Oh Behexen....what the hell (pun intended) happened? It was all going so well. My Soul for His Glory was a definite career high....those classic Finnish riffs, the evil sound, demonic undertones and the sense of something quite frightening occurring. Skip forward four years and we have Nightside Emanations – a record so mediocre that even the cover art looks second rate. Sorry Behexen – once upon a time you were relevant and disgusting and really quite good. Unfortunately this new record doesn’t live up to what we all know you’re capable of.
Maybe it’s not actually as bad as it sounds, but there’s definitely something missing in this release which is a shame as it’s been so bloody long since their last record. It’s still catchy as heck at times and there’s certainly some standout moments. It begins fairly ominously; a nice organ plays the intro to the record and it all sounds a bit like a 1930s Universal Classic Horror film. So far, so good. The first track proper – “Wrathful Dragon Hau-Hra” is fiery little number that does indeed contain the kinds of riffs and devilishly catchy tones of the Behexen of past and Hoath Torog's vocals sound as deranged and possessed as they ever did.
"Death's Black Light" is a fairly melodic number and features some truly outstanding and frenetic guitar work that complements the revulsion and misanthropy found within Behexen’s words and pure Satanic will. Ok, perhaps I was being a little harsh earlier – Nightside Emanations starts off decently and with a lovely forceful passion for the dark side. “Circle Me” looks set to continue this trend, but the chorus hits and there’s just.....there’s no power there. Where this should be a moment to shine and terrify and summon some nefarious creature from the depths of the earth, Behexen take a disappointing route into the realm of boredom.
Fast forward the tracks that make up the very uninteresting middle section, the songs blurring into one disappointing entity as the album progressed and Behexen close their fourth full-length on “Kiss of the Dark Mother.” Initially quite eerie in texture, the track sounds bursts into sanguine life with roars of unholy proportions. Why couldn’t it all be like this? Deep echoing words of destruction spill and gather into an unsettling prophecy of doom whilst the guitars battle for dominance over a furious drum track. Intensity is the order of the night here and Behexen roil with a heated and commanding presence and you're left to the nightmarish chaos conjured by this usually excellent band.This...this is how it should be.
6.0 / 10
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