Behemoth

Thelema 6

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The fifth album from these Polish black/death metal warriors, Thelema.6 makes its virtues clear right from the onset: excellent, full-sounding production (as opposed to the basement blur favored by many black metal bands); tirelessly executed blastbeats and double-bass drumming; and powerful vocals, both in a David Vincent-style (Morbid Angel) death metal vein and a slightly higher-pitched black metal rasp. This is intense, hard-hitting stuff that just leaps out of the speakers, and the guitar parts -- even if they do sound a tad familiar or predictable in spots -- add an element of catchiness that makes it all pretty accessible from the first listen. Oddly, the four "bonus tracks" tacked on at the end actually provide some of the album's highlights, notably "Hello Space Boy," with its two-chord structure, bizarre lyrics, and sung/shrieked vocal mix, and "From the Pagan Vastlands," which is just a really well-written black metal tune. Add in a few slight industrial touches, loads of guitar squeals, and some amusingly awkward song titles (e.g., "The Universe Illumination [Say 'Hello' to My Demons]"), and you have a solid 50 minutes of punishing, over-the-top extreme metal entertainment.

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