Legendary Polish metal group Behemoth have returned with their eleventh studio album. Over their lengthy career, they’ve defined a genre, beaten sickness, headlined festivals and even seen off Slayer on their final tour. Behemoth are as metal as metal comes, and are unafraid of tapping into the theatrical elements of their predecessors. Crucially ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ cleanly brings their sound into 2018, moving away from the less fresh albums of the recent past.
‘God = Dog’ is the landmark track here, bringing in all their influences, growth and forward-thinking songwriting for a blistering lead single. Power meets twisted spiritualism as chanting is introduced to blast beats and grating guitars. While it’s a strong early peak, it’s a mere taste of what the album has to offer.
The project really hits you once ‘Ecclasia Diabolica Catholica’ comes around. A perfect storm of braising riffs and hellish growls match up with some of the most aggressive, yet creative, drumming in modern metal for some of the most satisfying music the group has ever made. One delicious guitar solo later and you’re greeted with one of the most dramatic, intense build-ups to ever feature an acoustic guitar.
‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ is rich with these memorable moments that set this album apart from their older work. For every obsolete or unnecessary section of metal riffage, you get songs like ‘Bartzabel’ which features an endlessly entertaining beck and call style chant. It’s huge, it’s dramatic and it’s devilishly wonderful.
It’s certainly not a perfect album – the second half feels like it’s running over the same ideas one too many times, and closing track ‘Coagvla’ is more of a relief than an upset but Behemoth have certainly delivered. ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ is arguably their best album this century, a hulking monster of an album that is at its heart, truly metal.
‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ by Behemoth is out now on Nuclear Blast.
Words by Sam Seaton (@citrus_music_)