Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: In the Name of Nergal
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
Behemoth are one of the most consistent bands in extreme music. They’re pretty much at the top of the food chain when it comes to blackened death metal that can sell out a good-sized theater. I know that’s a pretty short list—Goatwhore’s probably the silver medalist and still not even close—but it’s happened partially due to the unwavering quality of their now 10-album deep discography, and partially due to the charisma of frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski.
At this point, you all know Nergal’s journey over the last three and a half years: diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 2010, underwent bone marrow transplant, came back to crack skulls on the inaugural Decibel Magazine Tour (humblebrag), continued to ruffle feathers as Poland’s highest-profile, most articulate reality show judge/Christ-crusher. Little wonder that album number 10 is called The Satanist; major shock that it’s Behemoth’s best yet—when does that happen so late in the game? (Answer: METALLICA DEATH MAGNETIC MEGA LOLZ.)
Anyway, our March cover story isn’t about that record so much—although there’s also a pretty effusive review courtesy of Jeff Treppel, and feature scribe Chris Dick does mention how Nergal was influenced by none other than Celtic Frost to let his music breathe. Really, the piece is about Nergal’s overarching aesthetic, his commitment to craft, his national identity, his persona, his curiosity of what the mainstream perceives as aberrant global cultures. It’s as thorough as could be, and a valuable reminder that artists can get much more compelling with age, as long as they continue to challenge themselves.