Beherit - Drawing Down The Moon


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by Toto Vellani

Rating = 5/5

Spinefarm/JL America
1. Intro (Tireheb)
2. Salomon's Gate
3. Nocturnal Evil
4. Sadomatic Rites
5. Black Arts
6. The Gate of Nanna
7. Nuclear Girl
8. Unholy Pagan Fire
9. Down There...
10. Summerlands
11. Werewolf, Semen And Blood
12. Thou Angel Of The Gods
13. Lord Of Shadows And Goldenwood
I would like to start this review by saying that when I first experienced Beherit, I realized what it means to have real evil spew out of stereo speakers. The experience was not only enlightening to the highest degree, but Beherit is one band that has finally satisfied my need for a band that is EVIL without compromise. If you're one of those people who think Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir are the epitome of all things evil, this will either change your mind or you simply shouldn't listen to this.
It goes without saying that Beherit were one of the bands in Europe that helped build "black metal". They are not only criminally underrated but frequently ignored by some people who say they are fans of this type of music. Hailing from Finland, Beherit pretty much started extreme music along with a couple of other bands in the land where a lot of my favourite music comes from. Sadly, Drawing Down The Moon is the only album by these blasphemers that I have had the honor to feast upon, though I can tell you straight away that this is an absolute classic of the black metal scene - musically, ideologically and aesthetically. In the year 1993, during the infant stages of the 2nd wave of black metal, Nuclear Holocausto (Guitars/Vox), Vengeance (Guitar/Vox), Black Jesus (Bass), and Necroperversor (Drums) came together and created pure left-hand evil, the effect of which is felt best in seclusion, in darkness. I really don't know the real names of the musicians in Beherit, but their pseudonyms sum up their music rather accurately.
Listening to Drawing Down The Moon, I can quite easily trace the bands that influenced this great band. Hints of early Sodom and Kreator blended with early black metal naysayers such as Celtic Frost and Venom, with touches of the darkness Black Sabbath invented, fashions a band that obviously loves real metal and isn't afraid to show it but also something frightfully original. I can say for sure that there you won't find another band that sounds quite like Beherit; even trying to sound like them wouldn't get you close to the feel and atmosphere Beherit created. The songs on this album can be separated into three categories - (1) Fast, basic black metal; (2) Ritualistic doom-laden invoking; and (3) Beautiful pagan ambient pieces. All these are perfectly pieced together and what we have coming out of the speakers is pure fucking evil, interwoven with the beauty that lies within all that is evil.
Beherit has no frills attached to them; they play black metal the way it as meant to be played - raw, primitive and scathing. According to me, Beherit would fit perfectly in the 1st wave of black metal, as they keep things short, blasting and simple instead of floating into epic proportions. Solomon's Gate begins like a discharge of war and suddenly moves into a majestic, singular melody that would be pertinent in an ancient ceremony. Simple riffing merges into the battery that is the drums and bass, forming a vacuum in which the bizarre, warped vocals take their claim. Nocturnal Evil is proof of what I am trying to say; just play this song and listen carefully to the downtuned blasts of guitar and drums that subtly make way for a beautifully evil melody. The vocals come across as nothing short of beastly; though not always unintelligible, the mixture of twisted growls, eerie whispers and robotic proclamations are as close as one can get to a malevolent human animal. There is nothing particularly complex here, except for the thought gone into it and the feelings it can invoke; to describe this, is an extremely complex task.
It would be an understatement if one should call Beherit 'bizarre'. Sadomatic Rites rises from organic, doom-laden ashes, jumping to life, like a demented marching army that will not stop until their blasphemy is absolute. Beherit tells simple tales of the past with their lyrics, and the obvious duality and dissonance of the vocals bring these stories to an unavoidable existence. The duo of Black Arts and The Gate of Nanna stare you right at the face and scream, "Let the ritual begin!" Yes, this is more than mere black metal; this is pagan ritualism in the form of music that is played and produced with perfection. While, "Black Arts" begins a hazy, distant ceremony of evil, "The Gate of Nanna" continues and ends it with deranged magnificence. Painfully slow and sometimes frightening, this is a song that invokes a desire to go ahead and spill some blood. Along with being a vocal masterpiece (malicious whispers join silently with different forms of gruff sounds and robotic weirdness), the music, though dissonant to the core, also creates an ambient, organic and hymnal feel; though I am afraid to delve any further, I feel so much at home in this rite Beherit have crafted, that I let myself witness the unholy sacrifice!
Though everything on Drawing Down The Moon, from the hyperfast to the depths-of-hell doomy, has noticeable ambience in it's heart, Summerlands simply magnifies this feel with the primitive use of keyboard and extraordinary drum. Invocative in a true pagan sense, this piece is moving as well as stunning, and would fit in well on an early Morbid Angel album. A spoken voice and well as whispers in the background and forefront make for a sense of real devotion to the Ancient Gods. Down There and Unholy Pagan Fire are nothing short of wicked; the menace can be felt like a knife cutting through raw skin, clear and honest. The battery of the simple, mechanical drums could induce a throbbing headache, but the changeless layered riffing offer an unhallowed cure. Close your eyes and you are down there. It almost feels like the mighty Beherit have created sonic realms for the listeners to drift into, move through and explore entirely, in less than 3-4 minutes.
It is hard to explain what a fucking classic Werewolf, Semen and Blood is. The whole Beherit sound is in unison here, all elements intact. The song mixes ritual, speed, doom, insanity and generates something that often sounds obliviously confusing, yet clearly bursting with sin and evil. I can only say that this classic is hard to follow, but if heard with dark attention, it offers rewards that are felt deep in the gut. The blazing, corrosive proclamations on this song still dominate my mind, even when I'm not listening to the album. Beherit end the album with style; both Thou Angel of the Gods (this one's heavier than hell!) and Lord of Shadows and Goldenwood are pure old-school black metal assailment, the latter stirring a final satisfaction with its ambient outro.
To find fault in this masterpiece would be in vain, as Beherit simply don't settle for anything less than absolute evil precision. Drawing Down The Moon has been an influence to all that is modern in the black metal movement, and it has successfully taken important elements of the past and created original facets that have been borrowed to this present day. This album is an ideal expedition into sinister moods, no-holds-barred destruction, paganism and ritual, as well as sincere interminglement of beauty and discord, found only in pure, honest black metal. Drawing Down The Moon is an essential experience for any black metal enthusiast. Beherit ist fucking krieg!!!!! (5/5)