Album Review: Behemoth, “I Loved You At Your Darkest”

Behemoth will release their eleventh studio album, “I loved You At Your Darkest” (A.k.a. “ILYAYD”), on October 5 2018 via Metal Blade Records.  As soon as I published a post about the backlash to the first two singles,  I received the full record to listen to!

Behemoth Live Photos from Tinley Park, IL
Behemoth Live Photos from Tinley Park, IL by Jason Carlson

I have been a fan of Behemoth for many years, which means I am also quite critical.  That said, I take the Polish extreme-metal band with a grain of salt, as you can read here.  I love the theatrics, the imagery and, of course, the brutal music.  I’m especially a fan of their live shows.

There’s something about this band for everyone, and I’m truly excited to talk about I Loved You At Your Darkest.

Review

“Solve”
The record starts with an intro track called “Solve” which is an eerie chant from the kids you hear on the “God=Dog” track.  It morphs into some music from the band as well, but it’s clearly setting the mood for the record.

“Wolves ov Siberia”
The second single released and the first full song on the new record, “Wolves ov Siberia” comes in at full strength after the intro track, and in a way, it seems the two were intended to work together.  I am expecting that the live shows will probably start with the “Solve” followed by this song as the opener.

“God=Dog”
The first single from the record is “God=Dog “as I’m sure everyone reading this already knows.  As I mentioned in my last post about Behemoth, this song is very much “like a mixture of The Satanist recording quality and Demigod songwriting.”  To me it’s fucking fantastic and exactly what I want from these guys.

“Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica”
This song starts off almost like a rock anthem, but don’t let that fool you.  “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” is a circle-pit monster.  Sure enough, the chorus is more epic and in line with the intro.  There is a face-melting solo here to boot.  This track is more unlike Behemoth than the previously released tracks, so for all the haters, get ready for something significantly more progressive.  Personally, I need to open my mind a bit more to appreciate the fact that the band is evolving.

“Bartzabel”
Staying true to the rock sound they started on the last track, “Bartzabel” starts off more like a mixture of traditional black metal and Behemoth‘s sound.  This one doesn’t really speak to me, as I’m not really into the rock stuff that much.

“If Crucifixion Was Not Enough…”
Picking things up a bit, the beginning of “If Crucifixion Was Not Enough …” feels like an extension of “Bartzabel” in it’s similar chords and sound, but there is a bit of aggression to this one.  It gets more psychotic toward the middle – but not Behemoth crazy … It’s very different from what you might expect, but on this track, I feel it’s in a good way.

Behemoth Live Photos From Chicago Open Air By Jason Carlson
Behemoth Live Photos From Chicago Open Air By Jason Carlson

“Angelvs XIII”
Here, we, go.  Now we’re back to the Behemoth we all know and love.  “Angelvs XIII” is some fine extreme metal.  After three tracks of experimentation, this is some much-needed relief.  The track is pretty relentless, has a fist-raising middle followed by a face-melting solo.  They do get a bit proggy toward the end which I’m still trying to wrap my head around on this record.  That said, this isn’t bad prog.  It ties the song to the theme of the record and adds some feeling to the song.  And don’t worry – it ends properly!

“Sabbath Mater”
Badass intro followed by circle-pit friendly rhythms, “Sabbath Mater” gets back to the rock-friendly melodies infused with extreme metal.  The song gets to an almost punk-like place a bit later with some proggy soloing.  The track comes full-circle to some epic Behemoth fist-raising stuff which leaves me with a really good impression of the song.  This is one of the more successful experiments on this record.

“Havohej Pantocrator”
“Epic” is probably the best way to describe “Havohej Pantocrator.”  This song is very similar to “O Father, O Satan, O Sun” at times, but is more rock in its relief.  There is a pretty aggressive bridge that comes, with yet another face-melting solo.  It comes around into an epic ending that I could see as a live show closer.  It’s pretty fun, Behemoth-style.

“Rom 5:8”
“Rom 5:8” starts as almost like an extension of “Havohej Pantocrator,” which is good because I could have had more of that song.  There are similar melodies and a lot more aggression.  This is a song that showcases a lot more of the good that comes with trying new things.

“We Are the Next 1000 Years”
This song starts like some traditional Behemoth music which is a good thing, although I wouldn’t say it’s anything particularly special.  It’s aggressive, which is nice, but that’s about all I liked about “We Are The Next 1000 Years.”

“Coagvla”
Starting like a proper Behemoth album-closer, “Coagvla” drives home the point that our beloved extreme-metal favorites aren’t gone, but just trying some new shit.  Inferno is a master here and shows you why he gets the respect he does.  This isn’t really a song, but a nice way to finish things off.

Summary

This is the most melodic Behemoth record to date, and throughout the first listen, I couldn’t help but be reminded of when Opeth went full-rock rather than the expected rock/metal mix we loved them for.

Behemoth have changed.  Or better, Behemoth are currently going through a change that started with The Satanist and is now in full-swing with I Loved You At Your Darkest.  I don’t like everything I heard on this record, but that doesn’t mean I hate it either.  I just need to wrap my head around the fact that Behemoth are evolving into a more progressive band.  I love progressive bands, so maybe it just takes time.

This is not Behemoth‘s best record, but in their defense, bands who are trying something new rarely do so by putting out perfect records over and over.  There are some standout moments like “Rom 5:8,” which is more progressive, and “Angelvs XIII,” which is probably my favorite track on the record.

I like Behemoth, and I’m a fan of the scene that surrounds them.  If this is the band doing their worst, then I’m a truly happy member of that camp.  I can’t wait to see what they do next.

I Loved You At Your Darkest is out October 5 on Metal Blade Records. Buy it here!

Behemoth - Live at Tinley Park, Illinois, by Jason Carlson

  • Musicianship
  • Lyrics
  • Heaviness
  • Overall Impression
3.8

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