Breaking the Law

Behemoth Once Again in Trouble with Polish Legal Authorities, This Time Over a Merch Design

  • Axl Rosenberg

It would appear that Behemoth are once again at the center of criminal investigation in their native Poland. In 2010, guitarist/vocalist Adam “Nergal” Darski faced up to two years in prison for tearing up a Bible and calling it “a book of lies” during a concert (the charges were later dismissed, and then appealed); now, it seems, the much-beloved frontman finds himself in hot water again, this time as the result of the band’s ‘The Republic of the Unfaithful’ merch design.


And what issue, pray tell, do the Polish authorities take with this design? According to The PRP, they believe the illustration ” disrespect[s] the White Eagle, which is found on the national coat of arms of Poland.”


Nergal released the following statement regarding the charges via Facebook:

“So here I go again. On my way to the prosecutors office in Gdansk to be questioned as a suspect in ‘The republic of the unfaithful’ case. Me and my partner in ‘crime’Maciek Manticore Gruszka is showing up too. Several individuals have been already questioned including heraldists who have made their statement clear: THIS IS NOT A POLISH EMBLEM. Apparently it’s not nuff for the decision makers in the court. Are they looking for a scapegoat?

“Is this another attempt of the Polish government to convict Nergal and give an example for other artists? What’s the hidden message of those actions may I ask? ‘Do NOT fuck with us’? ‘Polish emblem as well as other religious symbols are meant to be untouchable’?, ‘art has its strict borders and thou shalt obey Nergal!’? Weird times, weird country, weird vibes… I do NOT feel safe and comfortable here I must admit but do I feel guilty? Fuck no.

“I worship the reason and I’m a massive fan of logic therefore it is OBVIOUS that the eagle that has NO crown can NOT be a Polish emblem. Period. Sadly we have stopped selling shirts with this motive (but hey, it’s ALREADY the best selling shirt in our catalogue! huurraaay!) but what we r gonna do with fans who have tattooed ‘The republic of the unfaithful’ on their back? Shall we arrest them? Peel the skin off? Cover it up?

“These rhetorical questions I’m gonna leave unanswered here and go to do what I do best: piss stupid people off with sincere and honest art and I shall NEVER give up on my freedom to do so. ‘Do what Thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’! Enjoy your day folks!’”

When I hear about ridiculous shit like this, my first question — no joke — is always, “Do the authorities seriously not realize they are basically providing the band with lots and lots of free publicity?” Like, you know what appeals to teenagers? MUSIC ADULTS THEM IS IMMORAL. Poland might as well spend government dollars on a television campaign.

You’ll know more when we know more.

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