"I Loved You at Your Darkest"

(Metal Blade)

01. Solve
02. Wolves ov Siberia
03. God = Dog
04. Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
05. Bartzabel
06. If Crucifixion Was Not Enough...
07. Angelvs XIII
08. Sabbath Mater
09. Havohej Pantocrator
10. Rom 5:8
11. We Are the Next 1000 Years
12. Coagvla

RATING: 7.5/10

BEHEMOTH has come a long way since its humble early days as an obscure, dark, melodic black metal band. It truly has gone on to become behemoth in terms of both its musical and commercial growth, with its outlandish music and performances deemed worthy enough to have earned them a coveted slot on SLAYER's recent final North American tour. If mainman and sole original member Adam "Nergal" Darski's tenacity and resilience through times and trends is any indication—let alone the fact that he overcame severe, life-threatening leukemia—it should be painfully clear that BEHEMOTH's success has been well-earned.

Nergal seems perpetually eager to take blasphemous jabs at Christianity, clearly the case considering that the Bible is the source material from which he lifted the title of the Polish band's new album: "I Loved You at Your Darkest". Even the most seasoned of dark metal enthusiasts would be lying through their rotten teeth if they heard the children's choir employed during the cinematic album introduction, "Solve", and didn't admit to being moved. With fortitude, the commanding youthful choir proclaim, while nearly shouting, the following lyrics, which also appear just a couple of tracks later: "Elohim, I shall not forgive! Adonai, I shall not forgive! Living God, I shall not forgive! Jesus Christ, I forgive thee not!"

The preceding mantra-like set of lyrics reappear shortly, this time spat out by Nergal's forked tongue, on a formidable, blasting symphonic black metal track. But for some reason, said song was entitled "God = Dog". The intended blasphemous nature is in tow, but it's also cringe-worthy, cheesy and unintentionally funny, to the nth degree. And this is where BEHEMOTH both succeeds and fails, depending upon the armchair quarterback. To a broader audience, the Polish ensemble is enjoyable, not in spite of the over-the-top theatrical performances, but because of them. And yet, for the most part, BEHEMOTH is essentially a Disney filtration of black metal. Sure, BEHEMOTH can be moving and powerfully dramatic, yet the band is far from being truly menacing. And, again—in the eyes of some—that's arguably prerequisite for a band to be in the realm of blackened death in the first place. But with that said, regardless of whether or not any band is deemed worthy or properly falling within some set of codified guidelines, and if we set aside social media and message board wars about whether band X deserves to be stamped with a given genre tag, any piece of art is most importantly worth considering as an individual piece. As such, "I Loved You at Your Darkest" is an impressive piece of dark art on its own terms, a well-constructed, layered, orchestral, operatic album that unquestionably embodies elements clearly associated with death and black metal. And really, shouldn't that be all that matters at the end of the day?

"I Loved You at Your Darkest" showcases BEHEMOTH as the kind of death and black metal band that's fit for arenas and stadiums. And, as far the North American audience of contemporary, popular heavy music, there's enough clarity and crunch to offer appeal and accessibility to fans of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and LAMB OF GOD. The acoustic guitars of "Bartzabel" and its dreary chanting provide tasteful variety and offer a breather from the band's more biting, tried-and-true metallic punch. The finale of "Sabbath Mater" is massive and undeniably epic with an unsettling sense of tension. The album certainly offers more diversity than what one would find from a bulk of the bands that are more easily pigeonholed within extreme metal. By the look and sound of things on "I Loved You at Your Darkest", BEHEMOTH is only going to become even bigger.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).