We could debate until the cows come home exactly which bands deserve the ‘underrated’ tag. Within each sub-genre there are literally dozens upon dozens of bands that the metal consensus cries foul about not getting their due. One such act in the black metal world who has been criminally overlooked lo these last two decades is Finland’s Behexen. Hopefully with their stellar new album, The Poisonous Path, in hand those who claim to worship at the altar of the extreme will rise in unison to sing this band’s unholy praises.
Formed originally in the mid-90s, Behexen would unleash their debut full-length album, Rituale Satanum, in 2000. Up until 2012 we were gifted a pretty steady stream of full-lengths, splits and EPs, however the last four years have seen Behexen fall silent. Perhaps it was a much needed respite after going pretty much non-stop for over a decade, or perhaps it simply took that long to heed the call of Satan this time around. Whatever the reasoning the juice was worth the squeeze, so to speak, as Behexen have delivered an absolutely shredding work of truly dark and demonic black metal.
Behexen have never been confused for a band that takes their foot off the proverbial pedal, and they aren’t about to start now. It’s full-speed ahead into musical impiety, basically from note one. Even on more mid-paced offerings such as “A Sword of Promethean Fire” they are able to churn out a brutally heavy assault that simple pummels you into complete submission. It’s also tracks like this that show a penchant for interspersing doom and death metal elements into their sound, which they successfully do throughout the album. The black metal purists might take issue with such a statement but the influences are there for the taking. And take them Behexen does, to a desolate and frost-bitten wasteland of sonic blasphemy. But even with these relative interludes, Behexen is at their deadliest when channeling the atmospheric ear-raping of pure Scandinavian black metal. Tracks like “Umbra Luciferi,” “The Wand of Shadows,” and the scathing, album-opening title track, to name a few, set a ghostly tone that lies just below the sonic sacrilege. It’s as if there is something there, constantly lurking below the surface like some Lovecraftian creation waiting for the right moment to strike while the chaos overhead churns, and churns, and churns. The end result is an album that is downright dastardly from start to finish.
Just like how we can debate who is underrated and who isn’t we can debate where this album ranks in the Behexen discography. Certainly it falls somewhere near the top of the heap. One listen, straight through, should shed any doubts you might have about that.
The Poisonous Path is out now via Debemur Morti Productions. You can experience and purchase the album through the Debemur Morti Bandcamp page.