ALBUM REVIEW : BEHEMOTH— I Loved You At Your Darkest
Behemoth is back for another round of brutal blasphemous blackened death metal after their four year absence with I Loved You at Your Darkest and, while it's still as blasphemous as their previous album The Satanist, is it as brutal? Well, not really. The anti-theistic fury was somewhat replaced by a more experimental sound conveying a certain inevitability; They want us to know that Satan is here, he's staying and he's winning. The album title may strike you as odd, but according to Nergal it is a quote from his favourite source of inspiration: the Bible. Of course, the record still has songs to which you'll be able to headbang like your neck won’t be needed tomorrow such as "Wolves ov Siberia" and "Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica" — a track which is overshadowed only by its fun and borderline-campy title. While the former two are more reminiscent of the The Satanist-era Behemoth, some songs like "Bartzabel," in which the chorus sounds more like Ghost than Behemoth, have choirs and symphonic elements. The prologue song "Solve" even starts with a choir of kids chanting, which I'm not quite sure whether it's annoying, disturbing or just unnecessary. The song itself is an amalgamation of other tracks from the album, which comes off as poorly done and lazy. The children's chant is borrowed from "God = Dog", which is the most embarrassingly idiotic title of a song I have seen in metal from a band that's not just outright trolling. The softer parts are not mistakes, but rather an indication of the direction Behemoth is heading in the future. The softer symphonic elements do add a certain eerieness to the record, and in a time where there's more and more deviation from outright militant Satanism in black metal, this could be another example of a band getting tamer with age. It is definitely a transitional album and "Sabbath Mater" is a great example of how they joined that classic Behemoth sound with some rock and a touch of doom. One of the best bits on I Loved You at Your Darkest definitely includes "Havohej Pantocrator", a twist on the popular Christian prayer. Havohej is, of course, Jehovah spelt backwards, because as we all know, what could be more evil than a semordnilap? Besides the former, "Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica" is also a song that will likely be added to setlists on upcoming tours due to its immense angry sound, which would transfer well to a live stage. Some other songs, such as "If Crucifixion Wasn't Enough...", won't do much else than make some Christian uncomfortable with its title. Overall, the album works fairly well and flows from one song to another as it should, the one noticeable part where it doesn't due to the contrast between the songs is perhaps only at the start of the album where "Solve" transitions into one of the kvltest songs on the album, "Wolves of Siberia". If you're a black metal fan looking for raw evil and anger, I Loved You at Your Darkest won't be your favourite Behemoth album, but if you're more interested in the band’s story and their growth it could rank quite highly. Personally, I wish they'd stick to the sound from The Satanist, but the album is still solid and definitely worth a few listens. Therefore I Loved You at Your Darkest gets 7/10 inverted crosses. Unfortunately, the other three have been seized and burnt by Christian extremists.