Considering they reigned supreme, high atop the blackened tips of Mt. Death Metal, you could forgive Poland’s Behemoth for churning out more of the same death metal goodness they’ve offered us over 10 albums; dammit, we’re grateful.
But for album number 11, I Loved You At Your Darkest, Behemoth sought to summon a type of heavy previously unheard by mere mortals. A heavy reinforced by wisdom and a new-found sense of what it means to be extreme.
The album had a street date of Friday, 5th October, meaning the dust will have barely settled on it by the time the band arrive in Australia to unleash the thing as part of Download Festival 2019.
Considering the band jumped the gun and leaked the Download lineup ahead of its scheduled release, we can only assume they’re as excited as we are. Since that announcement, they’ve also been confirmed as supports for Slayer’s impending festival sideshows.
Ahead of Download, we spoke with Behemoth firebrand and known lineup leaker, Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski.
Music Feeds: Hey Nergal, how are you going?
Nergal: Good, good, good. Having a day off. You know, I’m in Louisiana now. I’ve got to do my yoga session in one hour, then go to the movies, and then we’re gonna fuck off to Atlanta.
MF: Oh, nice one. That’s a pretty good lineup for a day off, man. That’s more fun than I’m having today.
Nergal: Yeah. That’s the way to make it.
MF: “I Loved You at Your Darkest”, of course, that’s actually a quote from the Bible, Romans 5:8. I’d really like to chat with you about this because it seems even in Christian circles that phrase is controversial. There’s a lot of people discussing what it actually means. I’d really like to know how it came into your orbit and what it means to you.
Nergal: Yeah, I’m aware of the controversy around it, and that it’s been questioned if it’s really from the Bible, if it’s just made up and stuff. But, I don’t care man. I mean just kind of caused that to be a verse that was positively quoted by a supposed messiah, but by himself. And, it just struck me. It just grabbed me by my heart, and I felt it’s just exactly what I… what my life has been about for… pretty much.
I just felt connected with it, but despite the regions of that term, the dress, it just felt right to use it for the album.
MF: It seems like amongst all the different discussions around it in the Christian communities, one of the main ideas about it is ‘forgiveness’. Is that something that appealed to you? The idea of forgiveness, when you started writing this album?
Nergal: I’d say… ‘indulgence’. In my dictionary, not ‘forgiveness’. It’s indulgence, and that’s exactly how I see that. It’s all about just celebration… you’re darkness, and your dark side, and that so called… that obscure part of your nature and just embrace it.
And, loving yourself for who you are, holistically, and not just partially. And I think just that kind of approach is standard, organic position to the Christian approach. I don’t know what they’re talking… they’re preaching about something either they don’t understand or they’re just full of hypocrisy.
It’s probably very much true, and I’m like, ‘Well, I’m going to use your term, and I’m going to use it for right reasons.’ That’s how I see that.
MF: I also read a really cool quote from you, where you said that 15 years ago you would’ve said that one of your favourite bands was actually someone like Morbid Angel. But now, you would say one of your favourite bands was someone like AC/DC. Does the idea of ‘heaviness’ change with time? Do you find that as the years go by, what you find ‘heavy’, or what you appreciate as heavy, changes?
Nergal: No, I think it’s about, just, we’re in the hands of an understanding of what music is about. And, not just saying that Morbid Angel’s something really good for me, or Mayhem’s something really musical to me. It’s just my whole spectrum and my perspective has widened up, so to say.
And, I really see it being as a musical entity, not just extreme metal entity. You know what I mean? It’s not just about this being extreme for the sake of being extreme. We are extreme, regardless. And so, a rock band.
MF: Now going on to the Download Festival side of things. There’s hundreds of thousands of kids in Australia right now jumping for joy for this festival. We only had our first one last year, but it was such a success that we get two next year. I love the fact that the lineup leak came from you, yourself. What inspired you to be the first one to post the lineup?
Nergal: I was waiting for the news to be posted in my social media. And, on the scenes, there was an indifference. And, I did quite understood, and thought I’ll be it. And then, I was really sort of falling asleep, and like, ‘Ah, fuck it.’
If I’m like one hour early or two hours early, it’s not going to be a big deal, so I just posted it, and then fell asleep. I literally died for 10 hours, and then I woke up, and my manager’s like, ‘Yeah, you leaked the news.’ I’m like, ‘What’s the deal? It was up there officially two hours later. Stop whining about that.’
MF: I’m glad that that was your attitude about it. I didn’t want you feeling guilty, or feeling as though you did anything wrong. We loved it. We hate waiting all those extra few hours.
Nergal: I mean, I’m the most impatient person on Earth, so I know something about it. I’m still learning, for patience is a really high virtue. But, I still am too immature to understand that, but I’m working on it.
MF: Me too, man.
Nergal: Anyways, I really wanted to make a statement. We have done what, like five tours already, headlining tours in Australia? All of them have been pretty successful. By successful, I mean that every time we go there, we never lost numbers. We either kept the same numbers, or they inclined a little bit. I’m talking about attendances. But, it’s all been like club attendances, you know? So, you can’t really… I mean, when you attract anything from 300 to 1,000 people or more, I don’t know. Like the bigger markets are probably around 1,000 seats, in Melbourne.
You can’t really expand bigger than that, because of the capacity of the venues, and it’s just the club shows. It’s the nature of club shows. So, for us, doing this now, this Download thing, just going big scale, going big stage, this is the perfect momentum.
So, I wouldn’t really like to go and do a club show now, and then eventually something else. This is just perfect momentum, so I really hope maybe by the end of the cycle, we’ll come back for a proper Australian headlining tour, maybe. But, now I’m super happy with doing the Slayer stage and Download.
MF: Download seems like such a mental lineup, and it’s rare in Australia that you manage to please everyone. But, it seems like most people are really pleased with this. I want it from your perspective. This is kind of like another day at the office, but is it a little bit exciting to be coming down for this event?
Nergal: Absolutely. Absolutely. The company… everything around that is just fucking awesome. And, I’ll definitely be coming, just so my friends in Australia know now, but I’ll definitely be coming a few days early.
I know that the Ghost is playing Brisbane the day before… so I’ll be there. I’ll be there to just hang out, and it’s March in Poland, which is still pretty shitty period. So, I’ll definitely be processing some of it from out there, and enjoying the weather and getting ready for the tour.
MF: Hell yeah! Well, I’ll tell you what. March will still be beach weather for us here man, so you’re coming at a good time.
Nergal: I know. I know. I know. I definitely want to take advantage of that.
Behemoth will perform at Download Festival in Sydney and Melbourne in March. Catch the full lineup down below.
Download Festival 2019 Lineup
SUM 41 (Only Aus Shows)
PENNYWISE (Only Aus Shows)
THY ART IS MURDER
TWELVE FOOT NINJA
OZZY OSBOURNE (Only Aus Shows)
JUDAS PRIEST (Only Aus Shows)
ALICE IN CHAINS
THE AMITY AFFLICTION (Only Aus Shows)
HALESTORM (Only Aus Shows)
ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES
THE FEVER 333
WAR ON WOMEN
Download Festival 2019
Tickets on sale now
Saturday, 9th March
Parramatta Park, Sydney (18+)
Tickets: Official Website
Monday, 11th March (long weekend)
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets: Official Website
Slayer Download Festival Australia 2019 Sideshows
Supported by Anthrax and Behemoth
Pre-sale begins 10am Tuesday, 20th November
Tickets on sale to general public 11am Wednesday, 21st November
Thursday, 7th March
Tickets: Live Nation
Wednesday, 13th March
AEC Arena, Adelaide
Tickets: Live Nation