Since witnessing what I described as the “perfect set” back in December of 2012, I haven’t been able to get enough Behemoth. Ask my wife, from the day I returned from the cruise until the day I got The Satanist in my hands she said “All I’ve heard about for the last year was Behemoth.” I had drunk from the cup and I became a superfan. The Satanist was such a proclamation and immense album that I immediately declared the best album of 2014 without question and without regard that there were 11 more months of music to be released. To say it impressed me is the understatement of the millennium but because I’m greedy, I could always use more.

I’m going a little out of order here in terms of history because, well, the album is presented chronologically out of order. I digress. After the masterpiece that The Satanist is was released, fans were treated to a bit of the hair of the dog in the form of the Xiadz single/EP, which contains two tracks that were recording during The Satanist sessions. Essentially what serves as the title track “Nieboga Czarny Xiadz” opens in pure evil. Laced between the main guitars and pummeling drums is a faintly leveled traditional black metal tremolo picking riff that makes the whole start creepy. This use of multi levels was a constant theme on The Satanist as I’m still finding little things that I haven’t noticed before. Aside from the opening, the track maintains a slower pace that mirrors that of songs like Messe Noir and Ben Sahar from the full length. Three quarters of the way through the track starts to die out with a plodding séance like march until it’s dying breath. In the EP’s closer, Towards The Dying Sun We March, we find ourselves with another massively punishing track that rivals the gargantuan O Father O Satan O Sun. It’s slow and brooding with a lot more of that traditional black metal serving as the main course with a well-blended use of double bass and groove to support as a backbone. Once again Behemoth opted to ride out the track with a sinister doom outro that would make Black Sabbath blush. Sandwiched between these two tracks is a rerecording of the classic Behemoth track, Moonspell Rites, which was recorded during the Evangelion sessions. Removing the rawness of the original and adding the benefits of modern production as well as some injection of a moody atmosphere proved to pay big dividends. This song has never sounded so good and makes me wonder what great things Behemoth could do now with a lot of their other old songs.

As I stated previously, the EP is a little out of order because on the 2nd half of this release we are presented the Blow Your Trumpets, Gabriel single, which served as a teaser for the full length. As stated before, the title track is a pressure cooker of a song that plods along at a slow but pummeling pace and tests the listener’s limits before exploding into a frenzied second half. The only other song of real value on the EP was the otherwise unreleased track, If I Were Can, which aside from the production is a step backwards in musical evolution for the band. If someone were to tell me that this was a rerecorded song that was written during the Satanica era of the band, I’d believe you. It’s a much more straightforward song that reeks of the early stages of the bands experimentation with death metal in their sound. The closing track is Behemoth’s rendition of the song Ludzie Wschodu by the shortlived and relatively obscure Polish punk band, Siekiera. Never having heard the original, I can’t draw a comparison but you can tell this is something different for Behemoth. It’s a pretty meaty song and I’m sure much, much heavier than it’s original. What I have always appreciated about Behemoth covers was that they really branched out and went after bands that were clearly out of their genre but inspiration to them nonetheless like with Nine Inch Nails, Danzig, and now Siekiera.

Behemoth has a history of releasing compilation records of out of print singles EPS but as far as I know, this is the first one for just one album. Regardless of that fact, I’m super glad they decided to do this because both Xiadz and Blow Your Trumpet, Gabriel were limited to 1000 copies on vinyl and sold out relatively fast. Now I have all the released songs for The Satanist on a limited edition (2000 copies) CD. This has the benefits of both releases artwork on top of the songs. If you are just as much as a fan of The Satanist as I am, this is something that you should jump on in the very near future as it will definitely sell out as well.