Scheduled for release on April 9, Beherit Engram faces high expectations. Thanks to the generosity of some people devoted to art, we were able to hear six of the seven tracks on the new album, and get you a brief review.
Engram thrusts forward through the past in a return to form for black metal, but takes it to the next dimension past Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, which effectively ended black metal by taking it to ambient in the first place. Developing on the concepts shared between ambient music and metal, Engram is really raw but intensely structured, with a deepening mood.
Instead of opting to make a black metal/ambient fusion, Beherit combine the ideas of raw primitive ambient black metal with atmospheric music that works with the texture of sound more than discrete notes. Faster than Drawing Down the Moon, it resembles the material from the Archgoat split given more structure and prismatic depth without losing its primitive gestalt. This is a smart way of not trying to reinvent black metal, but recontexting its riffs in such a way as to pick up where Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss left off, which is an attempt to create a mood where one is barely aware that there’s music but gets lost in the muscular clarity of a raw emotion reflecting a primal, naturalistic reality.
The use of repeated non-distorted motifs reminds me of Burzum’s Hlidskjalf as well. There’s a clear Sarcofago influence, and something that sounds like a fusion between Bathory albums The Return and Octagon, sometimes augmented with a noisy, melodic cornering reminiscent of later Darkthrone. Like most Beherit works, these songs uncannily grow on you like mysticism in the darkness.
Black metal has been so stale and boring for the last fifteen years, it’s awesome to have something to look forward to with excitement again. This does not just rehash the past, but inherits it, and subtly develops its ideas consistenly and yet with creativity, moving to a new space for this music to flourish. Engram may win you over surprisingly quickly; it’s organized, has heart, and in the transitions of its dark moods tells us something for the ages about how to survive humanness with elan. Perhaps it is a template for the next generation of black metal.
01. Axiom Heroine
02. Destroyer of Thousand Worlds
03. All in Satan
04. Pagan Moon
05. Pimeyden Henki
06. Suck My Blood
07. Demon Advance