The question pressed on us is this: as a Christian, is the only possible reaction to an album celebrating the Devil that of rejecting it as threatening to faith and decency or is there another way forward, one more ambiguous and apophatic in its gesturing?
Over against Behemoth’s The Satanist, which ended up creating an all-too-typical devil who simply celebrates domination, resentment, and oppression, there are other devils abroad in the realm, some of whom dance to a noticeably different beat. Sweden’s Ghost gives us one of these in their 2015 album Meliora.
We saw in The Satanist, Behemoth’s 2014 album, that the Devil was the one who had been wounded, cast down, and whose rule and authority had been stripped away. The premier episode of Black Mirror’s most recent season offers a lens through which to better understand what’s at stake here. It’s a story as old as creation itself, that of masculinity gone awry.
Behemoth’s The Satanist is a disturbing, and at times revolting, record, but it’s also musically and theologically riveting. It also happens to be one of the top ten metal albums released. Ever.
So, what can we learn from it?