A Forest EP

Well, imagine my surprise when I was perusing the promos and found a new release from one of my most favorite bands, Behemoth. It’s not a new full length, unfortunately, but an EP titled A Forest, which has two versions of the song by the same title originally recorded by The Cure. There’s a recorded version, as well as live. The two additional tracks are leftovers from the I Loved You at Your Darkest sessions.

Of course, being that the song “A Forest” appears here twice, it is the centerpiece. Niklas Kvarforth of Shining makes a guest appearance on each one. Calling it an appearance would likely not be appropriate, though as he is the only vocalist on each. To gain perspective, I went back and listened to the original. Perhaps I have heard it previously, but if so, I do not recall. When playing the original, all I can think of are the goth kids from South Park smoking cigarettes with their hair in their faces dancing, then alternately taking a puff. In other words, the original is not for me. When researching, I also found Carpathian Forest covered the track all the way back in 1998. After listening to the original and both cover versions, I have to admit Behemoth’s version sounds better. Niklas’ vocals are solid, but ultimately unremarkable. It stays faithful to the original, except for the heavier down tuned riffing, the vocals, and a notable bass guitar presence.

Track 2 (yeah, we’re gonna break down this sumbitch track by track) is the live version of “A Forest.” It begins with Nergal introducing the track, as well as Niklas in better English than most Americans. I guess that must be ‘cause we speak ‘Merican. There are a few differences between the live and recorded versions. There’s a little “hey, hey, hey, hey” section to begin and get the crowd clapping along. Notably, one’s tolerance for Niklas’ edge lord attitude will likely determine their opinion of this track with multiple shouts of “fuck you all!” He shouts “for the devil” once, as well as “come on, you pussies, fuck you” to end the song. For me personally, whenever he made any of those grand declarations, I eye rolled so hard I could see my brain.

After this, the I Love You at Your Darkest tracks begin with “Shadows ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha.” I hate to say it, but I can see why it was left off the album. It’s not a bad song. In fact, it has a good lead. It just doesn’t stand out. I looked it up because I felt like I may have heard it before but couldn’t find it anywhere else.

The last track on the EP is called “Evoe.” Unfortunately, what applied to the first ILYAYD track also applies here. Yeah, it’s fine, but it’s easy to see why it was left off the album. I don’t remember much of it and just like that, the EP is over.

I read back this review and it probably sounds like I hate A Forest. I don’t. However, I must be missing the point. Behemoth know the last two tracks are essentially throwaways. That’s why they weren’t on the album. I am definitely in the minority when I say that I enjoyed ILYAYD. Was it my favorite album of theirs? Definitely not. However, I don’t dislike this EP because the band is changing. In fact, quite the opposite. I don’t feel it was necessary because it didn’t show any growth, evolution, or change otherwise. So, if you’re really into them, maybe give it a go. Otherwise, I heard it, I understood it, and I’m ready to move on.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
June 12th, 2020


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