BEHERIT - Engram LP
Beherit is back with fifth studio album. It's black metal again, in the vein of "The Oath of Black Blood" and "Drawing Down the Moon".
"After a decade of absence, Beherit returns to a world where black metal is plentiful and yet has failed to distinguish itself. Instead of trying like others to lump big ideas onto black metal, with "Engram" Beherit adopts a different approach: break down the big idea into a collaboration of many small ones, and create an ambient form of metal in the style of Burzum's "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss."
While most black metal albums are cut from an archetype, "Engram" is an oddball using black metal (with dubstep influences) as the language for it to express its darkened catacombs of mood. Using fast and really basic riffs in the style of "The Oath of Black Blood" more than "Drawing Down the Moon," these songs define themselves as basic rhythms with infectious hooks and then layer on top of those small changes in tone, vocals, riff rhythm and sometimes, electronic sounds including keyboards. The result seems sparse but has a density that uncurls as the listener scrolls through the listening experience.
The use of repeated acoustic motifs as a layer to a backgrounded resonant riff (on "Axiom Heroine") is reminiscent of the introductory passages on Burzum's "Hlidskjalf," but in the songs themselves influences appear from Darkthrone, Bathory, Sarcofago, and even earlier Beherit albums. This approach is like that of a sorcerer creating a codex of spells, referencing all that the initiate has learned in order to make a cohesive vision of the whole discipline, at which point he can unleash some radical thoughts about how to transform it.
Much like Slayer's "Reign in Blood," this album sandwiches a variety of songs between starting and ending pieces of great power. The introductory song "Axiom Heroine" is complemented by the concluding song "Demon Advance," a doomy dirge enwrapped in vocals and electronic noises as well as hand instruments. In the middle, "Pagan Moon" encodes references to the melodic fragments used in other songs and unifies the approach of the album. But for the most part what Beherit delivers as the meat of this sandwich are simple but elegantly self-evident songs to get your blood pumping.
Beherit did not invent metal, and were scorned for much of their career, but drew attention to their quirky and insightful music through the mystical knotting into of life which it projected through its varied metaphors of evil and light. Mid-career, the band began to explore ambient music as did many other black metal artists. Now with their return, they build upon an ambient black metal base with the type of details found in electronic music like Tangerine Dream and in doing so, continue black metal with a new chapter and a new space in which others may create."