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Controlled fury with a subtle yet vile power - 93%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 30th, 2012

Perhaps because this album is low on the pyrotechnics and high on sonic subtlety, I've been slow to appreciate its value in the black metal canon. While other BM bands shred their guitars into sawdust and pummel their drums into crepes, Beherit opt for a mostly no-frills minimalism with a clean production that gives their music depth and a spacious quality. The singing is deep with just the right amount of echo to achieve the necessary sinister effect without submerging it completely; the music is riff-based and deep enough to straddle the border between black metal and death metal.

This is an album whose streamlined approach to BM suggests a controlled fury and hatred, a power that is cold, smooth and deep yet vile and reptilian. Elegance and efficency aren't qualities that spring to mind when talking about BM but this album is very elegant and efficient indeed with its deft touches, whether those are in the wise use of atmosphere and drama, the steely production, the occasional use of spoken voice or clean vocals or in the use of instruments other than guitars and drums.

As the songs are fairly short and, with the exception of "Summerlands", not very distinctive, the album is best heard as a whole epic rather than a collection of individual songs. This record set an early standard for Finnish BM to the extent that most Finnish bands in that genre are still judged on whether they're as good as Beherit were in 1993. The Beherit guys themselves must have felt they had done all they could with "Drawing down the Moon" as they later switched to dark ambient music territory.