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Nergal – Vocals/ Guitar for Behemoth

Date: 8/7/09
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. What is the, or an, "Evangelion"?

NERGAL: Among Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics its the Gospel Book (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον, Evangélion).

It is considered to be an icon of Christ, and is venerated in the same manner as an icon, spreading the word of God.

2. And how does the word Evangelion pertain to the record you wrote?

NERGAL: Well we played with the meaning, we have always played with the meanings of religion and religious symbolism. Like if you look at the booklet in the album there are connections with Christian tradition. Since day one we have always tried to look at these ideas and symbols as if you were looking at them in the mirror almost, and many times we invert the meanings, oppose them. You know, we have our own message which I consider to be good news but obviously it is the opposite to the Christian values. It can be seen as blasphemous and smart at the same time.

3. What challenges did you set for yourself when you started writing the lyrics and music for “Evangelion”?

NERGAL: First of all we wanted to make a record that was 100% Behemoth, a record that was going to write itself without a lot of effort. We always like to push ourselves but it wasn’t like we were trying to compete with anyone, you know? We wanted to stay true to who we are and in the process I think this has been the most liberating album we have made to date. Like on “The Apostasy” we tried to be as technical as we could and it was, but then again it is also very primal and almost very primitive and we did that because we felt like doing it.

4. Are you doing anything different with the music on “Evangelion”?

NERGAL: Well we didn’t want to go any further than where we went with the orchestrations on “The Apostasy”. That record explored the bombastic potential for Behemoth. For “Evangelion” we wanted the orchestrations to be a little bit less but in the same they became more disturbing in a way. Less classical this time and more disturbing and weird. That why I think parts of “Evangelion” sounds a little weird, in a way.

5. Religion, questioning Christianity, and ones beliefs are a major topic in Behemoth’s lyrics. Is there a lesson to be learned about faith by listening to Behemoth?

NERGAL: It’s up to the individual to pick up what you want from our music. We are not here to be preachers or profits, this is our point of view and this is how we see things and the anti Christian aspect of the band is just one of the subjects to be written about. We do have to offer a lot of deep philosophical ideas on our records and the Christian is just one issue and it has a deeper meaning behind it. Its all about blurring the lines and finding out what’s good for yourself.

6. Do you find any need, or value, to mankind having faith in God, Jesus Christ, or any other religious ideology?

NERGAL: No, I don’t believe in any supernatural powers and I don’t understand why people need to believe in such things to achieve happiness. Its really all about finding the divine potential in yourself and finding a way to explore it. Be happy with yourself in the first place.

7. Behemoth has become rather popular in the States. Is Death and Black Metal as popular in Europe?

NERGAL: Well this sound is still mostly in the underground but I think it is popular in both countries. But really, I don’t see Behemoth as either a black or death metal band, we are Behemoth.

8. The video for ‘Ov Fire and the Void’ was recently banned from YouTube. What is that status of the situation?

NERGAL: Well there is a censored and uncensored version available. Even though the more graphic version is not on YouTube you can still find it online. I’m completely fine with the fact there are two versions. Some people found the video disturbing and dangerous which is good. It’s who we are.

9. What is the concept behind the video?

NERGAL: There is a story line but I don’t really want to talk about it. Its all about watching, experiencing it for yourself and making your own judgment.

10. How has the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival been going with Slayer?

NERGAL: It has been awesome, we only get to play for thirty minutes but that’s fine because its in front of a lot of kids who have never heard us before. Plus we get to share the stage with some of our favorite bands and see Slayer.

11. What kind of setlist have you been playing?

NERGAL: Mainly we are focusing on “The Apostasy” and “Demigod” but we also play ‘Ov Fire and the Void’ from "Evangelion". I mean the record just hit the stores and the fans already know the words to these new songs.

12. Plans to record any of these shows for DVD?

NERGAL: Noo…not from the Mayhem festival. Probably we will tape something from the European or Polish dates.

13. Your thoughts on remastering albums and would you like to do so with the Behemoth back catalogue?

NERGAL: The old Behemoth records I don’t own nor have rights to so that is not something I can’t pursue at this time.

14. Behemoth’s plans for the rest of 2009 into 2010?

NERGAL: After these Mayhem Festival dates we do a show in Israel, some Polish dates, and a co headline tour with Devildriver which will be great. We should be returning to the States in 2010.

Official website: http://www.behemoth.pl/site/index.php/eng

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