Behemoth’s Nergal gives us his guide to having a very merry black metal Christmas

Within the rock sphere, few records have ruled 2018 quite like ‘I Loved You at Your Darkest’, the eleventh album of blackened metal titans Behemoth. It’s one of the year’s bleakest releases – heavy enough to go toe-to-toe with Godzilla, loud enough to wake the dead. It is a thrilling, innovative racket throughout. The record sets the Polish band up to step up to the next level in 2019, with an enormous world tour planned that will see them trek through Europe, North and South America, Australia, Israel and beyond. “Big things are coming,” singer Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski tells NME today. “But first I need to rest!”

Question is, how do these avowed Satanists – “Satan stands for everything that is dear to me” Nergal told The Guardian in 2014 – celebrate Christianity’s big day? Well, like this. Read on and have yourself a merry (black metal) Christmas…

Remember that the true meaning of Christmas is pagan

“Everything about Christmas, right down to the tree, was stolen from the heathen tradition. It’s how Christianity took over the world. They stole all the pagan traditions and made them their own. They just put different names on them, so that the people didn’t revolt. Personally, I like to spend Christmas immersed in Nordic mythology. The Viking version. Yule.”

Try to use the season to slow down

“As I say, I try to pay as little attention as possible to Christmas as we’ve come to know it. I hate anything that’s particularly commercial. I hate everyone hurrying around. I hate gluttony. That’s not my energy. At the same time, I need moments in my life when I slow down. Behemoth have done so much touring this year, there’s been so much emotion in recent months, that I’m hoping I can have a break and spend some time with my parents, my friends, asleep or watching Netflix.”

It’s all repeats on the telly. Why not get out the acoustic guitar and have a sing-song?

“I’ve got some plans to do some things with my acoustic project Me And That Man next year. Our last album, ‘Songs Of Love and Death’, came out in 2017. You can expect a new single around spring or summer, with an album to follow after that in 2020. Me And That Man are definitely working on stuff.”

Slayer make great guests at Christmas time

“Behemoth have been so honoured to be supporting Slayer on their last ever tour. I think I’ve watched them every single night. The idea of Slayer not being in the world makes me feel so weird. It just doesn’t feel right. That band is one of the greatest bands of all time. Their legacy will live forever.”

It’s better to give than receive. Or something

“If there was one thing someone could give me as a present I think it would probably be some love. I mean, I feel loved. But I’d like some female love. I’d just like to feel something special in the air. I’m on Tinder, but I’ve realised that Tinder is all about the fuck love. I want some love love.”

Try to get as far away from Jesus as possible

“Normally at this time of year, I try to get away from Poland to somewhere hot, preferably where they’ve never heard of Jesus. I was 14 when I started questioning religion. I decided I didn’t want my life to be ruled by dogma. I was raised Catholic. My parents were quite lax, to be honest, but Catholicism is huge in Poland. My father was a Communist, so he got it.”

The bible can do one too

“I was held on trial in Poland on blasphemy charges for ripping up a bible on stage in 2007. We’ve got some Polish shows coming up, so I’m sure I’ll be questioned by the police again. It comes up now and again still. Normally the police are a bit embarrassed that the establishment have ordered them to talk to me. They’re just puppets of the ruling party.”

Behemoth’s new album ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ is out now. Their UK tour runs from February 6-11.