Behemoth have always been a band that has pushed the artistic boundaries. Whether it be through their imagery or their music, the band has always strived to create vivid and thought provoking art that ignites conversation. On the eve of the release of the bands 11th offering I Loved You At Your Darkest, Metal Wani had the opportunity to talk with inimitable frontman Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski to discuss ILYAYD, it’s reception so far throughout the listening parties and exhibitions already held, the stylistic and creative approaches taken on the album, artistic inspirations, and whether their recent line of God=Dog treats might be extended to further animals in the future.
Reviews have been steadily streaming in for ILYAYD, something which Nergal has acknowledged excites him, but is also reaffirming for the band when the intention for the albums sound is translated onto other listeners. “I’m excited to read all these, but I think some people actually, I think a lot of people got the idea that I had tried to maintain through this record, and the idea was to take the ancient tools, the ancient sound and throw it into the future”. While Nergal recognises that the initial reception has been positive, he acknowledges that he has no control over how it is going to be received and instead wishes for the fans to make up their own minds about the album “I did my job the best I could, I delivered the record. The record is not mine anymore, it’s yours!”
ILYAYD is a modern Behemoth album, one that explores the bands past and moves the bands sound into the future. Nergal discusses how this growth was intentional and how some of his direct influences helped shape this very idea. “My idea of the best sound for Behemoth is to make it sound very raw and organic but also modern, very modern at the same time. I’m personally a huge fan of Jack White and that’s exactly what he does – or Lenny Kravitz. These two guys make their records sound very organic, very natural, almost like you have that person performing in the same room with you, yet you can never claim it’s a retro sounding record. They sound 21st Century and they set the bar for all the other artists – and that’s exactly what I want to do within the metal genre”.
Diversity in sound is rife on ILYAYD, with Behemoth experimenting with several new elements and dynamics to create different effects. With a greater emphasis on guitar solos and different musical arrangements, the question was posed to Nergal about what the impetus for these musical changes were and how they impacted on the writing for this album. “What makes music exciting to me is the dynamics, lots of dynamics, and this is a very dynamic record”. Nergal also discusses some of the different responsibility splits for the album, how certain songs were conceived from ideas written on his couch, and how some of these riffs could be used in classic rock songs by bands like Scorpions.
ILYAYD again takes a very heavy look into religious and social constructs, something that will come as no surprise to any fan of Behemoth. When asked what it was about these subjects that influences the band creatively, Nergal offered a very succinct response to a topic that could be discussed for hours. “It’s the roots we came from, it’s the roots of our origins, of our Catholic and Christian traditions that we come from that was forced upon us, I was baptized you know without no-one asking me if I want that, so one can say that all these things were imprinted in our system, they were inbred. It feels like someone just put a chip in your brain with a certain set of aesthetics and dogmas and so on, and what I did with it later on when I started to open up and started to question things, you know my reality, I twisted them around. So you know I decided to use these tools because they were given to me, they were handed to me when I was born but I’m not using then to praise god, I’m using them to question God”.
Nergal then closes out the conversation by talking about the inception and impact of the bands recent merchandise announcement, the God=Dog dog treats, and whether they might extend the range to other animals.