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Beherit - H418ov21.C
Review: Black metal bands wishing honorable retirement fade away as ambient artists: Burzum became Dead Can Dance, Darkthrone became Tangerine Dream, and former modern primitives Beherit turned into something like Biosphere meeting Einsturezende Neubauten. Unlike the other well-known Beherit electronic work, Electric Doom Synthesis, this album does not aim for songs but progressions of sounds, once one gets past the hilarious but ill-advised dour mockery of an older Beherit track that opens the album.
The real beauty here is found in songs like "Fish," "Tribal Death" and "E-Scape," which like post-Beherit project Suuri Shaamani, take sounds as their own atoms -- for example, the texture of a volume gradient applied to distorted keyboard, or the repetitive cycles of a dopplered siren -- and expand them into explanations of their own relevance, like an inverse theodicy: earth's elements justifying themselves as a replacement for God. In this the band have left behind the Kraftwerk-style electronic "songs" of past works, and gone into the soundscapes of a more contemporary sound, but the problem with such poems of the medium explaining itself is that they tend to be linear, like essays cycling through the angles of analysis of an academic topic (the same problem afflicts Suuri Shaamani and later Biosphere). Part of the reason this album was ill-received is that it tries to keep one foot in the electronic-percussion and vocals world of "songs," and then veers off into pure sound topologies; it would do better to pick one direction and thrash it for all its worth.
In contrast to the islands of sonic mysticism produced, the "songs" are tediously ham-handed and obvious; conversely, the scapes appear to a casual listener to be filler. Trying to stay the middle path, often Beherit create hybrids that, by nature of being based on very simple devices, are super-boring. Clearly there is potential in this style if they can reintroduce some of the narrative variation of a Tangerine Dream or Dead Can Dance to what is stylistically more relevant territory.