Swedish occult rockers GHOST, who go to great lengths to keep the identities of their bandmembers a secret, have commented on the recent release of a photo that appeared to show the band's frontman Papa Emeritus II (believed to be Swedish musician Tobias Forge of MAGNA CARTA CARTEL, REPUGNANT and SUBVISION) without his trademark makeup posing backstage at a Dutch festival with BEHEMOTH's Adam "Nergal" Darski.
Speaking to Jägermeister at this weekend's Sonisphere festival in the U.K., one of the Nameless Ghouls from GHOST said (see video below): "Adam from BEHEMOTH [who posted the photo in question on his Instagram account] is a really, really nice guy; we only have good things to say about him, and we hope [he feels] the same way [about us]."
He continued: "I mean, it's… We don't really know what to say about that except for we keep our identities as secret as we possibly can, of course, but at some point it's bound to happen, some things that are not really optimal for us, of course. But the identity part is always gonna be, for as long as can take it, it's gonna be a hassle in many ways, and I think we have managed to keep it below the radar, for the most part, at least."
**UPDATE**: Nergal has now removed the photo in question from his Instagram account.
The original article follows below.
BEHEMOTH's Adam "Nergal" Darski recently posted a photo on Instagram of him hanging out backstage at the FortaRock festival in The Netherlands with Swedish musician Tobias Forge — believed to be none other than Papa Emeritus II, the frontman of Swedish occult rockers GHOST, who go to great lengths to keep the identities of their bandmembers a secret. The photo was accompanied by the caption "If you have ghosts... U have everything;)", a line from the ROKY ERICKSON song "If You Have Ghosts", which was covered by GHOST on their EP "If You Have Ghost", released in November 2013.
BEHEMOTH and GHOST shared the stage at FortaRock, which took place on May 31 in Nijmegen.
Besides singing for MAGNA CARTA CARTEL, an experimental rock outfirt, Forge has also spent time in hard rock and metal acts REPUGNANT and SUBVISION.
In an early 2012 interview with Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, one of the "Nameless Ghouls" from GHOST was asked whether he can foresee a day when the members of GHOST won't be anonymous anymore. He said, "I think there is a difference between being anonymous and unmasked. Where SLIPKNOT actually wear masks still, while KISS during their unmasked days didn't. Obviously, it's a thing of the times.
"What we're trying to do, it's very hard to maintain. If the actual goal was to not be known, we try to maintain that, but in the long run, we can't really expect that to be something everlasting. Most of our fans are actually quite keen on not knowing, which works to our favor, but I think there is a difference between people knowing who is behind the mask or being unmasked.
"We can't really see ourselves going up on stage and afterwards just dropping the masks saying, 'Oh, it's me, it's me, actually. Can you see?' No, no, no… We don't want that. We don't want to spoil it. That's the whole reason why we are anonymous and we try not to show ourselves. We try to eliminate, not the human aspects, but the humane aspects, if you want. We want to put Papa Emeritus in the limelight. He's supposed to be the living character, even though rigor mortis has basically set in in his poor old body. But that's the face of the band. He's the person, everybody else are just puppets."
In a separate 2012 intervie with ThePhoenix.com, one of the "Nameless Ghouls" from GHOST said: "The initial thought of doing this anonymously was because we didn't wanna sort of have any personality and we didn't want to have faces interfere with the reaction and the overall mindframe that we wanted for the crowd to be in, and ourselves to be in, in a GHOST context. Whereas I really don't think that any of us could have understood that the anonymous thing would be such a turn-off. So when we actually really go at length to be anonymous just to focus on the music, now there are a lot of people focusing on the fact that we're anonymous, and it sucks. On the other hand, I think that being a band with the ambition of taking what you're doing to someplace else and levitate, I think that now with a bit of hindsight we see that what goes around when you're in a band that's sort of semi-successful, I think that being anonymous really helps you focus on what really matters. Putting on a good show, etc.
"There are a lot of bands out there, especially young bands, they seem to forget about why they're actually at the place they're at. Because there are so many other things that you can dive into when you're a band on the road, doing festivals, etc, there are a lot of other things that can occupy your time.
"It can be hard to be in a band when nobody recognizes you. But it has its benefits, especially when you're on tour with other bands and you see how they're approached by other people, what's expected of them. Whenever there's a crowd outside a venue, waiting for the bands to hang out, we pass as roadies."
Niclas Müller-Hansen of Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Adam "Nergal" Darski of Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metalshrine: With the new album, "The Satanist", you entered the Billboard chart at No 34.
Nergal: Yeah, and the previous highest position was 56 or something, I believe, so we got higher up this time around. I actually did some research and I think it's unheard of. I think the title can actually shut some doors for us, because it's so radical and it's really a "fuck off" title. It's like, "Fuck it! This is it!" For me, there are so many layers of it. I guess that when common people hear it for the first time, the first thing they feel is fear. But the western media also somehow feel very attracted to it, which is weird.
Metalshrine: It's also weird climbing the charts in a country like the U.S., which is a very religious country.
Nergal: They are as fanatical as they are liberal. Europe is way more conservative. The U.S. is extreme in many ways.
Metalshrine: You recently said that U.S. death metal bands are boring and generic?
Nergal: It's not just the U.S. I really hope my friends in NILE don't think that, because it's not what I meant. The majority of death metal bands are boring to me. It's how it is. This endless strive for perfection and processed recordings. They're so perfect and professional to the point of throwing up. I'm not buying it. I'd rather go for something that is very organic and more human oriented and that has the human factor in it.
Metalshrine: What bands do you find exciting then?
Nergal: The funny thing is that hardly any of the bands in the darkest niche of the genre offer the most sincere or genuine or best music. I would rather listen to SVARTIDAUDI, KRIEGSMACHINE or ORANSSI PAZUZU than listening to the new MORBID ANGEL or DEICIDE. Their music doesn't do it for me at all, and that's music I grew up with.
Metalshrine: Could there ever be a Nergal solo album?
Nergal: Yeah, I'm thinking about it. I've been thinking about it for years now. What I need now is to balance myself with something that's gonna be exactly on the opposite side of BEHEMOTH. You would never ever see me doing a black metal, death metal or metal project. I put all my energy into BEHEMOTH, so to balance my life I'd really need to do a really stripped down and primal sound. What I'm thinking about is probably just one or two male vocals, some acoustic guitars and maybe a bass drum only.
Metalshrine: Do you already have music like that lying around?
Nergal: Yeah, I've been fucking around with stuff. I've done some demos, which I hardly ever play for anybody. It's gonna be dark and sinister, but a bit different. Like 16 HORSEPOWER and WOVENHAND and that kinda stuff.
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Ross Baker of Ghost Cult magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Adam "Nergal " Darski of Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On his health following the five-month bout of leukemia he overcame in January 2011, after receiving a bone-marrow transplant:
"I've just been for some routine checks and test at the hospital and I am happy to announce I am very much alive and well! The fact that I am healthy and I have the deadliest weapon that BEHEMOTH has ever created in my hands makes my life complete.
"I definitely feel life has more meaning that it did before. I don't spend my time overanalyzing things the way I used to. Life seems to be more joyful these days, and I know it sounds like a cliché from a James Bond movie, but tomorrow is a question mark and we need to embrace today."
On BEHEMOTH's new studio album, "The Satanist":
"Extreme art should be shocking and provoke a reaction.
"I really hope we are viewed as more than just a black metal band. We are an extreme band that can communicate our ideas on so many levels.
"Extreme metal music these days is often only extreme by definition. It is a never-ending process of striving for perfection.
"Too many bands are chasing this and the scene is becoming like the 'X-Factor' for black metal. There is no danger and unpredictability anymore.
"The majority of death metal bands from the USA are so generic, they all sound perfect. It is fast and technical, but there is no substance.
"Bands forget about emotion when they strive for perfection.
"You should be driven by your intuition and not just be concerned with shredding on your guitar.
"Perfection is boring and uninspiring.
"When people listen to 'The Satanist', it will stimulate them in many different ways.
"I saw cabaret at the theatre recently and it was extremely moving.
"Extreme art must make people uncomfortable, whether it is music, art or films. It has to be thought-provoking.
"It takes a lot of energy for me to do this.
"I remember after my transplant, when we started playing shows again. There was a time I thought I was going to pass out onstage because it was so taxing playing the show and I did not have as much energy as before, but now I am ready. I know I can give my all to this."
Read more from Ghost Cult magazine.
"The Satanist", the long-awaited new album from Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH, will be released on February 3 in the U.K., February 4 in North America and Poland, February 5 in Japan, and February 7 in the rest of the world.
BEHEMOTH frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski tells Decibel magazine about the writing process for the new CD: "When we started working on 'The Satanist''s first themes, we decided not to overthink or overanalyze things.
"To me, it was clear that it's the first time in my musical career that I'm gonna play only the notes that naturally come out of my system. There's gonna be no single sound on the record that is not coherent with my inner self — with my needs, aspirations, expectations.
"[2009's] 'Evangelion' was a monster of a record. I'm still very proud of it… but it's a reflection of what we were. We are way more conscious these days… and so is this record.
"Maturity, sincerity, quality — 'The Satanist'."
According to Nergal, BEHEMOTH's tenth album is their most fully realized to date and then some — in part thanks to his battle with leukemia in 2010 and early 2011.
"I remember when l left hospital and started my recovery (which took a few months), I was saying to myself, as well to my doctors and friends, 'Cancer happens for a reason,' he said.
"I was quite an aware individual before, but afterwards, I realized how much l suffered from old programming — automatic reactions that were part of my being, but wouldn't make my life any happier.
"I worked on myself a lot, mentally, spiritually and physically. But I'm happy and very much thankful for this lesson of self-awareness I was given.
"'The Satanist' is a fruit of this enhanced and expanded consciousness. It's more to the core, more carnal… more human than any other record we've made.
"I'm super proud of myself and my bandmates.
"But what I wanted to say in the first place is that l experienced this sickness so that I can come out stmnger than before. There was no other option for me in life.
"I know there are a lot of people who, after a near-death experience, they kinda hide in the shadow of life praying for every next day. I am not afraid of life, as I am not afraid of death. I'm an integral part of the Universe that surrounds me. I embrace it and make one perfect entity with it."
BEHEMOTH's video for the new single "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel" can be seen below. This visual masterpiece was produced by Grupa 13 and is one of BEHEMOTH's most unsettling and unique works to date.
"The Satanist" deluxe box, which is available in North America as an European import, includes: CD/DVD digibook in silver mirror slipcase with a high-quality 44-page booklet (with gold foil, UV gloss lamination), supersize poster flag (approx. 3.5' x 5'), wooden black inverted rosary cross, metal pin, black envelope with black communion wafers. The DVD, "Live Barbarossa", includes a professionally filmed show in Ekaterinburg, Russia, as well as 30-minute documentary about the creative process behind "The Satanist".
"The Satanist" was produced by BEHEMOTH, Wojtek and Slawek Wieslawscy and Daniel Bergstrand at Hertz Studio. The CD was mixed by Matt Hyde (SLAYER) and mastered by Ted Jensen (METALLICA, AC/DC) at Sterling Sound in New York City. The cover art for "The Satanist" was painted by renowned Russian painter and occultist Denis Forkas. The paint used included some of Nergal's own blood. Additional art and design was completed by Metastazis (PARADISE LOST) and Zbigniew Bielak (WATAIN, GHOST).
"The Satanist" track listing:
01. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
02. Furor Divinus
03. Messe Noire
04. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
06. The Satanist
07. Ben Sahar
08. In the Absence ov Light
09. O Father O Satan O Sun!
Tennille Secomb of Australia's Heavy magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Adam "Nergal" Darski of Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the artwork for BEHEMOTH's new album, "The Satanist", which will contain Nergal's own blood blended into a painting by Russian symbolist painter Denis Forkas to give it "a more organic feel":
Nergal: "I wanted to incorporate some of my DNA into the art. This album seems to be so defining of who we are now as people and as individuals, and considering all the instances in recent years, [we wanted] to make it more 'ours' than it is usually.
"[The cover is] very arty; it's very artistic and it really has no heavy metal clichés in it. Expect something very special and spectacular, and deeper than all of the other products that are in the market."
On producer Colin Richardson quitting "The Satanist" mixing process afer four weeks following creative differences and being replaced by Matt Hyde (SLAYER, HATEBREED, CHILDREN OF BODOM):
Nergal: "We just couldn't agree [with Colin] on certain concepts and visions of what the record should sound like. [Colin] did a great job actually — but Matt was always supposed to be the main mixing guy for the record. Within a week or two weeks with Matt, I had the whole record mixed and believe me, it's the best-sounding BEHEMOTH record for sure. It's very organic, it's very different — I love it."
On being diagnosed with and overcoming leukaemia in 2010:
Nergal: "I have always been ahead of others, so to speak. I'm very much into hard work and being motivated, and I'm more than ever like that. It's the conscience that life is just a temporary thing — it has taught me to appreciate life more than anything else, you know. I am a fucking life-worshipping motherfucker.
"All of the so-called negatives that have happened in my life recently — I turn them into positives and