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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.