Production: Horrible, but mostly irrelevant.
Review: This music hopes to comatize its listeners through sheer hypnotic simple brutality in the style of Blasphemy or early Sarcofago. Ripping speed riffs pull off simple melodies of even intervals to produce a sensation of motion into an abyss of nothingness, and the whole thing rides on grindcore style blast beats and a skein of throat remnants called vocals.
For those who like fast, grinding, and neo-melodic riffs there is nothing but on this album, except when it seems to degenerate entirely to noise. Lead guitar follows the Bathory model of Slayer-inspired bent noise in a precipitant of alternating note patterns. Between songs there are frequently bits of introductory sampled material, and sometimes the songs themselves degenerate entirely into noise, but otherwise this is straight ahead material.
1. Metal of Death
2. The Oath of Black Blood
3. Grave Desecration
7. Black Mass Prayer
8. Beast of Damnation
9. Hail Sathanas
10. Dawn of Satans Millenium
Often sounding like hardcore music or grindcore more than black metal for its simple power chord offset riffing, this release nonetheless distinguishes itself as black metal through its style of half-dysfunctional melody and searing coughed vocals. If you are a black metal essentialist, you will appreciate this quirky and dissonant release.
Production: Fuzzy, raw, wrong.
Review: The first of black metal bands to abstract the primal to such a degree of symbolism in simple information motion that it attacks the part of the mind that sleeps during the day and awakens at night, the Jungian nightmare of Beherit formulated a more balanced and deliberate version of the raw and fiery explosion of the South American scene 1986-1988 (Sarcofago, Pentagram, Sepultura) and in doing so created the ultimate sensual assault of sinister phrases of ultra-minimalized seductively arranged in patterns of breakdown and decay. Unbalanced power chords deadhand strummed in chant rhythm or playing in a tremelo fuzz that envelopes the hearer, hypnotic rhythm section work and obscure mythology are interspersed in texture and format.
1. Intro (Tirehib) (0:44)
2. Salomon's Gate (3:42)
3. Nocturnal Evil (2:53)
4. Sadomatic Rites (4:07)
5. Black Arts (3:33)
6. The Gate Of Nanna (4:15)
7. Nuclear Girl (1:32)
8. Unholy Pagan Fire (3:53)
9. Down There... (2:36)
10. Summerlands (3:20)
11. Werewolf, Semen And Blood (3:08)
12. Thou Angel Of The Gods (2:22)
13. Lord of Shadows And Goldenwood (3:23)
Ultimately not as much an attempt to make music as to make ambient music, so that an atmosphere is maintained, but with the metal touch of manipulating the atmosphere for vast and reductively negative change, the sawing symphonies of fragmentary melody and motion that infest these tracks are brilliantly presented so as to, in the almighty Wagnerian tradition, present an aesthetic motion which decenters and refocuses the individual through a differentiation of context into one of its component parts, the rushing darkness. Curling whispers of detonated noise gurgle tearing wind to chant lyrics in encouragement or counterpoint to direct and linear textural progression.
Much is encoded in these symphonies of darkness, which incorporate directly elements of atmospheric music such as keyboard undulation over ritual drone beats and dynamic intensity flares for transition, as well as a conception of black metal that would influence many others within the European black metal underground: the steady motion of Bathory made fluid and flexible in its ambiguity, like Sarcofago on some kind of At the Gates recombinant melody avantriff trip. For the truly alienated headspace in early modern black metal, Beherit is worth immersion.
Production: Electronic clarity enclosing organic digestion of sound.
Review: Black metal bands wishing honorable retirement fade away as ambient artists: Burzum became Dead Can Dance, Darkthrone became Tangerine Dream, and former modern primitives Beherit turned into something like Biosphere meeting Einsturezende Neubauten. Unlike the other well-known Beherit electronic work, Electric Doom Synthesis, this album does not aim for songs but progressions of sounds, once one gets past the hilarious but ill-advised dour mockery of an older Beherit track that opens the album.
The real beauty here is found in songs like "Fish," "Tribal Death" and "E-Scape," which like post-Beherit project Suuri Shaamani, take sounds as their own atoms -- for example, the texture of a volume gradient applied to distorted keyboard, or the repetitive cycles of a dopplered siren -- and expand them into explanations of their own relevance, like an inverse theodicy: earth's elements justifying themselves as a replacement for God. In this the band have left behind the Kraftwerk-style electronic "songs" of past works, and gone into the soundscapes of a more contemporary sound, but the problem with such poems of the medium explaining itself is that they tend to be linear, like essays cycling through the angles of analysis of an academic topic (the same problem afflicts Suuri Shaamani and later Biosphere). Part of the reason this album was ill-received is that it tries to keep one foot in the electronic-percussion and vocals world of "songs," and then veers off into pure sound topologies; it would do better to pick one direction and thrash it for all its worth.
In contrast to the islands of sonic mysticism produced, the "songs" are tediously ham-handed and obvious; conversely, the scapes appear to a casual listener to be filler. Trying to stay the middle path, often Beherit create hybrids that, by nature of being based on very simple devices, are super-boring. Clearly there is potential in this style if they can reintroduce some of the narrative variation of a Tangerine Dream or Dead Can Dance to what is stylistically more relevant territory.
1. (Intro) Salve Satanas
2. Condemned To Hell
3. The Crucified
4. The Black Vomit
5. Morbid Fate
6. In The Name Of Satan
8. Damnation (Raping The Angels)
9. Grave Desecration
10. Six Days With Sadistic Slayer
11. Fallen Souls
12. Sodomatic Rites
13. Nocturnal Evil
14. The Oath Of Black Blood
15. Satanas (Sarcofago cover)
Day of Darkness (1994)
This live recording from the heyday of Finnish black metal captures two bands at the top of their game for the first part of their careers. In the waning days of the wild frontier of black metal, before it was solidified as a concept and before Peter Tagtgren's The Abyss and Marduk's Opus Nocturne formalized the style like a paint-by-numbers book, these bands were finishing what they had initially set out to do -- create unique voices of black metal -- and were just before they began to contemplate too deeply what to do next. As a result, this is a ripping live performance full of conviction from Beherit, with remarkably few errors considering how quickly these songs are bashed out. Material from the first collection of demos, The Oath of Black Blood, and two tracks from the triumphant Drawing Down the Moon (which would emerge over a year later later) combine in a mix which reveals the continuity between both. Recorded on August 23, 1991, this bootleg captures the frenetic unconquered nature of black metal in its relative infancy. The uncanny ability of Beherit to spot rhythms which are as natural as the pulse of blood, the erratic pace of prey, or the gathering of clouds propels this material forward with an insistence toward paying attention to the intensity of life, which more than anything else can function to awaken the modern sleepwalker to the possibilities of their own time, when they give up on safety ("good") and look for adventure ("evil") instead.
Production: Virtual studio.
Review: Extending the sweeping motion of darkness that signified the rudimentary technique and immersive narration of black metal works from Beherit, the second album in the ambient experimentation of this band creates a tactical layout of morbid poetry through layered textures and melodies of electronic genesis. This music must be differentiated from the "dance" portion of electronica, as while it is rhythmically powerful its goal is to render dark moods and a changing sense of the epic through chaotic creation of value.Much like electronic body music in its formation, Electric Doom Synthesis uses digital percussion as a foundation upon which rest layers of changing keyboard or synthesizer, with a radio-static voiceover calling rigid industrial vocals over the melee. Abrupt and often sickeningly hopeless melodies encurl a throb of life to the momentum of rhythm and become symphonies of abstract space expanding as potentials open or changes like death become inexorable, letting memes of the masterful sense behind the art, the meta-mood of willpower rendered naturally like the creation of celestial bodies, evoke the passions that lie sleeping in humankind.
1. Ambush (5:14)
2. We Worship (1:27)
3. Dead Inside (6:11)
4. Beyond Vision (4:17)
5. Deep Night 23rd (7:10)
6. Drawing Down the Moon (2:56)
7. Unknown (10:25)
8. Temple ov Lykos (7:52)
Majestic excursions into lush harmonization and its internal counterpoint of uneasy balances between notes, the music of Beherit vomits its internal motivation into a conceptualization of desire on a mythological level, in which darkness and light conspire for a creation that is unending, eternal, and massively dwarfing the existence of humans. Erratic thoughts in drifting pseudopods of smokelike sound become logical as sense departs for ancient cities below. Where each piece is great, it is also negative and simplistic, and from the highest builds the lowest and to lowest returns.
Themes from Drawing Down the Moon and other Beherit works are sparsely cited in material of which the majority is new and of a new version of the creative essence behind this band, crafting subtle progressions of riff and layer over the course of each song to create a technological micro-opera. Existential issues overflow and the pure rage of life and sustenance seethes throughout diligently planned narratives in which the extraneous disappears in favor of nothingness or paralyzing intensity. In its sense of descending or "going under" this album resembles previous works and exceeds them for commanding organization of disparate parts.
Where electronic music has a long history of being party fodder for socialized chimpanzees, its genesis came from a Bauhaus movement in art which sought to revive the absurdity and vivid nature of experience as its source of motivating rationality and emotional awareness in the strange ride called life. Ancient in conception and modern in realization, this spirit emerges in fundamentally blasphemous and evil music which uses the digital machine to render sound in which an inner spirit of effectiveness and desire predominates.
Production: Crepitant sound in purity of noise.
Review: Reaching toward pure noise and immerse atmosphere of hazy sound, Beherit make throbbing insistent music of raw nihilistic riffing in a melodic context that gives the resonance of individual phrases placement in song before devolution and reconstitution, injecting a self-awareness in humor and degradedly natural sound to these war anthems of blasting directness in rhythm and organic shape of tone. Deep contextual reference in vocal inflection encourages textural distinctiveness and emphatic cadence.
Beherit Messe Des Morts
1. Beherit (3:27)
2. Satanic Chaos (2:44)
3. Seventh Blasphemy (2:45)
4. Messe Des Morts (2:57)
Archgoat Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration)
5. Intro (Invocation) (1:04)
6. Rise of the Black Moon (2:40)
7. Soulflay (3:09)
9. Black Messiah (2:38)
10. Jesus Spawn (2:42)
11. Outro (The Prophecy) (0:27)
Focused on the insane as a deliberate corruption of structure to serve the needs of narrative in the way that events in life converge despite seeming illogicality, these songs develop concept in perversity and sensual rejection of purity for evolution of the liquid parts of consciousness emphasizing the unsayable subtext lurking beneath socialization in the conditioned human mind. With sudden structural change and hypnotic cadence of motion for ritual emphasis, these songs influence black metal through the growth of its absurdist extremism as total alienation from social pretext.
Fury in speed and collision drives the primordial pool of resonance from which emerge ideas of aggressive separation of different directions and the ancient art of hatred in thought process, fusing internal differences into an abyss of negativity. Thoughtful and provocative in its minimalism and structural precepts, this EP shows an evolution toward greater distance from expectations through the emergent properties of loyaltyless logic when applied to a naturalistic occult worldview.
Beast of Beherit - Complete Worxxx (Spinefarm, 1999)
If you ever take a trip through the countryside on bicycle bring a walkman and this absurdist but absolute compilation of the diverse works of the Finnish black metal terror that became an abstract and romanticist dark ambient force of origin. Sparing not the low end of violent, thunderous, basic Wagnerian black metal nor the high end of distributed neural networks of digital sound interlacing across motivic evolution, this single CD chronicles the work of this innovator recognized behind the scenes more than overtly.
Production: Clean so that layers, some grittily distorted, can merge. Less bassy than previous works.
Review: A genre peaks as it defines itself through the clearest examples of its form, and after that becomes self-referential as it imitates that surface definition without understanding the ideas that motivated its creation. Beherit cleaves the stagnation with an album that renews the black metal metaphor by eschewing adornment to explore the possibilities of many simple parts organized to work together in a trancelike, meditative, ritual state.
Engram presents a triumph for ambient thinking: its basic riffs go back to the early days of black metal but its use of sonic layers puts it more in league with Tangerine Dream and other electronic bands who saw how the collaboration of sounds was more powerful than an instrumental extravaganza. It does so while returning to the faster, addictively memetic riffing that made early Beherit capture a spirit like fast descending night.
1. Axiom Heroine (4:41)
2. Destroyer of Thousand Worlds (3:05)
3. All in Satan (3:33)
4. Pagan Moon (7:16)
5. Pimeyden Henki (4:45)
6. Suck My Blood (4:27)
7. Demon Advance (15:16)
Where Burzum culiminated black metal with Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, which raised the bar by layering basic riffs into epic songs, Engram develops that idea by making infectious rhythm and vocal hooks unite basic songs around a theme which is modified by layers of additional instruments. Keyboards and distorted sounds play countermelodies from the background, with great subtlety that creates an expanding trance in a mood of reverent expectation. Notably, the album opens with a possibly Hlidskjalf-inspired freeform riffing from a harmonium or something like it.
In addition to the first and last tracks, which form parentheses to hold the album, "Pagan Moon" offers a form of codex with an acoustic melody that unites the ideas presented in the most basic tracks with those developed in its parenthetical ones. Other influences abound: "All in Satan" vamps early Bathory, "Pagan Moon" appreciates Sarcofago's "Nightmare," and "Axiom Heroine" resembles "Black Arts" from earlier Beherit. Listen for a use of bounding rhythms in ritual context as on Electric Doom Synthesis, and background introductions of fragmented sound to harmonize themes in their position for poetic effect.
The album culminates in "Demon Advance," which borrows from "Ambush" on Electric Doom Synthesis, and builds over a trudging riff a concert of harsh vocals and digital sounds to create the magical atmosphere longtime fans expect from Beherit. It places old school black metal techniques in a new context. Perhaps instead of a comeback revival of the past, this album creates musical space for the next generation of black metal.
Production: A reasonable garage studio and cassette master are usually all that is required for quality underground metal, and this remaster adds volume and clarity.
Review: Metal alternates between generations that invent an aesthetic vision, and following generations that invent the songwriting techniques and ideals to fulfil that vision; this can be seen in microcosm with this release of classic Beherit songs played in an intermediate style between the chaotic Oath of Black Blood and the more austere Drawing Down the Moon.
1. Rehearsal (1:52)
2. Grave Desecration Vengeance (3:44)
3. At the Devil's Churns (2:48)
4. Nocturnal Evil (3:07)
5. Whores of Belial (3:55)
6. Witchcraft (2:56)
7. The Oath of Black Blood (2:51)
8. Six Days with Sadistic Slayer (2:47)
9. Demonomancy (2:27)
Beherit released this long-misplaced recording to demonstrate what the band wanted to release in place of their first album -- an amalgam of demos -- and shows us the aesthetic in growth from Sarcofago/Blasphemy-influenced blasting chaos to a deliberate and austere vision of evil as not disorganization but an order of chillingly clear intent. With At the Devil's Studio 1990, we see both those later songs in the more organic style, and earlier songs as more organized and brooding.
Like the first Beherit release, these songs are played at frenetic speed with maximal noise from guitars and vocals, but with more confident songwriting and greater use of melody and song structure. History would have remembered early Beherit differently had these been the official release, as they are more like the unsettling later material (and comparable with early Immortal, Burzum and Mayhem) while retaining the roaring mayhem of the earliest demos. This short and powerful release memorializes that era.