Release Date: October 5, 2018
“It doesn’t get more blasphemous than this.”
That’s Behemoth mastermind Nergal talking about the title of the band’s 11th and latest album, I Loved You At Your Darkest. While it certainly seems an unlikely title for a black metal band—especially one that called their last album The Satanist—its origin might surprise you even more than the words themselves. “It’s a verse from the Bible,” Nergal reveals. “It’s actually a quote from Jesus Christ himself. For Behemoth to use it as the basis of our record, it’s sacrilege to the extreme.”
Of course, Behemoth are no strangers to blasphemy. Over the course of the last 27 years, they’ve pushed the boundaries of black metal and heresy alike. While anti-Christian sentiment might seem like stale bread where most metal bands are concerned, for Behemoth such ideas represent a very real threat to their physical freedom. Time and again, the government of their native Poland has charged them with various “crimes” such as tearing up a bible onstage in 2007 and using the Polish coat of arms on a Behemoth t-shirt in 2017.
Nergal and his bandmates—Orion (bass) and Inferno (drums)—have channelled that passion into I Loved You At Your Darkest. A crushing salvo of black metal majesty replete with hellish riffs, thundering drum cannonades and soaring liturgical choirs reminiscent of classic horror cinema, the album is also bejeweled with nimble-fingered rock guitar solos on songs like “God=Dog,” “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” and “Sabbath Mater.”
Nergal doesn’t view the heightened rock influence as a conscious creative decision so much as a renewed interest in the historical origins of the music he makes. “15 years ago, if you had asked me who I thought was the best band on the planet, I probably would have said Mayhem or Morbid Angel. Today if you asked me, I’d say AC/DC. That should give you a clear indication of why this album is more rock-based. It all comes down to the song writing.”
Unlike The Satanist, which was primarily recorded in one studio, I Loved You At Your Darkest saw its production spread across Poland and the United States. It was produced by the band members themselves, with drum co-production by Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In Flames), mixing by Matt Hyde (Slayer, Children OfBodom) and mastering by Tom Baker (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson). Which is to say nothing of the 17-piece Polish orchestra arranged by Jan Stoklosa and engineered by Tomasz Budkiewicz. Or as Nergal sums it up: “Pretty much every instrument was recorded in a different studio, and a lot of amazing people were involved.”
All of whom came together to help realize Behemoth’s most exciting record yet. “Although our origin is black metal, Behemoth is something bigger,” Nergal ventures. “We know our legacy - but, with this record, we look to advance to higher ground!”