Do you know what vomit tastes like? I didn’t either until I recently placed “The Oath Of Black Blood” into my CD player, sealing my fate for what I was about to have forced down my esophagus. This work is just so foul, vile and disgusting that it epitomizes aural vomit which can only be tasted with the ears.
The dissonant fuzzy guitars grate at the air waves intermingling with a sick and twisted voice rivalling the best of the genre. What this album lays down with full force is the Bible of raw Black Metal. I believe DARKTHRONE knew this in 1994 and anyone mildly satisfied with “Transilvanian Hunger” should be on their knees, grovelling to the true forefathers of all things rancid. That fuzzy distortion pioneered by Fenriz and Nocturno Culto was ripped straight from the pages of the aforementioned “Bible”.
The vicious lead and rhythm guitars are enhanced whole-heartedly by the rough and muddled production which wraps itself around these hate-filled compositions like a fire blanket attempting in vein to smother flames. The drums sit content in the mix providing a constant bass-snare-bass-snare thumping which gallops along at the reigns of the guitars. Besides being a minor point, it must be stated that the bass is inaudible as is all too common in this type of outing. Besides this type of composition being rather unique in 1991, the Finns place themselves firmly in the category of “YOU MUST LISTEN TO US AND YOU WILL LOSE CONTROL OF ALL BODILY FUNCTIONS” with the abstract and mind-blowing vocals of Nuclear Holocausto. At times he sounds like Attila with his thick ruthless accent (check out “Goat Worship”) but just when you think you have him pigeon-holed your chest cavity collapses from the deep reverberating disgorge which can not be equated to anything human. Alongside Dead and Varg, Nuclear Holocausto has clawed his way into my heart as one of my favourite vocalist.
One of the key points that an album must sell me on to achieve a high rating is re-playability. A band can shove an album in my face that throws me against the wall and keeps my attention for two hours straight but if I do not feel compelled to play the record tomorrow, a week, or even a month later then it will not make the cut. BEHERIT project a sense of staying power through a combination of interesting and progressive techniques for their time. Several eerie samples of thundering bells are implemented which almost add a hint of doom and flesh out the atmosphere. Furthermore the Finns throw in a slew of guitar solos (most prominently seen in “Demonomancy” and “Beast Of Damnation”) which stand out and offer momentum to the punch this album throws into your gut. This is one of the few elements which illustrates that BEHERIT were at a point where Black Metal was rising from the ashes of the trend that Death Metal had become. I must admit that guitar solos add an interesting touch and I would like to see more Black Metal bands utilizing similar techniques in the future rather than shying away from a bit of technicality.
The album closes with two solid slashes to the throat as we are blessed with “Hail Sathanas” and “Dawn Of Satan.” These tracks speed forward at breakneck speed forcing humility upon the listener before leaving you gutted and spat upon. BEHERIT are the essence of Cult, so throw up the horns, get wasted, sacrifice a goat, or just sit in awe of the progenitors of raw Black Metal. Pay tribute to the true legends in black. (Online May 6, 2005)