Behemoth: I Loved You at Your Darkest review – Wagnerian satanic metal

Nuclear Blast

As Behemoth mastermind Nergal gleefully points out, I Loved You at Your Darkest is a phrase from the Bible, enabling him to boast proudly of the veteran Polish black-metal satanists’ 11th album: “It doesn’t get more blasphemous than this.” It certainly tries. God = Dog could cause palpitations in some states of America, while there seems to be a macabre sense of humour at work in the decision to start the album with a children’s choir. Otherwise, this is trademark, huge, at times semi-operatic, industrially heavy black metal. Drummer Inferno’s thunderous tom-toms are presumably inspired by the sound of civil war cannon fire and the screaming guitars possibly feature actual wailing souls.

Even if it’s hard not to titter at titles such as If Crucifixion Was Not Enough, the album is an entertaining romp that could appeal more widely than to just the band’s regular extreme metal hardcore audience. There are acoustic guitars, Gregorian chants and songs that would be suspiciously close to classic rock, were it not for Nergal’s guttural growl and words designed to bring down the nearest church. Bartzabel’s chorus – “Come unto me, Bartzabel” – is ominous but catchy. Wolves ov Siberia is a riot of symphonic metal, cries of defiance and hellish blast beats. The ominously titled Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica probably won’t feature in the Vatican’s latest audio guides, but the Wagnerian, Omen-soundtrack-type choir is glorious. “Fuck me, ecstatically,” Nergal yells on Sabbath Mater. Lock up your nuns.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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