Polish extreme metal institution Behemoth have shared the latest single from their forthcoming album, Opvs Contra Natvram. Accompanied by a video animated by award-winning VFX artist Ruben Fro, Thy Becoming Eternal is latter-day Behemoth at their best.
There's a sense of macabre theater to a track that sends waves of black metal electric guitar dissonance over capricious and fitful blasts, with frontman/guitarist Adam 'Nergal' Darski holding court in trademark style, and as ever finding the words and the intensity of performance to give the song a similar vibe to the third act of The Exorcist.
Indeed, there are some who might argue this is a track in need of an exorcism. It is the fourth to be shared ahead of the September 16 release of Opvs Contra Natvram through Nuclear Blast, an album that finds Negal in combative mood.
Classics scholars will tell you that the album title refers to going against the current. And this heady anti-everything esprit des corps informs the whole rebellious architecture of the record.
“It’s the negative of the values and morals and ethics that I stand against,” says Nergal. “I’ve seriously been wrestling with destructive tendencies in pop culture – cancel culture, social media, and tools which I feel are very dangerous weapons in the hands of people who are not competent to judge others. That’s something which I find very destructive and disturbing and extremely limiting coming from an artists’ perspective.”
- Adam 'Nergal' Darski: "If you have something to say, you'll say it through your instrument regardless of whether you know theory"
There was a period in the mid-'00s in which Behemoth had settled into a technically adroit death metal sound, with albums such as Demigod and The Apostasy out-muscling some of the black metal fire that had characterized the band's early work. But in recent years Behemoth has evolved into something else entirely. At times wantonly experimental, they've got this freeform compositional sensibility that jives nicely with their do what thou wilt ethos.
Describing the album as his “middle finger” to today's social mores and its predilection for judgment, Nergal likens himself – and in turn all of us – to pop-culture's original rebel, Spartacus, which might make for some interesting stagewear when the band come to tour the album.
“There’s a song on the record called Neo-Spartacvs. Spartacus was one of the most iconic rebels in history who went against the most powerful empire of all time,” Nergal says. “In the end it’s me screaming, ‘I Am Spartacus, and so are you!’ I want to spark that flame of rebellion. If something seems wrong then stand up to it!”
Opvs Contra Natvram is available to preorder now, out September 16.