Extreme metal band Behemoth have been busy on the road supporting their latest effort, The Satanist, since its release a year ago. Not only was the album an astounding success on many charts and top lists, but it meant something much more to the band. It was the first album since the band’s lead singer and guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darski recovered from leukemia. The band went through a lot in the months leading up to the record, which allowed them to seek solace in writing and their new music. This album, which also proved therapeutic for the group, is a collection of nine phenomenal tracks that showcase the band’s impressive talent.
Behemoth are currently on the road in promotion of The Satanist, participating in a co-headlining tour with their friends in Cannibal Corpse. Being on a tour in the U.S. leaves the band very little time to relax and hang out. They typically spend their time traveling, rehearsing, writing, and taking part in various interviews. These interviews can be for radio stations, television, blogs, websites, newspapers, and magazines. With one after another, in addition to VIP meet and greets and other events that these artists take part in, it is a wonder they have any time to be able to devote to each journalist.
After two missed connections, I was able to get a hold of Nergal and discuss the band’s current state of mind and their time on the road. We talked about the band’s two biographies, including his own autobiography. Topics of conversation include his performance of “Ace Of Spades” at the 70,000 Tons Of Metal festival and what Dimebag Darrell track he passed up for the Motörhead classic. He continued to inform me of the band’s future plans for the current album cycle, and what this tour means for the band’s two-decade-long reign. Check out what Nergal had to say below:
Congrats on the success of The Satanist so far. It’s a tremendous record and has made appearances in many top lists for 2014. With some of the events that you guys went through, it must make the success of this record that much more special.
Definitely! This record was a summary of all of the work that has been invested in this band in our 20-plus-year career. Everything that we could possibly generate we just invested in that record. I mean, we always created music for ourselves in the first place, and this was the most selfish album that we could make. When you play it, you are hearing “us” through the speakers. We wanted to be honest about it. If people loved it or hated, that’s cool. I am so incredibly happy that honesty and truth is selling so well (laughs). It is our most uncompromising LP and it also happens to be our most commercial. It’s an amazing feeling, I love it.
You guys also have a couple books to unleash to the fans. One is the band’s biography, Behemoth: Devil’s Conquistadors, that just came out. Your autobiography, Sacrum Profanum: Confessions Of The Heretic, will be out on March 19.
Yeah. We didn’t plan this tour and the book releases to come out simultaneously. The smartest move, in a business perspective, would be to have a gap between the two book releases. I don’t see that as an issue, because Behemoth fans would love to read a biography on the band. And the die-hard fans would love to read my autobiography as well because they crave wisdom and knowledge about the band. If there were biographies of the other guys, I’m sure they would love to explore those as well.
I had a chance to look through the Behemoth biography and it is a solid read. It has a lot of info and photos that fans will really enjoy. And something that I really enjoyed was that you guys also recently included a part including The Satanist to make it as current as possible?
Yeah, the cool thing about the Behemoth biography is that it is updated. The Polish version is a bit shorter, because it was released pre-Satanist era. We did the record, some touring, and some festivals since. So we decided to write an extra chapter, and it was done about a few months ago. So the material is really fresh.
Do you have any plans of promoting either of these books in any way? Maybe a promotional tour or book signings?
We actually just received physical copies of the book yesterday (laughs). We encourage others to get the book and we have it at our merch booth as well. If we meet fans that have the book and are looking to get a signature on it, we would be happy to do so. Especially while we do meet and greets on this tour.
I noticed you got on stage and performed “Ace Of Spades” on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise. How did that come about?
Yeah, I jumped on stage with Cronos of Venom, Jeff from Annihilator, Mike from Destruction and Specki from In Extremo to cover that track. It was absolutely amazing. It was one of the ideas by the promoters. Different members from different bands would go up on stage and cover classic metal tunes. For each classic, there was a different lineup. They originally came up to me to see if I wanted to sing “Walk” by Pantera. With all due respect to Pantera, I declined because I am not necessarily a Pantera kind of guy.
How was the rest of the event?
It was amazing. We made sure both of our sets were different and they both went very well. We socialized with a lot of people and did a good number of signings. The weather was great and it was really incredible to take part in this event. I loved it.
You are currently on the road with Cannibal Corpse to take part in a co-headlining tour. You guys are at a point in your career, with your success, that you could pick who you go on tour with. Is that how this Cannibal Corpse package came to be?
Well we share the same management and have been friends for many years now. We have previously done a few tours together and they always worked out great. There is something about the combination of these two bands, Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse, that the people really dig. We are part of the same genre, yet we are completely different bands with a completely different nature. Somehow, we pull the same crowds and it is very even. We are friends and we get along so well. They are probably the easiest group of people to talk to. All the factors just led this to being a no-brainer.
As you prep for your show in Wisconsin tonight, how have the shows been going so far?
The shows have been nothing but amazing. I am not just being a diplomat here either (laughs). The Behemoth legions are growing constantly in the U.S., and nothing can make me happier about that fact. We have had about seven or eight sold-out nights already on this tour. For us, this has been so incredible. Previous tours we might have only experienced four sold-out events.
You spoke of The Satanist being the perfect bookend for your 20 years as a band. With that said, I know you had mentioned you guys hope to dig deep into the album and tour into 2016 as part of the album’s cycle?
Yeah, we don’t want to rush anything. We want to be completely done with the record before we move on. If there is something else we can do with this album, we will do it. I want to make sure that this cycle is completed.
You are playing Europe after the U.S. and a number of festivals have already been announced in July and August. Is there anything else in works that you could discuss?
We will just continue on with the cycle and continue playing shows in Asia, Europe, and Japan. Just keeping ourselves busy like always (laughs).
Behemoth will take their co-headlining tour with Cannibal Corpse to Webster Hall in New York City on Feb. 28. They will then make their way to Philly on March 1 and perform at the Theatre Of The Living Arts. The Satanist and the official Behemoth Biography, Behemoth: Devil’s Conquistadors, are now available. Nergal’s autobiography, Sacrum Profanum: Confessions Of The Heretic, will be available on March 19 via Jawbone Press. For more information, go to behemoth.pl.