Throughout history, there have been many Metal acts that have put their own spin on non-Metal tunes. Some have been successful, such as Marilyn Manson with their 1995 cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” while others have failed to hit the mark. No stranger to re-inventing songs, having covered everyone from Nine Inch Nails to David Bowie, Behemoth return with another in the form of their new EP, A Forest.
Set for release on Friday, May 29th via Metal Blade Records, A Forest features four songs – a studio recording of The Cure’s “A Forest,” a live recording of it, plus two brand new songs, “Shadows ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha” and “Evoe.” Only recently announced amidst worldwide quarantine, it hits less than a year after the O Pentagram Ignis EP which featured the title-track; something that was a bonus on the Japanese edition of 2018’s I Loved You at Your Darkest. That in mind, it is a pleasant surprise for fans, but what does it have to offer?
For starts, there is the cover of The Cure’s 1980 song “A Forest,” an interesting pick by Nergal and Behemoth. For those whom are familiar with the original, it is dark, as well as moody, making it everything Robert Smith and The Cure are known for. Up to the challenge, Behemoth transform it into a Black Metal odyssey with disjointed, unsettling vocals shared by Nergal and the Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth. Gone are the synth undertones and clean bass guitar of the original, which are replaced by steady double bass kick drums, along with some fuzzy Metal guitars. Bringing it all together, Behemoth has released a compelling music video offering more insight to their take on the track. Overall, it is a success which retains the structure of the original while becoming its own entity within itself; exactly what you want from a cover.
From here you have the live version of “A Forest” which was recorded at Merry Christless in Warsaw, Poland back in December of 2018. Which leads us to the original tunes on the back-end of the EP. There is “Shadows ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha,” a relatively straight-forward piece with an irresistible groove, and then “Evoe,” a punishing Black-n-Roll vibe cut. Both sound like they are extra puzzle pieces from the sessions of I Loved You at Your Darkest and that stands to reason because Nergal has stated they serve as a continuation of the album.
A gift from Behemoth to hold fans over, A Forest is a delightful offering. In truth, “A Forest” could be their most cohesive cover to date, so it is great they took the time to lay down in a recording studio. Everything else is just a bonus, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives this EP 4.5 out of 5 stars.