The Sacred And The Profane…

“Rebellion is a part of youth. Sometimes it’s dangerous. Instead of a sword, I hold a guitar in my hands. I’m in the same, rigid world but instead of Molotov cocktails, I’ve got a computer. It’s a much more powerful weapon.

‘Confessions Of A Heretic’ is the forthright and erudite memoir of the front man and driving force behind the Polish heavy-metal group Behemoth, currently at the top of their game following the release of their 2014 US Top 40 album ‘The Satanist’.

Presented as a series of interrogations by friends and associates, the book reveals a complex man of great contrast-a health-conscious, highly personable intellectual known for his extreme views and even more extreme music – lifting the lid on everything from his clashes with the Polish Catholic church to appearing as a judge on the Polish edition of The Voice to his recent battle with leukaemia.”


Behemoth In 1997
Behemoth In 1997

I’ve just finished reading “Confessions Of A Heretic – The Sacred And The Profane : Behemoth And Beyond” by Adam “Nergal” Darski, frontman and founding member of Polish black metal band Behemoth. Released earlier this year, this is the English translation of his book “Spowiedz Heretyka – Sacrum Profanum”, which was originally published back in 2012.

Adam "Nergal" Darski, Krzysztof Azarewicz & Piotr Weltrowski
Adam “Nergal” Darski, Krzysztof Azarewicz & Piotr Weltrowski

The book is essentially a really long interview. Two friends of Nergal’s, Krzysztof Azarewicz and Piotr Weltrowski ask the questions and Nergal answers them The whole thing has then been translated from Polish into English by Mark Eglinton. Although therefore the book perhaps isn’t technically an autobiography, you are still essentially getting one man’s story in his own words.

Adam "Nergal" Darski
Adam “Nergal” Darski

The questions are clearly designed to get Nergal to really think about the subjects at hand and to open up, sometimes they seem phrased in such a way as to deliberately provoke a reaction. Throughout it all Nergal remains true to himself.

Adam "Nergal" Darski & Dorota Rabczewska
Adam “Nergal” Darski & Dorota Rabczewska

As the book progresses we learn about Nergal’s childhood and the beginnings of his band, about life on the road, his relationship with the Catholic church , his appearance as a judge on the Polish version of TV talent series “The Voice”, his relationships with his parents, brother and women – including his high-profile engagement to Polish pop star Doda (real name Dorota Rabczewska) – and his life-threatening brush with leukaemia, the latter of which led many to expect Nergal to turn to the Christian god of his upbringing.

Adam "Nergal" Darski
Adam “Nergal” Darski

Whether or not you regard the man as a “true” Satanist, and no doubt there are many different variations just as there are with many other religions / beliefs, there is no doubting his complete sincerity in terms of his beliefs and his total opposition to the Christian faith.  It’s also worth saying that I don’t think you need to be a fan of Nergal or his uncompromising music to appreciate the human story told here.

Adam "Nergal" Darski
Adam “Nergal” Darski

As the book originally saw the light of day in 2012 it does not cover the period since which saw the recording of Behemoth’s superb 2014 album “The Satanist”, the increasing success of the band, and Nergal’s venture into co-ownership of a barbershop. Leaving aside the absence of the immediate past, however, this tome provides a fascinating look at the man behind the corpsepaint…


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