Review: Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest 8.6

  • Behemoth
  • I Loved You At Your Darkest
  • Black/Death Metal
  • Poland
  • October 5, 2018
  • 8.6/10

Behemoth have come into 2018 with a bit of an unconventionally named metal album. I Loved You At Your Darkest is a name you’d expect from a post-hardcore or mathcore band more than an established black/death behemoth like Behemoth. It is telling though as at times the music gets stripped down to a more bare and melancholic guitar lick accompanied by simple but effective drums like you’d hear from Birds On Row or Defeater. It’s not strict with its genre tag like the more mainstream black metal acts tend to be, the goal appears to be centered around maximizing the impact of the music.

Behemoth are taking things slowly in comparison to earlier records and I enjoy that. It conveys more and besides, they’ve already proven themselves masters ov that blasting demonic style. I’m more than ready for something interesting and I think this album is just that. It’s distinct, I can look through my albums and look at I Loved You At Your Darkest and know that I will hear something not just listenable but also entertaining. Like when you’re looking for something to watch and you see that one movie that makes you think “Yeah… Yeah! I could watch that again”.

On tracks like “God = Dog” you can hear some blasting beats but the overtone of it all is much darker and compelling. The fast drums aren’t exactly matched by the guitar and bass which often go on their own tangent over the top of them. It creates the basis of a story and the melodies bring complexity to it. On this track the vocals are accompanied by chanting children and what sounds like distant keyboards – I have mixed feelings about this but at the same time the song would probably be a bit straight forward without it. As it is the single, it is the most typical sounding song. The rest of the tracks have a lot more nuance and the composition is more playful.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the tracks start a lot like hardcore songs: with patient drums and downbeat riffs. There’s even approaches to breakdowns that suit metal well, kind of how Cattle Decapitation did on The Anthropocene Extinction where the faster beat gives out and the vocals become cleaner, lower and wider. It’s these moments that really make you listen and appreciate what is going on. It’s shit that will get you pumped. There’s also prog elements to the sound, sometimes reminding me of Opeth or Akercocke but without trying to. It’s a very diverse and memorable work that for me is a welcome change from their brutal roots.

Mostly, it leans on the black metal atmosphere but has death metal minded guitar work. Structurally they aren’t necessarily inspired by metal but by music in general. Overall, it’s complex, abrasive and even beautiful. A lot of people hate this album so go by your own judgement.

8.6/10

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