By: Navjot Kaur Sobti
With close to two decades of music that feeds upon the ideals of all that is Pagan and “Antichristian,” it seems that Poland-based blackened death metallers Behemoth have made an all-too overt statement contra their Roman Catholic critics. On Monday, March 8th, frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski was formally charged for insults towards Catholicism, which is the majority faith in Poland.
The charges are based on an incident strangely three years past – in 2007 – when, during a performance, Darski denounced the Catholic Church “as the most murderous cult on the planet,” following by a rather theatrical shredding to bits of the nearest pocket Bible at hand. The performance, (in-)conveniently enough, took place in Gdynia, which is an urban pocket of Southern Poland. The initial charge against the Bible destruction was filed by the fiery Catholophilic head of the All-Polish Committee for Defense Against Sects otherwise known as Ryszard Nowak. He sued Darski for not only this “insulting” act, but for his alleged “worship of Satan.” Despite a religious specialist’s statement that the Bible destruction is enough to “hurt feelings,” a criminal offense in this Baltic land, a second formal complaint was needed and never filed: the necessary step to move further with the case.
With the slew of formal complaints that followed Nowak’s charges, Darski is currently pleading not guilty. If he is in fact found guilty, he faces two years in prison; yet, he has boldly maintained that the act that an exercise of his “artistic license,” and that he did not intend to “hurt feelings.” In spite of the uproar, the band backs Nergal, 100%. In a 2009 Decibel interview, bassist Tomasz "Orion" Wróblewski expressed that the act was not a “spontaneous outburst,” but something that the band had been doing “for two years before it happened in Poland.” Moreover, he underlined the act as a statement against the “religion in which [the members] were raised,” and not at all an offense towards any one person or group. To fans, this is just one specific “philosophy” that has driven the band’s music and performances and of which they are aware; anyone listening (and attending shows) with the “purpose of being offended” could easily take what is truly the band’s inflammatory response to their experience with an institution as a personal attack.
With a court of religious specialists and theologians on the bench, many whom have deemed any Bible a “religious icon,” things are looking (unpleasantly) grim for Darski. Nonetheless, with two horns up, and a little faith in the power of the “artistic license,” we can only hope for the best for our beloved, Lucifer-worshipping metal frontman.