Rating:
8.0
Behemoth - Grom
1996


01. Intro
02. The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)
03. Spellcraft & Heathendom
04. Dragon's Lair (Cosmic Flames And Four Barbaric Seasons)
05. Lasy Pomorza
06. Rising Proudly Towards The Sky
07. Thou Shalt Forever Win
08. Grom


Some bands gain so much fame in the later days of their career that sometimes their earlier material can be easily forgotten, smothered under the prestige of their career-defining work that brought them to high levels of praise and recognition. Behemoth have been on such a roll lately as Polish death metal titans, with releases such as Satanica and Demigod, that one may be tempted to forget that before their crushing death metal of the past decade launched them to international metal fame, they were just another kvlt black metal band, dancing around bonfires and singing pagan tunes in the elder forests of Poland. Grom is probably their strongest album from this period. It's black metal, but not your common orthodox black metal either, and even in Behemoth's early stages, Nergal demonstrated that his band was, indeed, not quite like the rest of the flock.

Grom could be taken as something of a fusion of the raw, "trve" black metal sound of Behemoth's early work with a few new, unconventional ideas. On one hand, the mid 90s-era sound is there. Nergal's vocals are quite reminiscent of Darkthrone, and actually remind me a bit of Attila's at points, particularly on "Rising Proudly Towards The Sky" and "Dragon's Lair." The guitar has that typical lo-fi buzz sound to it, and the drums blast away in a style quite characteristic of Hellhammer.

But aside from its similarity to the sound established by early black metal pioneers, Grom dabbles with a bit of deviation from the conventions of black metal at the time, dropping a few hints at the band Behemoth was to become. The bass is quite noticeable, its rumbling underneath the drums is often low, but not completely inaudible either. Most notable of these new innovations, however, are the clean vocals, the female vocals, and the acoustic passages ("The Dark Forest," "Grom," and "Dragon's Lair," respectively). This may come as a bit of a turn off to those looking for a more classic black metal sound, but in a way it helps add to the epic, occult-themed atmosphere that has been with the band since its inception.

Grom represents Behemoth's transition from their kvlt, frostbitten beginnings to a new sound that they would further develop in years to come. This variation in sound makes the album probably the best of the band's black metal period. The tracks don't just all blend together, and the new additions to the overall sound help to make the tracks more memorable and distinct. Both an interesting and underrated album in Behemoth's catalogue (Nergal himself has said he considers it their least appreciated), Grom may always be regarded as the one oddball album in their discography. But odd doesn't necessarily mean shit, especially not in this case.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 7


Band profile: Behemoth
Album: Grom


 


written by Apothecary | 02.02.2012


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Apothecary - 02.02.2012 at 15:56  
*Hellhammer the drummer, not Hellhammer the band.
Nergal Is God - 02.02.2012 at 16:20  
Great review, and I totally agree. It's my favorite from their Black Metal period, as well. It would be cool to see them play some of this live.
Apothecary - 02.02.2012 at 16:34  
Written by Guest on 02.02.2012 at 16:20

Great review, and I totally agree. It's my favorite from their Black Metal period, as well. It would be cool to see them play some of this live.

The only song they ever play live from their black metal days is From The Pagan Vastlands, I'm pretty sure. Kind of a shame, really.
Nergal Is God - 02.02.2012 at 21:28  
Written by Apothecary on 02.02.2012 at 16:34

Written by Guest on 02.02.2012 at 16:20

Great review, and I totally agree. It's my favorite from their Black Metal period, as well. It would be cool to see them play some of this live.

The only song they ever play live from their black metal days is From The Pagan Vastlands, I'm pretty sure. Kind of a shame, really.

They played Wolves Guard My Coffin on the last tour, actually. It was sweet, but I would love to hear some more, ya know?
Aristarchos - 31.12.2012 at 23:19  
Great review. I agree with most you said, although I think their debut is even better. Anyway early Behemoth is my favourite black metal band, since they have more variation to their songs than what is common in the genre. All songs doesn't sound the same. I prefer all of their first three albums over their later albums.

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