Behemoth – I Loved You at Your darkest
The seemingly unstoppable Black Metal-monster Behemoth relentlessly continue, despite iron man Nergal battling both cancer and the risk of going to prison, standing accused of blasphemy, to release new albums on a regular basis. Sure, it’s been four years since the praised “The Satanist” came out, but that’s no longer a remarkable time between albums for an established band in the record industry of today, and with “I Loved You at the Darkest”, Behemoth deliver their eleventh album, 29 years into the career.
Behemoth is a definite favorite of mine and I like all their incarnations, ranging from their first staggering step with primitive Black Metal with lyrics in polish to their late Black Metal-flavored high-speed Death Metal, so my expectations on “I Loved You at the Darkest” are set high!
After the first listening, I’m really pleased and the high expectations seem to be fulfilled, but already on spin number two it starts to feel a bit awkward. The two-minute intro “Solve” already begins to feel a little bit dull and redundant. The damage, however, is quickly repaired by the furious “Wolves ov Siberia” that offers classic Behemoth-frenzy and whose sovereignty is hard to resist. The following track, “God = Dog” is also, except for some unnecessary intro nonsense at the beginning, a really good song in the true Behemoth spirit, and is also a return to some of the parts of the intro, ”Solve”, and although it is a little strange to get a “reprise” already in the second “real” song, the intro-parts does fit much better here, as part of an actual song rather than as a standalone intro.
The third song “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” also works well, even if the pace is a bit slower relying on double bass drumming rather than the, for Behemoth, almost patented blast beats, and if you have a phantom like Inferno on drums, in my book, you should use blast beats almost all the time…
But then the catastrophe comes … With the five minute epic, ‘Bartzabel’, Behemoth runs straight into a concrete wall. I understand that you want to create dynamics and vary the songs, but “Bartzabel” feels like a single long intro and believe me, more intros is nothing this record needs.
Overall, it seems that Behemoth has suffered a bit of the late Iron Maiden virus. You know, when Steve Harris felt he wanted Iron Maiden to be a little more like Jethro Tull rather than NWOBHM and began to start off every song with a long acoustic intro, believing that would make the songs “progressive”. The case isn’t that bad with “I Loved You at the Darkest” but it feels like you’re waiting for something exiting to happen a bit too often.
The remaining songs play it quite safe and with the exception for some more Black Metal-mania in the raging “Angelvs XIII”, competing with “Wolves ov Siberia” to be the best track of the album and the Primordial-resembling “Havohej Pantocrator” nothing really sticks out.
Behemoth, even at their worst, holds a ridiculous high quality level and although there are a little too many “intros” on the album and that I’d love to replace “Bartzabel” in favor of some more blast beat driven high speed numbers, “I Loved You at the Darkest” is a good record. My guess is that Nergal, Orion and Inferno aimed for a more “mature” record with this album and some development and progression must of course be allowed, but in my opinion, even if “I Loved You at the Darkest” is above OK, the album does not really live up to their previous works.
The final song, Coagvla is of course an outro…
Title: I Loved You at Your Darkest
Label: Mystic Production/Nuclear Blast
Date of release: 5/10-18
Playing time: 46:32
Stand out track: Wolves of Siberia