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And the Forests Dream Eternally - 63%

Noctir, October 8th, 2012

Offered up in August 1994, And the Forests Dream Eternally is the first official release from Behemoth. This E.P. shows the band's continued development, as they got deeper into the underground and learned of more bands to mimic. That appears to be the case as, though some minor improvements have been made, this still suffers from a total lack of originality. The material still suffers from a certain level of inconsistency and comes off as being rather generic, but it was a step in the right direction.

Musically, one gets the feeling that Behemoth went beyond their Emperor collection when writing these songs. It would seem that they began listening to a bit of Darkthrone and Immortal, by this point, as some hints of those bands and even a filtered Bathory influence is detectable. This is most clearly heard on "Moonspell Rites", a more mid-paced track that features a fairly epic guitar solo. The solos found on this E.P. help add something to the music and reminds that black metal could still benefit from the inclusion of such things. "Pure Evil and Hate" shows the band reaching back to the '80s and incorporating more of a Motörhead approach into things, though one must wonder if they were listening to any old bands or simply picked up on the same influences from more contemporary sources. The songwriting is much more interesting but really seems to be all over the place, with a lack of consistency from one track to the next. The band's youth and inexperience is still showing through, at this point. It almost sounds as if each song was written by a separate band. The differences are subtle enough that it is not a major concern, but it is something that many will likely pick up on. However, the overall quality of the riffs is higher than before, with most of these songs actually able to create a cold and dark feeling. Though as Behemoth put forth more effort in writing the music, other things were neglected. For one, Nergal's vocals took a turn for the worse and sound more puked than before. His voice was just fine on ...From the Pagan Vastlands and needed no change. Here, it just comes off as overly strained.

The production shows a bit of improvement, as the guitars finally possess a little bit of a rough edge. One of the key weaknesses of the previous demo was the soft and subdued guitar tone. It is commendable that they were able to recognize this flaw and to avoid repeating the same mistake. Unfortunately, such attention was not given to the remaining elements. The drum sound is awful, with the snare seeming particularly hollow. With this being too loud in the mix, it tends to distract from the guitars, at times. This is more of an issue during the faster parts. Also worthy of complaint is the bass guitar. It is far too noticeable and should have been lower in the mix. It adds this irritating rumble that does absolutely nothing to add to the atmosphere.

And the Forests Dream Eternally is a rather successful E.P. in that it shows Behemoth making some improvements. The end result is still a bit generic and lacks a true sense of cohesiveness, but it has its moments. The band still seems unable to do anything particularly original and to put their own stamp on the music, but that does not mean that it is not enjoyable, at times. Sadly for them, they never truly found their own identity as musicians and continued floating from one style to another, though gaining more notoriety as they later found the right trend to hop on. With this release, one can look back and see what might have been.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

Black roots, black forests - 80%

autothrall, October 23rd, 2009

Let us return to simpler times, before Behemoth made their notable transition into Morbid Angel, Jr. And I mean no insult by this, their death metal records are generally impressive. But there was once this obscure little black metal band from Poland, and they put out some good EPs and even an album or two.

And the Forests Dream Eternally is one of the crowning moments of this early period, an EP of extremely cold and well executed black metal that can inspire nostalgia at the drop of an ax. "Transylvanian Forest" begins with a steady pace as its desolate, dissonant walls of guitar flood the listener with imagery of newsprint woodland terror, of bleak and monumental castles and the stalking of bloodthirsty wolves at your heals. Enter "Moonspell Rites" with its excellent Bathory vibe, grinding bass and charismatic heathen vocals. There is a different version of "Sventevith" here, the title track to their debut full-length, and it completely kicks ass. "Pure Evil and Hate" is perhaps the most punky and feisty of the tracks here, it seriously makes you want to strap on your shit kickers and find your local convent. The EP's closing track "Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft" is a mellower track, with acoustic guitars vibrating alongside the distorted butchery. This tune aptly conveys the light touches of folksy atmosphere the band once incorporated into their sound.

Granted, these days are a far cry from the early sound, but I do miss it, and have always hoped they would return to an album like this at some point. Nergal has already proven he can fly and be a dominating mountaintop figure in his recent videos, how about soaring down into those cold valleys like a raptor of prey and delivering us yet another glimpse into this ancient woodland past. It would be more than welcome.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

The Crowning Jewel Of Behemoth’s Black Metal Era - 87%

OzzyApu, May 28th, 2009

With better production, an increased emphasis on melodically aggressive leads, and really no change to the drumming, we have the crowning jewel of Behemoth’s black metal days. Yes, not Sventevith…, not Grom, not that pile of horseshit called Endless Damnation - this often overlooked recording with a creepy, ethereal glimpse into some enchanted woods. Let this be the entry into some of the most gnarly black metal you’ll hear out of an EP.

I’m so impressed by the leads that I think Infernus from Gorgoroth shit himself so hard in awe that he was unable to write a decent follow-up to Pentagram. The riffs found here aren’t nearly as hateful as Infernus’, but they’re way more energetic, concert-worthy (yeah), have less of an emphasis on tremolo, and really are just more fun to hear. The whole band took on this thrash / black approach that works like a charm with the occult atmosphere that not only are you spellbound, but also in rush trying to bang your head without breaking your neck. The tracks that cater to this method more are “Transylvanian Forest,” “Sventevith (Storming Near The Baltic),” and “Pure Evil And Hate” (a concert staple, I might add).

The other two tracks are more atmospheric, haunting, and majestic in nature. They’re slower than the other three and focus more on a crushing melodic riff or tune. “Moonspell Rites,” which happens to (now) be in my top five favorite Behemoth tracks, is the best example and pretty much the best on the album. The tempo is devastating while the drumming maneuvers in a catchy pattern in support of the lead charge, which culminates in one of the most awe striking solo moments at 3:34 that gave me chills up my spine upon first listen. It made the best of Bathory solos look like something off of the fucking Disney channel. The last track works much in the same way, but relies more on a clean guitar tune that still sounds enthralling in its own unique way. Its more of a haunting, folk-driven ritual track that stands out much more as an outro than it’s own track.

Bass is almost non-existent on this album, but would you honestly give a shit when there’s so much atmosphere, energy, and effort to cover it up? Nergal himself really could care less, especially considering how much more refined his scream has become. He doesn’t pull off agonizing shrieks anymore like on the debut full-length, but his screams are pretty raspy and throaty, combining extremely well with the buzzy distortion of the guitars.

Usually I’m not fond of EPs because they show very little compared to full-lengths, but when you do come across one, it happens to you away more than some of the full-lengths. This EP somehow stands out to me as the definitive moment of Behemoth’s black metal days – that’s saying a lot considering what it has to compete with. You’d do yourself a huge favor by checking this recording out, and only a fool to pass it up.

I'd rape your wounds anyday. - 100%

MrNemo, September 6th, 2007

I am a big fan of Behemoth, both their old and new work, but I can't really say that the band has ever released anything better than this MCD.

It is pretty unique, compared to anything else they've done too, as there's more attitude, many solos and no keyboards at all.

Song wise, it is very straightforward and perhaps not incredibly original, but on the other hand; there's a huge variance between the songs. Transylvanian Forest (having a pretty lame intro, I must confess) being straightforward and a bit punkish, Moonspell Rites being a slow, moody piece with a lasting solo. Sventevith, the third song, is quite epic sounding, while Pure Evil & Hate is complete Bathory worship. The last song, Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft is a solemn, melodic and great outro song.

Production wise, it is perfected as well. It is raw, cold and unforgiving, yet every single instrument can be closely distinguished. That is, even the bass, which actually plays something interesting. The snare drum, by the way, sounds incredibly odd, but it adds to the rawness.

The vocal performance here is also very good. Not very original either, just outstanding. It is very high in the mix, together with the drums, while the guitars and bass are a bit in the back.

It has a perfect length also. Hell, everything is perfect about this release.

Best Behemoth you'll ever hear - 90%

DaBuddha, November 22nd, 2006

This first EP from Behemoth will be, if you only know them as they are now, something totally different. This is not DM, but great and wonderous Black Metal. Harsh, raw and full of hate, a band that is full of aggression and the hunger to make an impact upon the scene. They couldn't sound this good nowadays with their new style, because Black Metal just has so much more to offer to the table than DM.

One word can sum up pretty much this entire release: raw. The guitars are very trebly and have a great sound to them. The drums are not as double bass heavy or blast beat heavy for that matter, as the new stuff but yet they offer great variation (for BM that is.) Vocals are HARSH! Nergal sounded great back then and as I write this review and listen to this at the same time I can't help but be dismayed at why they had to change. Certainly BM gives you more "kvlt" points than DM and as I said before, has much more to offer. There are some good solos too on this but nothing that hasn't been done before.

Transilvanian Forest is definately the standout track here. It's harsh yet beautiful and full of hatred. The drums near the middle of the song are fucking great. The solo at the end is great. Hell, the song is perfect. The rest of the songs are all offering something that sets them apart from the others. Pure Evil and Hate is Bathory all the way and Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft is very atmospheric, with acoustic guitar, clean electric guitar, keyboards and a very well pronounced bass. Ok, I take back what I said before. THIS is the standout track. Damn this is fucking beautiful.

If you can find this EP, BUY IT IMMEDIATELY! Old Behemoth is where it's at, not their newer, more br00tal boring DM. Now if only they'd play more of this stuff live...

An Excellent Beginning - 84%

Resumed, April 3rd, 2006

While Behemoth is most well known today as a fantastic death metal band, their roots were actually in black metal. This 5-track EP marks perhaps the high point in their time in black metal.

Unsurprisingly for a black metal EP, the production isn't far from impressive. The bass can be difficult to pick out at times, and the drums sound somewhat odd. However, the guitar and drums are clearly present and fit the music well.

Each of the tracks has something to offer. Transylvanian Forest begins with a "grim" intro of crows cawing, then opens up to some very aggressive black metal. Nergal does a good job, with his vocals fitting the atmosphere of the music well. The second track, Moonspell Rites, is probably my favorite on the EP, with a catchy rhythm and very different song structure from the rest of the album. Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) is the most aggressive song on the album, and features a great solo. Pure Evil and Hate is the shortest song on the album, and doesn't really bring anything new to the table. It's very similar to the previous track. The final song, Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft, has a very bleak mood and sounds superb. The guitar, especially, sounds excellent on this track. After the raw aggression present in the two previous tracks, this slower, more melancholic song is the perfect closer.

All in all, this is a quality black metal release. My major complaints are the production, which is a bit too raw at times, and a slight lack of diversity in their songwriting. Tracks 1, 3, and 5 are a bit too similar and don't do enough to distinguish themselves. Despite these flaws, however, I highly recommend this EP.

These were the days.... - 95%

Varcolac, June 2nd, 2004

How i wish Behemoth were still like this. Good old black metal, no fancy ideas about progression or whatever, just a cold and grim atmosphere that chills you to the bone.
I can't say i'm a fan of modern day Behemoth - when BM bands go DM it usually ends up as a diluted take on DM, often coming second place to "proper" DM bands due to some kind of crossover mentality. How else can i describe this phenomenon? I'm a purist i guess.
Anyway, This EP is worth it for "Pure Evil And Hate" alone, it says something in the sleeve notes about being a tribute to Bathory and defianately has that feel to it (first 3 albums Bathory that is). This is one of my favourite songs of all time and a classic piece of raw Black Metal - a real headbanger, full speed ahead! The other songs are great and will be adored by the old school BM fan who is into the early 90s stuff from northern Europe.

This is Behemoth? They sure have changed - 60%

Symphony_Of_Terror, March 20th, 2004

This is definatly a different style of behemoth that we have today. First of all its not death metal, its black metal. The music is no where near as heavy as their work today, the vocals sound total different, and the overall structure of the songs is different. I am not saying these are bad or good things, just describing the ep.

The music is slower, atmospheric black metal. The vocals are harsh, but not that deep, they get kinda annoying after awhile. There are some harsh guitars throughout most of the music. The drums and bass remain pretty calm throughout this ep. The band uses alot of keyboards on this release as well, which I find are the best parts of this release. There is nothing really special going on here, this was release before Behemoth started to get good, then great. The band just seems to play generic black metal on this release, nothing great is offered. I find it rather boring...in part because the production isn't all that great.

I much like what Behemoth is today, but hey every band has to start somewhere. I just leave this album at Behemoth trying to get their sound noticed. Don't waste time on this ep, its not all that great, its not horrible, but with so much better stuff out there, this ep is quite useless. I give points for well played instruments, but take off for quality and lack of interesting material.