Bihor Massif - _Gateway to the Fifth Dimension_
by: Paul Schwarz (3 out of 5)
Listening to this demo of very raw self-confessed "black metal", one can see how much the style owes to Hellhammer, Destruction, Sodom and countless other 80s thrash bands who trod the thin line between extreme and extremely sloppy every time they sat down to lay down a guitar riff. What is so great about all these early thrash releases, though, is that the sloppiness only adds to the "raw" feel of recordings, like "Obsessed by Cruelty", "Sentence of Death" or "Apocalyptic Raids", and somehow makes them more extreme. Bihor Massif sounds "raw" like these early releases and it doesn't even just sound downright bad like so many ultra-raw-black-metal releases, especially on demo, have the tendency to. What is funny is the opening, and main, riff to first track "Spectres of Souls" actually sounds like Cathedral, and good Cathedral. Overall, this release is nothing special, but uses that time-honored rawness to pinpoint a dark atmosphere which so many black metal bands overlook, however good their production is. At present, that atmosphere is the best thing going for Bihor Massif, but atmosphere is more than half the battle when you are trying to create great black metal.

Contact: TYR, 4121 Dayton Ave. N. #201, Seattle,

(article published 1/10/1998)

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