|Review: Behemoth - A Forest|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2020
Review online: May 31, 2020
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)
A little appetizer from Poland's black/death metal behemoths (uhuh) while waiting for a new album. The first time I heard this I thought maybe they were about to pull an Enslaved on us, especially after 2018's I Loved You at Your Darkest which saw the band get more trippy. A closer look at the press release and "A Forest" is a song by The Cure that Behemoth are covering here, opening with a studio version and immediately followed by a live version. I've never been into The Cure, so I won't draw any comparisons to the original, but while the song is definitely light years away from Behemoth's traditional style, after a few listens it really grew on me and their rendition has a heavy and sharp edge to it, turning whatever the original was into a decent metal song. I actually prefer the live version which I found sounds even more powerful.
The other two songs are new Behemoth songs. "Shadows ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha" is more akin to the Behemoth of old, fast and heavy but still more accessible, with a pretty catchy vibe that will stick in your head on the first listen. Closer "Evoe", on the other hand, is more in line with some of the material on I Loved You at Your Darkest, so it's much further away from all-guns-blazing extreme metal and sees the band showing off a bit more. This one is less straightforward and it takes a few listens to take it all in—give it time to grow on you if you don't like it at first.
I was almost ready to write this off after the first couple of listens but I'm glad I kept at it. Even though it doesn't showcase my preferred side of Behemoth, there's still plenty of speed and heaviness to be found in this band that is increasingly experimenting with their sound.
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