Nergal is no stranger to controversy and threats; whether it’s religious protest groups or the Polish government, there has always been someone on Nergal’s butt. However, these matters that the Behemoth frontman brings up in this interview come from within the world of black metal itself. Nergal speaks to individuals from within the scene who were pissed off that the band had changed their style. Here is what the Behemoth frontman had to say about the backlash he received in the ’90s:
“I remember getting death threats back in the day for changing my style and for putting a ‘wrong’ image on the cover, and I mean it. I had fucking people invading my room with a gun, and [this did] happen in the ’90s when I supposedly… it was a sacrilege for some [National Socialist black metal] people or whatever who were not friends of mine, who thought ‘you shouldn’t be doing this so we’re going to execute you.’ Well they didn’t. I’m still around and I’m still a pain in the ass. Things like that did happen because I was evolving.
“When I started Behemoth I was [either 15 or 16 years old]. So I see a 15 year old or a 16 year old [now] and I’m like ‘holy shit, it’s a baby. It’s a walking fucking toddler with his laptop and his video game’ and I was writing lyrics about something I wasn’t aware of. I was so naïve and inexperienced, and I was aiming for something out of my [league] or abilities, you know? I was young [young]. What do you know when you’re 17 [years old?] You’re just a piece of shit and you know nothing, basically.”
Adding to this, Nergal went on to talk about how the Polish black metal scene at the time were hardcore gatekeepers and that certain people in the community had a “list” of enemies.
“I always wanted to be number one [on the list], and at least once I was. So they accused me of changing styles, but then at the same time those guys were the biggest Bathory worshippers. That should make you think. It always made me think ‘why are they after me? Why are they not after Quorthorn?’ Every record was fucking [different]… no one had problems with that because it was sacred to them.”
What do you make of this story and Behemoth’s growth as a band? Did you prefer how the band used to sound, or do you like how they sound now? As of today, Behemoth has released a new album titled Opvs Contra Natvram.