Behemoth - ...From The Pagan Vastlands
Pagan Records
Black Metal
7 songs (35:12)
Release year: 1994
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Everybody knows that Polish enemies of the printed Bible and Death Metal heroes Behemoth used to be Black Metal, but not everybody actually appreciates their old material. Well, with their third demo Behemoth proved that there’s a damn good reason for the respect given to the band’s early days by those in the know. In some ways it’s a shame that this is only a demo, because it’s better than a lot of bands’ early full-lengths in quality. The roots of greatness are audible everywhere, from Nergal’s Varg-esque screeching to the carefully considered mixture of blasts and thrash-like beats that underpin the well above standard guitarwork. Opening track From Hornedlands To Lindesfarne hails something special with icy winds and lush acoustic strums before distant blastbeats and blackened riffing gradually make themselves known, still very quiet under the acoustic guitar and shrieked vocals. It’s all joined by celebratory keyboards in a stomping and grandiose song that proves that Nergal’s Emperor and Burzum records were listened to carefully, and whilst it’s a little simplistic compared to those giants, it’s perfectly good for a mere demo.

Pretty much every moment of this demo is better than its predecessor, the less refined Return Of The Northern Moon. The aforementioned acoustic guitar is a good step forwards, yet even on the relatively basic likes of Thy Winter Kingdom the bass is clearly audible, making for a pleasant old Carpathian Forest feel, and all of the tracks except one are over four minutes long and use it well. The Dance Of The Pagan Flames may have big, flamboyant keyboard flourishes and wolf howls behind the usual snarls and melodically-backed blasts, but just as good is the straightforward old-school darkness of Summoning (Of The Ancient Ones), dripping with early Darkthrone-esque atmosphere as much as with simple headbangability. The same goes for Blackvisions Of The Almighty and the six-minute maelstrom that is Fields Of Har-Meggido, ending with a crackle of thunder before an enjoyable cover of Mayhem’s Deathcrush closes the demo off. It’s really one of those Black Metal tracks that is impossible to screw up, and Behemoth produce a serviceable version that doesn’t depart from the original in any way, shape or form that can easily be told.

You could say the same about the whole demo, really – good yet unoriginal for the most part, this is admittedly getting my time chiefly due to the name of the band that produced it. Yet ...From The Pagan Vastlands is good enough to appeal to more than rabid fans of the band, proving that the demo section of a band’s discography often hides treasures of its own. Behemoth would soon produce an EP and two albums of Black Metal that is very good indeed, improving on this without a doubt, but don’t let that be a reason to neglect what came before.

Killing Songs :
From Hornedlands To Lindesfarne, Summoning (Of The Ancient Ones), The Dance Of The Pagan Flames
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Behemoth that we have reviewed:
Behemoth - I Loved You at Your Darkest reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Behemoth - The Satanist reviewed by Jared and quoted 70 / 100
Behemoth - Satanica reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
Behemoth - Evangelion reviewed by James and quoted 92 / 100
Behemoth - The Return Of The Northern Moon reviewed by James and quoted no quote
To see all 10 reviews click here
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