As we wind down another year in heavy metal it is fair to say that one of the best releases has come out this October. Behemoth's new album I Loved You at Your Darkest, was easily my most anticipated album of the year. And with good reason, this album, like the rest of the band's discography is a monument of its own, and a definite Behemoth album through and through.
This album arguably takes off where we finished with The Satanist, but this strays away from the Blackened Death sound that we have been accustomed to over the years. This album utilises the strong production that we've come to love from this band, backing vocals and orchestral instrumentation is undoubtedly a highlight as always. But what this album really brings to the table is an evolution in the band's sound but also a development in the sound of what can be deemed extreme metal. The band has set the bar high once again by implementing strong progressive elements, acoustic sections, but also clean vocals and a number of more rock based songs.
This album delves into territory where I think a lot of extreme bands are afraid to go. Like with every Behemoth album I think this brings forth the band's trademark sound but also creates an entirely new identity and direction for the band that we have not yet seen. Whether its the straight black metal vibe with Wolves ov Siberia, or the rather progressive Havohej Pantocrator, and the operatic sounds of Barztabel, this album is diverse in its sound and direction.
However it is crucial to mention before finishing this review, that this album is in no way a one time listen. It requires understanding, patience and thought, to really delve through and hear every precise layer that has gone into every song. After repeated listens I find myself more involved in the progression of the album, but also picking up on elements which I have missed.
Behemoth have once again broken new ground in a rather straight forward genre of metal. This album proves that external influences and breaking the mould of extreme metal can work in favour of the art. From here on in arguably what is the band's 3rd act, this new direction can only bring them more prosperity as they become one of the leading bands in this genre of music.