Behemoth - Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond)
Olympic Recordings
Apocalyptic Death Metal
12 songs (44'19")
Release year: 2003
Behemoth, Olympic Recordings
Reviewed by Alex

Having written reviews for all kinds of gothic, melancholic and rock stuff over the past few weeks Behemoth was supposed to be my extreme metal fix. Man, has it ever delivered! Of course, I knew about this Polish band before. And now all I have to do is kick myself for not checking this band earlier. As such, I can’t unfortunately compare Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond) with the band’s earlier efforts. One thing remains certain. If all of them are as good as this one, they are definitely worth discovering.

Behemoth’s music, indisputably, has its foundation in death metal. It is not blasting its way through at the supersonic speed, it is not exceedingly technical without a purpose, it is not openly melodic or easy to follow. However, Behemoth takes an equal part of all of the above and combines it in one package that I can describe as both Heavy and Extreme. Latter days Morbid Angel is probably the closest analogy, but Behemoth tops Morbid Angel in terms of guitar arrangements and purposefulness of their delivery.

From the start, after a sampled radio message combined with the low frequency pulsating sounds in my headphones, Behemoth unleashes their deliberate chaos with Horns ov Baphomet. Lead (as in metal) weighty riffs and huge drumming with lots of fills don’t go full speed until about midway through the song. When they start blasting though – I suggest you take cover. The closing melody reminds me of Ravel’s famous Bolero with its unstoppable infectious power. For me those mid-pace guitar driven parts are the best moments on Zos Kia Cultus. Every song on the album, however, has a purpose. Title track infuses the feeling of rejoice and victory with its military march tempo. No Sympathy for Fools has almost playful tribal rhythm and an interesting use of cymbal. This is the music cannibals would play to a victim two seconds before he/she would be devoured. Short interludes like Hekau 718 and Fornicatus Benefictus are basic pauses for Satanic worship (not too difficult to guess judging from the cover art and cabbalistic spelling of the song titles).

A touch of string arrangements (Horns ov Baphomet, Typhonian Soul Zodiack) makes the whole album to be borne out of Mid-Eastern desert somewhere near Megiddo. Isn’t this the place where the Devil himself was born? Come to think of it, this album would be a perfect soundtrack to Omen – dark and blasphemous.

I hope I was able to convey the mood of the whole album, so let me reflect a little on the individual performances. Nergal, main composer and songwriter, wields both lead/rhythm guitar and bass. He is helped in the guitar department by Havoc. Guitar playing on Zos Kia Cultus is equal parts technical pirouettes and machine gun riffery. While I am a fan of the latter, the former only adds more color to the music. Guitar arrangements are among the best I have heard. Drumming is simply monstrous. Inferno and Horgh, Immortal, are two best drummers in extreme metal. Inferno’s feet are two metronomes disconnected from the rest of the body, while arms and hands fill in non-stop.

Before I played the CD I heard that Behemoth is supposed to have a blackened edge to it. Well, it does not come through with vocal delivery which is guttural and low without an ounce of a screech or shriek. Maybe, an openly antichristian lyrics and cover art is what invokes the comparison.

Clear and extremely heavy production only adds to the package. By the time it was over I felt tired and bruised. I actually felt that the album is possibly a track or two too long for the message to reach its maximum. Zos Kia Cultus is, nonetheless, very good, and those dark souls who are not afraid are encouraged to check it out. Those movie makers who dare may, indeed, look for it as a soundtrack to a next Barbaric Demonic Mystical Anti-Christian epic (Omen IV?).

Killing Songs :
Horns ov Baphomet, As Above So Below, No Sympathy for Fools, Zos Kia Cultus, Typhonian Soul Zodiack
Alex quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Behemoth that we have reviewed:
Behemoth - The Satanist reviewed by Jared and quoted 70 / 100
Behemoth - ...From The Pagan Vastlands reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Behemoth - Satanica reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
Behemoth - Evangelion reviewed by James and quoted 92 / 100
Behemoth - The Return Of The Northern Moon reviewed by James and quoted no quote
To see all 9 reviews click here
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