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Behemoth - I Loved You At Your Darkest (2018) - Review

Band: Behemoth
Album title: I Loved You At Your Darkest
Release date: 05 October 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

01. Solve
02. Wolves ov Siberia
03. God = Dog
04. Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
05. Bartzabel
06. If Crucifixion Was Not Enough…
07. Angelvs XIII
08. Sabbath Mater
09. Havohej Pantocrator
10. Rom 5:8
11. We Are The Next 1000 Years
12. Coagvla

What can one say to introduce a band as big as Behemoth? The band has been active since 1991 and this is their 11th full-length release, so I’m pretty sure that no introduction is needed. With Behemoth, you can always count on the 3 Cs – controversy, creativity, and consistency. And, of course, extreme levels of blasphemy. They have yet to release a bad album and the same can be said about this one.

To quote Nergal regarding the title of the album: “It’s actually a quote from Jesus Christ himself. For Behemoth to use it as the basis of our record, it’s sacrilege to the extreme.” He also said numerous times that this album is going to be very different than their previous offering, The Satanist. And he was not wrong. They also opted for a different marketing strategy this time, creating a brand of vegan dog treats, named after the first single from this album and shaped as little crosses. Now, both you and your dog can enjoy some (cruelty-free) blasphemy. It certainly is a creative approach, I will say this much.

The album opens with the intro "Solve", which begins by children chanting, and then gradually moves on to what can only be described as “preparing our ears for what’s to come”. A good introduction for "Wolves ov Siberia", a song that feels like a real return to the roots – short, blasting and powerful.

"God = Dog", the third song, was the first single from this album we had the pleasure of listening to. While it can still in some ways be classified as a typical Behemoth song, they seem to be taking a new direction with yet another addition of a children’s choir. In my humble opinion, I’m hoping that this does not become a popular approach for this or any other band, as it makes the song sound unnecessarily cheesy and almost makes it seem like they are trying too hard to be blasphemous. While I can understand the idea behind the children’s choir (i.e. people forcing their religion upon children is not OK – I agree!), it doesn’t benefit the song in any way, quite the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a solid song and the children’s choir plays a minimal part. But Nergal’s vocals alone would have sufficed to convey their usual strong message of burning hatred towards Christianity.

Hands down the most memorable song on this album is "Bartzabel". A homage to Aleister Crowley and apparently an invocation of the ancient Spirit of Mars, it is at the same time the slowest, but also the darkest song on the album. It is powerful enough to almost make you feel like you are there, in some overgrown ancient temple, watching some occult ritual being performed, invoking ancient powers that should probably never be awakened. It features clean vocals (which is not exactly a standard thing for Behemoth) accompanied by (adult) choral singing, giving the song an eerie vibe. All this, mixed with Nergal’s harsh vocals, makes for a unique experience.

Other favourites include "Ecclesia Diabolica Catolica", "Sabbath Mater" and "Wolves ov Siberia", which all have something to offer to even the pickiest fans. If you like the classical Behemoth, accompanied by just a touch of choral singing and an acoustic finish, go for the first one. If a mixture of harsh and clean vocals accompanied by lengthier solos and some blast beats is your thing, "Sabbath Mater" is the song for you. For old-Behemoth worship and pure blasting hatred and anger, go for "Wolves ov Siberia". Simple.

To sum up, while this album is not your typical Behemoth release, it is still definitely worth the attention. The band seems to be focused on exploring a different direction and growing artistically while still somehow sticking to their roots, which I guess is a gamble, since you never know how your fans are going to react. But in this day and age, it is difficult to produce something memorable and such a gamble just might be the solution to not getting lost in the flood of new releases and bands. In other words, I Loved You At Your Darkest definitely has its memorable moments and it will not be one of those albums that you listen to once and then forget all about it. So, put on your best headphones and enjoy… and be ready for that annoying little voice in your head singing Come unto me Bartzabel for days on end.

Review written by: Tamy
Rating: 9/10


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