Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beherit - Engram (2009)

Oftentimes innovation can come through the deconstruction of an artist's constituents, stripped down and examined to produce a new whole. Engram is one such album, and Beherit are no strangers to change. The Oath of Black Blood was one of the filthiest black metal prototypes of its age (I personally can't stand it), but the band evolved through Drawing Down the Moon into their ritual electro noise phase for H418ov21.C and Electric Doom Synthesis.

Engram is a return to the roots, as it is essentially a pure black metal release. Yet there is something left of center here. The songs are extremely repetitious, moreso even than the majority of black metal. This should be a turnoff, yet somehow the Finns make it work. It is easy the filthy philandering of "All in Satan" and "Suck My Blood". Not all the tracks follow the same pattern. "Demon Advance", the album's closer, is a sludge/doom piece with some trippy flange and black/death grunts in unison. "Pimeyden Henki" features chanting over driving melodic angst before it turns black. "Axiom Heroine" features some folkish keyboards over its driving mid paced rhythms.

The album sounds filthy and vibrant, the guitars perfectly distorted to mesmerize the listener through these very simple riff patterns. The vocals are full throated and harsh, just as evil as the band's 1991 debut. The monotonous feel to many of these songs is likely to turn off a listener who is interested in more adventurous black metal hooks, but if you're into the bare bones of the style, Beherit delivers a decent re-integration of its former self.

Verdict: Win [7/10]


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