I gotta admit that the last record I actually heard from Poland’s BEHEMOTH was their 1996 release "Grom"… Quite some time already, indeed… and from what I’ve read it seems the band has not only grown immensely as musicians ever since, but also changed completely from their grim Black Metal roots towards crushing Death Metal. But it’s no problem for me to give this release a proper review nevertheless as "Demonica" ain’t a full length of new material, but focuses on BEHEMOTH’s early days almost exclusively. I know that quite a lot of people do complain about the re-release of demos on CD, naming the intention behind it just pure money making. Well, in many cases this might be right, but you will most certainly change your opinion when you see what Regain Records have come up with for BEHEMOTH! I bet that they even loose some money on this amazing packaging! It’s limited to 10.000 copies, gets delivered in a deluxe A5 size kind of black boxset (with golden print on it) and inside was manufactured pretty much like a book, with a 40-pages fat booklet, full of old pictures, covers, reviews, articles, lyrics, liner notes etc., while the two discs themselves are also in gold with a black pentagram printed on ’em! The material first and foremost comprises of the band’s two classic demo tapes "The Return Of The Northern Moon" (1992) and "From The Pagan Vastlands" (1993) with a couple of interesting extras added to each of ’em. "The Return…" (featured on disc one) still reflects the band’s overall immatureness, musically documented in a rather HELLHAMMER meets "Worship Him"-era SAMAEL kind of simplistic writing style whereas the often bootlegged "From The Pagan Vastlands" follow-up demo already delivers a very strong collection of grim Black Metal, performed in the typical Scandinavian tradition. When it comes to the additional material, it gets even more interesting for BEHEMOTH fans of the early days. Two previously unreleased, yet totally convincing recordings from the "Sventevith (Storming Near The Baltic)" album session (‘Bless Thee For Granting Me Pain’ and ‘Cursed Angel Of Doom’) and a 2004 re-recording of ‘Transylvanian Forest’ (originally to be found on the "And The Forests Dream Eternally" MCD) complete disc one. This track probably reflects how BEHEMOTH do sound these days as they’ve turned it into a perfectly executed brutal Death Metal onslaught during the recordings of their "Demigod" full length. Disc two gets completed by 4 songs that BEHEMOTH had recorded as a kind of pre-production tape for the "From The Pagan Vastlands" demo (the original demo kicks off this disc) and three of them even remained unreleased until now (‘Moonspell Rites’, ‘Pure Evil And Hate’ and the instrumental ‘The Oak Between The Snow’). ‘Spellcraft & Heathendom’, a track off the 1996 "Grom" album ends this boxset, again in a re-recorded version from 2004. So, my advice to all fans of the Black Metal period of BEHEMOTH is to get this amazing release at all costs, cause you will most certainly never ever get the chance to add this material in such a brilliant quality to your collection. For all further info check out www.behemoth.pl or www.regainrecords.com.
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