The third single to be released off of Behemoth’s incoming new album is called Bartzabel. The black metal icons 11th studio album is called I Loved You at Your Darkest and it will be released on the 5th of October via Nuclear Blast.
While the song title might conjure up images of a The Simpsons Halloween special, Bartzabel is a demon known as The Spirit of Mars with the power to conjure up storms (apparently). Bartzabel is mostly known through the writings of the occult legend, Aleister Crowley with his book “The Bartzabel Workings”. The Bartzabel working itself is a ritual written in 1910 that was designed to manifest Bartzabel. It is based on techniques of evocation found in grimoires dating from medieval times. A fitting inspiration for a Behemoth song.
Behemoth are Adam Darski (Nergal) on lead vocals and guitars. Nergal is the only original member in the band since their formation in 1991. On drums, since the late 90’s, is Zbigniew Promiñski (Inferno) and from the early 2000’s, on guitars we have Patryk Sztyber (Seth). Finally, also joining the band in the early 2000’s on the bass is Tomasz Wróblewski (Orion).
The band have already released two singles from I Loved You at Your Darkest in Wolves ov Siberia and God = Dog. Both are really good tracks. You can read our thoughts on them by following the links. Let’s see if Bartzabel lives up to the high standard already set with the first two releases.
Bartzabel is the longest track so far at around 5 minutes. It takes a different approach to the first two singles. Where they hit you quite hard and fast with blistering black metal, Bartzabel brings the heaviness in a slower, ominous approach. Like an approaching dark cloud, Bartzabel is an atmospheric builder of a song, It starts with a ringing melody from the guitars before they fade off and the drums start to play a marching beat, again giving the impression of incoming darkness. Over that wicked drum rhythm, the guitars and bass come back in playing the opening melody while a single guitar note squeals gently in the background.
As far as song openings go, it is masterful. Perfectly creating an image of darkness and worry and proving that heaviness doesn’t have to come in the form of ferocious speed. This foreboding intro goes on for around 90 seconds before the vocals come in over the top. They start off harsh but delivered slowly while the music picks up the volume and intensity but not the pace. The vocals switch up to cleanly sung, chant like lines before heading back to Nergal’s rasping shout all while the melancholic, brooding tones of the guitars and bass wash over you and the drums pound out a hypnotic rhythm.
Barring the last 60 seconds or so, where the drums suddenly explode into life at blistering speed, the whole song follows the same pattern of thick, heavy instrumentation and mixed vocals. Bartzabel really stands out as being a bit different. It almost feels like a Blackgaze track actually. Either way it delivers in regards to being a heavy, sombre, dark track that continues to point towards I Loved You at Your Darkest as an album of the year contender.
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Bartzabel is available now on all the usual streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. You can preorder a copy of I Loved You at Your Darkest from Nuclear Blast here. As well as new music, Behemoth have announced a huge worldwide tour taking in North America at the end of 2018 and then hitting the UK and Europe in early 2019. With support from At The Gates and Wolves in the Throne Room, it could be the heaviest show you will get to that year. You can grab tickets for those shows from here. Keep up to date with more from Behemoth at their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Bartzabel by Behemoth (I Loved You at Your Darkest)
The Final Score - 9/10