Review BEHEMOTH ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’

Behemoth have been in the business for more than 30 years now and it feels far less. This may have to do with the fact that the band, despite eleven albums, still has the touch of underground metal and that, while belonging to the top metal act for year.

Nergal and his crew had an impressive performance at the world famous Wacken Open Air a few weeks ago and are soon on co-headlining tour with Arch Enemy. What could be better than releasing a new album in between.

‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ is the title of the now 11th Behemoth record and it is the most mature longplayer of the band. Among other things, this may also be due to the creation process.

Since the typical tour/release rhythm came to a stop during the last years, Nergal had time to work intensively on the new songs. Despite an undeniable attention to detail, the meticulously working bandleader has managed to pay attention to details without getting lost in them.

‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ is sophisticated yet uncompromising in its heaviness. It is the filigree solos that shine alongside the brutality of songs like ‘Neo-Spartacys’. There are also breaks, which make each of the ten tracks a diabolical and versatile listening experience.

Photo: Grzegorz-Golebiowski

Speaking of Spartacus. The hero of antiquities is known for his rebellious attitude; a freedom-loving opponent of oppression. Here we can build a bridge to the newest Behemoth album. Nergal has a vision as far as Behemoth is concerned and that also means individuality and self-expression. It is well known that this has brought Nergal and the band quite a bit of negative publicity and even legal trouble.

However, it takes stamina to stand up to this and ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ could not be created in this fashion without the previous 30 years of band history.

‘Post-God Nirvana’ is the diabolic sounding start into the album. Slow and dramatic, this is how the cinematic opening can be described and it would be surprising if this songs would not also occasionally, be the beginning of future setlists, as it is perfectly suited as a starter.

The already at mentioned W:O:A live presented ‘Off to war!’ is another song which summarizes the album well. The track has a devilish charisma and is like a soundtrack to a hell ride. Bombastic yet ferocious, this is how the track and album presents itself to the fans. ‘The Deathless Sun’ is a relentless black metal anthem with an excellent chorus part while ‘Once Upon a Pale Horse’ can impress with clever tempo changes.

With ‘Versvs Christvs’ Behemoth put the longest song at the end of the record. The beginning of the tune is calm and oppressive. You can feel doom approaching and slowly the song gains momentum. At the half-time you deal with a frantic metal track that makes you shiver with joy. Despite all the frenzy, the song returns to the calmer opening theme, but more quickly returns to crashing riff power and aggression.

Behemoth show with ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ why they belong to the spearhead of black metal and why they could constantly expand their position in all the 30 years. Horns up.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Post-God Nirvana
  2. Malaria Vvlgata
  3. The Deathless Sun
  4. Ov My Herculean Exile
  5. Neo-Spartacvs
  6. Disinheritance
  7. Off To War!
  8. Once Upon a Pale Horse
  9. Thy Becoming Eternal
  10. Versvs Christvs

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Black Metal

Release Date EU: September 16th, 2022

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