Behemoth- ‘A Forest’ EP Review

The Polish band deliver a hauntingly beautiful EP that is all too fitting alongside current tumultuous circumstances. 

On May 29th, Behemoth surprised fans with the release of their latest EP, A Forest. Containing just four songs, the Extreme Metal band use the EP to both extend their latest album, I Loved You At Your Darkest, and to venture into new genres.

Releasing the EP just weeks after it was first announced, A Forest caught many fans off-guard with its quick debut. Named after The Cure track, ‘A Forest’, the first two songs on the EP are covers of the 1980’s classic- both a studio version and a live performance from their Warsaw ‘Merry Christless’ show back in December 2018.

Reinventing the Synth-Pop hit, Behemoth put their spin on the song and feature guest vocalist, Niklas Kvarforth from Swedish Black Metal band, Shining, in both versions. 

Whilst maintaining the same lyrics and keeping the guitars grounded throughout the song, the Polish band don’t deviate too far from the original track. Instead, the band simply replicate the song using their distinctive, heavy sound. 

Layering the track with their signature, technical drumming and embedding vocals that couldn’t be further from those of Robert Smith, the song is unmistakably reborn as Extreme Metal, yet still withholds the beauty of the original version.

What seems to stand out about the EP isn’t the unusual blending of 80’s Rock with Extreme Metal, but rather, how the controversial choice seems to fit perfectly within our currently turbulent society.

Simultaneously facing a worldwide pandemic, the cancellation of all public gatherings and the sudden emergence of the Black Lives Matter Protests across the globe, it seemed oddly suitable that the band release a unique fusion of alternative genres in their EP, with strange times allowing them to venture into strange new concepts.

These covers are proceeded by two new songs, ‘Shadows Ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha’ and ‘Evoe’, tracks which the members described as a ‘continuation’ of their 2018 album, I Loved You At Your Darkest.

Although categorised as B-Sides, the songs are far from filler-content. Whilst ‘Shadows Ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha’ returns to their classic, signature sound, ‘Evoe’ brings an uptempo lease of life into the EP as it draws to its close. 

Both songs stand out in their own right, making listeners question why they were not chosen to be  a part of the critically acclaimed album. With ‘Shadows Ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha’ interweaving a stripped-back, classic approach to their music, it fits in immaculately with their discography. Bringing an element of Prog into the song, each member is finally able to demonstrate the extent of their technical ability that they’re famed on for the first time in the EP.

‘Evoe’, on the other hand, lends itself away from the Progressive technicality of the song that precedes it, instead, feeling more like a lead single than a B-Side. Saving their most catchy, rhythmic work until the very end, the song seems slightly misplaced as the last song on the EP, yet still guarantees to impress once live performances recommence.

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A Forest is out now via Metal Blade Records and available on all streaming platforms.

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