Just as the name implies, Behemoth began like a rabid beast, playing sadistic black metal. While a very expressive form of music like much black metal, Behemoth seemed to favor an abundant onslaught of sounds with a raw aggression instead of minimalism. If you’re expecting a fiery barrage of furious blast beats and tortured screams, you’re right. If you’re expecting repetitive simplicity and an hour of linear music, you’re far from the truth. Sventevith
is an interesting blend of eastern themes, hatred of Christianity, raw elements, and creative musicianship. Intriguing would be an understatement for an album such as this. Black metal bands always seemed to be categorized very rigorously. You’re either a melodic black metal band, or you’re raw black metal, or you’re symphonic black metal, and so on. Behemoth confines themselves to no boundaries. They combine all of the aforementioned traits into one of my all-time favorite black metal albums.
I’m sure most people reading this are interested for two reasons. One, they like new Behemoth, or two, they’re fascinated by the roots of popular bands. Either way, Sventevith
will surprise you. This isn’t some kind of watered-down or mainstream sounding metal. This is true, raw, aggressive black metal. Nergal’s shrieks could trigger unexplainable bleeding in Christian minds. The riffs are fast and dark with suitable, blasting drums. Essentially, this is black metal, no questions asked. The only questions may come from those wondering “how did they go from this to Demigod
The album’s many dimensions come from the vast array of effects and melodies used throughout the writing. Behemoth used somber synth effects and some ambience (see Ancient
) to create an aura of admonition as well as a sense of ancient suffering and memories, spawned from Behemoth’s inspirations of religious revulsion and historical undertakings. Acoustic guitars such as that in The Touch of Nya
are dispersed throughout the album to accent this feel with folk elements. Every characteristic of this Baltic-storming anthem comes together in a rather primal yet epic performance. While The Chant From the Eastern Land
sounds like something Emperor may have written during their days with Enslaved, Hell Dwells in Ice
is a journey of emotional melodic black metal. To balance out this spectrum, vicious songs such as From the Pagan Vastlands
and the terrorizing Transylvanian Forest
provide the reminiscent sounds of the Norwegian musical extraction extraction.
is a landmark. Behemoth is known mostly for their later death metal days, but their early black metal albums remain compositions of some of the world’s finest black metal. This album gets regular plays for me every time I feel the need for black metal. Interests are aroused by such a mixture of musical elements and creativity. Sventevith
is one of Behemoth’s many albums that show just how much meaning the band derives from their music. Every song and every lyric has some sort of symbolism for them. If you can’t tell it now and you couldn’t understand it back in their black metal days, then maybe Behemoth isn’t for you. But for the rest, they are one of metal’s most deserving bands of what little praise they garnish for their determination to produce superior metal from pagan vastlands.
A few recommended listens:
‡ From the Pagan Vastlands
‡ Entering the Faustian Soul
‡ Transylvanian Forest
‡ Raw black metal at its finest
‡ Mixtures of elements
‡ Great variation in the music
‡ Poor production may be unnerving
‡ Succumbs to black metal simplicity