MTV.com reports: This week, a Polish anti-sect organization dubbed “The All-Polish Committee for Defense Against Sects” released a list of artists it claims “promote Satanism” or “encourage murder and animal sacrifice” with their music. The group plans to distribute the list to a number of Polish politicians next month, in hopes that the officials will ban said artists from performing in the Central European nation.
The list includes, among others, MARILYN MANSON and SLAYER — who, oddly enough, are touring the U.S. together this summer. Another act making the list is one of Poland’s own, blackened death metallers BEHEMOTH — who’ll also be touring the U.S. this summer, as part of this year’s 11th annual Ozzfest.
Adam “Nergal” Darski, BEHEMOTH’s frontman, said he questions the motives of the APCFDAS and thinks the attempt to ban his band from performing in his native land is, well, ridiculous.
“You have these politicians who, for some reason — probably just for self-promotion — want to fight this kind of stuff,” he explained. “This is music. This is art. This is some kind of expression, and this is our expression. For some reason, they think it has a negative influence on kids, so they want to stop it. So they made this list that’s going to come out next month, and BEHEMOTH is #1. … I’m not sure if they’ll [be able to enforce it], because it’s a violation of the most basic democratic rules. It’s very extreme and very dangerous.”
“Extreme” and “dangerous” — two words Nergal often uses to describe BEHEMOTH, but obviously with different connotations. Regardless, the threat of a potential Polish ban hasn’t put the fear of God in BEHEMOTH. In fact, the band has booked a handful of Poland dates, which it intends on playing immediately following Ozzfest’s August 30 finish in West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s all part of BEHEMOTH’s campaign to spread the word about The Apostasy, their seventh full-length album and follow-up to 2004’s Demigod that lands in stores July 17 — less than a week after Ozzfest’s Seattle launch.
“If you have a record like this in your hands, and you have so many tour opportunities and so many people [supporting you], all you have to do is get your ass on a plane or in a van — if there’s a need — and just tour every f—ing corner of the world, and make sure that every kid has a copy of this f—ing record,” Nergal said with authority. “No compromise — no rest for conquerors.”
The title to the new album refers to apostasy, the state of having forsaken your professed belief set, often in favor of opposing beliefs or causes. Different from the band’s previous works, The Apostasy features choirs, piano interludes and a horn section. Overall, Nergal said the album is a bold statement on the current state of international Catholicism — the dominant faith among Poland’s populace. But only those willing to comprehend the message will get it.
“There’s a beautiful and very epic meaning behind this title, and it’s a great statement, because of its rebelliousness,” he explained. “BEHEMOTH has always been about rejection, rebelling against various things. It’s not about rebelling against religion. The religious aspect is so important, especially in [this day and age] when the majority of wars are caused by religious conflicts. We actually speak about things that are present [on this album], that are important in the modern world. Smart people will be able to recognize this.
“This album is ritualistic,” he continued. “I would say that there is a barbaric touch to this record, and that’s what I love about music. This is a disturbing, dangerous record, and we are here to make people think. This is not just entertainment. People need to have this awareness that BEHEMOTH isn’t just entertainment. We are a disturbing, dangerous band, and we do all of this to make people think for themselves. Kids these days, they have no one to really look up to. I think BEHEMOTH’s message, some people at first might think it’s very negative. I think it’s actually very positive.”
Musically, The Apostasy is just as epic and extreme as anything BEHEMOTH have done before, but there’s an intensity to the LP that’s been missing from the band’s previous efforts, Nergal said. The goal with this record wasn’t to just push the brutality envelope.
“I wanted to make sure that, when you play this music to a jazz musician or a classical musician, I want those people to listen and say, ‘This is controlled chaos,’ but then on the other hand, they’ll be like, ‘Hey, these guys really know how to play,’ ” Nergal enthused. “We are an extreme band. But extreme metal doesn’t mean you don’t have to have musical value. It’s a very musical record, and we’ve improved as musicians a lot. I just wanted to make sure extreme-metal music [could] also be very high-quality music.”
According to Nergal, BEHEMOTH jumped at the chance to play this summer’s Ozzfest, despite the fact that they wouldn’t be paid to perform. They will have to rely exclusively on merch sales to get them through.
“It still feels unreal to me,” he said. “These people have to really have big balls to bring bands like NILE and BEHEMOTH on the bill — to bring dangerous music to the masses. We are not the most mass-appeal, happy band around. We’re not a radio-friendly band either. I can’t wait to go onstage and just blast insane music for these people and see what their reaction is. I would say that we are going to do our best, [so that] people remember the shows. We’re ready to conquer the world.”
If you miss BEHEMOTH this summer, don’t fret — Nergal said the band will be returning to the States this fall for a co-headlining run with JOB FOR A COWBOY and GOJIRA. He also said fans can look forward to an EP — featuring live tracks and some outtakes from The Apostasy sessions — later this year and should expect a BEHEMOTH DVD early next year.