Beherit - Engram
Spikefarm Records
Black Metal
7 songs (43:02)
Release year: 2009
Beherit, Spikefarm Records
Reviewed by James
Major event

I don't know about you, but I'd be lying if I thought a Beherit reunion was among the most likely things to happen this year. The Finns pioneered their nation's black metal scene with the wonderfully putrid Oath Of Black Blood and Drawing Down The Moon, before things took, shall we say, a turn for the worse. Vocalist/guitarist Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance to the band into ambient territory for their last two full-lengths, before leaving the metal scene behind to become a techno DJ, apparently.

So it's rather surprising that they're back (especially as everyone only seems to have heard about the reunion, like, two weeks before the release of Engram), and it's even more surprising that they're playing black metal, a genre they seemed to have abandoned 15 years ago. Engram seems to have expanded slightly on the template set by Drawing Down The Moon, with final track Demon Advance running 15 minutes, and having about 5 very distinct sections. Having said that, there is some inexcusable shite here, sounding like a rather rushed attempt by the band at rewriting former glories. All In Satan is particularly atrocious, seemingly having about two chords in its' four minutes. Destroyer Of A Thousand Worlds doesn't fare much better, sounding like the kind of primitive fare that would be first-demo material for most bands. Things pick up a little with Pagan Moon, but it still sounds oddly amateurish, even from a band known for their rawness.

So for the first few songs, Engram feels like a rush job, Mr Holocausto Vengeance knocking out some suitably primitive black metal to appease the fans and receive a generous check from Spinefarm (well, opener Axiom Heroine is alright, but nothing mind-blowing, and wouldn't really be noticeable if not for the fact that it's the opener, and the weird, seemingly improvised keyboard lines). But with Pimyeden Henki, things improve considerably. Musically it doesn't seem that much different, but there's an overall increase of riff quality which means Beherit actually manage to cultivate something approaching an atmosphere. Suck My Blood, despite a rather silly title, does a pretty good job of keeping the overall quality up. And finally, with Demon Advance we have something approaching an epic from Beherit, building upon what they've made in the two or three tracks before it to make something almost progressive at points, while remaining undeniably Beherit. And finally, for the two people who actually liked their dark ambient direction (I'm exaggerating, Electric Doom Synthesis has it's fans) the last few minutes are some keyboard noodling courtesy of Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance.

Engram has something for all the family, then, assuming your family is made up entirely of die-hard Beherit fans. There's hyper primitive blackened death metal (which misfires quite a bit, admittedly) , what sounds like an evolution from Drawing Down The Moon, and er, about 4 minutes of dark ambient. Engram is too laden with duff tracks for me to wholehearted recommend it to anyone who isn't a fan of the band, but anyone who plays Drawing Down The Moon on a monthly basis, it's very much a worthy addition to your collection.

Killing Songs :
Pimyeden Henki, Suck My Blood, Demon Advance
James quoted 68 / 100
Other albums by Beherit that we have reviewed:
Beherit - At the Devil's Studio 1990 reviewed by Charles and quoted 65 / 100
Beherit - The Oath of Black Blood reviewed by Tony and quoted 69 / 100
Beherit - Drawing Down the Moon reviewed by Tony and quoted 82 / 100
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