Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beherit – Drawing Down the Moon [1993]

Finnish black metal legends Beherit formed in 1989 and have since released a ton of demos and EPs, a couple of compilations, two dark ambient albums and three black metal albums. “Drawing down the Moon” was their first full length released, but their “official” debut album was “At the Devil’s Studio 1990”, which finally saw the light of day in June 2011. A confusing discography, I know, but bear with me as I discuss their most well known album “Drawing down the Moon”.

Recorded in between April and September 1992 but released in November 1993 and produced by the bands’ guitarist, vocalist and keyboardist; Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance, “Drawing down the Moon” is a bit of a departure from their earlier, more straightforward and bestial, work featured on “The Oath of Black Blood” and “At the Devil’s Studio 1990” in that it’s mostly mid-to-slow-paced as opposed to the more fast-paced songs displayed on previous releases and features ambient interludes previously not present. 

The music itself is pretty unique compared to most other black metal released around the same time, and very different to anything that was going on in Norway and Sweden at the time. The guitars often take a step back and mix in with the vocals and drums to produce a “wall of sound” type effect, and there are also moments where slow and mournful melodies are used to pull the listener into a different state of mind before changing it up and assaulting you with more violent bestiality. Special mention has to be made for the vocals, which are generally low the mid-range growls mixed in with some weird clean sections and ritualistic chanting as well as the occasional spoken word piece. The influence of bands such as Sarcófago, Blasphemy and Sadistik Exekution are still ever-present in the music and always an underlying factor in the slower parts and ambient passages, which just goes to show that Beherit were generally more forward-thinking and experimental than their peers at the time, having crafting something that still employs a barbaric and primitive approach while creating a very eerie, dark and sinister atmosphere channeling different techniques such as keyboards and ambiance effectively.

This album is truly something special to behold, and is best viewed as a singular epic piece of music rather than a collection of individual songs. An essential black metal classic if there ever was one!

Salomon's Gate
The Gate of Nanna
Werewolf, Semen and Blood

Final Rating:
10.0/10 Legendary