It’s been a long time coming, but Behexen finally released a new album. In many ways, The Poisonous Path is a welcome continuation of the band’s prior release, Nightside Emanations, but with even more atmosphere and hatefulness.
Behexen’s sound has grown more sophisticated since the band’s true kvlt beginnings. Hoath-Torag’s vocals have significantly deepened on the last two releases, giving the albums a more mature feel, and highlighting the vocalist’s incredible range. The Poisonous Path takes on many of the elements of today’s trendier black metal sound, breathy growls, heavy atmosphere, depressive interludes, etc and combines them with melodic breaks that keep true with the classic Scandinavian sound. One could wonder if Behexen is simply going with the flow and not focusing on creating a signature sound. At least fans can be rest assured that this album isn’t simply a Sargeist album in disguise.
That said, The Poisonous Path is a fantastic release. The album kicks off with a predictably, atmospheric intro and then fiercely breaks into intensity like thunder cracking in hellacious skies. The album continues on this path throughout, each song complementing the next. The Poisonous Path is not an album you skip around song by song, but rather, you take it in as a whole. Behexen really outdid themselves with this one. The sound is truly akin to demons roving their way up from Hell. And if the the Satanic lyrical themes are any inclination into the band’s true intentions, Behexen would have it no other way.
The thing I like about Behexen, is that they’ve always sought to stay true to black metal’s original message and sound. Sure, they’ve matured over the years, but Behexen is still as atmoshpheric, ugly, and anti Christian as ever. It’s refreshing in an era when so many bands are weak saucing it up with the whole black and roll trend. The Poisonous Path is pure and unadulterated orthodox black metal. Horns’ masterful drumming sticks out. He doesn’t merely blast his whole way through the album but only when appropriate. Then he melts your face off. This is particularly noticeable in “A Sword of Promethean Fire” and the closing track “Rakkaudesta Saatanaan”, both of which are masterfully executed.
A track that stood out to me as one of the prettier pieces on the album was “Umbra Lucifari”. Wrath’s guitar work on the track is captivating with its both melodic and hateful quality. You can just lose yourself in the haunting melody. This track definitely got the repeated a few times. But, as I stated earlier, The Poisonous Path is an album to be consumed as whole rather listened to track by track. Haunting, atmospheric, and otherworldly, The Poisonous Path wails its way into through your speakers and into your empty soul. If you’re looking for a hellish and heavy black metal release in 2016, look no further than The Poisonous Path.