Behexen - My Soul for His Glory
Hammer Of Hate
Black Metal
8 songs (38.43)
Release year: 2008
Behexen, Hammer Of Hate
Reviewed by Charles
This time of year, after we've had the first snowfall of the festive season, after we've opened a few windows of our advent calendars, after we've started to think about presents for the family, is when you really start to feel Christmas is nearby. People seem a bit cheerier, children start to get excited about visits from Father Christmas, and you catch yourself "pa rum pa pum pum"-ing along to The Little Drummer Boy.

Yes, it's sickening, of course. Fortunately 2008 has also seen a flurry of releases from the great Finnish band, Behexen. As well as an EP/Boxed Set, From the Devil's Chalice, and a recent split with Satanic Warmaster, there is this album, released back in February. What better time to give it a review? (Er, apart from when it was actually released). Like any good black metal record should, My Soul for His Glory helps the listener rediscover a healthy contempt for our pitiful human race, and before you know it you'll be back to kicking over snowmen, telling kids that Santa doesn't exist, and writing "Hail Satan" in the snow with urine.

Bands like Behexen keep this form of music grounded in its more unadulterated forms, which is to be applauded. Whilst it is increasingly common to see black metal bands dabbling in meandering prog at one end of its spectrum and inscrutable noise at the other, Behexen produce kick-ass tremolo riffs coupled with cliched but very effective Satanic lyrics, and a no-nonsense sound that is raw but powerful-sounding. Their last album, By the Blessing of Satan, is one of my own favourite examples of this style. Indeed, in my opinion, it is one of the most powerful back-to-basics black metal albums of the new millenium. From the very first blood-curdling screech, it drew you into its gloriously blasphemous world, and kept you capitvated by the rock n roll heart within.

It's tempting to say that you know what to expect from this album, and to an extent that's true. Behexen are experts at what they do; they are a reliable band. But this album is a little less intense than its uncompromising predecessor. On first listens it hits you that My Soul for His Glory is noticeably slower paced. This certainly doesn't have to be a problem. By the Blessing of Satan actually featured a couple of masterclasses in slow-burning black metal in Watchers of my Black Temple and Sieluni Saatanan Vihasta Roihuten. But this one is not quite as atmospheric, not quite as violent, and not quite as unrestrained. Instead of throwing us straight in at the deep end, the opener, Let the Horror and the Chaos Come, begins with some creepy-ambience building synths and sound effects, before kicking into a mid-tempo foot-tapper that is a tiny bit reminiscent of the last Khold cd. The whole thing seems a little bit deeper and darker in tone as well, with tracks such as Born in the Serpent of the Abyss coming on as an ominous rumble rather than a terrorizing screech. The same track then shifts into a, dare I say it, slightly mundane, aimless sounding mid-tempo section. Unfortunately that kind of thing is slightly too common here.

Certainly, there are also highlights. Demonic Fleshtemple stands out, rocketing along thunderously while tremolo lead lines remain submerged in murk, emerging from it periodically to lend the track the darkly religious vibe that its name suggests. And All Believers Shall be Damned is stunning; possessing a beautifully mournful, melodic quality, which is capable of transforming itself into the most breathless intensity. In fact, if there was an end of year poll for "the best one minute fifty four seconds of black metal in 2008", the last half of this track would doubtless be right at the glorious, shimmering summit.

My Soul for His Glory is by no means a weak album, and in fact should be highly recommended for those that enjoy this type of music. But overall, it's definitely not Behexen's best work.

Killing Songs :
Charles quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Behexen that we have reviewed:
Behexen - Rituale Satanum (reissue) reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Behexen - Nightside Emanations reviewed by Tony and quoted 87 / 100
Behexen - By the Blessing of Satan reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
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