Behemoth have always been a band with something to say. How they say it has changed over time, but they have always had a message, a drive, ambition. Be it their rebellion against the conservative Polish culture, frontman Nergal’s battle with leukemia, or institutional religion in general, they’ve always had an edge. With any artist who is quite a ways into their career, they often run the risk of having their reality being overwritten by their aesthetic. Behemoth have always been in charge of their aesthetic. From their fantastic album art and exemplary music videos to their coordinated live performances, their thing has always been “the whole experience”. While this is kind of a genre staple for black metal, few other bands have had the dedication and budget to do it to the extent Behemoth have. All of this is to say that there’s so much going on with Behemoth, so many things riding on every aspect of their work, that it’s surprising nothing has gone wrong yet. Well, enter I Loved You At Your Darkest.
There is a long-running joke at the publication that I have called home for the past few years, Arctic Drones, that revolves around senile “Gramps” (at age 37, I am currently by far the oldest writer on our staff) consistently forgetting what he has previously written and declaring that every album he reviews is a “potential album of the year.” It has become so well-documented that, out of the desire to be as professional a writer as possible and avoid repetitious phrasings, I have made a very conscious effort to shy from such wording over the past year. Why lead with this potentially perplexing anecdote? Because Holy Fawn has finally released their first full-length record, Death Spells, and it is without hesitation and with full clarity of mind that I declare that it as, to this point, my choice for the best album of 2018.
A while ago, I wrote about one of my favorite bands operating as part of the traditional heavy metal revival, Spellcaster. Since then, sadly, the band has disbanded, leaving a denim-jacket wearing hole in my heart. Luckily for me, Gabriel Franco (who played bass for Spellcaster) has forged Idle Hands from out of the molten wreckage of his former band. Idle Hands are still very much inside the traditional heavy metal definition but channel a much darker version than Spellcaster; they tend to err on the side of ballad rather than the epic proclamations of power that were Spellcaster’s stock and fare but, to be honest, that approach might even be better than the original. Head on down below for your first taste!
Hot off the press today – the record releases tomorrow – and joining the prodigious list of young bands we love to feature, Manchester’s Prognosis are streaming their exciting debut with us here at The Heaviest Blog. Arriving armed with comparisons to metal heavyweights like Mastodon, Gojira, and Death could be too much hype firepower for a new act to shoulder. Not the case here. Progressive metal should be exciting and fresh and take on new ideas to build on the blocks laid by such acts. Definition is both wildly exciting and funky fresh. Don’t just take my word for it. Over the jump with ye.