Thursday, October 30, 2008

Behemoth - And the Forests Dream Eternally EP (1995)

Let us return to simpler times, before Behemoth made their notable transition into Morbid Angel, Jr. And I mean no insult by this, their death metal records are generally impressive. But there was once this obscure little black metal band from Poland, and they put out some good EPs and even an album or two.

And the Forests Dream Eternally is one of the crowning moments of this early period, an EP of extremely cold and well executed black metal that can inspire nostalgia at the drop of an ax. "Transylvanian Forest" begins with a steady pace as its desolate, dissonant walls of guitar flood the listener with imagery of newsprint woodland terror, of bleak and monumental castles and the stalking of bloodthirsty wolves at your heals. Enter "Moonspell Rites" with its excellent Bathory vibe, grinding bass and charismatic heathen vocals. There is a different version of "Sventevith" here, the title track to their debut full-length, and it completely kicks ass. "Pure Evil and Hate" is perhaps the most punky and feisty of the tracks here, it seriously makes you want to strap on your shit kickers and find your local convent. The EP's closing track "Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft" is a mellower track, with acoustic guitars vibrating alongside the distorted butchery. This tune aptly conveys the light touches of folksy atmosphere the band once incorporated into their sound.

Granted, these days are a far cry from the early sound, but I do miss it, and have always hoped they would return to an album like this at some point. Nergal has already proven he can fly and be a dominating mountaintop figure in his recent videos, how about soaring down into those cold valleys like a raptor of prey and delivering us yet another glimpse into this ancient woodland past. It would be more than welcome.

Verdict: Win [8/10] (like black statues born in the heart of winterevil)

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