Well, here we are. After weeks of teasing, controversial images and a marketing campaign that required you to recite a prayer into your microphone, Polish blackened death metal heavyweights Behemoth have unleashed their first new song since The Satanist album in 2014 AND IT IS A BEAST.
Speaking previously, Nergal has said that the new album I Loved You At Your Darkest is “going to be a different record, a different approach,” but judging by new track God = Dog, that approach is one of hellacious heaviness and untamed aggression.
Although the song’s title is reminiscent of Neil’s inspirational speech in The Inbetweeners Movie, it sounds much more like a Satanic horror. Opening on an ominous intro, the music builds and swells, creating a sense of dread and fear of which the Poles have become masters. The pummelling percussion and black metal extremity is hellish, creating such a ferocious and dark soundscape – this is exactly what Behemoth fans want to hear.
You feel dirty and evil just listening to it. Nergal’s guttural growls and barks are among the most savage we’ve ever heard, and the inclusion of choral chanting just boosts the religious connotations within the song and no doubt the album as a whole (the picture of Nergal being crucified isn’t exactly subtle). But it’s the addition of children’s voices that make it sound profoundly wicked, like we’re bearing witness to the corruption of innocence.
It’s no secret that Behemoth aren’t that fond of Christianity, and God = Dog feels like a direct descendent of The Satanist, perhaps one that’s more riled up than before – like a black metal Scrappy-Doo.
The song climaxes with Nergal barking the Behemoth prayer fans were asked to read earlier this week – ‘Living God, I shall not forgive, Jesus Christ, I forgive the not’. A lovely little sing along.
In short, this is a triumph for Behemoth. It shows that the band can not only live up to expectations, but they can punt those doubters into the centre of the sun.