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It's raw, it's primitve, it's original - 93%

Harachte, November 15th, 2006

There are many ways to achieve 'atmosphere' when it comes to playing metal in general and black metal in particular. And to each and every one of those who listen to this kind of music, it'll have a different meaning.

That said, it's hardly a surprise that Beherit's "Drawing Down the Moon" is an album that is both scorned and adored. In retrospective, I've heard it scorned mainly because of the lack of production, mediocre musicianship and, above else, because of being not standardized 'black metal' including the mandatory hoarse shrieking vocals and the high pitched guitarsound, as it became the norm since Darkthrone's "A Blaze In the Northern Sky" back in 1992.

Black metal was different back then. The genre was expanding and permitted different musical angles from which the philosophy behind the music was approached. Bands like Blasphemy, Impaled Nazarene, Mayhem and Beherit differered notably from each other sound-wise, while later on some sort of consensus was reached as to what black metal per se had to sound like: shrieking vox, fast rhythms, vacuumcleaner-sounding guitars, occultism, misanthropy and sometimes quite debatable political views.

From THAT retrospective, yes, "Drawing Down the Moon" doesn't necessarily satisfy the average black metal kid A.D. 2006.

On the other hand, those who adore this album (myself included) praise mainly its' ability to create an ominous and forboding atmosphere, while at the same time I'd like to add that to my knowledge, there isn't or wasn't a single band around that sounded like Beherit did.

In some respects, "Drawing Down the Moon" sounds more like a thrash or death metal band on heavy drugs. The songs are quite simple and musicianship is only so-so compared to a lot of other bands. But what Beherit lacked in musical stamina was also their forte. Just like on their demos it's raw, it has a distinct doomy feel ot it, it's primitive, it's occult and ultimately devoid of any sophistication whatsoever. This, combined with some killer-riffs and the diverse use of ambient sounds, makes a very strange blend indeed. Please note that I deliberately avoid the word 'keyboards' here because I get the impression that the ambient sounds are a lot more important compared with the average supporting role of keys. It gets into your mind.

What "Drawing Down the Moon" also sets apart from a lot of other 'black metal' releases is the use of electronically distorted 'whisperings', alternated with gutteral utterances which are (almost) death growls. No ordinary shrieks and screams. It's this use of alternative vocals that doesn't make this release 'standard agressive', but to a very high degree atmospheric. And this almost otherworldly atmosphere can really get to you.

All in all and from a comfortable 2006-view, "Drawing Down the Moon" is not just a prime example of atmospheric 'black' metal, but also highly original at that. And yes, just as it was in 1993. A real shame the band quit its' black metal existence soon after its' release.