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Different from their modern stuff, but very solid - 85%

Waspman, August 30th, 2006

Behemoth is a name that has long been associated with the highest quality heavy metal, especially since the band started making a big name for itself with its death metal releases, beginning with 1999’s SATANICA. Mostly due to availability issues, many fans are unaware that the band had put out three official releases prior to that (excluding demos). What’s more, the albums were quite far away from the precision death metal crafted by the band now; instead the albums fell squarely within the confines of mid-90’s black metal, right down to the extreme heathenistic lyrics. GROM was the band’s third release, surfacing to light in 1996.

So what does Behemoth circa 1996 have in store for us? Well, like I said, it’s pretty extreme black metal, cold and evil. The band at the time consisted of main man Nergal, plus two accomplices named Ravenlock and Les, neither of whom would survive until the next full-length.

Nergal has said that GROM is his least appreciated album in the Behemoth canon, not liking the “experimental” aspects that band tried, such as female vocals and choirs. Personally I found these to be small elements of the album, not really adding anything, but not detracting from the experience either. For the most part, this is searing black metal done up right. Favorites include the blistering “Spellcraft and Heathendom” which probably features the most tortured vocal performance on the record, and the catchy fuzzy bass of “Thou Shalt Forever Win”.

It is clear that Nergal was a master riff craftsman even back in ’96, as each song on here is memorable, except the somewhat annoying “Lasy Pomorza”. So while it is quite a different beast than the Behemoth of today, the band’s black metal era is nothing to be ashamed of. GROM is definitely worth finding.

-------Originally posted at Metal-Rules.com-------