Despite what has been a formative year for extreme metal pillars Behemoth, specifically for frontman Adam Nergal Daraski, the innovator recently shared his sense of cautionary optimism in a piece penned for Kerrang! with Paul Travers.
The feature does well in framing the achievements Nergal has tallied in 2021, including the celebration of Behemoth's 30th anniversary - fully realized with the monumental streaming event in XXX Years ov Blasphemy. In addition to the landmark accomplishment, Nergal is currently celebrating the Napalm Records release of his dark blues iteration in Me and That Man.
New Man, New Songs, Same Shit Vol. 2 pooled together an all-star roster of contributors with Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer), Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Mary Goore, Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Myrkur, Devin Townsend, David Vincent, Doug Blair, Olve ‘Abbath’ Eikemo and the late Hank Von Hell in a dynamic showcase of Nergal's musical versatility.
Yet despite a year that coupled productivity with promise, Nergal confides that he is having a tough time indulging any optimism given the current climate of the world. Nergal confides, "So as a band and as a person, yes, I'm very happy, but I’ve been reflecting not only on three decades of Behemoth history but also humankind's history. How things are coming back in cycles and our freedoms are being eroded and censored. I'm not very optimistic at this moment. Generally speaking, it's a clusterfuck. And on top of that I'm from Poland and I see what my government is doing to the country, and how my government is warring with all its neighbours. I don't want to be a bad prophet but there's a lot of tension all around and I'm struggling to breathe in and out."
Nergal further explains that the current stall of live music is only adding to his growing sense of pessimism. "On the one hand I'm working on the 12th Behemoth album. It will probably be released no-matter-what next year, and I would love to back it up with a massive touring campaign… but if it happens, who fucking knows? I released the Me And That Man album that I'm so proud of and the reception was great, but I cannot go and tour the fucking UK or wherever I want in the way that I want. I'm tired. I'm exhausted and I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel."
While the feature does a great job of honestly articulating how bleak the situation feels for the frontman, there is a message of civic responsibility that he expresses with regards to the ongoing pandemic. Referencing the health of his father, Nergal admits that while prompting people to get vaccinated seems to be a divisive message, it's one he is passionate about. "So I'm trying to be as reasonable as I can be. I know the world is polarising: the black is blacker, the white is whiter. We are in a very unfortunate position as humankind and the geopolitical map of the world is on very shaky ground. I'm very concerned, so I won't be just staying calm – ‘Oh, if you say something, you're going to offend some of your fans!’ Do not fucking buy my album, just save my father's life, you know? Don't buy the record, I don't give a fuck about that, it's just another product at the end of the day. Be smart about the health of other people. Be concerned, don't be a covidiot."
Closing out his thoughts, Nergal expressed a sense of hope for what 2022 could be if people all do what they can to hold it together. Encouraging people to galvanize and support one another, Nergal's hope is that the new year affords the opportunity to share new music with fans and resume the live translation that can only come with with a proper, in-person concert.