If hell had an insane asylum, this would be constantly playing on its sound system. Taking what they had originally done on Sventevith
to the next level, Grom
is one of black metal’s most unusual and distinguishing releases. This continues their path as a hard line black metal band, but Behemoth seemed to have explored their options and truly expanded upon what they’re capable of. While emotions are mixed in the listener, they’re as true and forthcoming as ever on Behemoth’s second album. Instruments are technical, atmospheric tools are used more then previous years, melodies are bizarre yet amiable, and the entire album comes together as one unforgettable viewing of black metal experimentation.
At the heart of Behemoth is pure black metal. No denial can be made in this matter. From the very beginning of the ceremonial Intro
, riffs are fast and raw, drumming is more clear-cut then previous efforts, and the vocals are as unpolished as one could hope. It is important to understand that by experimenting nothing “extreme” has been sacrificed from their sound, as exposed by the aural poundings of The Dark Forest
or Thou Shalt Forever Win
. Their sound has actually been amplified by such presences that formulate a fresh creative style of writing. The effects used to back the music make a dynamic presence of highly regarded metal with no hint of restraint of ideas.
Not enough can be said about the variation involved here. The band used so many elements in their black metal that the music is downright unpredictable. You never know if you’re going to get hit with ambience, acoustic guitars, female singing, or bass-driven melodies. The Dark Forest
is a brutal black metal track interrupted by an eastern acoustic riff before flowing into a female-fronted chanting section. The album melodically yet sadly continues with a somber Satyricon-esque riff in Spellcraft & Heathendom
while the title track is a reminiscent song full of tortured chants and screams. Nothing can be anticipated on this album, as every second spawns something completely different.
Unfortunately, the album is greatly held back by the execution of its greatest assets. Much of the experimenting was very sloppy and uncoordinated leading to a cringe factor that hits one almost as unexpectedly as the implementation itself. The clean singing and chanting often sounds like it was recorded in the span of a few minutes, leading to a terrible lack of blending and a clash of sounds. Some instances to avoid are the terrible deep shouting of Rising Proudly Towards the Sky
and any song containing clean female vocals (and there are many). The horrid attempts at adding unique dimensions to the music manages to balance out the excellent ones fairly evenly. Lucky for Behemoth, the instrumental variations of the music slightly dominate making for a strange yet enjoyable listen. This is a must-have foe Behemoth fans, and something that’s at least worth exploring for black metal fans.
§ Spellcraft & Heathendom
§ Dragon's Lair (Cosmic Flames and Four Barbaric Seasons)
§ Lasy Pomorza
§ A basis of raw, essential black metal
§ Great experimenting of instruments
§ Original and very memorable
§ Terrible executions of some vocals
§ Definite instances that are painful to listen to