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A frostbitten guitar line kicks off the first track of Behexen and captures my interest in a matter of seconds. Forgive me for using the slightly nonsensical term "frostbitten" in this context. Yet it is true. It seems as if Behexen did not record their tracks in a studio, but in a fridge. The ice-cold leads generate a feeling of discomfort which cannot be suppressed. The "Mouth of Leviathan" is opened widely and its abysmal throat seems to be unfathomable.
But Behexen do not only focus on coldness. Their music conveys a mouldy smell as well. Apart from this, it is part of the fascination of "Mouth of Leviathan" that occasionally flaring guitar lines show up, because they stand in sharp contrast with the negative, moribund aura of the track. No doubt, this track marks a generic black metal piece of the finest art. But Behexen's second track does not pale beside the first number. More aggressive and equipped with goosing drums, "Where the Devil Spoke" spreads the satanic message. The agonized lead vocals complete the picture successfully. 90% for the homogeneous contribution of Behexen, not least because of the more or less perfect production which enables us to listen to black metal in its purest form.
Homogeneity is not the suitable word to describe the overall impression of Satanic Warmaster's pieces which are pretty well produced during different recording sessions. The first track provides fast, straight and devastating black metal the way it should be. Too bad that the second number fails to make a similar impact. I am listening to a crude kind of campfire black metal. A thin acoustic guitar meets rattling drums. In this context, the nagging vocals are rather goofy. One may call this track an experiment, but one may call it a disappointment as well. I prefer the metallic version of the song which was released on "Strength & Honour", the debut from the 2001. Anyway, due to the first strong track, I think that 72% for Satanic Warmaster are justified. That's okay but not enough in order to win this Finnish competition. Behexen emerge victorious, not least due to the fact that their music evokes more emotions.
The formidable artwork expresses the atmosphere of this underground release very well. Although the aforementioned experiment appears slightly strange, the music transmits the violent, ominous and unholy spirit of black metal in a very intact way. Purists will love the first three tracks of this 10" and I do it as well. Do not hesitate, if you have the possibility to buy one of the 1000 copies of this vinyl. I am sure you will not regret it.
Behexen and Satanic Warmaster are both black metal bands, hailing from the Scandinavian country of Finland. They are both some of the more well-known bands in the metal underground, and have put out some absolutely amazing material. Both bands fit in the "kvlt" category, limiting their albums, demos, and such in very few numbers, Satanic Warmaster especially. Now, the production on this split is raw, but more so on the Satanic Warmaster side than on the Behexen one. The Behexen side, in terms of production, sounds relatively like releases from bands like Dark Funeral or Marduk, while the Satanic Warmaster side sounds like earlier Burzum in terms of production value. However, even though the Behexen side is somewhat better produced, it is still very raw and will satisfy any black metal purist who listens to this split. Now, let's talk about the music itself, shall we?
Behexen's side of the split is up first, and, I'll be completely honest, this is the first recording I have ever heard from this band. The main reason I listened to this was for the Satanic Warmaster tracks. Now, I am definitely glad I gave the Behexen side of the split a chance before I listened to the Satanic Warmaster side, because I actually like the Behexen side a little more. The first track entitled "Mouth of Leviathan" is one of the greatest black metal tracks I have ever heard, in fact. That track alone is what makes the Behexen side. However, do NOT write off "Where The Devil Spoke." That track kicks a fair amount of ass, too. It is shorter than Mouth of Leviathan, and it starts off faster. Right away, we hear some evil riffs accompanied by blast beats. This track is fucking great, and contains some very harsh melodies. Next up, we have the Satanic Warmaster side. Ah yes, Satanic Warmaster... One of my favourite bands. The track "Where Eternity Awaits" starts off with a brutal, and fast melt-your-face-off riff and blast beats. One thing that I love about Satanic Warmaster the most is Werewolf's vocals. They are so fucking raw and full of hate. This track contains everything we know about Satanic Warmaster: brutally fast riffs, hateful screechy vocals, raw but catchy melodies, and an overall destructive sound. The next track from Satanic Warmaster, entitled "The Burning Eyes Of The Werewolf," begins its journey with some depressive, melodic, clean guitar riffs, and raw, muddy drumming. A perfect closer. And again.... THOSE FUCKING VOCALS!!!!
So... What we have here is a great split by two absolutely classic, amazing black metal bands from the land of Finland: Behexen and Satanic Warmaster. This is a must have for fans of obscure black metal, or, hell, just black metal fans in general! Hails!
The Behexen/Satanic Warmaster split album is a strange thing. Two fantastic purist black metal bands come together to form one 4-track masterpiece. But it is not without its flaws. The album starts off with Behexen's "Mouth Of Leviathan". The track is a beautiful chaotic intertwining of heavy chordal work and insane tremolo picking complemented perfectly by Hoath Torag's masterful vocals. As he screeches and screams, you can feel the power of Behexen's message of the song, a story of the great beast Leviathan swallowing whole the foes of the Nordic heroes of old. Next is "Where The Devil Spoke", a less spectacular track, but still a great song. Particularily, the percussion work by Horns brings to life a raw melody that pounds your eardrums with unrelenting force. Both tracks are utterly beautiful examples of great black metal. The Finnish band Behexen demonstrates perfectly what Satanic black metal really is.
Next is the Finnish BM outfit Satanic Warmaster, whose name, let's be honest, is a little corny. Their music, however, is most certainly not. Their half of the album begins with "Where Eternity Awaits", and it is too a beautiful harmony of Satanic Tyrant Werewolf's astounding vocal ability and decent musical work. The underlying riff through most of the song is simple, heavy, and very complimenting to the rest of the song. "The Burning Eyes Of The Werewolf" reminds me of early Dissection, with its symphonic intro and fast but steady guitar and drum playing. The vocals on this track are also good, and it does a good job of closing out the album.
In short, if you want a beautiful demonstration of modern purist black metal, listen to this 4-track masterpiece on full volume, and you will surely appreciate the work of both bands. Personally, I think Behexen's two songs were better, but not a single second of this album fails to disappoint.