REVIEW: BEHEMOTH – “A Forest” [EP]
Behemoth as an extreme metal band is known for many things. From the on-stage theatrics, fantastic storytelling through their music, extreme compositions and performances, their aesthetics, their very signature sounds, and chiefly among them are their experiments in extreme music. It is worthwhile saying that Behemoth with their experiments in metal extremities coupled with a solid sense of direction have marked themselves are a very timeless and cross-temporal band. Whenever a new album is released by the band, irrespective of the overall sound or musical experiments, one could simply and almost instantly guess that the music they are listening to is by Behemoth. This is even true with their covers.
The band’s latest offering is an EP titled ‘A Forest’. Behemoth have once again gone ahead and played around their with sonic image and sounds with considerable risks with ‘A Forest’. The EP opens up the title track – a cover of the original by the band The Cure. Behemoth really spiced things up with this cover and made things extra special by featuring Niklas Kvarforth from The Shining screaming along with Nergal himself. Now, the song starts off very impressively and the bass work on track by Orion is absolutely fantastic. The title track is a track that really demands your time. The instrumental parts are as always spot on. The vocals and with their theatrical and experimental nature definitely takes some time getting used to. This is quite a big deal since the vocals in this context really carry forward the track and turn sonic coherence into meaningful passages.
The EP also features a recording of the title track played live at the Merry Christless, Warsaw. Great sound for the live mix. There is a great deal of sentimentality for concert-goers here with this splendid live recording on the EP given that concerts today are probably a far fetched dream. So at least as listening, the experiences could be relatively relived. The EP takes a more hard-hitting turn with “Shadows ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha”. The signature Behemoth sounds with the harsh yet lush chords, ear-piercing riffs and thundering bass and drums make a stringer impression here than it did with the title track. The band does divert from the classical extremity that is has impressed upon us all these years in certain parts of the song in between the drums and lead sections. And all of a sudden, you hear this sense of impending doom, a stronger return to an older but more polished Behemoth sound. The song’s last third opens itself up to faster and more catchy extreme metal arrangements that the band has always been known for. The album ends with “Evoe”. This song takes over where the previous song left. It is a little weird here but throughout enjoyable. The band creates these interesting sonic contrasts between happy and cheerful sounding sections a darker section, almost akin to contrasting hope and dismay in the music. Of course, the song isn’t complete without Inferno blasting away in the music. This song is really well put together.
‘A Forest’ by the legendary extreme metal act Behemoth once again splendidly showcases the band’s versatility and spirit of experimentation in extreme metal. Starting off with a cover that on paper sounds a little risky to ending the EP with two originals, ‘The Forest’ is a great EP that cements the band’s containing iconic status as persevering and innovative artists. The modern metal sound is welcome because a band like Behemoth has always been intricate and lush while also being harsh with an in your face sound. A new mix style shows a newer side to the band’s creativity. Of course, the title track will take some getting used to and that is okay. While the modern metal approach to the band’s sound is welcome, parts of it do sound a tad overproduced. Maybe that’s art too in this context, so maybe its for the best to follow the band’s creative directions. Irrespective, Behemoth as a bad will always continue to impress audiences worldwide and their newest offering ‘A Forest’ joins a long line the band’s incredible discography.