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Masterpiece of Occult Black Metal - 100%

FyreWalker, July 20th, 2009

This is legendary demo of one of famous bands on black/death metal scene. None of Behemoth’s subsequent releases has such spirit as this one. All their other albums sound too different and contain quite otherwise feelings. Only here, we can find primordial purity of really Black metal, the black metal that no one plays in our times. This amazing demo purports to be acknowledged as an album because of strong and serious musical and lyrical conception. It is not ordinary weak and penny-a-line odd job made by lazy yet ‘ideological’ teens, but almost masterpiece of blackest of the black musical genres.

It opens with low mystical sound of keys and nice hissing of cassette tape. ‘…Of My Worship’ sounds just terrible alike to the beginning black mass or other diabolic rituals, while I was listening to this majestic intro the horrible atmosphere deepened in the air. Here is simple but serious performance. In addition, there is no superfluous or far-fetched thing - just only descending darkness and preparation for vicious unholy and blasphemous obscurantism.

Minor tones in the beginning of ‘Summoning of the Ancient Gods’ give birth to morbid ungodly riffs. These riffs are excellent. Drums are surd deep and hypnotizing it sounds like some kind of ritual toms. Of course, vocals are malicious and morbid. Demoniac inhuman voice breaks through the thickness of sepulchral sound. ‘Mystic voices lead me to suicide… obscure my soul…’ It builds dark and dismal atmosphere of mystical or religious perversion. All next songs are amazing and great, all guitars sound perfectly during half an hour. Riffs have its main inspiration in the legacy of Hellhammer; they are evil, morbid but fascinating. Keys on this demo are most dark I have heard especially they create occult atmosphere of Devil-worshipping. Song by song you descend into depths of medieval obscurity.

Eventually, it is absolute masterpiece of old school Black metal, one of the very few releases where exists such kind of occult and mystic ambience. Unfortunately, it was the first and the last Behemoth’s release in that kind.

HUUUUUUUUGGGEEE Improvement - 65%

OzzyApu, May 27th, 2009

Wow, if this was recorded at the exact same time as that other travesty known as Endless Damnation, then the joke’s on me. I thought these guys had no skills at the time, but this demo really proved me wrong. It isn’t anything completely standout like the famous Lunar Poetry album by Nokturnal Mortum – the one that obliterates almost every one of their full-lengths.

It’s clear that these guys play black metal, but the production is miles better than the first demo and although the growls are more akin to the genre, the double bass is thicker than all hell. First time hearing them I thought it was the production, but no, every time we here the double bass kick, its going to be the thickest thumping you’ll ever hear. It makes the thumping on Gorgoroth’s “Revelation Of Doom” look like Mormons at the door. It’s muddy and deep, but you’ll hear it over the bass no problem. The cymbals also seem to be louder than everything else, which gets annoying since the toms and snare are drowned under what sounds like the bass… bass? Yeah actually, the bass can be heard – it isn’t outright noticeable, but you’ll definitely hear it trotting along with a bellowing, sludgy tone.

Complimenting this are the spacey, supernatural sounding riffs really steal the show away once you overcome the shock of how much the production excels over the previous recording. Not only do they hold these traits, but you can actually follow a rhythm - believe me, after hearing that last travesty, you’ll envy hearing a rhythm again. I’ve heard thinner riffs like on Gorgoroth’s Pentagram, but that’s mainly do to the ice cold production. While this one is an evil sounding release, it isn’t a cold, hateful one. Nergal most of all has a sort of lazy Abbath scream from early-Immortal going – I just noticed it now, this album reminds me of Immortal’s Pure Holocaust the most. Only difference is that the production isn’t as clear, the songs aren’t as memorable, and this one still is sloppier.

Keyboard-wise, Darken doesn’t improve conditions much; no doubt you’ll definitely be put in the right mindset and atmosphere. However, the keyboard songs are so creepy that they’re a stark difference compared to the regular tracks. No joke, those keyboard tunes actually give me chills – if I heard them at night, I’d no doubt go to bed uneasy.

I’d wholeheartedly recommend you hear this demo and forget Endless Damnation even exists. That demo is a tarnishes Behemoth so badly, but it might be a necessary listen in order to appreciate this demo even more.

Black Metal history - 65%

vrag_moj, September 10th, 2004

This demo is now available on vinyl (pictured on this site) and includes some extra tracks from the years after it was done. This is Behemoth’s first demo I believe, “Endless Damnation” postdating it slightly and eventually landing them some sort of a contract for future releases. My first impression was that of amateurish guitar noise made to sound what Black Metal was meant to sound like in their minds…A young band trying to align themselves firmly within the genre. I sometimes wish new bands these days would still try to sound like this – most try to become complex from the word go and sound lame and watery as a result. There is no real anger or though behind it, just childish fantasies. This band had a reason to be angry – their country recently liberated from the Soviet yoke torn apart by internal forces grasping for power over a population gripped by Christian fervour. Today Poland is reputed to have one of the highest rates of church attendance, no small wonder then that it spawned some of the most heinous and fundamentalist Metal in the history of Metal. The town they came from was a drab industrial wasteland.

The demo may sound primitive and half-baked – but look at the date – 1992. This is the band that apparently inspired Graveland and hell knows how many others. The songs are short and to the point. There is a dissonant, thinly applied and very trebly layer of guitar, no bass that I can hear and subdued, plodding drums. Two were later re-recorded – the first appears on “From the Pagan Vastlands” the second is here, taped during the Sventevith sessions. Hearing those makes one realise that at this point the band had good ideas but did not know how to build them up to a satisfactory climax. Thus “Summoning Of The Ancient Gods” shifts from riff to riff, without taking adavantage of the great mood changes therein, and “Dark Triumph” simply doesn’t sound as evil. “Rise Of The Blackstorm Of Evil“ was apparently a Hellhammeresque filler song the band jammed for the demo. I haven’t heard it used elsewhere. The cover of “Agressor” reaffirms their love for Hellhammer with a faithful, guitar static-haunted rendition. The two re-recordings are great to hear, especially because they are unavailable commonly unless you got the box-set.

Overall this is a collector’s item (and there are some fucking typos on the back too), but it’s good to hear this demo. While it only hints at the ambience of “…From the Pagan Vastlands” the raw fury of “…Forests” or the medieval magnificence of “Sventevith” it is a piece of Black Metal history.