Opvs Contra Natvram

Opvs Contra Natvram

Behemoth leader Adam “Nergal” Darski borrowed a fitting term from Carl Jung for the title of his extreme-metal band’s 12th album. “Jung had his own agenda attached to it, but for me, it’s a work of art against the nature of things, the order of things,” the Polish guitarist and vocalist tells Apple Music. “It defines my approach to music.” As a vehemently anti-Christian artist who’s been repeatedly hauled into court on charges of blasphemy and “offending religious feelings” in his institutionally pious homeland, Nergal is especially attuned to censorship in all its forms. “There’s a set of standards that’s being imposed upon people, and especially artists, where you cannot talk freely,” he says. “To me, art has no limits. As we speak, I have three lawsuits happening simultaneously, for blasphemy and mocking this or that. There are people who watch my shows or read my lyrics and think, ‘This guy is a villain. We should put him behind bars.’ Opvs Contra Natvram is yet another middle finger I’m throwing against those cunts’ faces.” Below, he comments on each song. “Post-God Nirvana” “It’s an intro that’s also a song. There are just two proper verses, so it makes it a very weird, different song. Some of what I write is wishful thinking, like I’m projecting some kind of dystopian or post-apocalyptic or whatever future where things are going to be my way, or they’re not going to be my way. In this case, I imagine a world, let’s say 50 years down the road, where the world is free of God, free of religion. There’s no abortion laws. There are no chains anymore. People are basically free.” “Malaria Vvlgata” “After ‘Post-God Nirvana,’ I wanted to come out with something absolutely blistering, something polarizing. ‘Malaria Vvlgata’ was deliberately done as a hit between the eyes with an iron first. It’s almost punky—a burst of anti-Christian, anti-religious feeling. There’s no nuances. It’s a hate anthem, just completely uncompromising. It’s one of the most brutal songs I’ve ever written and definitely the shortest one I’ve ever written.” “The Deathless Sun” “This song reminds me of how I felt about ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ when we did The Satanist. When we wrote that song, I thought, ‘OK, it’s strong, it’s a banger, but it’s probably not the strongest song on the record.’ But then, holy shit—it really took crowds by storm. People went totally nuts when we played it live. When we started playing this album for people, a lot of them were saying ‘The Deathless Sun’ is the strongest on the record. It took me a while to realize that, but now I’m thinking it’s one of my absolute favorites.” “Ov My Herculean Exile” “It’s probably the most mellow track on the record, and it was also the first one we made a video for. Every other band, when they release their first single, it’s always a banger. They’re just fucking flexing the muscles, like, ‘We are the heaviest, we are the fastest.’ But I wanted to do it the other way around. I wanted to serve an aperitif first, rather than the main course. I’d say this is our storytelling song. It’s rather epic and midtempo. A lot of people were complaining, ‘Where’s the speed?’ But I’m dying to read the comments when they hear how fucking intense the full record is.” “Neo-Spartacvs” “I love this one. It’s very catchy and brutal. The message behind the song is quite crucial because everyone knows who Spartacus is; he’s probably the most-known rebel in history. I’m telling people there are many things that you can rebel against that are objectively wrong. I think the invasion of Ukraine by Russia is wrong, and I don’t give a fuck if you agree with me or not. I think the righteous thing is to be a Spartacus about that. Please support Ukraine. Make people aware of what is happening. There is an obvious invader and an obvious victim. There is no gray spot.” “Disinheritance” “Again, this is one of the most brutal songs I’ve ever written. I really hope that people will find it as the hidden treasure of the record. It’s a really strong, powerful song that this record needed. I’m particularly proud of the midsection—it’s one of the craziest parts I’ve ever come up with. It’s like a complete fucking tornado, almost going out of tune. It gets to the point where it sounds cacophonic. It’s the sickest, most bizarre part I’ve ever written for this band.” “Off To War!” “It's a banger of a song with punky vibes. I started exploring those vibes on the previous record, and I think I kind of perfected it on this album. When Ihsahn from Emperor heard this, he said it has that ’90s black-metal feel to it. Maybe it does—I don’t know, but I really like the song. It’s super powerful to play live. The lyrics are very existential. There’s a lot of questions I’m throwing into the ether, but I’m not answering them. There’s no fun in giving answers. I’m not clever enough to answer those questions.” “Once Upon A Pale Horse” “I’ve never done anything similar to this before. It has a groove that I believe can really do a lot of damage live. It sounds almost rock-ish, but we turn it into our black metal, and it’s fucking sharp and dangerous. There’s a conquering riff with almost a power-metal vibe. I’m not afraid to say that I was a big fan of Manowar, and if there is a power-metal moment on this record, it’s in the chorus of this song, which is some of my words mixed with Aleister Crowley’s most famous quote ‘do what thou wilt,’ which I’ve had tattooed on me for 20 years.” “Thy Becoming Eternal” “When it comes to fast songs, this is my favorite. The first section is fucking relentless. It never stops. I did the choirs, and my friend Zofia from the Polish band Obscure Sphinx added those really weird-sounding female vocals on top of it. [Bassist] Orion also backed me up with the vocals. It doesn’t leave any room for breath, and then it just opens up. When you watch the video that accompanies the song, it’s the moment where the world opens up and they’re ready to receive the knowledge from the fire seeker. He’s carrying the Torch of Heraclitus, and he’s just giving it to the world.” “Versvs Christvs” “I wanted this to be a stand-alone monument, something that does everything—like ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is everything. Of course, I’m not competing with fucking timeless Led Zeppelin classics, but some bands release songs that are just fucking bigger than everything, you know? Like [Iron Maiden’s] ‘Powerslave’ or [Slayer’s] ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ or [Metallica’s] ‘Master of Puppets.’ I wanted to make something so bombastic, you couldn’t label it. It’s a song that takes different curves. It’s anthemic. It has choirs. It’s goth. I’m singing over a piano, and then it speeds up with a punky vibe, and then it goes into a blasting riff. It’s very adventurous and all over the place. Again, I’m not comparing this to classics. What I’m saying is that I’m aspiring.”


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