Polish extreme metal kings have done it again. This time
around with the monumental release 'Demigod'. I had a chance to catch
up with founder/frontman , Nergal , who are currently finishing up the
second leg of their U.S. tour with King Diamond. Nergal talks about the
thrills of their basically new found power in the U.S. market. As well
as a few other things I was curious about.
JH: First off, give us a brief history of the band.
N: Well I formed the band in Ď91. Weíve seven albums and ĎDemigodí
is our brand new record. There have been several line-up changes you
know. Thereís just too much details to go into right now and thereís no
time. Yes , but . Yes thatís very breif.
JH: Yes it was. Thatís cool. So youíve been on this leg of the tour
for a couple of weeks now, how well has it been going?
N: Very good. Itís been very good. It seems like weíre really
stepping up. Itís getting better and better. And from being a totally
unknown band like in 2003, which was like the first album we came over
here for and now itís like a huge difference. Itís just getting better
and better now. Itís great. Iím happy. Weíre just working hard trying
to build a solid fan base here in the U.S. The record is selling like
crazy for us. Weíve already gone over 10,000 copies now in 3 months.
Which is great results for such an extreme music.
JH: Glad to hear that. Now back in Jan. & Feb. you were here with
Suffocation. Are you noticing a larger turnout for Behemoth this time
around? Where as before was much more of an introduction to the band.
N: Yea, yea. I am noticing that. I can see that. On this tour we can
see the difference. We can see that something has developed. Even since
the Suffocation tour. That tour was more underground tour and audience.
And with King Diamond we get to be introduced to a much more mainstream
JH: King Diamond may be a little more well know, but still just as
underground as the next.
N: Yes very true. But still I remember this couple from Orlando, or
Baltimore. Both we like 45 or something. And they said they were never
into this kind of music, but after seeing us live became fans. Than a
few days later I got an e-mail from them. This is what I find very
refreshing about our band. In the U.S. there are so many people you can
reach. And theyíre totally, theyíve never heard of the band. And for
us, have a 13 years is a long history, is very refreshing. If you know
hat I mean.
JH: I suppose I do.
N: You know in Europe, weíre this legendary band. A heavy hitter.
And itís cool to come here and be the newcomer. Nobody really knows you
and are like, WOW!!!.
JH: Yea, Satyr (Satyricon), mentioned that in an interview I did
with him back in December.
N: Yea, yea. So I think it might actually lengthen the life of the
band because we feel a new power coming. Itís cool.
JH: Can you tell us a bit about the new record, íDemigodí.
N: Well, itís massive, crushing. Itís pretty much everything that
this band is all about. The title speaks for itself. The whole music,
the whole concept talks about non-compromise. A non-compromising
approach towards life, towards people, towards all surroundings. Itís
full of history, full of emotions. Itís pretty much anything all mixed
up together. This is Behemoth. What can I say. Get through the lyrics
and make up your own mind for yourself. Get inspired. I donít want to
try to explain what all the songs are about, you know. I can give you a
few key words. What this record is to me. And just listen to this and
tell me if you agree or not. I better like this discussing this way.
JH: How would you say it compares or differs to that of your last
N: Itís faster. Itís more intense. More insane, more diverse, more
technical. We pretty much put all the elements on this record that we
had on our last, only we improved on them. There are some really slow
parts like on the song Ď The Reign Ov Shemsu-Horí , the closing song.
Which is a mantle epic. Itís just huge, you know. And we had these kind
of tracks on the last, but it was just to push every way. To push much
further. Which makes this record more, professional?
JH: What was it that first intrigued you into playing such extreme
N: I just came to the point by experience. I started off with the
traditional heavy metal, forming my first band when I was 8 or 9. With
my friends. We played like regular heavy metal band. Then we got into
thrash, death metal. But then I found that black metal was more
refreshing thing. So I wanted to form my own band. Behemoth has been
extreme since day one. Every record shows that we get more and more
extreme. Which is cool I think. There are so many bands out there that
soften their sound. I hate that. We keep the band honest. And straight
forward. Day by day. Faster and more technical.
JH: Now in the early days Behemoth were primarily a black metal
band. Than you seemed to progress more towards a death metal sound.
N: Well itís all about labeling really donít like that.
JH: Where does Behemoth fit in? Extreme?
N: You know, when you talk about Slayer, you would never consider
them as a thrash metal band. You know what I mean? Even though they are
the definition of thrash metal. But nobody considers them as,ÖSlayer is
just Slayer. Nobody even tries to think about where to put Slayer now.
You know? They just fuckiní slay anyone.
JH: Since day one they always have.
N: Yes they have. And thatís what I try to maintain with our band.
Just to be a trademark itself. We donít want to follow this or that
path. I like people to say oh yea, thereís Behemoth trademarks, vocals
and guitars. Iím not saying I hate originality, I hate that word. I
donít believe in anything like that in music. Seems after The Beatles,
nothing was original. They were like the first real rock band. Then it
was like getting some more distortion and double bass. And thatís it.
But still, itís all about putting things together in a different
configuration. And, itís what we do. We just try to sound like
Behemoth. You can say we sound like death metal and Iíd be fine with
that. Thrash metal, whatever. Just listen to the song off the new
record ,íConquer Allí, it has some pure heavy metal influences in it.
But than again, itís extreme. The vocals are massive. They strike you
JH: Seems just about ten years ago, it was all just heavy metal.
N: Yes. Even the bands who were not heavy metal.
JH: Now with most bands fighting to remain vital in their extreme
metal scenes, Behemoth seem to do it very effortlessly. What do you
attribute this to?
N: I donít know.
JH: Was that a trick question?
N: Yea, yea that was tricky. Give me another one. Iím sorry.
JH: Thatís okay. What sort of things inspire your lyrical writing?
N: Iíve got this universal answer. Itís life man. A lot of guys are
like, yea I read this book. And thatís good and all. But through
growing up and maturing, Iím pretty sure that itís just all about life.
Enjoying life. Experiencing life. And transporting this experience
through the music. Thatís kinda how I see things. Thatís what Behemoth
is all about. Behemoth is all about my life. And if you ask any of
these guys theyíll say yea we tried to bring in a different spirit, our
spirit you know, into the songs, but you know thatís what the band is
JH: So youíre the primary song writer?
N: Yea. I give the idea of how the songs should sound like.
JH: Into any other side projects?
N: No. I donít have the fuckiní time. Behemoth takes up 99% of my
JH: I also hear youíre fairly well educated? College degrees, museum
curator ship. You ever consider going into one of those lines of work?
N: No, no. thatís too boring. Iíve got to be doing this. I need to
be traveling. I love to be on the road. Lack off sleep and shitty food.
You canít beat it. Although House of Blues has the best food yet. Today
we were all joking why we came for 20 minute sets. And now I know, for
a good dinner! (laughing) The food here is fucking awesome.
JH: Now on a personal level, are your beliefs in Satanism true? Or
are they geared towards the genre of music you play? What is you stance
N: You know, itís pretty universal. Itís like a 3-dimensional thing.
So, I see things on several different levels. Itís not that weíre
satanic for the sake of being satanic. Satanism is more like being ,
JH: Are you looking to explain the Anton Szandor LaVey writings? If
so I understand those.
N: No. As I said before, I donít like labeling things or myself. Or
categorize a certain genre. Iím sorry for the Christians cause they
already did it. Being Satanic is just being on a secular level. Having
a discussion with certain kind of people. With my friends and people
who are spiritual in connection, we donít really speak on a Satanic
level. We are far above that. We donít need to do that. Satanism is
more or less like a weapon. And itís very material. Itís so much easier
to live the satanic way just so you can deal with the people of the
JH: I couldnít agree with you more.
N: I would say itís sort of a way of respect to ourselves. Our
nature. Our listings.
JH: A lot of people donít understand the philosophy behind it.
N: Yea I know. Thatís what I mean. They misinterpret the words to
vandalism or such. People just donít understand. Itís very individual
and itís a very material thing. So thatís how I see things. Satanism is
a weapon. Or a tool to make your life easier for the here and now.
Thatís just one of the levels I deal with. You know there are probably
thousands of levels though. Thatís just to put it in short.
JH: Whatís up next for Behemoth?
N: After this tour we are flying to Guatemala to do one show. Iím
really excited about it. Because I already did a tour in South America
and Central America. I found myself very excited about these countries.
They donít get much metal, so itís cool to go there. Then we are going
to open for Iron Maiden in Poland, weíll do some of the summer
festivals. Then in September weíll be starting another tour in Europe,
ah 32 dates or so, with Hate Eternal co-headling, then weíll take a few
days break and weíre flying back to America , 2 weeks lined up in
Canada. Then weíre opening up for a huge death metal band,Ö I canít
remember their name, itíll be like one month again. Then another tour
in Europe. It will end up about 230 shows for this record. And then
itís gonna be it. I donít like just sitting around waiting for miracles
to happen. Iíve got to keep busy. Youíve got to help yourself in life
in order to get some more splendor. I donít like my boys to get bored .
JH: Otherwise they might stray.
N: Oh yea. Thatís the way we are.
JH: Well thatís about all Iíve got. Is there anything youíd like to
N: Thank you very much for coming to the show. Thanks for the
supporting the music and attitude. Thank you. Iím very thankful for
that. Letís keep the metal around. Stay strong.