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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.