The band was formed in 1991. While musicians like Baal, Frost and Devilyn's Novy have played on Behemoth's different albums over the years, the band's main man and force has always been Nergal.
And The Forests Dream Eternally and Wild Rags' From The Pagan Vastlands in 1995 are two of the earlier EPs of the band. Behemoth started out as a black metal with some similarities to Immortal but has since established its own identity. The band featured keyboards on the earlier releases, but has hardened its sound and Satanica and Thelema.6 (a tribute to Crowley) became harsh death and black metal affairs. There were rumours that Nergal (much like compatriots in Graveland) adheres to Fascism, but this has been denied by Nergal.
In 2002 Metal Mind Records put together a five-LP box set of Behemoth entitled Historica. This package was limited to 2,000 copies. Later in 2002 the label issued Zos Kia Cultus. The album was recorded at Hendrix Studio in Poland and, like its predecessor, licensed to Olympic Recordings for the American territory. At this point the line-up had dwindled to the trio of Nergal, Inferno and Havoc. The band toured the USA in the spring of 2003. Shows were performed with, among others, Halford and Immortal (as part of the Metal Gods Tour), as well as Danzig, Deicide and others. Guitarist Havok left near the end of 2003.
Behemoth's Demigod was issued through Regain Records in the autumn of 2004. The band also shot a video for the song Conquer All. The band also announced a DVD called Crush.Fukk.Create: Requiem F.or Generation Armageddon. The two-disc DVD was issued in mid-2005. The Poles were confirmed for Danzig's Blackest Of The Black tour in the summer of 2005. This was followed by a headlining tour of Canada in November where the band sold a tour EP called Slaves Shall Serve. The band was also part of X-Mass Festivals 2005 tour in Europe with Occult, Onslaught and others. The Apostasy appeared in 2007 and featured bassist Orion. A Polish version was also issued through Mystic Productions. Behemoth, Gojira and Beneath The Massacre announced a tour of the USA and Canada under the 2007 Radio Rebellion Tour monicker at the end of that year. The band signed with Metal Blade for the USA and Nuclear Blast for the European territory in 2008. The band was the latest one to get into trouble with the All-Polish Committee For Defence Against Sects, the body in charge of defending organized religion in Poland. The band’s frontman Nergal had apparently torn a Bible and attacked Catholicism in a September, 2007 show in Gdynia. The band recorded and released an EP, called Ezkaton, in the autumn of 2008 through Metal Blade Records. The EP featured seven tracks including old, new and live songs. The band tapped Colin Richardson to mix its next album, Evangelion, which was due out in the late summer of 2009. The CD was now being recorded in Radio Gdansk in Poland with Behemoth, Daniel Bergstrand and Woytek and Slawek Wieslawscy producing. The album was being issued through Nuclear Blast in Europe and Metal Blade in Canada. Metal Mind of Poland has issued a Behemoth DVD called Live Eschaton – The Art Of Rebellion. It was taken from a live performance at a TV studio in 2000.
The band released its newest full-length album, Evangelion, on August 7th, 2009 through Nuclear Blast in Europe and on August 11th through Metal Blade in North America. Colin Richardson mixed the album at Miloco Studio in London, England. Canadian Immigration officers informed the band in July of a regulation regarding Polish citizens entering Canada that had reportedly changed while the band was en route to the Calgary and Vancouver shows of the Summer Slaughter Festival. The passports apparently needed to be codified with chips. With Canada Day on July first, there was no way for them to obtain the last minute forms they required to re-enter the country after having played Toronto and Montreal.
But lies about god and child molestation are OK! Adam "Nergal" Darski of Poland’s Behemoth was formally charged on Monday, March 8th, 2010 for insulting Roman Catholics after a second charge was filed against him in Poland. According to Polish law, Behemoth offended religion, which was an offence in the Eastern European country, and the religious by tearing a Bible on stage in Gdynia, Poland.
Metal Blade USA and Nuclear Blast Europe released Behemoth's second DVD, Evangelia Heretika, in the autumn of 2010. The band was to hit the road with Watain, Withered and Black Anvil that November in North America. Singer and guitarist Adam Darski of Behemoth was taken to the Gdansk Medical University Hospital in Gdansk, Poland in August to receive treatment for leukemia. He needed a marrow transplant to fight the sickness he had recently been diagnosed with. The band suspended all activity. Adam "Nergal" Darski who landed in the hospital late 2010 with leukemia, left the hospital in Gdansk four weeks after he underwent a bone marrow transplant procedure. He was facing several months of testing and recovery. Journalists against freedom of speech: Behemoth’s Adam “Nergal” Darski had signed up as a judge on Polish version of a televised American singing competition called The Voice, which was named The Voice Of Poland. Ironically, the Catholic Association Of Journalists has protested his involvement. The program confirmed the artist. A decade earlier Nergal had wanted to storm the Baltics! More censorship: Reacting to Behemoth’s Nergal desecrating the image of a priest at an October 1 show in Poland, Poland's public broadcaster TVP announced that Adam "Nergal" Darski was not returning as a judge on the second season of The Voice Of Poland should another season be given the go-ahead.
BEHEMOTH - SATANICA - AVANTGARDE
Before inserting this disc into my player I had a fairly good idea that it will feature a lot more hate than love in my love/ hate relationship with the band. I was mistaken! Blame the bio's mentioning the band's (also responsible for the side project Damnation) use of K&F on their last album. No such thing here (imagine bands now reversing the trend...ha it's 'I told you so' time), as Behemoth launch into a great mixture of Nembrionic and Marduk death metal. Heavy vocals and brutal music come thick and fast, and even if the 'drumming' is somehow suspect I still find lots in here that a true metal fan can chew on. For a real crash course in the underground, pick this one up. - Ali "The Metallian"
BEHEMOTH - THELEMA.6 - AVANTGARDE/OLYMPIC
Thelema is a 20th century religion invented by Aleister Crowley. Behemoth is a much improved Polish death metal assault that has lost its weak K&F past to serve its best album yet. As much as the opinions and ego of main man Nergal might sound juvenile (nothing wrong with being a Nazi, but a Polish Nazi?), the heart of the matter is the music. The North American release, trailing the original by 5 months, has four exclusive tracks and is one adequately long metal assault. Yes, there are a couple of keyboard and lame industrial interludes still, but for the majority of the action Thelema.6 is a non-linear and complex death metal speedmeister. While not unoriginal, the closest comparisons would be Hypocrisy, Bloodthorn and Vader all mixed into one guitar-oriented orgy of death. The bonus tracks contain some of the deepest growling the band has ever recorded and compared to the suspect drum clicking of the past, the warmer blasting of the album brings the message home. There is very little to complain about here. - Ali "The Metallian"
BEHEMOTH - ZOS KIA CULTUS (HERE AND BEYOND) - AVANTGARDE/OLYMPIC
The biography for Zos Kia Cultus begins with the line, "From the vast pagan lands of Poland," which is an odd statement given how Christian that country is to this day. Label-supplied biographies being what they are one can also ignore the redundant phrase "antiChristian black metal" and instead deal with veracity which in this case is that Behemoth is one hell of a brutal, fast and heavy band. Behemoth 2003 is reminiscent of Centurian in not only album-title (Centurian's Liver Zarzax comes to mind), but also in that both bands are Morbid-Angel influenced, they both get heavier all the time and they also maintain general occult leanings. Zos Kia Cultus also features intriguing titles which usually is an indication of the music and lyrics contained on an album. Horns Of Baphomet begins slower, but soon develops with more speed, adventurous riffs, Middle-Eastern melodies and effects. Modern Iconoclasts emphasizes strong drumming and whirlwind riffing. Here the vocals dominate again and the music, a pattern for the other songs, utilizes much Slayer riffing. Dual-vocal effects are used frequently as well. Here And Beyond sees the keyboard seep into the sound, which thankfully doesn't last long. When the band gets technical, it reminds the listener of Death rushing at him at high speed. Zos Kia Cultus begins with military-esque drums and the band sounds especially angry, with the left hand flying all over the guitar. Nevertheless the pace is kept at a moderate one.
Behemoth is not the most innovative band in death metal and the album's production is not the best either, but the post-Slayer music is certainly recorded in an acceptable fashion to form quite a well-rounded package. Band leader Nergal's convictions clearly shine through anyway and what's more, this being album number six, the band's maturity coupled with the retention of the speed and heaviness ultimately works in Behemoth's favour. - Ali "The Metallian"
BEHEMOTH - DEMIGOD - OLYMPIC
I stopped fearing death a long time ago and, all truth be told, I'm comfortable with the philosophical disposition that epiphany entails. But, y'know, every now and then a record like Demigod comes along and ravages any sense of universal acceptance I might have. This rambling isn't just for show; Demigod, I think, is an important album, not just in the evolution of Behemoth, but for metal's current general zeitgeist. It's so easy to dismiss this stuff as irrelevant or super-underground (though Shadows Fall recent foray into 100,000 units sold marks a paradigm shift), however when Nergal and his troops write a record that is the best of the soon-to-be storied band's career, then you've got to take notice. While Behemoth is metal's top live band, the group was never able to translate said energy on recordings. Well, these Polish monsters have finally accomplished the task, crafting incredibly aggressive monologues of inner (and outer) pain in the linear space we call life. The first three tracks alone demand extreme attention, and when the opening salvo (Sculpting The Throne Ov Seth) shoots itself to lower hell and back, there's joyous wonder at such extreme filtrations of raw human duality (i.e. Nergal's a pretty nice guy in person). Of note: Nile's Karl Sanders guest solos, and mixing guru Daniel Bergstrand mans the studio buttons. - David Perri
BEHEMOTH - THE APOSTASY – CENTURY MEDIA
Rome 64 C.E., a rather unoriginal intro, may not be a good omen but any short lived doubts are immediately put to rest with Slaying The Prophets Ov Isa, a convincing, heavy and fast mix of death and black metal. Prometherion doesn’t let up either, its solos and intricate guitars ala Morbid Angel makes The Apostasy a stand out release already.
At The Left Hand Ov God is on the heavy side with its acoustic intro and Middle Eastern sounding chants and effects towards the end. Kriegsphilosophie showcases all the strengths of Behemoth which certainly include the drum work of Inferno. Shades of Krisiun and a beefed up version of Testimony Of The Ancients era Pestilence if references and comparisons are required. Be Without Fear and its Slayer-ish riffs are not out of place. Arcana Hereticae and its high speed drum blasts, solos and crushing heavy riffs is some of the most impact presented in a three minute package. Libertheme, somewhat surprisingly, is not unlike a heavy Nevermore, but one song too early. Inner Sanctum, featuring the aforementioned’s Warrell Dane as guest vocalist and spoken word segments and pianos by the trio’s fellow countrymen Leszek Mozdzer, is doomier and includes an acoustic passage or two taken right out of Megadeth’s Holy War. Pazuzu builds up to devastating effects and represents another mix of everything brutal. Nergal might as well be revealing his street address as Christgrinding Avenue closes the album and continues where all the other songs have left off. – Anna Tergel
At this stage of the game, it's not an exaggeration to describe Behemoth as one of extreme metal's biggest bands. Aside from impressive record sales and strong concert attendance, Behemoth is a force to be reckoned with both live and on album. The group's concerts bear the same over-the-top intensity they did when the group first started touring North America in 2003 (despite Behemoth's hundreds and hundreds of shows in that span) and new LP The Apostasy is a forceful monster that has justly exploded all the way to the fringes of the mainstream. Behemoth is undoubtedly death metal's current titan, a group that will go down as one of this decade's biggest metal acts. David Perri caught up with Behemoth mainman Nergal after Behemoth's raucous and ultra-energetic set at Montreal's Club Soda. - 26.11.2007
METALLIAN: Tonight you guys played to 850 people at a sold-out Club Soda here in Montreal. What are your thoughts on this level of success?
NERGAL: I'm fucking stoked, I'm speechless. I don't know what to say. All I can say is thank you to everyone for making it happen, because it took us four years to get to this level. I remember the first time we played here in 2003 with Amon Amarth at Foufounes (Electriques) and it doesn't really seem like a long time ago but it's taken us a lot of work and a lot of shows playing in Toronto, Montreal and occasionally Vancouver. And then there was that insane 26-date Canadian run of the whole country (author's note: in the Canadian winter, no less) that was fucking insane but we did it, and I think it's paying off today. Yesterday in Toronto was crazy with 750 people and it's even better here tonight in Montreal, so I think it's awesome. I can say that Canada is definitely the highlight of the tour. Toronto and Montreal have been equal to L.A., and L.A. is pretty much the best market for us in the U.S., followed by New York and Chicago is also good, too. But Canada has been equal, if not better. Tonight was definitely one of the best shows we've ever played in Montreal. It was good to bring the whole production and bring some extra stuff on stage. We weren't just the openers for some bigger band. It was our stuff on stage with our gear and we played our full set, so it was really cool. We played 15 songs instead of eight, so I hope people really liked it.
METALLIAN: The band is enjoying unprecedented success right now. How does it feel to be in Behemoth?
NERGAL: It's all great. This tour is just amazing. And the tour we just did with Kataklysm was also crazy. It was the same as here tonight. We never expected that many people in Europe. I never expected this tour to be as massively attended as it has been and I'm stoked, but I have to tell you something: there's four shows left, and I'm dying to have some fucking rest (laughs). I'm seriously fucking worn out. Remember when we did an interview back in April? Since then, we've had maybe three weeks all together off. The rest of the time we've been touring. I didn't really realise it until the end of the European tour, because I was feeling good during the European tour. And I'm okay now, but I just need sleep. And some time off. It never affects the show, because we're always at 200 percent on stage. On stage we do our fucking best. Our attitude is it's now or never. We perform as if tomorrow would never come. And things feel great, it feels like thing are really paying off for us. It's a great feeling, but we need some time off (laughs).
METALLIAN: Do you have ideas for the next record, or is too early to tell at this point?
NERGAL: I've always got ideas (laughs). I've got some titles in my head, I have some ideas for the cover and the booklet. I came up with some riffs today, but I'm not sure if they're good enough. I'm going to play them tomorrow and see if they're really good. We'll be ripping up some ideas maybe around spring or summer of next year, so things are moving for us.
METALLIAN: The last few times we spoke, you mentioned how much pressure there was surrounding the creation of The Apostasy. You mentioned there was a lot of stress involved. Will there be that kind of stress for the next record?
NERGAL: It seems like every new record is worse and worse (laughs). I'm really scared (laughs). I'm going to plan everything in advance so I can try to avoid as many problems as possible, which is what I always do. But, hey, you know the way things go: you can never predict how things are going to work for you. You can only hope it will be smooth. Then again, things that are sealed with pain have more meaning for us. Maybe things that go smoothly and easily don't have as much meaning. I think when something is really painful, I like to believe there's a meaning behind it. But the way The Apostasy was received by the media and the fans… I can sleep well now (laughs). I didn't know what to expect - people don't really like differences. Behemoth comes at you with a different record every time, and you never know if people will like it or not. Fortunately, people seem to like the direction we're going in so I'm cool with that.
METALLIAN: When you started the band at 14 years of age, did you foresee Behemoth becoming this massive?
NERGAL: No way (laughs). I was actually just watching some Venom live stuff from '85 on Youtube. I grew up watching that show when I was a kid. And I'm watching this now and I realized it doesn't differ very much from the venues we're playing these days. And there weren't as many people for Venom in '85 as earlier in their career, but the venues were still pretty fucking packed. So I was like, wow… we've finally reached that. Somewhere deep in my head I really wanted to do that. I think it's proof that when you really want to do something and if you push hard enough and have faith, you can eventually make it. I don't want to say that I'm a happy person, but I'm satisfied with the place we're at now.
METALLIAN: Well, Behemoth really worked its ass off for this success. No one handed the band anything, you guys have toured like crazy.
NERGAL: It's like Jesus fucking Christ, it's insane (laughs). Next time when I plan all this touring, I'll be smarter (laughs). Between the European tour and the American tour, we only had one day off. And the European tour was 26 shows in 26 days. I was like, 'Am I crazy?' Yeah, I am (laughs). And now I know it's too much. The tour is almost over and it's going really well. If the tour sucked, I wouldn't be too happy talking about it right now but I happy. I'm stoked. I'm tired, but I'm fucking happy about the tour. The lowest attendance in the U.S. was 400 or 500 and the average was 600. It's crazy for a middle-sized tour like this. So I'm really happy about this, because it was our first attempt to headline or co-headline North America (author's note: co-headliners were Job For A Cowboy) and the tour being that successful… I'm like wow, it's finally paying off (laughs).