Containing the by-now core of the Behemoth sound, but expanding on this in various ways across different tracks, this new album is a very strong addition to the band’s discography, one which I’m sure with rightly garner much praise.
Consisting of probably more black metal and progressive metal, (and other influences, including an increase in melody), than death metal these days, this is a thunderingly effective album. The latter aspect of the band’s sound is still here though – a core of death metal fire that can’t be fully restricted – just filtered through a sometimes bewildering array of other elements. It largely all works, and the Behemoth of 2018 have proven themselves once more to be true artists.
There’s a lot of creativity and ideas thrown into this album, but the band ably pull off the vast majority of them with the skill and seeming ease that they’ve become recognised and lauded for. Behemoth have always been ones to experiment with their core sound, and it’s great to hear that they’re still doing this on their eleventh album.
Catchy and memorable, but with depth and substance too, these songs are written by professionals that know their work inside and out, and are still obviously loving what they do. Yep, it’s clear that the band are enjoying this material. And why wouldn’t they? It’s damn good. Despite how ostentatious and layered some of Behemoth’s work can be, nothing on I Loved You at Your Darkest sounds forced or thrown in just for the sake of it. Behemoth know exactly what they want to achieve with this release, and are comfortable, confident, and talented enough to pull it off.
Behemoth have a long and proven track record of writing strong songs, and these new ones are no different. Full of brutal catchiness and blackened hooks, the music on this album is heavy and nasty, while also having a certain wider appeal that might not have worked in lesser hands. Behemoth, however, know precisely how to blend the esoteric with the commercial, resulting in music that appeals to both the casual metal fan and true devotees. Of course, like any artist, they reserve their real rewards for the people in the latter category; there’s more than enough direct-appeal content here to satisfy anyone, but repeat spins of the album reveal darker depths that are there to be explored by those who take the time to delve into them fully.
Overall this is a quality release from a quality band. Although it doesn’t completely see them at their best, there’s certainly aspects of their best work on this collection of songs. As I said earlier, however, this is still a ridiculously strong album, and compared to most of what other ostensibly similar bands are releasing, this blows them out of the water for the most part.
So make sure you check this out, as I can’t see how any fan of the band, or extreme metal in general, can be disappointed with this. Very highly recommended.