While the whole [extreme metal] world seems to constantly rave about Behemoth and how astoundingly awesome, blah, blah, they are, I've personally never experienced such affinity with their music. This is not to say I particularly dislike them, but have never appreciated the merits of their music that many others have. Further to that, catching them live at Holland's Neurotic Deathfest last year and remaining unimpressed by what I considered to be a lacklustre performance consolidated my opinion - just what is so special about Behemoth? Perhaps I've been a little harsh in my judgements as 'Ezkaton', an EP featuring one brand new song ('Qadosh'), a re-recorded studio version of 'Chant For Ezkaton 2000', covers of The Ramones' 'I'm Not Jesus' and Master's Hammer's 'Jáma Pekel', and three live tracks, is perhaps an unlikely release to finally succumb to their music, but I must admit - Behemoth are pretty good. Very good actually. The press blurb accompanying the promo boldly states the Poles play "totally blasphemous, dark and brutal death metal" whereas I would opt for the less ostentatious and more accurate description of thrash infused blackened death metal but, labelling aside, I recommend this EP to anyone who, like me, has always remained indifferent to Behemoth. 'Chant For Ezkaton 2000 e.v.' is an infectiously riff driven track that benefits from a far better production than its original recording on 1999's 'Satanica'. The sole new composition here, 'Qadosh', switches between mid and up-tempo passages with discordantly dark melodies rife throughout. As for the two covers, the Czech band Master's Hammer are not a familiar name to me so I've no point of comparison, although 'Jáma Pekel' seems to fit, or perhaps has been adapted to fit, Behemoth's style. Their version of 'I'm Not Jesus' is largely as you would expect, and is reminiscent of Max Cavalera-era Sepultura covering punk (such as their version of Dead Kennedys' 'Drug Me'), while the three live tracks are from a show in Leeuwarden, Holland, October 2007, and prove the band are also competent musicians on stage (which, to be honest, I did acknowledge at the Deathfest, it was just their general performance that failed to move me on that occasion). Undoubtedly, Behemoth completists will snap this up immediately, and I shall definitely now be checking out some of their back catalogue.
Review by Mark Holmes
1) Chant For Ezkaton 2000 e.v.
3) Jama Pekel
4) I'm Not Jesus
5) From The Pagan Vastlands (live)
6) Decade Ov Therion (live)
7) Chant For Ezkaton 2000 e.v. (live)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"'...thrash infused blackened death metal..."