Album Review – Behemoth / Opvs Contra Natvram (2022)

A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.

Opvs Contra Natvram, or “a work against nature”. That’s the name of the brand new album by Polish Blackened Death Metal institution Behemoth, their twelfth studio album and a beastly follow-up to their 2018 album I Loved You At Your Darkest. Mixed by Joe Barresi, mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, and displaying a stylish and blasphemous artwork by Anton Pavsyuk, Opvs Contra Natvram showcases a band that’s on absolute and eternal fire, taking us back to the austere sonority of their sensational 2014 effort The Satanist and, therefore, proving vocalist and guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darski, guitarist Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber, bassist Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski and drummer Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński still have a lot of fuel to burn in the name of evil while at the same time always fighting against any type of religious oppression.

Otherworldly sounds accompanied by the tribal percussion by guest Einar Selvik are the main ingredients in the fantastic intro Post-God Nirvana, darkening the skies to the wicked vociferations by Nergal and setting the tone for the demolishing Malaria Vvlgata, showcasing devilish lyrics (“Let all bibles preach the sermon ov vengeance / Let the hallowed verses call for war / Behold as seraphs fall from ebonising skies / Let’s stab the world and halt the cosmic lie / Spare no one / Show them no pity / Tooth for a tooth / Eye for an eye”) amidst less than three minutes of pure Black and Death Metal savagery. The Deathless Sun, one of the first singles of the album, sounds very atmospheric while Orion and Seth generate a dense, menacing base with their inhumane kitchen, followed by Ov My Herculean Exile, another one of the band’s blasphemous, imposing tunes, with Nergal roaring deeply while Seth extracts darkness from his axe. And there’s no time to breathe as blasphemy keeps permeating the air in Neo-Spartacvs, with Nergal and Seth being in an infernal guitar sync supported by the thunderous bass by Orion.

The second half of the album begins in full force with Disinheritance, and Behemoth’s demolishing Blackened Death Metal burns majestically, again presenting visceral, hammering drums by Inferno for our total delight; whereas Off to War! is simply perfect for their live performances, or in other words, it’s a brutal, flawless Black and Death Metal attack displaying stunning lyrics declaimed by Nergal (“Am I ov god, Satan or an obsidian hemisphere? / Am I the fated sovereign or sanctitude inverse? / Consider the great solitude ov the truly liberated man / Set forth to raze frail humanity once again”). Less violent and a lot more melodic and rhythmic, Once upon a Pale Horse is a decent composition albeit not as thrilling as the rest of the album, while guest vocalist Zofia Fraś joins Nergal and his horde in Thy Becoming Eternal, a straightforward, classic Behemoth tune showcasing an excellent guitar work by Seth with Inferno crushing his drums like a demonic beast. Lastly, it’s time to darken the skies and surrender to the Blackened Death Metal by Behemoth in the obscure, somber Versvs Christvs, alternating between sheer heaviness and more atmospheric moments, therefore ending the album on a beyond Stygian note.

Behemoth Opvs Contra Natvram Mailorder Edition White Vinyl Boxset

After all is said and done, it’s more than clear that Behemoth keep standing tall in their Blackened Death Metal castle with the release of Opvs Contra Natvram, which is by the way available in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, with their importance and influence in the world of extreme music growing exponentially with each one of their albums. Hence, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their wicked videos (such as their brilliant live performance playing four songs form the new album atop the Palace of Culture in Poland), to stream all of their sulfurous creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Opvs Contra Natvram by clicking HERE, where you can also find the lavish Opvs Contra Natvram Mailorder Edition White Vinyl Boxset, limited to 1,000 copies and including a 180g yolk crystal/gold LP in a gatefold, a CD digibook, a 100x100x flag, a vinyl slipmat, and a cut out patch and pin, or simply click HERE for all things Behemoth. More than just an album of extreme music, Opvs Contra Natvram is a work against all types of religion, and may Behemoth keep on fighting against the darkness of the church until their very last breath.

Best moments of the album: Malaria Vvlgata, Disinheritance, Off to War! and Thy Becoming Eternal.

Worst moments of the album: Once upon a Pale Horse.

Released in 2022 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Post-God Nirvana 3:10
2. Malaria Vvlgata 2:18
3. The Deathless Sun 4:43
4. Ov My Herculean Exile 4:43
5. Neo-Spartacvs 4:18
6. Disinheritance 4:22
7. Off to War! 4:47
8. Once upon a Pale Horse 4:16
9. Thy Becoming Eternal 4:09
10. Versvs Christvs 6:29

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

Guest musicians
Zofia Fraś – vocals on “Thy Becoming Eternal” and “Versvs Christvs”
Einar Selvik – tribal percussion on “Post-God Nirvana”
Michał Łapaj – piano on “Versvs Christvs”
Jan Stokłosa – orchestral arrangements
Piotr Wróbel – tuba
Wawrzyniec Dramowicz – percussion, timpani

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