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The Oath of Black Blood - 90%

Orlok666, March 28th, 2012

This release by Beherit, originally a basically undesired (by the band at least, who apparently pissed away their money for the original album which was recently released by Hells Headbangers) compilation of a demo and ep by them which to me stands as essentially being their first album, presents a bestial and occultic vision of black metal that is rife with chaos and demonism.

Finnish black metal rather early on claimed its independence from all the various currents of second wave black metal. Rather then being inspired by Celtic Frost and Mercyful Fate like many of the bands on the continent or using melodies and a grim atmosphere as was the case with Norwegian bands, Beherit's (and also other primordial Finnish bands like Archgoat and Impaled Nazarene) influences were obviously not only the early Bathory records, but also Blasphemy, Sarcofago and primordial death metal. Except they decided that all those bands weren't anywhere near harsh enough, and made a point of amping up all the elements of those bands like they were performed whilst on a cocaine and red bull binge.

Of course later on with their masterpiece Drawing Down the Moon they would investigate slower, almost lazy tempos and using keyboards and vocal effects, on here almost everything is raw, direct and in your face. I have heard both the original and reissue versions, and I must say to the interested listener to pick up the remastered edition, not only is the cover presented in fancy color format, but the sound is vastly improved, bringing treble and clarity to the mix, with the reissue you can actually hear the bass!

I think very often Beherit are given the short bus treatment with this album, there's a lot of people who say things like, this sounds like pure noise and chaos, they can't play their instruments, etc. etc. Which I find a frustrating viewpoint because it quite simply isn't true. Buried under the insane tempos are well written riffs and songs which quite ably pull off the concept of their music. The drums themselves may be simplistic but that's exactly what they need to be for this kind of music, simple and primal, getting the job done. Same thing goes for the rest of the band, the point of this music is not to wow with technical brilliance, but instead to create a barbaric and demonic atmosphere, and that's exactly what they accomplish.

The first half of the cd is the rawer and more brutal half, made up of bestial and fast songs with old school Sarcofago inspired riffs, aggressive vocals that have quite a bit of grunting and death metal aspects to them, crazy solos and unrelenting drum beats. The bass rumbles underneath mostly following the guitars but thickening up the chainsaw tone of the guitars and giving them weight. Some people may not like the solos, but I feel they add to the hellish atmosphere, coming in with feedback and then ripping away with lazy abandon, then disappearing before you knew what hit you.

The second half of the cd is more of a preview of the sound they would continue with, with tracks like Black Mass Prayer that craft a dark evil atmosphere reaching into some kind of abyss, showing off along with other bits and pieces of ambience Holocausto's ability on the keyboard, yet again with a less is more approach.

Beast of Damnation is the beginning of the metal portion of the last bit of the cd, which features a much more distant guitar, and heavier bass. The vocals make up the biggest difference, showing Holocausto's mature vocal technique, which is made up of an effected whispered main vocal which seems to be coming from a radio to hell, with some crazy over dubbing. The over all feeling is much more demonic and oppressive and I enjoy it. Also the songs feature more variation, with slower sections which work well with the faster parts. I feel the approach of this later material has a much more ambient and dense effect then the earlier more bestial Sarcofago inspired material.

So what can I say, unless you're a real wuss, this is essential material for the black metal listener, presenting a bestial and aggressive vision of Beherit's primordial sound. Maybe not as good as Drawing Down the Moon, but really that's like comparing apples to oranges. Buy or die!

The Oath of Black Blood - 89%

Noctir, December 22nd, 2011

The Oath of Black Blood is the debut album from one of the oldest and most revered Finnish black metal bands, Beherit. It is widely accepted as being the band's first full-length record, though that is not actually the case. The band pissed away the money given to them for the studio so Turbo Records had no other choice but to release the Demonomancy demo, along with the Dawn of Satan's Millennium 7", as the first Beherit L.P. In some ways, this was a good thing, as these recordings captured the raw essence of what Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance, Sodomatic Slaughter and Demon Fornication were trying to conjure up.

The music has nothing to do with what was going on in Norway or Sweden at the time. This is not directly influenced by Venom, Bathory or Hellhammer. The chaotic sounds on this record were inspired by the likes of Sarcofago, Vulcano and Blasphemy. This is quite evident by the vocals, which are deeper and utilized in the form of primal grunts and random growls. There is almost no sense of melody, whatsoever. This hellish assault is violent and merciless, lacking catchy rhythms or memorable vocal lines. Beherit took a raw and primal approach, much like the South American bands that influenced them the most, often seeming easily confused with early death metal, though the purely occult and Satanic atmosphere of black metal dominates the sound. In a lot of ways, this can be seen as the European equivalent of Blasphemy, though much more primitive and barbaric. The most structured track on here is "Witchcraft", which starts out with an eerie doom riff and then maintains some sort of recognizable arrangement, once the speed picks up.

As one might expect from a demo and E.P. from 1990, the production is the epitome of grim and necro. This is raw as hell and very lo-fi, to say the least. The vocals are a little high in the mix, though that may actually add to the charm. The sound is rather muddy, at times, with the riffs becoming difficult to distinguish from one another. In a sense, it all just serves to create a wall of hellish noise, blending together like demonic howls and tortured screams among the raging flames of the world below.

Beherit's first album is not for everyone. This works better as a backdrop for Satanic rituals, rather than something to truly immerse yourself into. The Oath of Black Blood is a hideous album that sounds as if it was vomited forth from the very mouth of Hell. If you are seeking beautiful guitar melodies, look somewhere else. Pure evil lurks within, nothing more.

Written for

The Second Wave's Ugly Twisted Sister - 72%

Liquid_Braino, December 16th, 2010

I have a confession to make. After my friend bought this cassette back in 1992 thanks to the diabolical sketch on the front cover,while listening to it for the first time we had no idea that what we were subjecting ourselves to was in fact black metal. The term “black metal” in our little world in North America hadn’t really caught on yet, with Darkthrone being the only band I knew that labeled themselves as such, thanks to the proclamation on the back cover of their “A Blaze In The Northern Sky” CD. Thus, due to the abundance of low pitched growling and the occasional gurgling noises during at least the first two thirds or so of the tape, we basically deduced that Beherit was in fact a grinding death metal band in the vein of early Carcass with a major satanic bent. Sloppy as refried vomit with garage band production qualities, but death metal nonetheless. Listening to this now infamous recording eons later, I can plainly state that after exploring the black metal genre since those days, my recollections of this output weren’t completely unfounded, and yet I understand now why The Oath Of Black Blood gets lumped in to the black metal genre.

The story behind this release as a demo and an EP tossed together as one package due to the lack of a proper recording of these songs is well engrained in underground metal history, but I feel as if the situation turned out to be an odd blessing in disguise, and not just for the band since they were able to get fucked up and shitfaced with the monetary advance. The riffs themselves throughout most of these tracks are essentially thrash rhythms executed as fast as the band can pull off and with barely any palm-muting and pretty much no melodic passages so to speak. The approach to these recordings actually reminded me of thrashy hardcore acts like Septic Death from a mere musical standpoint in certain ways, particularly in the guitar tone of the first demo and the chaotic atmosphere in general. The blasting drums and the guitar seem to be perpetually trying to catch up to each other while running neck and neck for minuscule periods, while the bass player plays whatever, as if knowing his contributions aren’t going to matter much regarding the finished product. It sounds like I’m really shitting on the band here, but their ballistic “fuck tempo!” mentality clouds these rather mediocre riffs in enough murkiness to cause the listener to focus more on the overall brain-bursting sound and unbridled aura than what they were truly trying to accomplish in a technical sense, and it kind of works! Cleaning up this mess with a better production would emphasize the limitations of the band’s skills moreso than improve upon the music itself. There’s also a certain charm to the whole package as well, since as the clichés somewhat go, music doesn’t just come from the fingers or the mind, but also the heart, the soul and occasionally the penis. If I could deduce which body part or mystical presence these guys channeled for inspiration during these sessions, I would have to say the stomach.

There are certain peculiarities that permit me to listen to this entire creation in one sitting that add variance to the proceedings. The most obvious would be that following the first intro and six songs, the entire production changes as the Dawn Of Satan’s Millenium EP introduces itself with a worthy and eerie ambient track before barraging forward with a more “blackened” sound for the remaining cuts, sort of like Quorthorn on a cocaine and Turkish espresso binge. Personally it’s hard to decide which of the two halves of The Oath Of Black Blood I prefer since they both have pluses and minuses, which is where the vocals play a big factor. The earlier tracks rely heavily on brutal gutturals with the occasional rasp, albeit with some cool vocal effects haphazardly thrown in on occasion to jar the listener. Sudden increased volume bellows in tracks like Goat Worship and that bizarre crazy “demon voice” shit going on towards the middle of Demonomancy do wonders to make these songs stand out, coming across as both twisted and, maybe not to the band’s benefit, humorous. The second part of this disc introduces us to a new main vocal approach; the sound of someone transmitting his evil poetry from across the sea using an old ham radio. Its raspy quality leans a bit more towards what was evolving into the black metal screech than the grunting of the earlier tracks, and it’s even less decipherable. I find it more of an acquired taste, and as interesting as it sounds, I’m also glad it only appears within the last three tracks, interrupted by occasional low growls. Musically, the second part of this album has a cleaner guitar sound, though certainly still unpolished, and the guitar solos are still as ridiculous and amusing as ever. It can’t even be described as random note-hitting throughout the fretboard, since it sounds like the guitarist has difficulty moving his arm around, preferring to stay in one place on the neck and bang out whatever notes were available in those few frets over and over. Maybe the guitar neck was extremely heavy.

So in retrospect this collection of songs surreptitiously evoke that black metal misanthropic spirit while sounding quite dissimilar to what was transpiring in Norway at the time. It’s not without a strong evil and atmospheric vibe, but this is not black metal in the traditional style of windswept sheets of tremolo and high pitched screams. It’s an uglier mutant form of the genre that somehow remains a well known underground ‘classic’ while plenty of sophisticated and musically talented acts from that era have vanished into obscurity. Those bands may have had skill, but this band had ‘stomach’. Beherit would of course utilize the better aspects of this release as building blocks to their more accomplished and first ‘proper’ album Drawing Down The Moon, but I still found myself enjoying this release for what it is all these years later despite its blatant shortcomings. For What it's worth, listening to The Oath Of Black Blood could be construed as feverishly sucking on a freshly used tampon…difficult to ingest and rather disgusting as a whole, but not bereft of some nutritional value.

Old Beherit sucks dick - 32%

DaddyZeus67, April 12th, 2009

Before I start explaining as to why this album is so weak, I'll point out that I was never that much of a black metal fan. I actually hate most of the bands in the genre but Beherit...this band has been a definite stand out to me ever since I came across couple of their songs off of the album Drawing Down The Moon. This band sounded way different to what I'd usually expect from black metal as Beherit didn't just play bunch of power chords with tremolo picking among constant blast beats and record it through their cell phones as if poor sound quality would automatically create a strong atmosphere regardless of what the hell you're doing but these guys actually played their instruments properly and actually MADE their music atmospheric.

Of course I'd end up buying the album and enjoying it so much that I would start crediting Beherit as the best black metal band on earth (after the first wave BM). I also got their later ambient albums and really liked them too. Then one day I noticed that they had this "compilation" album that consisted of an old demo and some EP vinyl. On this site I noticed that it's widely considered to be Beherit's first full-length album so I just thought "hey why not?" and bought it.

Now for the first there is the songs from this demo entitled "Demonomancy". It starts with quite an atmospheric intro track lasting a bit under one minute. There's couple bang sounds in the very beginning and then you'll hear some whispering and that typical high and "bright" sounding ambientic noise from all horror films and "atmospheric" interlude tracks. It ends with a one big bang that sounds like thunder or something and next thing you know there's some very noisy guitars, sloppy blasting drums and someone yelling "metal of death!" on the top of it all. Yup, it's that typical raw quality black metal noise. The song clocks in before a minute has passed making it the shortest song of the album. But what happens after it? Well the album plays the same goddamn song again! And again! And again and again and fucking again. Every song in this album sounds incredibly identical and I found there to be more "hey when the fuck did this song change?" -moments than I'd wish to find even in an Anal Cunt album.

Guitar riffs....well there's hardly even any riffs! All through the album the guitar tracks only consist of some fast tremolo picked power chords with no other purpose than sounding "brutal" and noisy. There's no way anyone could decipher the guitars because every "riff" I heard here is completely inaudible and basically all you can hear is random noise. As said, trying to tell the song changes is very, VERY hard but trying to tell the "riff" changes is next to impossible. Somewhere under the wall of noise there's probably supposed to be the bass guitar that in this album happens to be the furthest fucking thing from audible. There is guitar solos in almost every song and each one of them sounds exactly like the shit I play when I just don't give a fuck about which notes I pick. What would you expect from generic raw produced black metal? Marty Friedman? Hah!

Vocals consist of very angry and retarded sounding growls and screams with the kind of articulation that to decipher the vocals you would desperately need the lyrics that unfortunately were never printed. I could only presume that Nuclear Holocausto is only screaming something among the lines of "All hail Satan! The lord of diabolical darkness and eternal sin!". It's not very hard to figure out the lyrical content of your typical "tr00 kvlt" black metal, you know. And what comes to the drummer, his playing sounds like something I'd expect to hear from a guy who started playing drums less than a fortnight back. So basically it's all really sloppy, noisyand random banging, especially when this guy doesn't even try anything else than blast beats!

There is some sort of an intro in the song "Witchcraft" that actually has coherent guitar riffing and even some melody. Then the drums start beating some kind of mantra there with growling vocals on the top of it all. But it only takes a minute and 5 seconds until it ends and then just another completely indecipherable "riff" would kick in, soon to be joined by random blast beats and that same indecipherable growling/screaming you would get for vocals in every single song here. So basically this song just turns into the exact thing all other ones on the CD are. Oh how great is that.

When 7th track ends, we apparently move to hearing another release that is the 7'' EP entitled Dawn Of Satan's Millenium. Luckily the intro track "Black Mass Prayer" makes it easy to notice that this is another release. This intro track features some nice gongs, whispers, mantra drum beats and the ambientic "noise" in the background to make it sound really dark. There's also some weird burpy "growling" or something like that to be heard in couple sections. Then suddenly the track morphs into the song "Beast Of Damnation".

Now this is pretty much the same "noise metal" we already had for 6 songs but it does sound different actually. For one, the production is obviously more ear-friendly than in that earlier played demo, the guitar tone is softer and less annoying than that way over-crunchy noise in the Demonomancy demo. And for two, the vocals sound really different. In this one Marko's vocals are pretty much the same as he does in Drawing Down The Moon, harsh whisperish screams and growls that may lack power but definitely boost the atmosphere of the music. They're still indecipherable but at least I can bare these vocals way more than those madass growls in those songs from the Demonomancy demo.

Guitar riffing is a little more coherent (thanks to the better sound quality) but still it's pretty much all about fast power chord smashing and really noisy scaleless shred solos and the bass is still completely inaudible, except during the solos. Drumming is surprisingly way more precise but other than that it's no different to the 6 songs played before. Just blast beats, blast beats and more blast beats. Overall the Dawn Of Satan's Millenium songs are more listenable than the Demonomancy songs but they all have the same problem: the incredible repetitiveness. The 3 last songs on The Oath Of Black Blood are all like the 6 first ones: fast and noisy black metal with no variety at all.

Although once again, there is one song that has a different intro but the rest of it would be just the same as the others. This time it's the short track "Hail Sathanas", starting slowly and with a kind of melodic guitar riff in support. You could almost think the whole song will sound as good and consistent as it starts off but nope, it only takes a bit over half minute until the same blast beats and the same chord smash guitars kick in.

Now at the end of the day, this album basically represents everything that's wrong with most of black metal these days and has hardly any relevance to the geniusly atmospheric and beautiful Drawing Down The Moon, and this probably explains why I played this album through only once and then abandoned it in my CD shelf for a very long time. Believe me, I really didn't want to write a negative review for this album since it's still the mighty Beherit but when I listened the whole album through again for this review, I just couldn't help constantly thinking that "God-fucking-damn, this is exactly why I never play this fucking CD! Noisy and sloppy shit and every song sounds exactly the same!" so now this will be my final decision. 32 points because of the atmospheric intro tracks ("Temple" & "Black Mass Prayer") and because of enjoying the Dawn Of Satan's Millenium songs for a moment.

I recommend this only to die-hard fans of Beherit and to all those who love raw and noisy black metal, but for people with thoughts like mine... I'd say you should just get Drawing Down The Moon and possibly give this one a shot once you feel you're ready.

even if the band didn't like it, it rules - 95%

stonetotem, April 1st, 2009

Here we have the first full-length release from the seminal black/death metal band Beherit. There is a lot of negativity surrounding this album since it was actually just a combination of two previously released recordings, never intended to be an album by the band and released without their permission since they failed to provide an album to Turbo Music. Furthermore, many fans of Beherit focus on the cleaner and more defined second album "Drawing Down the Moon" and see the early demos/EPs as being immature, noisy and lacking musicianship.

Well who gives a shit about that? Beherit were delivering the most filthy and barbaric black/death metal, on the scale of influential bands such as Blasphemy and Sarcofago. Their pre-Drawing Down the Moon recordings were key in this style and were hugely influential on a slew of bands over the coming years. And not only does the raw and filthy late 80s/early 90s black/death metal style rule, Beherit were some of the best at it.

The album begins with a blast of noise and an eerie synthesizer with some whispering. Then the first song kicks in. The drums are blasting, the guitars incessantly buzzing and the vocals grunting and growling sporadically. Everything on the recording is audible. It's not nearly as filthy as their earliest demos. The guitar sound is a little hazy, but everything basically fits. It's all very fast, violent and angry, but also with the strange ritualistic sounds they would expand on with Drawing Down the Moon. It isn't quite as violent and brutal as say Blasphemy or Bestial Warlust, staying more on the black metal side of the spectrum, but it's still fast and heavy. The guitar solos are pretty amateur noise solos wildly scratching in a few songs. The musicianship here isn't amazing, but that's what's required for this kind of sound.

All in all this is an important album in the early black/death metal sound and a good place to start with Beherit. Honestly, if you don't like this album don't even bother with the genre. Their earliest demos are also a good place to go if you want even filthier production. Drawing Down the Moon is also an excellent album, but this one shouldn't be cast aside just because it wasn't intended to be regarded as their debut. It's still a powerful album and always a fun listen.

Not what you're hoping it will be - 40%

Moravian_black_moon, June 26th, 2008

Beherit’s “Drawing Down the Moon” is a classic black metal album in every way, and this album, “The Oath of Black Blood”, is almost held up as high as DDTM. I have no idea why.

Now I know Beherit are not exactly the best musicians in the genre nor do they have complex ideas. But on other recordings they give their sound such an evil and morbid essence that always satisfies me. But The Oath of Black Blood is really too muddled and raspy to even have that effect come to mind. Sure, it’s raw, but really that is all that could be said about this album that would persuade a fan to go for this. Even though the production is not too bad for a black metal album, the riffs are unintelligible in numerous cases and sometimes this goes on for 35-45 seconds. Full songs are even ruined because of this (“Grave Desecration”, “Goat Worship”)

In most Beherit songs, you can kind of decipher what Holocausto is saying in some passages. That isn’t possible here. He sounds sick and demented, that I’ll give him, but the only lyric I could make out was “Black Blood” in the title track (which is semi-whispered while the guitars aren’t playing.) “Black Mass Prayer” is a good occult instrumental with echoing tribe-like drums and creepy choir murmurs. This is a high-point of this album, but really, it’s an instrumental, and it beats out all the metal songs here. Not good.

I guess it comes down to what you are expecting from black metal. I enjoy musicianship and well thought out songs. This is more like a freestyle grind band trying to sound black. To me, this is not essential nor should it even be desired. All in all, in response to all of the hype surrounding this crap, it’s one of the bigger disappointments in the black metal scene and I’d advise you to stay away from it. And if you are a Beherit fanatic, you should at least download it if you plan on buying it. There is nothing memorable here at all.

The good instrumental “Black Mass Prayer”, Holocausto's sick but unintelligible vocals, the few good riffs in “Witchcraft”, “Hail Sathanas”, "Beast of Damnation", and the title track contribute to the score that I allowed this album to have.

In context, great! - 85%

mutiilator, July 24th, 2004

The Oath of Black Blood is one of the messiest, ugliest black metal excretions ever created. The primal essence of this release lies in its simplicity. With TOOBB, Beherit created a new splinter off the still-forming black metal subculture, left a huge mark, a wake of destruction, and a new route, while the music was still impressionable in its infancy. This saw the rise of "Drone Black Metal", a form of music so hideous and feral, fusing the common death metal of the late-80's/early-90's with a enigmatic, evil-obsessed, enhancement that totally surpassed the boundaries bands the likes of Bathory, Hellhammer, Sepultura, Possessed, etc. (and even Venom), barely even began to reach. An utterly brutal, ultraviolently-unholy influence was now present and fully disfigured music from that day forth.

With any form of droning music, a repetitive rhythm must be present. For the most part of this record, the drumming is one steady stream, later made popular by bands such as Darkthrone, and eventually coming to be known as blast-beats. The two guitars are very grimy and raw, adding a very raw and grinding feel to the music. Bass is present, but may as well be nonexistent. The vocals are a highlight, for sure, and are some of the sickest vomits ever recorded. Holocausto discards all previously accepted singing methods, and pervades the recorded song with disgusting, spite-ridden growls, tweaked to sound like a constant stream of vomit. The overall feel to the music is very droney and trance-inducing. There are a couple shorter ritual-esque tracks, which foreshadowed the bands eventual path. But this release will always remain their best material (alongside Drawing Down the Moon, of course).

Finland has been at the forefront with many forms of extreme music, and alongside the lovers of raw, hateful black metal, many excellent doom metal bands have emerged from the country as well. This innovative means of thinking has become a common theme abroad, and this has spawned some of the most creative and proactive musicians to ever exist.

An Oath you must take - 95%

ArtOfWar, June 3rd, 2004

"The most noisy, simplistic Black Metal album ever recorded."
-S.O.D. Magazine - Issue #2

While not going as far as the editor of said magazine in my description (let's face it, he knows next to nothing about the BM scene, since there are many other releases that are a lot more chaotic then this), I do have to agree with his asessment that this is noisy. However, that's what makes this release what it is. We all know the back story here, Turbo took the band's demos without their consent, slapped them on CD, and created Beherit's debut album (and to a lesser extent, JL America released a completely fucked up version of this in the States). The result, while not sitting very well with Beherit mastermind Holocausto, was a cult classic of the Black Metal scene. Influenced by both Sarcofago and Blasphemy, as well as many others, Beherit created an album of pure noise and Satanic tyranny. The lyrics are pretty much indechipherable, but what you can make out is the typical "Satan and death" concepts you'd expect. Holocausto's style of whispering and growling is so fucking eerie, you can't help but be entranced by it.

As for the music, I won't lie...Beherit wasn't the most polished in this department. The guitars grind over and over, seemingly rehashing the same chords, and the drums are just almost out of sync blast beats. But you know what? That's how this album was meant to be! I can't, for the life of me, imagine Beherit sounding like anything other then they do here...and that is total war!

The production? Raw, gritty, dirty, in a word, sick! Don't expect some big budget Dimmu style production here. If you can't take the downright wall of noise type production presented by other BM bands in the scene, then run far away from this release. Turbo claimed they had remastered the demos to clean up the sound, but they must have taken about 5 minutes to do this. Screw them, this is the way it should be.

All in all, if you're just getting into Black Metal and want to avoid the cliche's and symphonic nu-metal crap, you need to pick this one up. You can find it almost anywhere, since there are several bootlegs out there. Seek out the original Turbo version if you can, since it has the tracklisting in it's correct order, and features the intro that was left off the JL America version (The Turbo version features the red Beherit logo, and album title in red, the JL version features a white logo and white album title). Unless you're a serious collector, avoid the "Early Years" bootleg, as it is just the JL version of the album with different (and lamer in my opinion) cover art.