Review - Zos Kia Cultis (Here and Beyond)

Artist: Behemoth

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Polish death-metal trio Behemoth has, over the past decade, become more of a force to contend with. That the Eastern European metal scene isn't met with tremendous attention by American aficionados is surprising if you consider how godless those countries were under communist rule. Nonetheless, it's been an uphill climb for Behemoth, and they've met the challenge head-on. Over the course of a half-dozen albums, they've morphed from an ill-defined grab-bag of black-metal influences into a brutal and technically proficient machine. The band is fully in control of its sound, one that's as intricately heavy as Nile but with a muddy darkness that makes it a lot more human. Though some passages are certainly technical, Zos Kia Cultus isn't the type of recording beholden to numbing flourishes and dense, overlong histrionics. It's a visceral attack that's extraordinarily well-executed, despite the requisitely ridiculous lyrics. Though the group's obvious love of Slayer ("Fornicatus Benefictus") and Nile ("Heru Ra Ha") comes through too clearly on some songs, Behemoth has managed to make an album that is possessed of enough personality to kick your ass.

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