Album Review: Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest (2018)

behemoth-pulp-summer-slam

Review by: Nick Licata

Behemoth is one of those bands, that could literally do anything, musically, and turn it into a Black Metal masterpiece. Although any release that comes after 2014’s, The Satanist, has to really be bold if it wants to hold precedence as a successor to that album. For most bands, that would be a nearly impossible feat to accomplish. Luckily for us, Behemoth isn’t like most bands, they see a challenge and fight through it, just as frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski battled Leukemia just a few years prior.

Before I really got into music, namely Metal of all varieties, I was your basic bitch of the metal community. I was listening to all that was played on our local radio station, 105.7 The Point. The first “metal” bands I came across were, Korn, Rob Zombie/White Zombie, Deftones and Marilyn Manson, of which two and a half of those bands are still making quality (or what I deem quality out of those particular bands) music. Of the other one and a half one is a washed up junkie and the other, while at the time were pioneers of the sub-genre, Nu-Metal, haven’t really been a part of my life for the last 10 years or so, so their releases have been lost to me, unfortunately. As I’ve grown older, I’ve started listening to heavier and far more talented bands, and one band that always stuck out, to me, was Behemoth.

I came into Behemoth’s music with 2004’s, Demigod, and while I have dug a little deeper in to previous releases, I have enjoyed watching them grow into what they have become today. With the release of, I Loved You At Your Darkest, it is apparent that, not only are Behemoth back, but they continue to push boundaries when other bands might have settled. Many of us have been curious as to what tricks they might have up their sleeves for the upcoming release. The Satanist, was a very polished and well produced Black Metal album with some new-er elements added to the mix and it just seemed to work so well. Four years later and Behemoth are at it again, but do they still have what it takes to stay on top?

Upon release of their first track, “God = Dog,” the band had a lot of backlash if for the name of the track alone, (you know who you are, there’s no denying it). While it is a weaker song title, there is nothing dumb or weak about the song itself. As a matter of fact, it was almost a face as to what to expect with the album itself. What many thought of as something silly, when you listen to the track alongside its brothers and sisters (the rest of the album), it makes perfect sense and sets the tone for not only the tone of the album, but in a way it speaks to where the music we know and love is heading. What I mean is, of the bands that have been making music for 20+ years you have your bands that know their equation, stick with it and it works every fucking time. The other half of the metal community have learned that to evolve is to grow and to stay in the forefront. Look at bands like Gojira or Rivers of Nihil, hell, even Lamb of God in a sense has evolved from album to album. Those bands are going places we never thought possible in Metal and while a few have turned their backs on that, many have accepted and grown with the bands. In a community of bands where we are just over saturated with cookie cutter crap, its the bands like, Behemoth, that dare to be different and expand our ever growing minds.

I Loved You At Your Darkest, is full of talent and creativity through out. Never, would we have expected clean vocals of any kind in their music and yet its spread throughout the album. Little snippets here and there, so as not to overpower the meaning behind the album, but just enough to show their growth. You really get a feel for this in the latest single “Bartzabel” and its fucking evil sounding. The thing that excites me most with this album, is that you have a more melodic song like “Bartzabel” and it’s mixed in with songs of sheer evil and brutality like, “Wolves ov Siberia” or  “Angelvs XIII” and yet nothing seems out of place. Almost like putting together a puzzle, a dark, twisted and demonic puzzle.

I could talk about what I love about this album, (the production quality, the order of the tracks, the composition), there is something there for every Behemoth fan. Hell, there are times when listening that it seems hard to tell if you are listening to a new album or an album from say ten years ago. The songs have this raw feel to them all while having somewhat of a polished up sound. It’s weird, I know, but just listen to the album and tell me you don’t hear elements of Evangelion or The Apostasy. Sorry, got sidetracked for a minute. While I understand the use of the Children’s choir, I don’t find it necessary. If you want it to sound creepy, don’t have the kids sound so cheerful. Maybe I am being nit picky, but the choir bit would have been more effective using those kids that sing “the Freddy Krueger song,” or at least that style of singing.

Behemoth will always be that powerful beast that lurks in the dark, stalking its prey. One that is constantly evolving with the ever changing world. While I find it difficult to say they surpassed what they did with, The Satanist, nobody ever said they had to. Like cheese to a fine wine, ILYAYD is a nice compliment to The Satanist, it borrows elements but, still veers in its own magickal direction. I Loved You At Your Darkest, is going to be an album that many of you talk about for years to come. Some of you, including myself, might even have it in your year end top 10 or top 20 list, and rightfully so. I can’t wait to see how these songs come across live as I think there is something very special with this album. What it means to you is your decision, but you’ll never know until you give it a listen.

Rating: 4.5/5

RIYL: Gojira, Marduk, Rotting Christ, 1349

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