They’re back!!  The unholy titans of blackened metal return from the critical and commercial success of The Satanist and are showing no signs of slaying the blasphemous beast on new album.

As you would expect following the release of an album as well received as 2014’s The Satanist the build-up and excitement for this album’s release has been off the charts.  The band themselves are too long in the tooth to get caught up in all the hype but now that some critical respect has been dished out to the band they would be foolish in the extreme not to capitalise on it. 

The band have been at the forefront of the revival of extreme music in recent years and have been instrumental in challenging preconceptions about the blackened metal genre and how much of an influence it still has. 

Controversy appears to follow the band, and inparticular it’s iconic leader Nergal, around like a rotting corpse.  Pious politicians and devout nations line up to condemn the Antichrist and his blasphemous horde and Nergal is happy to keep setting them up for fall.  

Orion’s basslines are nothing short of viciously strident and Inferno lives up to his name with fiery drum patterns that consistently pound on the walls of the faithful until they come crashing down at their feet. 

“Wolves ov Siberia” is the first track proper on the album and its crushing riffs provide the haunting landscape that is a key character on the album.  The unrelenting intensity drives through every track on the album from the lead-off single “God=Dog” to the rhythmic ferocious beating of “We Are The Next 1000 Years”. 

The layers on this album are multiple but the end result is the same.  The inclusion of a 17-piece orchestra is a smart move by the band that continues to redefine their sound and explore the boundaries of their genre. 

“If Crucifixion Wasn’t Enough” has a brooding intensity that never quite unleashes it’s full anger.  That is left to the next track “Angelvs XIII” which screams and rages through three and a half minutes of torturted rhythmic blastbeats whilst staying true to the essence of Behemoth.  

This album is nothing short of a total triumph and cements the band even further into the pantheon of metal music’s most revered subjects. 

Donnie’s Rating: 9.5/10 

I Loved You At Your Darkest is out now.