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Grom - Behemoth

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Behemoth / Audio CD released 2005-05-23 at Metal Mind

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      22.01.2013 05:50
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      You might like it, but I'd wager you won't.

      "Grom" is the 2nd studio album by Polish black metal band, Behemoth. It was released in 1996 on Solistitium Records and produced by the band. The line-up for the album was Nergal (vocals/guitar), L. Kaos (bass) and Baal Ravenlock (drums).


      Introduction

      Second albums are always important, and more often than not they're more important than a debut release. With "Grom" comes Behemoth's chance to take the black metal bull by its horns and throw in a few spices such as death metal and, to some extent, thrash metal. This was the last album to feature Baal Ravenlock (Adam Muraszko) on the drums before being replaced by Zbigniew 'Inerno' Prominski. This album was the last one by the band to focus on black metal, with all future releases changing style. Is it any good? Let's find out!


      Intro

      The album begins with a 95-second intro which is an instrumental. It's a creepy melody with some synthesizer notes and a slow drum beat playing in the background, which loops around and gives you a sense of calmness before a surely impending storm.


      The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)

      The album kicks off with a furious blast of instruments which makes it difficult to pick out what's being played to the untrained ear. I'm not a huge black metal fan but I do like some bands and albums and I am open to experimenting with music. What I do pick out with this song is that the bass is extremely heavy, but then again so is everything else. Most people would say this is just noise, and to an extent I would agree with them, but it still has melody. I know that's hard to believe but it's very true. There's a harmonic breakdown in the middle which has some female vocals on it and the guitars aren't as violent here, and that's essential to give essence to the singing. Nergal's vocals are also done in a different tone, but I don't think I can take his style too seriously - the last time I heard singing like that was Sid Vicious on "My Way".


      Spellcraft and Heathendom

      This is a brutal song which has a really interesting main riff but I don't get a feel for anything much else on the song. There are a few tasty hooks and a neat little solo here and there, but once you get past all that, what remains is the death metal vocals which are pretty hard to understand and a wall of crunchy guitar sounds backed up by the rhythm section of a very heavy bass line and some intense drumming. Or at least I think it's intense because it's very difficult to pick out over the guitars, which are severely distorted and almost too loud for the song. I think it's safe to say I'm not enjoying the album too much at the moment, and I can only hope it gets better.


      Dragon's Lair (Cosmic Flames and Four Barbaric Seasons)

      This song starts out creepily with a pretty good synthesizer harmony that continues as the guitars come in to the mix. I actually quite like this track in some parts as it has some really good breakdowns for a few melodic sections, although the feedback from the amps practically ruins the effect the song is attempting to give out. More death metal screams and growls are present in the vocals and I've never been a fan of that style of singing anyway so I obviously think it doesn't help the song any. I think my favourite thing about the song is the bass work is some of the heaviest I've ever heard from an instrument such as that, but I'm afraid I don't like the vocals enough to like the track enough - if that makes sense.


      Lasy Pomorza

      This is a song which is sung entirely in Polish, the native language of the band. As I'm not a Pole, I have absolutely no idea what the lyrics mean but structurally, the track has a bit of meaning. I can hear some Slayer-esque riffs and hooks throughout but when Nerdal changes his vocal style on the chorus - I'm assuming it's the chorus - the song takes on a completely different entity and it just sounds plain awful. Obviously, this album is not for me but I bought it and I will have to persevere in listening to it, even though I will probably either give it away or donate it after I'm done. Again, the production is woeful and Baal Ravenlock may as well not even be there because you can barely hear his drumming, and I'm sure he's a pretty competent skinsman.


      Rising Proudly Towards the Sky

      As I thought, it hasn't got any better. I'm sure there are people out there who like this album but I can't think for the life of me why. The first thing I notice is the drums. Remember that instrument I could barely hear on the previous track? Well, they've hit back with a vengeance here and I can actually pick out some rolls and fills here and there. Sadly, that's all the song has going for it and it's another boring song which I could quite easily forget and never listen to again. There is a neat little part in the bridge where everything turns to calm but then that now all too familiar wall of noise starts back up again and what sounded half decent is now lost. The last minute or so of the song is just reverberations from the guitar with a little bit of vocals over the top of it. The song is, again, nothing special.


      Thou Shalt Forever Win

      This song could possibly be the one that lifts the album from whatever depths of hell it's sunk into and I love the sound of the bass here, especially in the breaks where the guitar isn't playing a nonsensical riff because it's then extremely heavy and Lemmy-like. I can hear some really good double bass work from the drums, but we come back to that age-old problem with this album in that it's just badly produced with very little audibility on the parts that you need to hear. I do like a section towards the last third of the song where there's a tiny bit of harmony in the guitar playing, but apart from that it's sub-standard noise once more which is a shame.


      Grom

      For the first 10 seconds of this track I think that Behemoth has finally nailed it. The guitar sounds good and it's clearly audible. But then the distortion kicks in and my worst fears are confirmed as I listen to the same old rubbish that I've been listening to since the album started. No matter that people might tell Nergal, he cannot sing clean vocals at all. There are a couple of parts on the song where he's singing in a duet fashion with a female vocalist and she sounds pretty good, but it's completely ruined by Nergal's attempt at real singing. With that, the album comes to a close and I breathe a huge sigh of relief.


      Summary

      This really isn't a good album at all. I'm struggling to find any positives from the whole experience of listening to it, but I can honestly say there aren't any as far as I'm concerned. The production is awful and there is just way too much feedback from the guitar on most songs which may have sounded better if that had been nipped in the bud, so to speak. I can't recommend the album from a personal point of view, but if you like the black metal genre then you may well like Behemoth's "Grom". Just don't invite me over to listen to it, even if you are supplying the beer!


      Track Listing

      1. Intro
      2. The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)
      3. Spellcraft and Heathendom
      4. Dragon's Lair (Cosmic Flames and Four Barbaric Seasons)
      5. Lasy Pomorza
      6. Rising Proudly Towards the Sky
      7. Thou Shalt Forever Win
      8. Grom

      My rating: 2/10

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    • More +
      25.02.2008 14:03
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      Behemoth's second album (1996).

      Behemoth's second album is a very mixed bag of black metal and neofolk touches that often don't quite work, and due to its inconsistency, it's easily the album that divides fans the most. Predictably, it's also my favourite.

      What makes this album stand out so prominently is the way the traditional black metal is frequently interrupted by acoustic guitar, light keyboard or clean singing in a manner that more often than not fails to correspond to what's come before and after, and the first and last songs even feature female singing from Celina. These folk touches make it all the more endearing for me, even if they're clearly more on the amateur side and don't hold up to the likes of Bathory and more seasoned folk metal bands, but it's the proficient and highly distinctive sound of the black metal itself that's the real winner here, exuding a fantastic, if confused atmosphere of ancient lands and dark sorcery, and Nergal's guitars receiving a unique sound thanks to the raw and fuzzy production that makes the whole thing work so much better.

      The main failing of these songs, now that I've somehow convinced myself that the lack of consistency is a bonus, is that most of them are severely on the long side, and run out of steam and ideas long before their end point. This isn't the case for all, 'The Dark Forest' and 'Dragon's Lair' in particular remaining compelling throughout, but despite the excellent and inventive nature of the leading guitar riffs, they aren't immune to tedium when repeated ad nauseam. Nergal takes some influence from classic metal just to annoy genre purists further, making 'Spellcraft and Heathendom' and 'Lasy Pomorza' (among others) extremely catchy, though the attempt at incorporating a chorus into black metal in the former only ends up proving why that's usually avoided.

      Nergal's Darkthrone-style gurgly rasp is perfect for the music, but just to be even more controversial he attempts to sing in a deep, folk style on half of the songs, which never sounds particularly good but is still valuable for adding diversity. Baal Ravenlock's drums are slightly inaudible at times thanks to the production, and really aren't all that interesting unless they're doing something other than maintaining an extreme tempo, and mention should be made of Les' bass intro to the title track, not because it's particularly impressive, but because I wanted to make sure I included his amusingly normal name alongside the pseudonyms of his bandmates. Behemoth sounds nothing like this today, which is sad.

      1. Intro
      2. The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)
      3. Spellcraft and Heathendom
      4. Dragon's Lair (Cosmic Flames and Four Barbaric Seasons)
      5. Lasy Pomorza
      6. Rising Proudly Towards the Sky
      7. Thou Shalt Forever Win
      8. Grom

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Intro
      2 Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)
      3 Spellcraft and Heathendom
      4 Dragon's Lair (Cosmic Flames and Four Barbaric Seasons)
      5 Lasy Pomorza
      6 Rising Proudly Towards the Sky
      7 Thou Shalt Forever Win
      8 Grom