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Considered to be one of the leading death metal bands to emerge from Poland in the 1990s, Behemoth have endured quite a few line-up shifts in the course of their career (especially in the bass department), with founding singer/guitarist Nergal (Adam Darski) being the only constant member. Behemoth were formed in 1991 (originally as a trio), and began issuing several demos shortly thereafter, the most circulated one being 1993's From the Pagan Vastlands. The same year, the band issued their debut release And the Forests Dream Eternally via the Italian independent label Entropy. Two years later, the group released its first full-length recording, Sventevith, which received favorable reviews by the metal underground press. For 1996's Grom, Behemoth widened their musical vision by experimenting with acoustic guitars, synthesizers, and female vocalists, but all the while retained their brutal, extreme metal sound, leading to the group's inaugural full-on tour of Europe. Released in 1997, the three-track stopgap EP Bewitching the Pomerania proved to be the first recording to feature drummer Inferno (Zbigniew Robert Promiński), who soon became a driving force (and permanent fixture) in the band.
Their fifth release overall, Pandemonic Incantations, was issued a year later in 1998, as Behemoth continued to average at least one lineup change per release. Their last release as a trio (and first for new label Avantgarde), 1999's Satanica, continued to expand the group's following among the black metal masses, as Behemoth secured supporting slots on two separate tours with leading bands of the genre: Deicide and Satyricon. Behemoth's first release of the 21st century, 2000's Thelema.6, saw the group's lineup expand to four members for the first time, as newcomers Novy (bass) and Havoc (guitar) signed on with stalwarts Nergal and Inferno. The album was the first of the group's career to receive worldwide distribution -- it was issued in the U.S. a year after its initial release -- and also featured Nergal collaborating lyrically with outsider Krzysztof Azarewicz.
Behemoth embarked on their most substantial tour yet, playing shows alongside the likes of Morbid Angel and Nile, and even launched a few headlining tours on their own. In 2002, a home video/DVD was issued (recorded in their homeland of Poland), The Art of Rebellion: Live. Zos Kia Cultus followed a year later and was supported by a world tour including, for the first time, the United States.
Demigod landed at the beginning of 2004, a signal album that marked their first with bassist Orion (Tomasz Wróblewski). Behemoth's eighth full-length, The Apostasy, arrived in 2007. Ezkaton was an EP released in 2008, and featured a handful of studio cuts along with some live tracks. It was followed in 2009 by the full-length Evangelion, which earned positive reviews and chart success across Europe and America. The band's momentum paused briefly in 2010, when Nergal received a diagnosis of leukemia in the spring and spent almost a year recovering. A stopgap 2011 compilation, Abyssus Abyssum Invocat, combined two EPs from the band, 2004's Conjuration and 2006's Slaves Shall Serve.
Behemoth returned to action in 2014 with The Satanist, which received nearly universal positive reviews and became their first album to debut in the Top 40 of the American album charts. In 2018, the band released the concert album/film Messe Noire, which featured songs culled from a pair of 2016 shows in Warsaw, Poland and the Brutal Assault 2016 open air festival in Czechoslovakia. ~ Greg Prato
- Gdansk, Poland
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