Editors’ Notes Originally released in 1995, Behemoth’s first EP is a fascinating snapshot into the beginnings of the Polish black metal masters. “It’s one of my all-time favorite Behemoth releases,” guitarist, vocalist, and founder Adam “Nergal” Darski tells Apple Music. “It’s a very poor recording, but it sounds very raw and cool in a way. I’m really a fan of its sound. Of course back then we couldn’t really handle our instruments well, but the passion is definitely there.” As it turns out, this expanded reissue was many years in the making. “It was a long process, but finally we regained the rights to our old material,” Nergal explains. “What you’re hearing now is how I would like to present the first period of Behemoth to fans that maybe didn’t really have a chance at it. A lot of them weren’t even born at the time we did those albums! So now they can get them with extra music and everything’s remastered.” Below, Nergal shares the stories behind the EP’s original five tracks.

Transylvanian Forest
“We had already recorded the first full-length at this point, so this song was recorded specifically for this mini-LP. It was really like an upgraded Behemoth. We still play this song live every now and then. We rerecorded it also around, I believe, the Demigod era, and released it also. It’s got a really cool groove, a cool vibe. I like this song a lot. I mean, you could clearly hear my songwriting had improved from the …From the Pagan Vastlands demo, and it’s just more smooth. It’s well-constructed, so it felt like a good opener.”

Moonspell Rites
“When I made this song, I wanted it to be on [1994’s] …From the Pagan Vastlands, but I thought that it just stands out too much from the rest of the songs and I decided not to record it. But then because I felt it was too old and outdated, I didn’t want to include it on Sventevith, the debut album. Obviously it has the Bathory feel to it, and then Darkthrone. I was so immersed in the Scandinavian scene at this time, and you can hear it in this song absolutely. It’s a very sing-along, chant-along kind of song. It’s funny because I almost didn’t do anything with it, but somehow it ends up being one of people’s favorites.”

Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic)
“This is another funny story. I think back then I already knew that the debut album was going to be called Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic), and I thought it would be cool to do a trick where the title song of the debut album wouldn’t appear on the album. I thought of it as like an announcement of the record, because this EP was supposed to be like a special occasion, just something for collectors and stuff. And then nowadays this song happens to be one of my personal Behemoth favorites. It was inspired by the Pure Holocaust album by Immortal, which was a beast of an album that came out around this time. I just wanted this to be wild and fast and crazy and following that tradition.”

Pure Evil and Hate
“This song is more like Motörhead meets Venom and Bathory, so I thought, ‘Let’s not put it on the debut album.’ This is one of the songs that made me decide to do this EP in the first place. So again, this makes And the Forests Dream Eternally a very special release, because it’s a collection of songs that don’t really have much to do with each other. Honestly, the only two songs that really correspond with each other are ‘Sventevith’ and ‘Transylvanian Forest.’”

Forgotten Empire of Dark Witchcraft
“This song was an experiment. I went into the studio and did the drums myself because we were on really bad terms with [original Behemoth drummer] Baal around that era. I’m no drummer, okay, but I thought maybe I could handle something with a slower beat. It definitely has this Bathory vibe, but style-wise it was something else—not Behemoth. But since And the Forests is supposed to be a unique release, I had no problems including this song on the EP.”


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