As a lifelong music and movie fan, I learnt a long time ago that hype about a release isn’t necessarily a good thing… if anything it leads to more of a chance of disappointment. Is there hype around the release of Behemoth’s new album? You bet there is, in fact, I have never seen so much hype around a black metal album before. Even at the start of this year, I had people asking me, ‘when do you get to hear Behemoth’s newie? Tell us, tell us.’ Even the release of the band’s press notes about the album didn’t fill me with confidence, a read through them and it sounds like the band are almost apologising for releasing an album in a ‘tired and stale’ genre… but guys relax because I can tell you that I Loved You At Your Darkest is anything but tired and stale… in fact this is one of the most instrumentally perfect albums I have ever heard.
The first thing that really hits you about the album is the fact that Behemoth are now really encompassing a true black metal fused with rock – the result is an instrumentally strong album that won’t fail to impress. No discredit to Nergal’s amazing vocals on this album but I Loved You At Your Darkest is an album where the instrumental side of things really shines through. Throughout this album they work together to build to something epic – tracks like ‘Wolves Ov Siberia’ and ‘God=Dog’ just keep building and building until they reach something of operatic scale. The same can be said for the very atmospheric and foreboding ‘Bartzabel’ which wins you over from its dark instrumental opening.
The fact that Behemoth are willing to take chances with their music is never more clear than on ‘Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica’ which sees the band incorporate powerful strong lyrics with pounding drums, gothic religious chants and hints of acoustic guitar creeping in. That same acoustic sound is also present on ‘Angelvs XIII’ which also sees something absolutely crazy guitar playing from Nergal as well.
As I already mentioned the instrumental style of Behemoth on this album needs to be heard to be believed – ‘If Crucifixion Was Not Enough’, ‘Havohej Pantocrator’ and ‘Rom 5 8’ are tracks of instrumental brilliance, they cannot be described any of another way and the fact that album closes with the purely instrumental ‘Coagula’ is no surprise… why wouldn’t you when you are a band as on song as these guys are at the moment.
Listening to the manic stylings of ‘Sabbath Mater’ has me wanting to see Behemoth live as soon as possible while ‘We Are The Next 1000 Years’ had me falling in love with a band that I am now convinced that I have not paid enough attention to over the years.
I rarely call an album a perfect album, but I Loved You At Your Darkest is the closest I think I will get to doing that. Instrumentally this album is pure perfection. Eleven albums into their career and Behemoth have reached a pinnacle that most bands only dream about. This album is pure bliss and gives a new meaning to the term ‘music perfection.’