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BEHEMOTH’s Nergal Chats Light And Dark And Farewelling To Slayer

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The strength and success of BEHEMOTH cannot be understated. The Satanist [2014] album was considered to be an instant masterpiece and is revered worldwide. Metal V spoke to Nergal, frontman for BEHEMOTH about their imminent upcoming and all too brief Australian tour supporting ANTHRAX and SLAYER who are on their final world tour and also BEHEMOTH’s album released last year I Loved You At Your Darkest.

How did you come to use the title I Loved You At Your Darkest and how does it relate to the meaning and purpose of the album as a whole? “It is a really deep and multi-dimensional album title. It is hard to explain myself when it comes to art, things just happen more or less in an alchemic way. I pick up thoughts and ideas where I can and if I find it inspirational. Now I’m not going to lie, I saw the phrase on the internet and I went deeper and I investigated the meaning behind it and thought to myself “Holy shit, that’s a BEHEMOTH album title!” So this is definitely not your cliched heavy metal album title. With The Satanist, that was the most brilliant but also the most cliched black or death metal album title ever and the fact that no one had used it before back then sounded like a joke to me.” Nergal then matter of factly says of The Satanist and using that as a title, “when BEHEMOTH use this title we are going to set the bar really high, and we didn’t want to have our next album be another Evangelion [2009] or another Demigod [2004] or another The Apostasy [2007]! With this album, we really needed to take a rapid curve and that is what we did!” Explaining ILYAYD in greater depth Nergal continues. We came back with a much more sophisticated album that is more diverse, more multi-layered and more reflections and so we sewed it together with the title. So to me, I think that the title works perfectly with the content that is on the record. Plus what is really exciting about that title is that there are two opposites combined as one. On the one hand, you have love and on the other you have darkness. Balancing the extremes as a way to express myself and I am super proud and happy with ILYAYD and the ideas that we used.”

Staying on the topic of I Loved You At Your Darkest, but branching slightly Nergal continues further, “One of the main ideas of heavy music for me is that I allow softness, tears and weaknesses to be involved with this extremely powerful and wilful endeavour! I am absolutely looking for some illumination or enlightenment and one of the many reasons that we stand against any oppressive religious laws is because they claim or think that they have the monopoly on light and wisdom and say “It’s a God’s light!” And as a counter, we reverse that claim and we challenge and dare them by saying “NO!” We shall find our enlightenment down below in the gutter and that is one of the ways BEHEMOTH uses their opposition to any restricting laws be it religion or politics”

BEHEMOTH are a band who consistently deliver magnificent visual videos that accompany and compliment their songs. Now those clips that have followed the release of ILYAYD such as “Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica”, “Bartzabel”, “God = Dog” and “Wolves Of Siberia” are no exception. Nergal discusses the elements and processes that go into creating such visual theatre as the backdrop to their songs. “It is just me having an idea and sometimes those ideas aren’t that complicated, such as “Wolves Of Siberia” where you can see and hear the full story. I wanted to keep that very simple and very primal…on one hand it’s very brutal but on the other, it is dangerously beautiful and I love the clip for that fact! Then the others, they are super theatrical. I love the theatrics, you know I grew up listening to W.A.S.P., KISS, Celtic Frost, Venom and King Diamond, so combining all of them together definitely left a massive imprint on my heavy metal upbringing, but I don’t need to replicate those bands, what I do is try to create a new quality which is new and unique.” Nergal then explains that “for the more theatrical clips it is just myself and those that I work with running with a creative dialogue and you can see the effects [of that dialogue] in the videos.” Promising more in the future he says, “the fans have already seen four videos from I Loved You At Your Darkest and they can expect two or three more.”

Aside from discussing BEHEMOTH’s latest album amongst other things, they are not only playing Download in Sydney and Melbourne, but are opening two evenings in Brisbane and Adelaide as support to Anthrax and SLAYER who, we as fans are all too well aware, that this will be the final time we get to see them here in Australia. Emphasising on how it must be humbling but sad to be a part of such an important and memorable gig alongside two of the Big Four, specifically Slayer’s final shows Nergal responds, “Mate, I have been such a fanboy and still am. Trust me, when we go out on tour with them I will go out and watch their full set. They’re insane. Slayer are easily one of those bands that you can watch over and over again. They will never get old or boring.” And on Slayer calling it a day Nergal says, “on one hand yes it is sad, but to quote a really cool Danzig song, “maybe it’s better to leave while your song still calls” rather than to leave it till you get slow, boring and old. But trust me, Slayer are literally on fire. Their set is just IN-FUCKING-SANE. Make sure you go and see them! I promise you’ll see me at the side of the stage screaming “ANGEL OF DEATH” he laughs to conclude the chat.

Listen to the full interview podcast above where Nergal delves deeper into life, fans festival shows as opposed to intimate venue gigs and what gets him up every morning.

BEHEMOTH’s Australian tour dates:

THURSDAY MARCH 7th – THE RIVERSTAGE, BRISBANE (Supporting Anthrax & Slayer)



WEDNESDAY MARCH 13th – AEC ARENA, ADELAIDE (Supporting Anthrax & Slayer)

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