Behemoth: Evangelia Heretika

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Behemoth: Evangelia Heretika
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Behemoth: Evangelia Heretika
Black Metal, Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
November 5th, 2010
Release length: n/a
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Evangelia Heretika marks the second DVD release from the Polish Black/Death monster Behemoth. The entire package consists of two full sets (Warsaw in 2009 and Paris in 2008) all on one disc, with a second disc full of videos and a documentary, both spanning the time of Behemoth‘s existence, and a bonus audio disc containing the entire performance that is present on disc one from the Warsaw performance. But, given some of the standards set by many bands today in the Metal DVD field, namely sugar-rush induced editing work and a sudden fixation on being artistic in the post-production, will this one be something to keep a sane Metal fan attentive the entire time without having a migraine come into play, or perhaps even a seizure being induced?

Nope. Right from the start of the DVD with the first set at Warsaw, it becomes apparent that a monkey with ADHD was at work in the post-production again. The film also tries various filters and effects post-production to make the concert appear a little more artistic. While this concert is, at times, not as bad as the Blind Guardian DVD Imaginations Through the Looking Glass with the constant cutting to a different shot, however the DVD appears to often try to be a bit more artistic with the effects as if trying to emulate the recent DVDs by Leaves’ Eyes or In Flames, both bands who managed to execute such effects alright, though the latter did it far better. However, this one is still pretty bad on both accounts. But, for the most part, those artistic things happen more during the start of this set only with such effects as an acid-washed visual, grainy handcam effects, and stillframe shots that don’t really seem to appear as bad elsewhere in the DVD, though some songs like “Conquer All” have a strong presence with these frames which can become a bit hard to see because of the constantly shifting frames and “Slaves Shall Serve” use the acid-washed video effect, as well as an old-school projector effect. However the constantly changing camera shots often seems to happen in rhythm with the music, and considering the music is often fast, it becomes a nightmare, especially when the drumming picks up for a transition and blasts away for a second, you can have anywhere between twenty to thirty frames in a two second shot, meanwhile sometimes you’ll have a new frame every second, then suddenly it’ll stop shifting for a few seconds for no reason for a few seconds. Even when vocalist Nergal is talking to the crowd, as he builds up prior to the start of a song, the camera can shift anywhere to four to six times for a four second introduction, which is absolutely pointless.

Aside the obvious seizure enducing post-production issues, the general production quality of the Warsaw show is actually very well done. The whole concert is filmed in an obviously professional manner with clear cameras that often come off as if high defition on a standard definition DVD, and the audio is clearly ripped from the sound board, making for a solid recording of the band’s performance. The show itself goes off well, the crowd has a strong energy, and there’s plenty of great Behemoth songs during this set, as well as the set from Paris, the second concewrt available on disc one. But, for as many great songs as there are in this set, as well as the other, such as ripping “Rome 64 C.E.”, “At the Left Hand ov God”, “Conquer All”, and many more, both sets suffer from the same constant frame changes, though the Paris set has slightly more control and, in many ways, works out well as the camera often changes to parts that actually suit the action like a close up on the drum kit during blast beats or the guitar during a solo or technical parts, even all the band members headbanging during a period that commands it like during “Slaying the Prophets ov Isa”, and not just a random shot or two of a band member, as well as a more raw approach to the cameras. There’s a decent amount of zooming in and out, as well as shots as if you are a fan watching, including a camera from in the crowd itself, to being right up against the stage looking up, though the latter angle does appear in the first set, however the shakey approach and some sudden jerks really gives it an old-school feel, more of a raw production against modern day equipment. The second set also doesn’t use any fancy effects on the frame, or in any way attempt to look artistic in any way. Instead, what you see is the band and the crowd the way it’s supposed to look outside of an obvious slight film grain against a professional blockbuster film-quality high definition quality on a standard definition DVD. In the end, the second set is perhaps the better of two, and feels more suited the music, though the camera frame changes are still a little on the ridiculous side.

The second disc in this DVD set is basically just some additional bonus material. First of all, you have two cofumentaries of the band. THe first is “Evangelia Nova”, which is essentially just a camera crew following the band through some of the time they spend promoting the album Evangelion. This shows some behind the scenes footage of the band in and out of make up, getting ready for shows, doing some interviews and meeting as well as talking to fans. Of course, this documentary has it’s decent share of live footage too, which is nice, and just random clips to break up some of the more boring moments, as well as the pad out the documentary so that it reaches nearly one hour in length. It’s an interesting watch, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything all that important other then a view at life on the road in a casual manner. Next is “De Arte Heretika” which, again is essentially a behind the scene footage video again, except this time it’s more one band member with a camera shooting the footage instead of a camera crew, but intertwined into this video is an interview that basically covers a lot of the band’s daily live on the road, the band at this point in their career, and more. Of the two documentaries on this DVD, this one is perhaps the most interesting and informative as you get a real sense of what it’s like on the road from the band’s point of view, as well as get some insight into the band and what is going on in their minds about everything and a lot of what they’ve gone through to get to this point in their career. But, that’s not all the behind the scenes stuff, as there’s five “Making Of” videos that cover five of the music videos that the band recorded to promote various albums, but most are just various clips that show behind the scenes footage of the videos being shot, and some random commentary by the band members. Finally to close out this disc, all the music videos shot up to the point of this DVD release are featured here in the highest quality possible, which is a nice little addition to the DVD set, especially for those who haven’t seen the videos, or discovered the full potential of the internet yet, or just don’t have access to the internet in general.

The final disc of this set is nothing more then a portable non-epilepsy inducing version of the Warsaw performance. The entire concert is lifted from DVD and placed onto a disc as an audio only CD exactly as it appears on the DVD. While the visual aspect of the concert was not the most impressive due to the faults the production team had from constantly changing camera angles and the artsy shots, this is simply the music, which was still an energetic performance from the band. Basically if you’re a fan of Behemoth, you’ll pop this CD in for it’s wide selection is energetic tracks by the band, both new and classic, and the more raw sound they have compared to the sleeker original studio recordings. It’s that raw energy that makes any live performance or recording of Behemoth just so much stronger then any recorded track, and pretty much every song is a different experience live, such as the more aggressive and energetic performance of “At the Left Hand ov God” to the lack of vocal distortions on “Conquer All” and “Slaves Shall Serve”, two staples appearing from the Demigod album, making a nice companion piece for when a DVD player is not available, such as when you’re in the car or at work.

Overall, Evangelia Heretika is a jam-packed DVD, though not everything really comes out strong. Again, the issue with constantly changing frames during the concerts becomes an issue, though the Paris concert’s changing frames feel a little more organic, whereas the Warsaw show just feels like someone with ADHD was random tapping the buttons in post-productions after a bowl of Sugar Covered Cover cereal with a Red Bull chaser. It gets a little harder to get into the performance because of that. The behind the scenes material is nice to have for the curious fan, though not all of it is really all that important to watch, and the additional videos and bonus audio disc of the Warsaw performance make for the perfect companion material. If you’re a fan of Behemoth, then this three disc set is definitely worth the hefty price tag despite some of it’s faults and some of the filler material that you find in the documentaries on disc two. Just be warned, if you suffer from epilepsy, chances are good the Warsaw concert footage may very well trigger an episode due to the constant changing frames, which basically creates a strobe effect much of the time due to the constantly changing angles on the various colored stage lights, and that’s one of the biggest annoyances to that set, even if you don’t have epilepsy.

Disc One:
Live in Warsaw 2009 E.V.:
01. Intro – n/a
02. Ov Fire and the Void – n/a
03. Demigod – n/a
04. Pan Satyros – n/a
05. Shemhamforash – n/a
06. Conquer All – n/a
07. Decade Ov Therion – n/a
08. Wolves Guard My Coffin – n/a
09. Christian to the Lions – n/a
10. At the Left Hand ov God – n/a
11. Slaves Shall Serve – n/a
12. As Above So Below – n/a
13. Drum Solo – n/a
14. Lam – n/a
15. Alas, Lord is Upon Me – n/a
16. Antichristian Phenomenon – n/a
17. Chant for Ezkaton 2000 E.V. – n/a
18. Lucifer – n/a

Live in Paris 2008 E.V.:
01. Rome 64 CE – n/a
02. Slaying the Prophets ov Isa – n/a
03. Antichristian Phenomenon – n/a
04. Demigod – n/a
05. From the Pagan Vastlands – n/a
06. Conquer All – n/a
07. Prometherion – n/a
08. Drum Solo – n/a
09. Slaves Shall Serve – n/a
10. As Above So Below – n/a
11. At the Left Hand ov God – n/a
12. Summoning ov the Ancient Ones – n/a
13. Christgrinding Avenue – n/a
14. Christians to the Lions – n/a
15. Sculpting the Throne ov Seth – n/a
16. Decade ov Therion – n/a
17. Chant for Ezkaton 2000 E.V. – n/a
18. I Got Erection – n/a
19. Pure Evil & Hate – n/a

Disc Two:
01. Evangelia Nova (Documentary) – 56:48
02. De Arte Heretika (Documentary) – 55:42
Videos and Bonus Material:
03. Decade ov Therion – 3:20
04. As Above So Below – 5:05
05. Conquer All – 3:34
06. Slaves Shall Serve – 3:04
07. Prometherion – 3:09
08. At the Left Hand ov God – 5:13
09. Inner Sanctum – 5:03
10. Ov Fire and the Void – 5:09
11. Alas Lord is Upon Me – 5:57
12. Making of “Prometherion” Video – 3:54
13. Making of “At the Left Hand of God” Video – 9:16
14. Making of “Inner Sanctum” Video – 2:25
15. Making of “Ov Fire and the Void” Video – 2:27
16. Making of “Alas, Lord is Upon Me” Video – 3:09

Disc Three:
Bonus Audio CD: Live in Warsaw 2009 E.V.
01. Intro – 2:12
02. Ov Fire and the Void – 4:34
03. Demigod – 4:26
04. Pan Satyros – 4:32
05. Shemhamforash – 4:07
06. Conquer All – 4:12
07. Decade Ov Therion – 2:55
08. Wolves Guard My Coffin – 5:12
09. Christian to the Lions – 3:10
10. At the Left Hand ov God – 5:06
11. Slaves Shall Serve – 4:05
12. As Above So Below – 4:52
13. Drum Solo – 1:11
14. Lam – 5:24
15. Alas, Lord is Upon Me – 3:47
16. Antichristian Phenomenon – 5:44
17. Chant for Ezkaton 2000 E.V. – 4:57
18. Lucifer – 8:28

Overall Score: 7/10


Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.