Written by: EW on 25/05/2009 23:50:47

Part 2 of my review of recent notable BM releases is the most legendary of the three, Finland's Beherit. "Engram" symbolises their first 'metal' release since 1993's "Drawing Down the Moon", and first album of any kind since 1995's "Electric Doom Synthesis", the second of two electro/dark ambient albums mainman Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance (NHV) attempted, to mixed results. In the intervening years, the Beherit name has built up a sizable reputation on the bestial, grim and downright morbid releases of "The Oath of Black Blood" (1991) and said "Drawing Down the Moon", putting this new release high up on the list of anticipated albums for every kvlt black metaller the world over.

Let's get one thing straight: I myself simply cannot see what the fuss is about over "Drawing Down the Moon" - yes it's as filthy as Satan's underpants and sounds like it was recorded on his answering machine but underneath all the barbaric pretences, it does very little for me. Infact I much preferred Reverend Bizarre's cover of "The Gate of Nanna" on their split with Electric Wizard last year, but with forum speculation at fever pitch I just couldn't turn down "Engram" when it was offered to us.

And you're going to hate me for this if you were hoping for a slagging off of another unsophisticated BM album, but I'm belatedly beginning to see what the fuss was about over this institution of the most sordid take on BM, because I actually like it. Infact, you could even say I love it, but that would sound a tad soppy. "Engram" gets moving with a chainsaw guitar sound accompanied by a quaint electronic synthy backing before the accelerator is pressed and pure musical carnage is unleashed. Reeking of early Bathory and my experiences with the kvlter-than-thou Von, the next 10 minutes through the remainder of "Axiom Heroine", "Destroyer Of Thousand Worlds" and "All In Satan" pound away incessantly in a manner as scathing towards anything resembling normal song structuring I've heard since Darkthrone's "Transylvanian Hunger". The number of riffs could be counted on one hand and as Sodomatic Slaughter pounds the hell out of his drums, NHV's crackled howl should be enough to drive all but the most extreme metalheads out of the park. The effect is magnificence in pure blasphemic worship.

The arrival of "Pagan Moon" sees a touch more atmosphere and considerable more groove introduced, scoring points where others would have continued in the same unaltered hammering for the album's remainder and frankly boring everyone to death. But in Beherit's knowledge of how to keep proceeding's moving forward is their key to the grandaddy role of blasphemous bestial BM. The 15 minute "Demon Advance" is the album's closer, much more a walk than a sprint with hypnotic, spacey atmospheres as key as the primeval arrogance that keeps the same monotonous pace for the first thirteen minutes, feeling as it does like a shot of morphine in the leg to calm you down after the spasmodic brutality found earlier in proceedings.

The simple, repeated hammering of passages here could draw comparisons to the Wolves In The Throne Room review, but in the mood of drug-addled other worldliness that Beherit reside in, they feel miles from the state of dark, ethereal beauty in "Black Cascade", and this is what makes my appreciation of "Engram" almost a shameful secret. In conclusion I would have to say better than the 'classic' "Drawing Down The Moon"; Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance and his troops are definitely back in business.


Download: Pagan Moon, All In Satan
For The Fans Of: Early Bathory, Blasphemy, Von
Listen: Myspace (fan page – no official page exists)

Release date: 09.04.09
Spinefarm Records

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