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Epic and powerful release. - 95%

Taliesin, April 1st, 2006

While their first album "Storming the Baltic" was a classic black metal album along similar lines as Graveland and early Emperor (and would be later a giant influence on Nokturnal Mortum, among many others), Nergal and the other guys in Behemoth were not content. They continued their push to expand their sound and create black metal with true feeling.

This album sets itself apart in many ways. The pure atmosphere of the music is perhaps the most striking thing. Listening to this I am captivated from beginning to end, put into a land of darkness, endless forests and pagan spirits. The guitar has the high trebble fuzz sound of Burzum's Filosofem and Darkthrone's "A Blaze in the Northern Sky," while the drums blast and pound away like Mayhem's Hellhammer. The riffs themselves are very Mayhem-ish (unsurprisingly on the "Chaotica" 2 disc set, there is a bonus cover song of Mayhem's "Freezing Moon"), they have a melodic edge, and also a very aggressive feeling. Nergal's vocals are now in between his current death metal sound and the early high pitched Burzum screams. At times, like on "Rising Proudly Towards the Sky" his vocals are very obviously a homage to Attila. And since I like Attila's vocals, I find that Nergal's use of that sound works very well.

The main thing you could say about this release, is that while it has a minimalist heart, there is so much added stuff going on that even after listening to it many times I notice more things. Strange acoustic guitars, female vocals, riffs that turn from minimalist to complex at the turn of the hat. A beautiful fluidity marks all of this. Behemoth adds experimental touches to a sound that is based directly on fast, aggressive and atmospheric black metal.

Any fan of pagan black metal must own this release, and Behemoth's first as well. Without them your collection will never be complete. Gromm is every bit a classic, it's an album that stuns me every time I put it in. Ignore what the naysayers have to say about early Behemoth, and listen to black metal fans, and you'll soon find out why Behemoth was considered one of the best black metal bands, until they cowardly changed face.