BEHEMOTH — Grom (review)

BEHEMOTH — Grom album cover Album · 1996 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
Here we have a deluxe reissue of Behemoth’s second album, 1996’s ‘Grom’. Following on from a series of demo tapes, with 1994’s ‘...From the Pagan Vastlands’ being widely acclaimed, they released their debut, ‘Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)’ in 1995, with a line-up which at the time only had founders Adam "Nergal" Darski (lead vocals, guitars) and Adam "Baal Ravenlock" Muraszko (drums and backing vocals) plus a couple of guests. However, by the time they went into the studio for this they had been joined by bassist Leszek "Les" Dziegielewski, plus guests Piotr Weltrowski (December's Fire) on synthesizers and singer Celina. This was the last album to feature Baal, and the only one for Les, with the band stretching their black metal wings even further.

I am not sure why they have decided to reissue this in 2023, as that makes it 27 years as opposed to 25 or 30 but given this has been reissued multiple times it is nice to see it finally get the approach it deserves. This is available digitally, as a 2 CD media book, and a gatefold 2 LP. Physical formats include bonus audio material and booklets containing exclusive archival content. Rare bonus material contains cover versions, rehearsals, and live tracks and while I would have preferred everything to have come from the original period, I can fully understand why they finish with a modern take of “Lasy Pomorza”. What makes this album so interesting from a casual listener’s point of view is the way they are bringing in so many diverse elements, with the acoustic guitar on the title cut being a nice way of changing the approach, while Les’s bass is clear and distinct as he adds melody against Nergal’s buzzsaw. It is the diversity which makes this so interesting, although there is an argument for the guitar to be a little higher in the mix and for Celina not to have been used at all as she is not the best singer in the world. The additional tracks will certainly be enough for those who already have this album to purchase it again, while it is interesting to hear that Nergal is already itching to get back into the studio to follow up on ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’.
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