Extreme black metal icons, Behemoth, have released the first single from their soon to be released 11th studio album. The single, called God = Dog, will make up part of the new album, I Loved You at Your Darkest, due for release on the 5th of October via Nuclear Blast.
The Polish metallers are renowned for courting controversy with their anti-religious views and they look to have lost none of that fire with the new album, despite the initially cleaner sounding album title. Frontman Nergal actually explains, in an interview, that the title comes from the bible and is a quote from Jesus Christ so it’s use is sacrilege to the extreme, in his words.
With a marketing campaign that has shown videos of Nergal being crucified, encouraged fans to recite satanic verses in exchange for music clips and a lead single called God = Dog, Behemoth look to be in fine, controversial form so we really could be about to get something very special from the band.
Behemoth, soon approaching 30 years in the business, are one of they primary influencers of the extreme black metal scene. With 10 studio albums, 7 EPs, 4 demos and 6 live albums under their belts so far, they have been pushing their genre to further extremes for decades. The band are Adam Darski (Nergal) on lead vocals and guitars, the only original member left in the band. 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). I must admit I love their nick names, I always get a chuckle from the hardcore names like Nergal, Inferno, Orion and then, that is followed by, um, Seth.
On to the single though, and God = Dog is 4 minutes long and definitely shows a few of the different stylings Nergal hints at in his statement below. While unmistakably blasphemous and shining with dark blackened elements, the intro is a much more rhythmic affair. A gentle off beat drum rhythm, brooding bass line and melodic guitar starts off before it builds with growing drum crashes. This leads into a viciously beaten drum kit and quick picked riff. Nergal’s vocals come in sounding rough and angry over a fast extreme metal riff. Black choir like elements add a layer of atmosphere over the choruses too. As the sing progresses, it does feel a little disjointed at times as they attempt to glue the cleaner guitar melody with Inferno’s intense drumming but it doesn’t detract from the overall song too much.
More new influences come nearing the end as a traditional metal sounding guitar solo shines through. We are quickly back to the darkness again though as Nergal trades vocals with children singing lines like “Jesus Christ! I forgive thee not” together.
Speaking about the new album, frontman Nergal states – “I really wanted to redefine ourselves with this record. I Loved You At Your Darkest is a more dynamic record. It’s extreme and radical on one hand, but it’s also more rock-oriented than any other Behemoth record. We don’t give consideration to musical direction, we simply create what naturally comes to us. But 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. It’s very religion-driven, maybe more than anything we’ve done before. But it’s not just cheap goading. I believe this is some deeper metal language. It’s art.”
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God = Dog 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 pages.
God = Dog by Behemoth (I Loved You at Your Darkest)
The Final Score - 8/10