Behemoth’s Nergal: New Album Is ‘Something We’ve Never Done Before’
Behemoth's Nergal was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. He discussed the band's latest release, the double live album/DVD Messe Noire, which highlights Behemoth's dynamic and ritualistic live attack. They're also on one leg of Slayer's farewell tour and Nergal spoke about being a fan of the thrash legends as a kid as well as what's on the horizon for Behemoth with a new album in sight.
Behemoth recently put out a live DVD, Messe Noire. The new live release closes The Satanist chapter that started four years ago. What's the most significant thing about this most recent period of Behemoth?
I think it’s just an accumulation of who we are. All the elements, all the dots connected. All the elements put together, it's just ready to be unleashed and make an ultimate statement of the present condition and situation in our camp. So it just felt right to do this live album. It was a perfect moment to rip it up. It was just good timing. [laughs] I’m trying to say something that is very simple. It was just perfect timing to do this record, that’s it. And if you put next to the [Evangelia] Heretika DVD we released 10 years ago the quality gap is vast. It’s just massive so it’s awesome, that’s it.
The Satanist album and the tour to support it brought Behemoth to even greater prominence in the metal world. What's the most important thing that you hope people will understand about Behemoth, the album, and that tour when they watch Messe Noire?
I think the message is pretty universal and that’s what we’ve been trying to maintain throughout the years and not just about this release. Obviously, this release is living proof that we are living human beings that performing real and true art live and we are just bringing it out to people. I mean there’s more to that but it’s a statement of genuine and honest art and craft that we stand for. It’s simple as that.
Recording the new album began late last year. What's your main focus with the sound and direction of the new music?
Again, to capture the true spirit and nature of the band. And as much you were happy with The Satanist because we are still super happy with that album. But then again obviously we are the last band on earth to repeat ourselves. This is the first place. If you put any record next to each other everyone is different. There’s a lot of diversity. And The Satanist was recorded four years ago.
We’ve been living our lives. We’ve been going through different periods and we have changed again. It’s different music. It’s a different endeavor but what we captured this time is maybe an even more organic sound yet still very striking and very aggressive. It’s going to be a different record, a different approach. I don’t want to talk much about it because we have to stay confidential about it. Just keep it to ourselves but the whole structure of the album, the way it’s built, it’s one of a kind and it’s something that we’ve never done before. So it’s new grounds and it starts with the album title and everything behind it. You will be like, "Okay what the fuck Is going on here?"
So it still does surprise me. It still feels very refreshing and very new. Very refreshing. Yeah, I’m very excited. I wish I could share more about the new record but the moment will come that [we] will open Pandora’s Box and the world will see.
Behemoth are part of the Slayer farewell tour. Why is it important to you to be a part of such a monumental tour?
In the first place, because we're massive fans of Slayer. I'm not just being diplomatic or nice, I don't need to. I've always claimed that - I've never hid the fact. It's awesome.
There were talks about this tour 10 years ago. A friend of mine who manages Slayer, Kristen, was having this in the back of her mind for many years.
The lineup is unbelievable.
Yeah. I'm a huge fan of the lineup. Hey - I'm 41 and pretty much all the band members, all the guys in the other bands they're much older than myself. So you can figure out easily that when I was 12, I'd be a huge fan of [Anthrax's] State of Euphoria I would listen to [Testament's] The New Order or Practice What You Preach.
So you grew up listening to —
Abso-fucking-lutely. I'm a fan. Just doing this is like, we know that we already are part of very important history that's happening now in front of people, all the witnesses. It's a huge privilege, that's for sure. And obviously, great exposure, coming out with the next record, hey -
Who says no to going on the Slayer farewell tour? [laughs]
Yeah, absolutely. How can you not worship Slayer?
And call yourself a metal fan.
Yeah, I remember this quote from this Slayer DVD they put out some time ago, Still Reigning, this interview with this guy who had just said this comment that I still quote quite often: "If you don't listen to Slayer you just deserve to fucking die." So, let it be - no more comments [laughs].
Behemoth started in Poland in 1991. What's the biggest difference between then and now in terms of who you are musically and personally?
It's been what, 26, 27 years? I'd say the passion is still there. I can't really compare myself to this kid — literally, I was a kid. I was 15. So what can a 15-year-old lad know about the world and life? You're just a growing teenager, that's so much in love and has so much passion for metal. He want to start a band because he want to be like his idols. And now I'm arm in arm with my idols, just older, more wrinkles and less hair but definitely more aware and still stupid but smarter.
Thanks to Nergal for the interview. Get your copy of Behemoth's 'Messe Noire' live album/DVD here and stay up to date with the band by following them on Facebook. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show here.
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