Poland’s greatest export give their landmark album “The Satanist” the full live treatment.

It’s the question that has played on the minds of bands who have achieved success or critical acclaim with a certain album. The issue is always the same………….how do you follow it up? What comes next? How can you top that? For Polish black metal behemoth’s, erm…Behemoth, the answer is quite simple. You do it again. However, this time you give it to them with all guns blazing in the environment that truly matters for all bands….live on stage.

Mastodon did something similar with their groundbreaking epic Crack The Skye and clearly Nergal, Orion, Inferno and Seth, collectively known as Behemoth, have learnt a thing or two from the Atlanta quartet.

It must be said that if any album released in the past decade deserves a full live album dedicated to it than you would be hard pressed to fine one more deserving than The Satanist. Arguably it is the best album released in many, many years, with only the aforementioned Crack The Skye able to ride in its slipstream, at least in the eyes of this poor scribe.

Over 20 years Behemoth have built themselves a back catalogue worthy of a place at metal’s top table, although it has only been since the release of The Satanist that regular festival headlining slots the world over have become a consistent theme. Of course, the band, or more often than not its leader Adam “Nergal” Darski are rarely out of the spotlight whether its ripping up bibles, his fight and victory against leukemia, being a judge on the polish version of The Voice or generally attracting attention from being part of the Black Metal genre.

More often than not in recent times this has somewhat overshadowed the music the band has produced, which is, and this is not up for debate, the finest extreme music committed to tape. That is until The Satanist hit the shelves and then suddenly the band could not move for rave reviews and musical backslaps from the great and good of the music industry.  Even that loathsome nerk Kanye West decided the album was worthy of acclaim, although his method and time for doing so left a lot to be desired. The band don’t need praise from him but of course it never hurts.

Onto the album and it was recorded at Progresja in Warsaw, Poland in October of 2016 on their Satanist World Tour. The CD features all nine tracks of The Satanist in the same order as the album whilst the vinyl version includes additional tracks from the Behemoth canon. Likewise the DVD/Blu-Ray versions.

“Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” is a chilling and commanding opener and the deathly squeals and pain-wracked howls that introduce the song live is a reminder of the journey the listener is about to go on.

What is immediately obvious is the power of Behemoth. Not just musically but also the power to hold your attention for the full set. There is ritual heretic theatricality that gives the visual aspect of the band’s music perfectly. Nergal is no stranger on how to whip up a crowd and he employs all his skills in on this showing.

There is no great need to delve into the tracks individually as the should now be as familiar to this generation’s extreme metalheads as Sgt. Pepper is to the flower power people of the 1960’s. Suffice to say that when “Furor Divinus” is followed by the title track “Messe Noire” then there is nowhere to go but up and up and up. They keep on soaring higher and higher and new dimensions are continually added that expand and open up new ways of understanding this band’s music and motivations. It is laid bare in front of you.

Concluding with the stunning “O Father, O Satan, O Sun” this live album fills a behemoth sized hole in the album stakes for a short while whilst the band follow up The Satanist with a new album hopefully being released sometime in 2018 or early 2019. Now that will also be something truly special. Pass me a bible and a crucifix if it isn’t so.

Donnie’s Rating: 10/10

Messe Noire is out on the 13th April 2018

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