Release Date: Oct 5, 2018
Record label: Metal Blade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
O Father, O Satan, O Sun / Let the children come to thee… It was only a matter of time before Behemoth roped in a children's choir to further subvert the idea of religious innocence; that they do it in a song entitled "God = Dog" is just icing on the cake. They have always been a consistent band, and they could have decided to tread water for their whole career. Instead, after a five-year absence during which Nergal beat a grim leukemia diagnosis, they returned with The Satanist, a bonafide classic that quickly became one of my favorite metal albums of all time.
While The Satanist was the band's first in the span of five years, it was also their first since frontman Nergal's bout with leukemia. In the wake of his near-fatal illness, Behemoth in some such way adopted the hardship and its reckoning, somehow fueled by it. Their newest maintains similar, unbridled ferocity, serving not only as a continuation from The Satanist, but rather a proper extension of it.
To any band whose career has seen grown a little with each increasingly well-liked, decently reviewed album until they reach the status of 'mid-tier', the sudden arrival of a record that gets lauded as 'game-changing', 'unit-shifting' and 'genre-defining' can be something of a curse. The venues swell to Academy levels, hitherto unvisited lands open up, and the lucrative album tour rolls on and on until, finally, you have to think about following it up. There is a compelling argument that the recent implosion of Machine Head can be traced back to their decision to incessantly tour 2007 masterpiece The Blackening, milking it so vigorously that it overshadowed the entire next decade of their career.
A s 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.