Poland’s Behemoth brings on the black metal

When it comes to dealing in religious archetypes Polish metal outfit Behemoth has plenty of experience. Compelled to hold a mirror up to the hypocrisy he sees in the conservative Christian society the band’s multi-talented lead vocalist and guitarist Nergal has battled censorship in legal courts as well as the court of public opinion. Taken to task over Behemoth’s use of satanic imagery and morbid lyrical content by politicians and tabloids alike Nergal (a.k.a. Adam Darski) has developed a sense of purpose in defending his freedom of speech.

“There has been an ongoing policy of censorship towards us” Nergal acknowledges. “But there is no legal force that can stop us. We’ve already won one case and I’m prepared for more. I’m not concerned because we have friends all over the world who love our music and our albums are still selling like shit! Even if you had told me five years ago that I would be in a metal band I would have assumed we’d be an OK abstract mid-size act and that we’d do fine. But I always try to think big. I learned the greatest phrase when I was in America — ‘The sky’s the limit.’ I love that.”

Set to assail the eardrums of the faithful once again the unholy blackened metal trio have announced the August 11 release of its latest and greatest offering Evangelion. Taking its name from the Greek word for spreading the divine message Evangelion’s pummelling rhythms and spiralling guitar surges encapsulate the band’s otherworldly affiliation with all things dark and sinister.

“There’s a fundamental difference between Paganism and Satanism” says Nergal who holds a degree in history specializing in museum curation from the University of Gdansk. “I don’t have trouble using metaphors and archetypes from both ways. I’m no Antichrist but I think unlike Christians who like to put everything in one box. Our latest record was inspired by the New Testament myth of the Whore of Babylon. It expresses the female aspect of the dark side of human nature. I was immediately attracted to the imagery — it’s so distinct and awesome and isn’t overused in metal culture.”

Returning to his origins to record Behemoth’s ninth studio album Nergal joined minions Orion and Inferno to hammer out Evangelion at Radio Gdansk. Perfectionists to the end the trio worked closely on its ominous opus with sound engineer Malta and producers the Wieslawscy Brothers and Daniel Bergstran. Finally Nergal took the songs to London England were they were custom mixed in Miloco Studios by Colin Richardson (Machine Head Slipknot Carcass Napalm Death) to create what he considers to be the band’s crowning achievement.

“I just came from rehearsal and I can honestly say we sound better than we have for years” he reports. “We have some more mid-tempo songs. It’s definitely more groovy and melodic and incredibly diverse. This [record] is definitely my best vocal performance no question. We’re so fucking happy with this new album. I can tell you we’ve never worked harder. Sometimes I’ve truly struggled; it’s been pretty fuckin’ difficult to keep up with the demands on me. I’ve been stressed out in general but at the same time I’m excited as a kid.”