Zos Kia Cultus
Avantgarde Music, 2002
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/07/2011
Behemoth is not a new band. Never heard of them? I didn’t have any inkling until recently that they have had five previous releases and that this one, Zos Kia Cultus, is from 2002. It appears I’m behind the times in the death metal movement. What drew me back into the scene was a recent news clipping on a news site I visit regularly, which reported that the lead singer of this band was within his legal right to go on a tirade about the Bible and then rip it up. Of course, that piqued my curiosity.
This is a punishing release. Opener “As Above So Below” thunders the double bass drums as the guitars relentlessly zig and zag in syncopation. Throughout the chaos are these guttural vocals. I almost turned it off after one song. Had I done so, I would not have heard the amazing drum fills by Inferno on “Harlot Ov The Saints,” the fourth track. Of course, I had to go look at YouTube to see if this drumming was machine or human. It’s a human machine. There are tons of drum solos on YouTube – search for “Behemoth Inferno drum solo” and you’ll find plenty of material.
Before I fell into a bromance with Inferno, I felt I needed to at least finish listening to the entire album at least once. Negral growls and leads the band through a bunch of material with lyrics I would rather not sing along to. Lead/rhythm guitarist Havok scales the mountain of guitar solos with blistering speed. I’m not sure who came up with the riff of “Here And Beyond,” but it’s a track I will revisit in the future. As with most bands, not just death metal, I can’t hear bassist Novy and have no idea what he is playing. I also liked “Horns Ov Baphomet” even though I don’t know why it wasn’t called “Horns Of Baphomet” except that “ov” sounds more evil, I guess, than “of.”
Now just because this is a new band to me and has been around to record five previous releases doesn’t give the band a pass on being a grade A band. On the contrary, I found the music not all that, well, interesting. Sure, it’s fast. Sure, the musical talent is there for 3/4ths of the band. Sure, it sounds like evil and sure, since, per the Internet, “the Behemoth is a mythological beast mentioned in the Book of Job, 40:15-24” and has been known to “be used for any extremely large or powerful entity,” I can say it is a suitable name.
At the end of a couple of listens, I came to a middle ground. The band is fast, the band is evil, and not something I think anyone I know would like. For a death metal band, though, they are as good as they can be. I don’t know how often I will revisit this release, but if nothing else, the drumming is amazing.