- by Vidar Smestad
- Posted on 01-01-2016
Vidar & Rune møtte Nergal fra Behemoth bare minutter før Trondheim Metal Marathon’s første band skulle på scenen.
ET: Hello, and welcome to Trondheim,Norway!
N: Thank you, it’s great to be here.
ET: Congratulations with your latest album, Zos Kia Cultus – Here And Beyond.
In my opinion the best extreme metal-album of the year.
N: Thank you, I really appreciate it man.
ET: How would you describe the album yourself? How pleased are you with it?
N: Well, of course we’re pleased with it. Basically I`m pleased with everything fresh and new that I do, you know. But it’s definitly the most mature and sophisticated album that we have done yet. Also Satanica and Thelema.6 was like a step in that direction, but this album is a further step for us. It’s a very technical and advanced album, so I think it’s our best yet.
Nergal & Vidar
ET: And how has the feedback from the press been so far?
N: Pretty good so far. I`ve just seen the Scream review, with 5 points out of 6, so I`m pleased with that you know. We’ve also got some pretty good reviews elsewhere, so it seems that the media, press and especially the fans appreciate what we’ve done. And that’s probably the most important for us, that our fans like it.
ET: How would you describe the biggest difference between Zos Kia Cultus and the previous Thelema.6?
N: It’s a much tighter album, much heavier you know? It’s much more bass. Thelema was much more Slayer-like blackmetal with really high-tuned guitars. Not really high-tuned but it sounded like that. This time it’s more, ah…
ET: …in your face?
N: Yeah! I think so too. For me, Zos Kia Cultus is much more METAL! Thelema was not as metal as this one, so that’s probably the biggest difference. Also, Thelema was very fast in some parts but Zos Kia is faster. Thelema also had these really slow parts, but this time we have even slower parts, heavier parts. So in all directions we go, like, further and further.
ET: Looking at the cover-artwork, some of the song-titles and also some elements in the music, it seems like you have been influenced by Egyptian mythology?
N: Not really. The Egyptian "details" allready appeared on the Satanica-album. The names, the words, some descriptions, it’s been there for a while you know? Actually I would say that we are inspired by Aleister Crowley, who was inspired by ancient Egypt. We’re not like say, Nile, who are totally devoted to Egypt. We just pick up some elements from different mythologies, religions and philisopy and just mix it up into our own thing. So there’s definetly a difference.
ET: Is there a sort of a "thin,red line" when it comes to the lyrics?
N: In a way yes. But it’s so complex man, I hardly can speak about the lyrics in a detailed way. The music and the lyrics sort of merge, so to speak about them separately is really difficult. You really have to listen and try to understand for yourself, to feel it.
ET: The title, Zos Kia Cultus – Here And Beyond, what exactly does that mean?
N: Zos Kia is like Yin and Yang. Like two opposite energies which is a part of one thing at the same time. So it’s like black and white, here and beyond, above and below, you know? Zos is something material, like this table here. You are Zos, I am Zos. Kia on the other hand, is something that you can only explore mentally. You can’t really feel it or touch it. It’s not anything carnal, nor is it material. It’s spritual. Everything in our life is Zos Kia. So it’s like striving for perfection, you know? It’s a very symbolic meaning…
ET: It seems that Behemoth has progressed into a much more technical band. Do you ever fear ending up like a band such as Theory In Practice, where the technique seems more important than the music itself?
N: No, we try to find a right balance. Technique is important of course, but the feeling is also very important. The lyrics and the image are important too, you know? It all has to have some balance to it.
ET: Today it seems like the trend is to be the most aggressive, the fastest or the most technical.
N: Yeah, some do and some don’t. There are also some more oldschool bands, you know? I just met a guy in Wurdulak, a really good band by the way, and they are like that, oldschool, really primitive and simple. Then you have bands such as Krisiun, Hate Eternal and Nile which are all extremely technical though they have this great feeling in their music, especially Nile. The same goes for Morbid Angel. It’s not only about the technique, you know? We’re not that great instrumentalists, we just try to progress. When you listen to our albums you really can hear that we have evolved as musicians, and that’s a success for us.
ET: I think most people would agree with me when I say that Behemoth is made up of very talented musicians. Do you all have any special musical education like the guys in Decapitated?
N: No, we don’t! (laughs) We are,ah…
N: Yes, self-learned. Though I wouldn’t say that I’m just an ordinary guy with a guitar, you know? Because making this music makes me somewhat special, you know? I`m the one who transfers the power over to the audience, you know? And that’s just perfect. It’s a gift that I’m going to use for all it’s worth. But I cannot really call myself a musician, or an artist. Pavarotti is an artist, so is Chopin. Great musicians, but compared to them, who is Nergal?
ET: Behemoth probably played the best concert on the whole Inferno-festival earlier this year.
N: Yeah, I’ve heard such opinions and I feel flattered about it of course. But we always try to go onstage and do our best, you know? There’s no competition when it comes to this. There are bands like Krisiun,Nile and Morbid Angel which are far better than us, so I don’t really try to compete. Dimmu Borgir is a really great band and I really like them. It was an honor for us to play with them, not only on that festival but also on other festivals. But to be honest I was really surprised from the feedback from the norwegian crowd, they were very enthusiastic. It was a really successful show.
ET: Your concert tonight will be your third in Norway. Is there any special reason for you to play this many times here?
N: I don’t really know man. I’m surprised! It’s a country with four million people, compared with Poland’s forty million. But I know that our previous album sold like 1100 copies, and for a band from nowhere like we are, this means a lot. And compared to other big norwegian blackmetal bands this is a very good result. I’m very thankful to all those who have bought our music, you know? It’s because of them that we are here. Because of those who love our music. Besides that we’ve never been further north than Trondheim, so that’s cool too (laughs).
Vidar & Nergal
ET: How has the tour been so far?
N: (Thinks long) Very exhausting! This is the last date of the tour, it’s the 36th day of the tour. Some days were crap and some days were ok. We did a great job in Belgium and in Paris. Spain was good and so was Portugal. Holland was extremely good and London was ok. Some were great, some not. Overall I’m satisfied.
ET: Poland seems to be the leading country these days when it comes to producing quality extreme-metal. You seem to have a very strong underground with bands such as Vader, Decapitated, Hate, Devilyn, Immemorial, Esqarial and of course Behemoth. Why do you think that Poland stands so strong in this scene?
N: I don’t know! (laughs) There’s just a lot of talented guys who knows how to handle the instruments. They have such a love and passion for music, especially deathmetal. More and more bands are getting a name, having contracts signed and selling lots of records. So Poland is more than fucking Adam Malysz (famous ski-jumper), you know?
ET: Here in Norway the media rarely mentions the metal-scene with a word. It’s only when bands such as Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir are releasing albums that it gets mentioned. How is this situation in Poland? Does the media care or are you being ignored?
N: It has changed over the years. Surprisingly enough we’ve done some interviews with the biggest tv-stations in Poland for this record, and that’s cool. Something is happening, and if somebody wants to interview me that’s just great, you know? They’re spreading the word.
ET: Listening to your early albums it is quite clear that Behemoth was more or less a blackmetal-oriented band. Nowadays the music is more of a mix between aggressive black and technical deathmetal. Was there any special reason for this change and when did it happen?
N: I don’t know…We’re gettin’ older probably! (laughs) It’s just about influence man. Life is basically a lifelong experience. Perhaps life has become harder and more brutal for us, I don’t know! I’m a very open-minded person, and I don’t wan’t to limit myself for just black or deathmetal. In our albums you can hear trash-influences, maybe even some heavymetal. We never limit ourself to just one genre.
ET: Also your vocals have changed considerably. From typical blackmetal to a voice which has a lot of feeling. In my opinion one of the most charismatic vocals there is!
N: Wow, thank you man! I just try to sing from the heart, with a lot of passion. I don’t really like the ordinary growling vocals which sound the same from beginning to end. David Vincent and Chuck Schuldiner were both great vocalists and also some others, but I prefer vocals with a bit of feelings, yeah.
ET: What music does the members of Behemoth listen to?
N: All kinds. Something that really impressed me lately is Songs For The Deaf by Queens Of The Stoneage. That’s probably the album of the year! The latest Danzig kicks ass, I’m a huge Danzig-fan by the way. The latest Black Label Society is excellent. The latest The Cult is just marvellous. The latest Nile is just…splendid! Hate Eternal’s great. I like cheesy stuff like Manowar…I also heard the last Shakira-single on the radio…and I fucking love that girl, man! Her voice…aah! For some people that is not understandable, but for me there’s true feeling in that music. She’s without a doubt the best artist in the whole pop-bullshit thing. There’s always something good in each musicstyle, you know? Ok, maybe except for reggae, which sucks big time, and country…which also sucks! But I like Johnny Cash,so…there’s always exceptions (laughs)
ET: What about side-projects?
N: I played in a band called The Wolverines, which played some kind of stoner-music, inspired by Danzig, but we split up. Inferno plays in two more bands; Witchmaster and Azarath. They will release an album soon. Havoc has his own band which has no name yet. Novy, our bass-player, is not our permanent member, but he has two bands of own; Dies Irae and Devilyn.
ET: That’s it. Thank you for the interview and good luck tonight!
N: Thank you for the good words.
Vidar & Rune