Out of the plethora of early 90’s black metal demos, “Endless Damnation” sticks out for me as one of the rustier sounding and mediocre. Sure, Behemoth is a blackened death juggernaut today, but this was when the band was still only a year old. Nergal and co. were only in their mid-teens at the time and their inexperience is blatantly obvious. Though the band got considerably better in just a couple years after this release, this sure was a sloppy mess of way to kickstart their career.
The first thing that one will notice when listening to this is just how bad the production is. Not quite as bad as Happy Days’ “A World of Pain” but it’s up there. It’s sloppy, deafening and at times borderline unlistenable but this was recorded by a group of fourteen year olds on a cassette tape so I’m going to cut them some slack. But what is worth harping on is the band’s performance which sounds just like you’d expect; a group of kids in their early/mid teens who barely know how to play their instruments.
The music itself is more akin to death/doom than black metal which is surprising. Songs are pretty slow and Nergal gives a deep guttural growl most of times. They sound alright but they have a tendency to blend into the poor production. Other than that, the guitars are barely audible a lot of the time. When they manage to creep through the fuzzy sound quality, one would be able to hear the very, very simple riffs and absolute lack of thought they have. Never is this more obvious than when the solos pop up, which are generally uninteresting and uneventful. The drums boom over everything else, but the timing is seriously off, especially on track “Temple of Evil” which becomes difficult to follow simply because of the drumming.
All that being said, the intro and outro tracks “Into the Black Mass” and “Endless Damnation” are actually pretty decent. They’re simple; just a pipe organ playing a moody melody. The grimy production works well in their favor, giving these tracks a gloomy, foggy atmosphere that does a good job of drawing in the listener. Its shame though that the best songs on this demo are its intro and outro.
I wouldn’t recommend this to most people, save for die hard Behemoth fans or maybe people who are into these old gritty black metal demos, but it’s hard to ignore the poor musicianship. I’ve heard far worse, mind you, but this still isn’t remarkable in any way.