Behemoth is intense. The band’s lead singer, Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski had a close brush with death when he was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2010, but the band would fight back and ultimately create their best work, The Satanist. As recently as last year, there was doubt expressed by band members that the band would continue. But here we are, staring down a loaded Behemoth release. Known as one of the darkest and heaviest bands in the world, the Polish death metal band is out to show that they are more than just minor keys, double bass, and howling, cackling screams.
The album features so many facets traditionally used in death metal that are hard to ignore. The opening track “Solve” is chanting of a children’s choir. The chilling chants of children of the underworld have been used to evoke chilling emotions in death metal (and horror movies, for that matter) for years. The lead single “God=Dog”, has a very enticing arena rock riff to open before clashing into a frenzied double bass.
But the album shows how much the band has grown and how talented they truly are. While songs like “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” and “Bartzabel” showcase Gregorian chanting, which the band is no stranger to implementing, the former ends on an acoustic guitar sonnet- certainly a change of pace for Behemoth.
The song “Bartzabel” has a lot of firepower and seems destined for the charts. It features a less “in your face” almost arena-style riff, supplemented by the pained heavy vocals that defined Behemoth. The guitar solo is flawless. But the last 30 seconds, a few full band stop chords with silence in between, leave this song on a chilling and unique note. Another unique note is “Sabbath Matter”. This track actually features (albeit limited) clean vocals from the band, which was incredibly shocking to me during the first listen.
My favorite track on the album is “Wolves ov Siberia”. The song is pushed through a frenzied and aggressive drumming feature, with some of the most driving double bass I have ever heard (a staple of the band’s drummer, Inferno). The song eases up to the finish to fade into a beautiful melody that sounds almost orchestral before it explodes back in for one last furied close.
Count me among those thrilled that Behemoth is here to stay. While I Loved You at Your Darkest is certainly not the band’s heaviest work, I would say it is their most musical. That may not go over critically with long time fans, but Behemoth has always been willing to experiment and take chances, and this album is further evidence that Behemoth is more than a one trick pony. Whether you’re into death metal or just like to hear some really talented and well-defined music, check out I Loved You at Your Darkest, available now via Metal Blade Records!
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