Coming hot off a series of four increasingly promising demos, And the Forests Dream Eternally is the debut studio release by Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. Although most famous nowadays for their compositionally dense, Middle Eastern/Slavic-influenced brand of death metal, the group began as a thrashy black metal outfit that was deeply indebted to their Scandinavian predecessors. This extended-play has five tracks, including “Transylvanian Forests” and “Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)” – both of which would be re-recorded for the Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) full-length and Bewitching the Pomerania extended-play, respectively.1
The production is standard lo-fi with none of the symphonic or folk elements that characterized the full-lengths Grom and Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic); this is straightforward black metal in the vein of early Immortal. The musicianship is impressive, especially considering that it’s early black metal where attitude frequently played stronger than the band.2 The tracks are pretty average black metal with some creepy samples of crows calling into the dusk, but there’s one shining track: “Pure Evil and Hate” is a total ripper in the realm of Bathory’s self-titled debut. Only three minutes long, but a sweet, brutal first-wave black metal beatdown that makes for an excellent addition to the black metal fan’s library. The other tracks can be skipped or played depending on the depth of one’s interest in Behemoth’s discography; but do not miss out on “Pure Evil and Hate.” That track fucking kills.
1. Transylvanian Forest – (5:35) – ★★★☆☆
2. Moonspell Rites – (6:00) – ★★★☆☆
3. Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) – (5:58) – ★★★☆☆
4. Pure Evil and Hate – (3:07) – ★★★★★
5. Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft2 – (4:11) – ★★★☆☆
1Always thought it was kind of weird that “Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)” wasn’t featured on the same-titled album, seeing as how the band obviously liked the song well enough to record it several times.
2Kinda like punk rock, but that isn’t too surprising considering black metal’s roots in thrash.
3This is why nobody takes black metal seriously.