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Occult, Primitive Black Art - 87%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, July 26th, 2008

Beherit was surely one of the greatest bands in black metal field in Finland. As you know, the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s were very important for the naissance and the growth of death metal in that beautiful, cold country but the black metal explosion contaminated also the musicians, so here we have one of the very first black metal albums from Finland.

The roots were still in death metal but something has evolved. Let’s check it. The sounds are fuzzy, bestial and truly morbid while the vocals are mostly on the borderline between death and black with a strange tonality that is typical of the very first bands that wanted to play something new, going out from the death field. The production is not exceptional and it’s great like this because everything is made to be as brutal as possible with no melodic concession.

The drums are really essential in their sound and in the way they are played, while the vocals are higher in volumes and they cover a bit the instruments. Anyway, you can always hear the bleak, cold guitars and the bass lines. Sometimes, the vocals reminded me to one by another very important band in this field, but this time from Norway, Mortem. Here are, anyway, they are more comprehensible and a far less chaotic. Those by Mortem sounded like a broken sink.

The songs are generally quite fast but there are sudden breaks in the middle where the tempo is doomy and leaves the fast patterns. The bass is pounding in these parts, while the few keyboards sounds are ritualistic and truly scary. The atmosphere is horrific and truly cold, almost lifeless. It’s the case of “Salomon’s Gate” and “Nocturnal Evil”. The up tempo parts are quite raw but never too messy because the fast alternation of the beats on the snare and the bass drum is always well audible.

Sometimes the vocals turn in shrieky whispers from hell and they are quite various anyway, reminding a bit those by Attila in De Mysteries D.O.M. Sathanas. The compositions are never too long and that’s a great thing because a band like this must express the impact and the malevolence through short songs, without fillers. “Sodomatic Rites”, “Black Art” and “The Gate of Nanna” are three supreme examples of how a black metal band could be really scary and depressive through down tempo. They are perfect to break the speed.

The Hellhammer influences are always present in almost single riff or tempo but the malignance of “Unholy Pagan Fire” and “Down There” are personal and here to stay. We have no melody, just darkness and pure misanthropy. “Summer Lands” is incredibly frightening for the sound of birds and the flute notes, a thing that wouldn’t have been so scary in an another context, but here is so weird and occult. All in all, here we have a truly obscure and satanic album and an important piece of black metal history.