It always baffles me when I realise that Beherit, as a Black Metal entity, only existed for some 4 years. Their unparalleled and indescribable influence on the Black Metal scene is only based on a hand full of recordings done between roughly 1989 and 1993. Although it is, of course, a matter of taste whether you would label albums like ‘H418ov21.C’, ‘Electric Doom Synthesis’ or the more recent ‘Bardo Exist’ worthwhile or even listenable at all, the band’s authoritative Black Metal period was just incredibly brief.
The last released recording from their earliest period was ‘Messe Des Morts’, which was released in 1993 as 7” EP through the renowned Necropolis Records. It has remained largely unavailable ever since its initial release, despite being spread on numerous bootleg tapes and CDR’s over the past two decades, so a reissue of these four tracks on CD and both analogue formats (12” vinyl and cassette tape) only made a lot of sense. This Werewolf Records released rendition is faithful to its original version, bearing only the four tracks and minimal artwork. So, fortunately, it has no extra tracks or “enhanced” artwork.
The music of Beherit has always differed from release to release, demos and EP’s included. To that tradition, ‘Messe Des Morts’ is no exception. While the preceding ‘Drawing Down The Moon’, the full-length album released earlier in 1993, is commonly seen as the band’s greatest work echoes only marginally throughout this EP. The album’s slow and droning doomy ambiance is non-existent on any of these four tracks. In fact, the band goes back to their very noisy roots with a very dark and basement-like “production”. It has a very strong Punk vibe and when it takes up speed it has bears a striking resemblance to Sarcófago’s ‘I.N.R.I.’ album, especially in the furious snare-drum attack. But, the most remarkable element of ‘Messe Des Morts’ is that it already shows a few electronic elements that they would later boast from. Especially in the opening is some sort of a window for the things that would come, apart from some electronics in the intro there is a strange sort of spacey monotonous humming as well. But, the overall music is just Beherit as we know them from those early years, hammering their barbaric riffs right into your brain with relentless repetition and stamina. If you combine that with those slight shreds of electronics and the apparent Sarcófago drums, you do get some of the band’s most versatile recordings. Yet, it was all wrapped up in a tremendously noisy and Lo-Fi production that just enhances its very atmosphere.
In fact, the timing of rereleasing this is spot on. Although the music on ‘Messe Des Morts’ (and the other Beherit recordings, for that matter) has been echoing through numerous of bands over the past thirty years, it definitely seems to be surfacing more these very days. While bands like Ildjarn were going through the same sort of musical evolution a few years later, drawing obvious influences from the primitive Beherit styled riffing, though adding some Folk elements of their own, there are currently countless of bands going into those Raw and Lo-Fi Black Metal territories that Beherit first explored some three decades ago.
While the music clocks in under the twelve-minute mark, it does make a worthy closing chapter of their early years. Personally I do not care about their electro records that would appear later on in their careers, but when the music has these vague hints of electronics in it just as it does on ‘Messe Des Morts’ then I think it certainly has some added value. Regardless, props to Werewolf Records for making this EP available again, as ‘Messe Des Morts’ is definitely the most overlooked Beherit recording.