Album Review: Behemoth | I Loved You at Your Darkest
It’s safe to consider that 2018 has been a treat for music listeners across every genre, including those in death metal. Recently added to the list of releases this year, Behemoth has dropped their 11th studio album to date. The darkened metal veterans continue to provide eccentric lyrical stylings and visuals to their core fan base while continuing to gain newer members along the way. Their latest LP, “I Loved You at Your Darkest” is an occult-ish musical amalgamation that defies the expectations of what is considered acceptable to the average listener. Often, raw and unadulterated in it’s delivery, this album will be a fan favorite amongst the #IntoThePitUniverse and those beyond. Admittedly, there were aspects of the record that could’ve been conducted differently from a critic’s standpoint, but it doesn’t take away from Behemoth’s legacy nor the creative geniuses the group harbors.
Let’s Dive In.
Darkness and Production:
Behemoth’s musical diversity was firmly showcased throughout the length of this album. The collective’s musical chemistry is not only apparent but thrives when placed to the test as it was on this project. The lyrical and melodic aspects of this record, most will agree are not for the faint of heart. Although the album’s darker tone and performances might not be your mom’s cup of tea, the emotion being conveyed was prevalent and well received from an objective point of view. This was to be expected by a group successfully reaching their 11th studio album. Even though the layering of the lead vocals were at times “god-like” and sizzling guitar solo’s allowed for the listener to be taken into the depths of the netherworld, the real shining-star of the album was the drummer. I’d attribute a lot of the music strength of this record towards the energy delivered by the drum performances across the board. Drum breaks drove the melodic properties with the snare drum punching you in the soul for the duration of the LP. The bass elements of the project supported and played their appropriate roles due to the highlight being placed on vocals, the drummer, and at times soaring guitar transitions. All in all, this was top tier production provided by a seasoned group of musicians.
Production Score: 4.4/5
Into The Mix:
Mix-wise, Behemoth’s latest album was either a hit or miss for me. The disinterest primarily lives in the lack of effort placed into the lead vocals of the song. Often times, screams felt too dry, and too heavy over the instrumental bed. The delays attached to it were fairly generic to say the least. To provide credit were credit was due, the sonic quality of the recorded vocal was ideal for the tone of the project. In other words, it was a great mic selection, a great general equalization and compression of the main vocal. My issue comes into play when we’re discussing the balancing of the performed screams and lyrical expressions of Behemoth in tandem with the instruments supporting it. To reduce it down further, I simply would’ve wanted to feel like the instruments and the vocals lived in the same universe on this album. Instead I got a small venue, live performance feel that took away from the emotion I could’ve received from a studio recording.
Instrument-wise, the mix sounded more than acceptable from a sonic standpoint. All properties blended and cut through the sound wall appropriately and lived in it’s own space for most of the album. Overall, this was a solid mix and in future projects, I’m hoping to hear an evolutionary growth in vocal mixing to bring listeners deeper into the lyrical emotion being conveyed.
Mix Score: 3.7/5
A Mastered Experience:
Having been on both ends of the mastering process, there’s one thing that I look for when critiquing a mastered record or project..
Can I listen to this project from top to bottom and it sound cohesive all the way through?
Behemoth has had a number of years to develop their engineering process. At this point in the game, it’s safe to say that the darkened metal titans have their mastering game taken care of. To answer the above question, I’d say the newest album is cohesive from top to bottom. The drums were consistently punchy while the bass provided the underlying foundation of warmth for the record. The highs cut through without piercing and the high-mid frequency band allowed for the melodic properties to come together in it’s own dark harmonious approach. Outside of a slight sonic discrepancy caused by the mixing of the vocals, the mastering of the album is quality and an #IntoThePit kudos is being sent out to the appropriate engineer.
Master Score: 4.2/5
One of Poland’s finest musical acts is in the midst of an illustrious career, and the successful completion of their 11th studio album is a testament to that. Behemoth’s musical journey spans just shy of 3 decades, a notable accomplishment for any band, especially those residing in death metal. “I Loved You at Your Darkest” is a strong standalone LP foreshadowing the coming musical storm being casted by the group. With an increasing die-hard fan base, extraordinarily unconventional visuals and a musical grit that quite frankly, they just don’t make anymore, Behemoth will be considered legends of the genre if not just for their musical talents alone, for their tenacious ability to consistently provide the next level of transcendence for their listeners.