Despite enduring death threats, deportation and a Supreme Court trial, Polish metal titans Behemoth have been thrashing and growling away since the 1990s and remain one of Europe's most extreme and controversial forces. Front man Adam 'Nergal' Darski grew up at a time when his country was transitioning out of communism and after discovering his brother's Iron Maiden and Manowar cassette tapes, became a rebellious teenager caught up in the second wave of metal acts emerging in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Forming the band under the name Baphomet in 1991, they quickly became part of Poland's cult metal community known as the Temple of the Infernal Fire and their early output was raw and scorched and largely inspired by Norwegian black metal. As the underground scene dabbled with right wing politics, Nergal forged his own path and the band became internationally known when 1999 album 'Satanica' honed his guttural growls and ballistic break beats with featured poet and occultist Krzysztof Azarewicz. With a settled line-up of drummer Zbigniew 'Inferno' Prominski, bass player Tomasz 'Orion' Wroblewski and Patryk 'Seth' Sztyber coming together in the 2000s, they hit their stride on explosive albums 'Zos Kia Cultus' and 'Demigod' with Nergal's macabre sense of humour and Satanic stances often seeing the band cause moral outrage in their heavily Catholic country. He faced a blasphemy trial brought by the Supreme Court of Poland after he tore apart a Bible on stage at a gig in Gdansk in 2007, but eventually avoided a two-year prison sentence with the help of a ruling by the European Convention of Human Rights. He went on to mix heavy, snarling aggression with electronics and symphonic shredding on 'Evangelion' in 2009. Their momentum was halted when Nergal was diagnosed with leukaemia the following year, but he became a surprise mainstream celebrity when he began dating pop star Doda and appeared as a coach on TV talent show 'The Voice of Poland'. After recovering from his illness, Behemoth returned with their big landmark record 'The Satanist' in 2014 which made it to number 57 in the US charts and number one in Poland, but were again caught up in controversy when they were jailed in Russia after playing four shows, deported and banned from entering the country for five years. Nergal went on to release his autobiography 'Confessions of a Heretic' and started bluesy, rootsy side project 'Me and That Man', but Behemoth remained typically bleak, brutal and dense on their acclaimed eleventh album 'I Loved You at Your Darkest' in 2018.

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