Baptism - _The Beherial Midnight_
(Northern Heritage, 2002)
by: Matthias Noll (7.5 out of 10)
More Finnish blackness from the excellent Northern Heritage label. Needless to say that Baptism play underground black metal without keyboards, female vocals or other ingredients that separate the true from the false in the black metal courtroom. Baptism differentiate themselves from the pack by concentrating on a more mid-paced approach and even inserting some traditional-sounding metal riffs, which for a change do not bear the Tom G. Warrior brand. Between some speedier and more aggressive tracks, _The Beherial Midnight_ mainly radiates depression, melancholy and sorrow. The atmosphere, rather than the actual execution, makes these Finns comparable to the more depressive acts like Xasthur or Abyssic Hate. Obvious worship of Darkthrone and other "big names" is kept to a rather low level here and I'm positively surprised that mainman Lord Sargofagian (who has recently joined Satanic Warmaster) and his two sinister brothers in arms (Slaughterer on "Four-string Deathsaw" and Demonium handling the "Hammers of Crucifixion") seem to have already managed to secure their own stylistic niche with this, their first album. However, _The Beherial Midnight_ does suffer a bit from a production which is raw and unpolished but lacks bite and punch, and sounds a bit too dry. Recorded on savagery level 11 with additional distortion and sharpness, Baptism's style (especially the more metallic bits, which I'd like to hear even more frequently in the future) could become far more devastating than this. Nevertheless, Baptism show a lot of potential and this is a quality release that is certainly worth getting.

(article published 16/4/2003)

12/31/2004 M Noll 8 Baptism - Wisdom and Hate
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