Poland has the dubious distinction of being America's most complicit and obsequious ally in its current crusade in the Middle East. It makes a twisted sort of sense, then, that the country birthed the pagan-death-metal ogre known as Behemoth (appearing Tuesday, February 8, at the Bluebird Theater). Demigod is a brutal, terrorizing reaction against conformity and Christ, draped in the synth-heavy accents and folky acoustic flourishes of Behemoth's brethren across the Baltic in Norway and Sweden. Sadly, the disc is also a reaction against decent metal: While there's no denying their laser-guided accuracy, the songs suffer from soulless mechanization and an unholy embrace of cliche that would make Deicide wince. Guitars and drums sound like wind-up toys instead of implements of evil; power is disemboweled at the altar as a sacrificial offering to precision. The album's saving grace is its closer, "The Reign ov Shemsu-Hor," an eight-minute opus that writhes and respires enough to sound truly menacing. Demigod might make blasphemous claims to omnipotence, but it needs to practice on some more Sunday schools before it tries burning down any churches.


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