costuming, and stage design. The set closes with some Behemoth epics from the 2000s including  ‘Ov Fire and the Void’ (2009), and one of my favourites ‘At the Left Hand ov God’ (2007), to close with the chaotic blackened energy of ‘Chant for Ezkaton’ (2008).

The ‘cinematic archive’ disc contains all six of the ‘official’ music videos made for The Satanist tracks. The diversity of these intricately produced music videos, which range from the unsettling psycho-scapes of ‘Ben Sahar’ through the grimy urban crisis of ‘The Satanist’ to the diabolic ritualism of ‘Messe Noire’, demonstrates the many faces, layers, and habitats of the occultist sentiment of The Satanist and testifies to the sophistication of Behemoth’s conceptual structuring of the album.

The musical content of The Satanist as captured on the Messe Noire live audio CD is certain to reassure that Behemoth are a strong musically as they are theatrically.  The Satanist studio album was indeed a crowning achievement for the band, and their live performance of these songs is brilliant. The recording captured a full-bodied, powerful sound with invigorating live textures, crowd chanting and subtle live variations. One of the standout tracks on the album for me was ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’, and it is possible that the live cut rendered this song even more profound than the studio recording.

Overall, Messe Noire is essential to any Behemoth collection. As fans already know, Behemoth are leaders in the field of merchandise variety and the packages available for Messe Noire are no exception. From autographed DVDs and limited edition vinyls to signature guitar picks, belt buckles to jewellery and a range of clothing and coffee mugs, there is plenty for all Behemoth fans to indulge their passion for The Satanist and its live manifestation. Messe Noire represents a massive achievement in live performance by a band steadily committed to pushing the parameters of the metal concert experience. Behemoth disciples rejoice, for a new album is forthcoming.

Messe Noire is out 13 April 2018 via Metal Blade Records.