Polish extreme metal pioneers Behemoth hail from Gdańsk, Poland, and formed in 1991.
Until the late 1990s, the band played a traditional black metal style with heathen lyrical content.
But the focus soon changed to include occult and thelemic themes written by their lead vocalist Nergal and Krzysztof Azarewicz.
With the 1999 release of Satanica, the band continued to lead the death metal scene.
But the drum work of Inferno and multi-layered vocals set Behemoth apart.
And the band eschewed labels and defied convention to deliver a conveyor belt of controversial extreme metal records throughout the noughties and beyond.
Behemoth released I Loved You At Your Darkest in 2018 to vast critical acclaim.
The album marked a milestone in the history of the band as their most successful to date and as an audio-visual masterpiece.
From its incredibly detailed, blasphemous artwork, to the highly vicious, yet deeply emotional tracks, Behemoth once again played with fire.
The spectacle that is In Absentia Dei is testimony to the band’s pioneering vision at the height of a global pandemic.
The Polish masters of extreme metal took over an abandoned church in rural Poland to perform a sumptuous display of black metal magic.
In frontman Nergal’s own words:
“In Absentia Dei was a massive challenge and a huge risk but it was a great artistic and commercial success.
“The response was absolutely brilliant – we made a statement with this performance and set the bar high.
“I hope that we can continue to raise the bar with the projects to come!”
The verdict on Bartzabel
Unsurprisingly, a typically brooding blast of prime Behemoth makes for the perfect soundtrack to your Halloween season.
Bartzabel never sounded better wrapped up in a medieval church with added flames and layers of fury.
And as an audio-visual death metal treat this is exceptionally good.
Frontman Nergal has developed into one of metal’s most affecting vocalists during the last decade.
And on Bartzabel it’s impossible not be moved by another monumental performance from a true genre figurehead.
Vocals aside the eye-catching axework is something to behold.
Behemoth have long since unlocked the secret of blending trad death metal with something far more commercial.
And in its own catchy way Bartzabel wouldn’t sound out of place as the last dance song at the local Gdańsk disco.
As another taster for December’s full In Absentia Dei release this is typically compelling.
What’s next for Behemoth
In Absentia Dei will be available as digital album, digi-book and 3LP vinyl in various colours.
All Nuclear Blast triple LPs come with a premium 20-page booklet and a cut-out, build-at-home model of the actual church that Behemoth performed in.
The band is hosting three back-to-back livestreams on Halloween before embarking on a full UK and European tour next autumn alongside Arch Enemy and Carcass.