At present, things are going very, very well for Behemoth, the Polish-bred band of extreme-metal demigods. Not so long ago, a cloud of uncertainty loomed over these titans when mastermind and frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski was sidelined by leukemia.
However, not only did Nergal recover, the band returned with its most ambitious musical statement to date: The Satanist, a universally acclaimed triumph for the group that further reinforces its staunch refusal to be pushed into the servitude of a specific metal subgenre, and an album that may truly be its magnum opus.
Nergal, long a pillar of iconoclasm, has become quite the icon himself in recent years. Following his cancer treatment, the outspoken Satanist was a coach on the Polish version of The Voice, recently opened a barbershop in Warsaw, and helped put together a pair of books -- his own biography and a Behemoth-specific collection of interviews and photographs -- slated for simultaneous release.
We caught up with the unbelievably busy musician to discuss the band's successes, the possibility of an impending solo project, and the potential end of Behemoth.
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New Times: It seems like most of the shows the band has played in the States on this run have sold out! Would you say Behemoth's popularity has reached a new peak in North America at this point?
Nergal: Oh yeah! Definitely. Definitely. It's been the biggest it's been so far -- there's no question about it. It's the peak of our career, really.
You're extremely articulate in your explanations of Satanism to the uninitiated and have always been a real proponent of the intellectual nature of it. Do you see yourself as a spokesperson in a way, and do you get tired of fielding questions on the subject?
It all depends on the day, the mood, the interviewer, and how he or she approaches it, you know? When I take the typical kinds of stupid questions about Satanism, it's not very inspirational to discuss it, but when you push the right button, I can just go on forever. It's a very difficult subject, and it's never easy to talk about. It's not every day that I'm allowed to elaborate on these things in a way that makes me feel like I'm truly understood in what I'm trying to say.
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In a recent interview, you alluded that The Satanist may potentially be the final statement for Behemoth. Would you care to expand upon that at all?
Well, like anything, I think the future is good with thrills and... options. I'm not really counting on my future further than the touring cycle goes these days. That's really it. We're going to surprise people with some amazing projects in the coming months, but there's no new record in sight, to be honest. I don't know even when or where we'll start working on it -- it's in the last position on my list of priorities.