The sticker placed on this album makes a bold statment: "'Demigod' is the 'Alters of Madness' of this generation; a truely perfect death metal album." After thoroughly listening to the album, I can only conclude that the above sentiment is actually an UNDERSTATMENT!
"Demigod" may very well be the best death metal album ever recorded. I say this for a number of reasons:
(a) "Demigod" manages to capture the immense musical talents of the three death metal virtuosos who make up Behemoth. You will be hard pressed to find three musicians within this genre of music (or any for that matter) who have completely mastered their instruments to such a degree. Nergal possesses one of the finest death metal voices. Throughout the album he simultaneously mixes his lower death growls with midrange/ higher pitches which create an almost demonic sound to the vocals. In addition, Nergal is an outstanding guitar player who creates some of the most memorable riffs you will hear on any extreme metal album. Orion makes his first appearance as bassist on this album, and does not fail to please, as he matches Nergal's intensity throughout the album. Then there is Inferno, one of the most gifted and fastest drummers you will hear. So much so, that Behemoth has had to endure some accusations that they actually utilized a drum machine in the recording of the album. Though not true, once you hear the sheer speed with which Inferno tears through the songs, you will understand why critics thought otherwise.
(b) Unlike many death metal albums, each song on "Demigod" is distinct. Despite being an enormous fan of extreme music, even I have to concede that there is some truth to the criticism that death metal albums consist of many songs that sound similar (to the point they could play as one long song if the pauses were omitted). With that being said, "Demigod" does not suffer from this fault. Rather, the structure for each song is unique, making each of the songs clearly distinguishable from one another. Furthermore, there are songs on "Demigod" that (dare I say it) are accessible and listener friendly! Make no mistake about it, Behemoth ranks as one of the most extreme metal acts (perhaps second only to Suffocation). Nonetheless, there are some catchy songs on the album (e.g., Demigod, Conquer All, and Slaves Shall Serve). Keep in mind I use the term accessible in the loosest sense, by no means do I feel that someone who is turned off by extreme music will find this album easy to listen to. But to death metal fans, this album will be a feast for the ears!
(c) This is far and away the most extreme, intense, and fastest album ever recorded (or I should say, that I have heard). From the opening song to the very last riff, "Demigod" unleashes an onslaught that NEVER lets up! Even the above mentioned band, the mighty Suffocation, have never released an album so insanely fast. Blast beats are plentiful throughout "Demigod." However, unlike some albums where listeners find their excessive use to be boring and one-dimensional, the heavy reliance on blast beats only enhances this album. They add to the overall intensity, which will energize the listener, whipping him/her into a fury.
(d) The production of "Demigod" is FLAWLESS! This album is the most polished death metal album I have ever heard. All of the instruments shine through with a clarity that is crystal clear. Surprisingly, it is Nergal who produced the album, proving that his talents extend far beyond the stage and his instruments, into the studio as well.
Though "Demigod" is an outstanding album, no recording is without flaws, and "Demigod" is no different. Perhaps the only stylistic flaw that I found is the long instrumental introduction the album's final song "The Reign of Shemsu-Hor." Time wise, this song clocks in at over 8 minutes, with the first 2 1/2 minutes being nothing but the aforementioned instrumental introduction. The intro is powerful; however, it is slow and fairly repetitive. I find myself fast forwarding through the intro or skipping this song all together. The first two minutes serve as somewhat of a lull in an otherwise perfect album.
My only other criticism comes from a personal standpoint that is completely unrelated to the music. Personally, I have never been one to enjoy lyrics that are pagan in nature. I wouldn't call "Demigod" a satanic album, but there are certainly references made to pagan gods as well as inspiration drawn from Alister Crowley. However, I knew of Behemoth's spiritual beliefs before purchasing the album, so by no means was I offended or taken aback, as a Christian its just not my style, but that is me, and by no means should this criticism be taken as a stab at a band as musically talented as Behemoth.
In short, as one other reviewer succinctly stated, "Behemoth are obviously the best at what they do" - I could not state it any better. "Demigod" seems to occupy the space in my CD player more so than any other album I own. I literally see myself eventually wearing this album out from repetitive play...it's that good! Anyone who is a true fan of death metal should do him/herself a favor and buy this album...you will not be disappointed. I can only wonder what Behemoth will do for their next release, as I don't see how it will be possible to top the masterpiece of "Demigod!"