The name Behemoth should be well known to any Black Metaller worthy of such a title... The Polish act have a good number of releases behind their back by now, but it was "Grom", their second full length album, that impressed me most. Various line-up changes have taken place through the years, and nowadays Nergal is the only original member left. Nergal is also responsible for answering one of the most interesting interviews that I ever received!(A small excerpt from the interview featured in full on Dark Oath #6)
From your early days, you've always entitled your style as Pagan Black Metal, do you still feel identified with this term?
Yes, you are right. We've been using this term since the beginning of this band and I must proudly admit that I identify with its deep meaning even now, when we've improved a lot as persons. The emotions, the feeling and atmosphere impossible to miss is still in our music as it's kind of a mirror of the old story and the connection to the land where we are born.Well, today we can simply name it Black Metal, but in that it won't mean we resign from our prime tradition which is something really important in creating this kind of art.
You have collaborated with a few other projects as well, such as Monumentum and Camerata Mediolanense. How did that came up?
Well yes, I agree that some of you may find some Mayhem influence parts on this album. It's definitely not a shame for me, Mayhem is a great band so it even makes me feel proud when you find such comparisons... To be honest, I wouldn't say it's a rip-off (I didn't say that either! - Ed.) nor something extremely similar to this terrific band but there is a spirit behind the music, the spirit that doesn't let you forget about the legend of Black/Death Metal. 'Deathcrush' was a tribute to the Norwegians and it should be seen like this. I can you that when we were touring Europe we used to play 'Freezing Moon' each nite, it was sort of a celebration, you know, people easily notice we're giving them the highest tribute and it made the show even more special... It was something really worth checking out, believe me.
Recently a lot of bands playing 80's style Death/Thrash are again starting to show up. In your opinion, does it makes sense to play that sort of stuff these days and do you think that such bands are able to create the same feeling? The BM trend came after the Death Metal trend, do you think that the next trend will be that sort of stuff?
Hard to say, really. It seems that some bigger labels went to begin a new fashion, nothing wrong with that but in my opinion it'll also die sooner or later. Osmose is a label which so dramatically tries to find an alternative for the Metal scene but lets be honest. Young Metal listeners will prefer to listen to some modern Metal stuff for sure... They didn't grow up on Thrash and Speed Metal sounds so I'm pretty sure they will not get what is going on... Well, yes... Most of these 'old Black/Thrash' bands gain lotsa great reviews and probably some of them deserve it, for sure. But, in most case, the guys who write such articles are the old ones who feel the sentiment for such kind of stuff. Speaking for myself, I like Absu (the new one), Sadistic Execution or Nifelheim as they do it in a way that doesn't disgust me. But look at most of these new-coming Thrash Blackmetallers... What's the real point of playing this kind of music? I can't really explain..
As someone who lives by the Pagan lifecode, how would you consider a full implementation of the old Pagan ways to modern days? Would that make sense, in your opinion? How do you relate to Paganism and how does that influence your everyday life?
I don't see any possibility of implementing pagan values into the modern system as it would be a big regress... All in all, Paganism is primitive and it's pretty old and what goes with it... is only partly known. The thing which makes me feel proud is the glorious past, these are mainly emotions, the emotional connection to our fathers. As I said before, pagan way of thinking is related to nature only, but as nature is something that's going down to die, totally dominated by modern civilizations, I don't see any sense in bringing it back and transporting it to the modern system. Paganism is something that dwells deep in our hearts and it's like the howling of a dying wolf... We are also the victims but Satanism seems to be a great weapon (in our hands) in the fight against false morality these days... Lets rise our fists in glory... The next century belongs to us!
The Polish BM scene has grown a lot these last few years, how do you see such growth? Do you think that's a product of the trends or are there any new valid bands there? Have you heard Darzamat yet?
I haven't heard Darzamat and honestly I'm not interested. Yes, it's true that the Polish Metal scene has grown during recent years and nowadays we can proudly speak about Vader (gods!), Christ Agony, Damnation, Hefeystos, Hate, as well as the younger ones like Lux Occulta. But so far on such a big scene like the Polish one these are the only exceptions from the bunch of totally worthless pieces of shit growing every day. I must admit that I'm fed up with all the new upcoming bands nowadays that don't bring anything fresh into this almost dead scene... And what's even more annoying is that almost each new band has got a record deal and a record or debut CD out without having even any demo tapes released, without having any experience in the Metal scene, it's a shame...
CD/LP 1996, Solistitium 8 songs, 45'
Behemoth have gone through massive improvements as musicians and now they are finally able to really convince me as one of the best acts in the Black Metal scene. With "Grom" they have acquired a much deeper tone to all the different approaches in their style, be it the atmospheric stuff or the fast and brutal attacks. The production is also the best they ever had on their works and does justice to the excellent tracks - bass and drums are powerful as fuck and simply crushing! The melodic side of Behemoth is now perhaps a little less evident, but their characteristic melodic riffs are still to be found as well as the acoustic guitar inputs, which see their atmospheric side at times enhanced by male epic-toned singing and some guitar solos on some moments that sound quite expressive; intentionally or not, some of the atmosphere brings to my mind traces of Gothic Rock, but the original drive of the Poles' Black Metal is in no way hindered, much the contrary, it is much stronger - the stuff is much faster and powerful and at times comparable to Mayhem or Immortal. Traces of Celtic Frost as well as bits of other older acts can also be felt and some quite 80's Thrash-oriented moments. The variation throughout the album is also notorious and generally each song possesses a small detail of its own - 'Dragon's Lair' features some keyboard orchestrations, some excellent epic moments and even a bass guitar solo!, 'Lasy Pomorza' and 'Grom' are sung in Polish and have a somewhat Folkish flavor, 'Rising Proudly Towards the Sky' has a melodic line somewhat similar to Dissection and features a great keyboard solo and a quite Thrashy finale and there are even some female vocals, used on 'Grom' and 'The Dark Forest'! At the end of the day, it's still Behemoth, but in my opinion now they are better than ever! Intense and fucking brilliant! This fucking rules, and guess what! - it's even original! Order from Solistitium P. O. Box 1210 26 802 MOORMERLAND Germany.
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