Behemoth. The name pretty much says it all: Unstoppable, unwavering, uncompromising, which can easily be leveled to describe the main man behind it all, Adam ‘Nergal‘ Darski. I’m not going to get into breaking down the reasons why. If you are a Metal-Head and can’t make the connections… shame on you.
It would seem many extreme Metal musicians follow the strict rule of not showing ANY other emotion than a void thereof. If you pay attention, you can at times see Nergal with a big shit-eating grin on his face whilst on stage. Passionate debates on the topic can be overheard at almost any extreme Metal gig. I can recall being on tour-buses when members of extreme Metal bands are arguing this precise point. What’s Nergals view?
‘ I never limit myself, you know? When I feel like doing something… I just do it. Of course there are situations where I can’t stop smiling, when what’s happening in my environment makes me feel so. There are some bands/musicians that may feel like they always have to [Nergal makes a grimacing frown/scowl] all the time. I think I possess a full spectrum of facial emotions & reactions. Sometimes I’m fucking pissed off and you’ll know it. If I’m happy I’ll give that energy back to the crowd, it always works both ways. I never try to hide it. These days more than ever, I never hide ANY of my emotions.’
We’re all familiar with Nergal‘s infamous live act of ripping a bible apart in Poland. His own government wants to imprison him for expressing himself. Makes one appreciate civil rights in North America.
‘ My trial was supposed to end on April 12, 2012 but the judge got sick and it was postponed with no new date chosen. I am really hoping that the verdict will be judged in my favor… yeah we’re just going to rip it up and bury this case and hopefully never have to deal with it again. There are people everywhere who find just my presence offensive without me ever having to speak a single word. These people have some serious problems, you know what I mean?’ It’s not really absorbing, you know? I am here, and this is going on somewhere else. I’m doing my thing and it doesn’t bother me that much… but on the other hand I am getting too old for this shit! ‘
The burning question… Would he ever do it again?
‘ I NEVER have any regrets in life! If… FUCK I HATE ‘IF’S’! If I knew how much bullshit this would have caused me… I don’t need it. With how much it’s cost me in attorney fees and everything else… all the money and energy involved, it’s just bullshit! Of course there will be people involved [in the court case] who will analyze my lyrics and take things completely out of context, to use against me in my trial. This is such a non-intelligent way… a real wrong play for them [prosecutors] because they will FAIL BIG-TIME, but is to be expected. I hope the Polish justice system is intelligent enough to make the proper ruling.’
After becoming aware of such atrocities set forth in different countries, I believe it’s paramount for North American citizens to house gratitude for all of our freedoms included therein. I am always curious what it looks like from the outside…
‘ I would say through my observation, the U.S. is very extreme. On one hand, you can own a gun or bash the Bible and nobody really cares… well I guess some people would care, but it’s not like you are going to be charged and dragged through the courts. They know the citizen would win if they tried, I may be wrong but that’s my perception. In some ways I think that North America is very liberated and so free. In other ways I’m just terrified of how limited and enchaining the system is… and I think WOW. For example, North America has a HUGE problem with nudity, and as you know Europe does not. There are many more examples, but there is a lot of extremes in both North American and European systems. Generally speaking, I think that the American system is far more extreme.’
Fact: Nergal was raised Catholic. Fact: I was raised Catholic. Fact: If you look into many Metal artists [especially extreme] backgrounds, many were also raised catholic. I wondered what’s Nergal‘s take on this phenomenon?
‘ You can only rebel against things you are familiar with. I was raised Catholic but not a strict upbringing. This helped me see through bullshit, you know? It helped me become aware of what really goes on behind the facade. If you are intelligent, willing and want to change something in your life, you will make certain choices that will lead you to do something alternative. Extreme Metal offers kids who maybe feel like outcasts a different path. Today I would say that I am a proper and worthy citizen of my country, but this is such a small facet of who I am. I need to live. I am a part of society and have no issues with that what so ever. The intellectual part of me RAGES and is where my rebellion stems from. I channel it through music and lyrics… which is the most comfortable way for me. I can’t see myself out on the street with some fucking stupid sign, attacking people… NO. That’s not me! On stage, that’s my way. People come to the show who share my views, are about to share my views, or just to worship music. That’s totally cool with me. No preaching here.’
I sometimes have a difficult time with people trying to fragment Metal into a gaggle of different sub-genres, and at times believe it gets out of hand. Does Nergal share my grievance?
‘ I believe in symbiosis of species… we [as a species] differ so much, have polar opinions, but this is what drives me through life.[smiles] If everyone was the same… what’s the point? Variety/Diversity is awesome and amazing. It keeps me going and provides me with so much motivation to do my art.’
Most non-Metal-Heads, or people of a close minded nature, may assume extreme Metal is just a bunch of noise produced by talent-less or sub-par musicians. Metal-Heads know better, but of course lack of talent and skill can be present in ALL genres of ANY music, including extreme. What you might not know is that Nergal has a quite good CLEAN singing voice.
‘ I disagree! I have been told by some vocal coaches that I have a nice baritone. I will agree with that, but I don’t know how to use it. My vocal tool is focused on screaming, growling and just pure aggression. There are many metal vocalists who can do both clean and extreme style very well. When I sing clean it has to be low so that I don’t go out of tune… there are a lot of false notes. I can do some Johnny Cash because it’s almost like speaking and not about octave range. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to possess the skill to sing clean, I would make use of it that’s for sure. Maybe start a rock band project on the side. That would be GREAT! ‘
Another common misnomer among the non-Metal community is, that Metal musicians are not only unskilled and untalented… but also not very bright. I know… my blood pressure is starting to escalate too! Here’s a little tidbit for
those ignorant fucks. Nergal is QUALIFIED for museum curator-ship. Choke on that mainstream society!
‘A Heavy Metal Museum! I’m always joking about that. Obviously it will never, ever happen. It would only take a couple days for me to become one of it’s exponents. With my character and very intense nature, I would probably die of boredom in such a place. I think I am in the right place in life.’
Behemoth‘s lyrics are intricate, dark, perplexing and thought provoking to say the least. Nergal has had an integral partner when it comes to crafting these legendary lyrics…
‘ Kristopher is like my musical soul-mate, we’ve known each other for twenty-five years… we are like brothers. I actually just visited him in London [UK] and we are working on a book together that will be approximately three hundred pages or so. It’s going to be titled ‘Sacram Profanum’, basically a really long interview with me. We cover all areas, not just Black Metal, etc… it’s about life in general, women, money, business, nature, literature, films, sports… EVERYTHING. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s a lot about my relationships, my struggle with leukemia… it’s so cool. I had so much fun and gained an enormous amount of satisfaction from revisiting my life. As of right now, it will only be published in Polish. Eventually, if there is an interest from any American publishers, we may publish it in English at later point in time. Looking back and analyzing everything, I have learned a lot from the process. It sums up my life. It’s set to come out this October! ‘
Do you feel like taking a battleaxe to your television when it’s desecrated by horrible concoctions like ‘American Idol’, ‘The X-factor’ or ‘The Voice’? I’ve often thought ‘How fucking amazingly cool would it be to have a Metal version of something like this?!?’. Looks like I need to move to Poland. Believe it or not, Nergal was asked to be a Judge/Coach on Poland’s version of ‘The Voice’, which is called ‘The Voice of Poland’ HOW THE FUCK DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN?
The producer called me up and informed me that I was being considered for a judge position. We set up a meeting, where they showed me footage of the show because the original is from Holland. At first I thought, ‘That’s very interesting’, but NO. There’s NO WAY I would ever take part in something like this. From the first meeting, I was positive I would NOT be doing it… but, you know… it started growing on me. This program is about singing, and the first thing I told them [producers] was, ‘ Listen guys, I’m a screamer… a screaming vocalist. I can give people tips that apply to live performance. It’s all about raw emotion and how to control it and also knowing how to play with the energies. When it comes to proper vocal coaching, that’s NOT me.’ The producers were like, ‘No! No worries, don’t worry about that! There will be professional vocal coaches involved. Your PRESENCE is important!’ etc, etc. I started to think more about it, and I thought ‘FUCK, OK I’m gonna bite the bullet! What is so cool about it is… I just love to overcome, you know? I knew for a fact, that there were NO extreme musician in ANY of these… ‘Idols’ or ‘X-factors’ or any of this type bullshit. They may have had an alternative musician here and there, but never an extreme musician. This made me realize that I would be making fucking history. I know it’s entertainment, it’s plastic, an illusion, it’s television! I knew this but I thought, this could be great for extreme music. Think if Kerry King was a judge on the american version! That would KILL!
I had a great time there. Actually, me and my contestant WON the show. While everyone else were always picking regular classics, we won with HEAVY METAL CLASSICS. I was VERY proud to be a part of it! I kept my integrity intact through the process, and remained true to myself.