Monday, December 19, 2011

Beherit- At The Devil's Studio 1990

Beherit- At The Devil's Studio 1990

Few albums are as influential and beloved as Drawing Down the Moon. Beherit had created something that no one had ever quite heard before: drowned in a mist of darkness and doom, these Finns did Bestial Black Metal like few others(I would argue the US band Demoncy did it a lot better, although they never got the accolades Beherit did.) But for all of the brilliance of Drawing Down the Moon, Beherit themselves never repeated the success, of even came close. Between 1994 and 1995, the band released two Darkwave albums, a genre which I do not feel qualified to judge, then disbanded. They reformed to released Engram in 2009, but that is an album which does nothing for me. In the end, Beherit were a one album wonder, even if that one album has stood the test of time and remains as relentlessly evil and powerful today as it did in 1993.

Don't let any Beherit fans know about this fact though, as they are likely to crucify you for such an offense: Beherit are a band who before 1994 was the greatest Black Metal band ever, and have not done any wrong. Which is why I am sure At The Devil's Studio 1990 is likely to cause more than a few fanboy freakouts: this album was actually intended for release years ago, but was shelved at some point and only recently rediscovered by the bands drummer. Basically, At The Devil's Studio 1990 was intended to be the bands debut album, but never saw released. Recorded three years before Drawing Down the Moon, At The Devil's Studio 1990 is a much more traditional Bestial Black Metal album, and it certainly is ferocious. It is also basically unlistenable. Sure, Drawing Down the Moon was poorly recorded as well, but at least the low-end was there: At The Devil's Studio 1990 has not discernible bass work, and the kick drum sounds flat and lifeless. Overall, the drums are completely powerless, drowned out by guitars that overwhelm every other instrument, while tired and barely involved vocals can be heard from time to time, if only to disappear under a wave of amp static.

What makes At The Devil's Studio 1990 even less appealing is that the actual music involved in really not all that interesting: without many of the progressive and Doom-ish elements of Drawing Down the Moon, Beherit are incredibly typical... and incredibly boring. There is nothing here that compares with Blasphemy, Profanatica or Sadistik Exekution, at least nothing you can make out through the atrocious production. Beherit certainly made the right call trying to move the genre forward with later releases, but at the bands inception they were not much to speak of, and neither is this album.

At The Devil's Studio 1990 is likely to make a lot of fans very happy, but for those who do not obsesses over this band, this capitulates inessential. Lost in horribly broken production is a collection of so-so Bestial Black Metal songs from a band whose legacy is built upon the back of a single incredible album, and who cannot seem to damage this legacy, no matter how many piss poor compilations and Darkwave albums they seem to produce.

Rating: 4/10

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