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Behemoth - I Loved You at Your Darkest Award winner

Behemoth
I Loved you at Your Darkest
by John Paul Romeo at 30 September 2018, 8:19 AM

It’s been four years since the release of BEHEMOTH’s opus magnum “The Satanist”, and the fans have been hungry and eager to hear a new and fresh material from the Polish ambassadors ov hell. This “hunger” for a new album had echoed all over the globe for the past two years until BEHEMOTH finally unleashed a brand new song May fifth of this year at Pulp Summer Slam 18 (annual metal festival in Philippines which they headlined). That song they played that night had been part of the setlist in every show they played since then, that song is the now famous “Wolves Ov Siberia”. Exactly five months upon the live debut of that song, new album “I Loved You at Your Darkest” has arrived.

There had been lots of negative comments and negative assumptions on the possible content of the album all throughout the social media merely because of its title. But as the old saying says, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Same applies to any metal album – you can’t simply assume either the album is going to kick asses or suck dicks just because the title and/or the cover art is badass and brutal, or silly and ridiculous. Not with BEHEMOTH, especially. For the sake of everyone, the phrase “I loved you at your darkest” is a phrase that allegedly came from Jesus himself. Well, at least that’s what the book of Romans chapter 5, verse 8 indicates. Just like Nergal said with one of his past interviews, “It doesn’t get more blasphemous than this”.

The new record is comprised of twelve hard-hitting tracks, two of which have already been known, first is the three-minute galloping “Wolves ov Siberia” and second is the sinister “God=Dog” which became a target of negative criticism despite its beyond excellent content just because the title is too corny. All the songs in this fresh album are relentless, brutal and unforgiving right from the beginning until the very last notes. Nergal as usual sounds like he wants to explode the microphone with his ever violent and hellish primal screams and raw growls which was produced to sound more primitive hence making it more evil sounding. This brutal sound is strongly reinforced by Inferno’s indeed infernal drumming, turning his drum kit into an ensemble that spawns eardrum-busting cannonades. Of course, the sound is not complete without their signature down-tuned evil sounding guitars and its aggressive and punishing sinister riffs, and Orion’s usual beasting on the bass.

The album offers so much to talk about and picking favorites is very tough as each of the songs make their own unique irresistible appeals. But if there are elements that differs this album from the rest on BEHEMOTH’s discography, it must the use of choirs including a children’s choir, the bigger emphasis on melodies and “thicker” instrumentals. Talking about the most notable songs, first and foremost is the track “God = Dog” because of its use of a children’s choir. You can say that when Nergal shouted “O father, O Satan O sun, let the children come to thee!” four years ago, the children has finally come. The song also has a lot of crazy breaks, may it be drum breaks or a split-second pause before unleashing an avalanche of rhythms. The intense drumming and Nergal’s brutal delivery of the lines are mainly responsible for the song’s overall grotesque sound.

Aleister Crowley’s large influence to this band reflects in the track “Bartzabel”, a reincarnation of the magick ritual “An Evocation of Bartzabel the Spirit of Mars” penned by the most notorious occultist of the new aeon, Mr. Crowley himself. The chorus sang by a choir is a very haunting sound of people trying to spawn the spirit Bartzabel, sandwiched by the verses which was delivered by Nergal’s raw and primitive vocals. “Havohej Pantocrator” contains one of the earliest teasers that BEHEOMOTH released. Yes – it was that one video where Nergal was filmed singing their own version of “The Lord’s Prayer”. They have already done this pattern before with their 2014 song “Amen” which of course appeared in “The Satanist”. The difference is that “Havohej Pantocrator” is more solemnly delivered on a mid-tempo, therefore making a legitimate devil’s prayer. BEHEMOTH has always been all about blasphemy all throughout their career, and this one can be placed among the most blasphemous songs ever written in the history of music.

Last special mention is “Sabbath Mater”, beginning with a slower trem-picking passage and then blasting itself all the way. The song has a very hooking tune and an anthemic chorus that every BEHEMOTH concert attendee can shout along to. It is also a display of Nergal and Seth’s dominance on the guitars, may it be a solo or a short passage. Also, this song has the strongest, dirtiest and blackest lyrics. Having said all of that, let’s make it clear one more time: “I Loved You at Your Darkest” is not a sequel to “The Satanist”, and not even a linear follow up to it. It is written with its unique dark enigma taking all of the essentials from their roots, picking up some elements from the recent releases and putting in all the new features as part of their continuous evolution through time. Nergal’s voice has changed a lot through the years, but it never lost its brutality. His vocal performance in this album actually can be considered his best for the past ten years. That vocal performance, along with Inferno’s drum frenzies are main suspect to the success of this yet another assault brought in by BEHEMOTH.

I was there in the front row when they first played “Wolves ov Siberia”, and at that moment I knew the next album will be big and explosive. And truth enough, this album is as explosive and darkly beautiful in its own unique way. Lastly, for the sake of everyone asking if this is the best album ever or is “The Satanist” still the greatest, it’s not mine to determine. Buy the album, listen to it, feel it, and judge it yourself.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

Overall: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Solve
2. Wolves Ov Siberia
3. God = Dog
4. Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
5. Bartzabel
6. If Crucifixion Was Not Enough…
7. Angelvs XIII
8. Sabbath Mater
9. Havohej Pantocrator
10. Rom 5:8
11. We Are the Next 1000 Years
12. Coagvla
Lineup:
Nergal – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Orion – Backing Vocals, Bass
Inferno – Drums
Seth – Lead/Rhythm Guitars
Record Label: Metal Blade Records
     


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