Vera : Behemoth’s history happens to be engrossing and captivating. Many years they have been advocates of free speech in Poland and in 2009 Behemoth as well as Vader found a new home base at the mighty Nuclear Blast label. For Behemoth it signified the release of the magnificent ’Evangelion’. Just when the rebellious band became more lucrative, main man Nergal had to face severe problems in his fight against leukemia. And then there was ’The Satanist’, a shell shock of a record, which slowly yet adequately oozed into the minds of every metal fan on earth. It became an epoch-making classic, supported by many integral live performance in an – you have to admit – breathtaking setting. It seemed as if Behemoth had risen from its ashes as a mechanical force, beyond all earthly restrictions when this show rolled over you.
How do you write a successor for an album that opened all doors world-wide for you? That’s exactly what happened now – obviously they have taken the time – and the title ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ initially reminds us more of the success era of Type O’Negative than of the blasphemous primordial prowess of the Polish outfit, but it appears to be a quote from Jesus, once more referring to the anti-religious aspect of the band. The thunderous power of the Polish guys – in addition to Nergal (vocals, guitars) also loyal companions Orion (bass, vocals) and drummer Inferno – is maintained in the majority of these compact hand grenades, but on the other hand you also find liturgical choirs, symphonic layers (17 headed Polish orchestra) and three famous producers (Daniel Bergstrand, Matt Hyde and Tom Baker) in charge of this record, turning it into a Polish/American enterprise. ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ happens to be Behemoth from top to toe, yet slightly different. The blackened death metal is regaled with an injection of melodious guitar solos, that’s why we notice smooth rocking dynamics. In the intro ‘Solve’ a children’s choir proclaims unholy slogans, then guitars join in quite slowly. Next all demons break loose in ‘Wolves Of Siberia’ and ‘God=Dog’ is relished with extra bombastic overtones with choirs and a reprise of that anti-catholic children’s choir. A solemn choir and even an acoustic intermezzo grace the furthermore brutal ‘Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica’. Next we have a grandiose turn of the atmosphere with the slow, doom-laden ‘Bartzabel’. Very intense with modest choirs and slow guitar solo. The blasphemous rites continue at full force in the next three songs, with ultimate tight playing and occult mysticism, until the longer ‘Havohej Pantocrator’ happens to be another surprise. One can categorize it as ‘Our Father’ on the barricades. Here the Polish three-force even reminds us a bit of Moonspell, a true captivating composition! Obviously Satan’s tempts are featured in the next tracks as well and finally they round off with pompous orchestration in ‘Coagula’. This is a comprehensive and impressive piece of art, a successor of ‘The Satanist’ in a very majestic manner!