BEHEMOTH’s NERGAL Says ‘Ninety-Nine Percent’ Of Metal Records Nowadays ‘Sound Robotic’

Nergal 2022
Photo credit: Grzegorz-Golebiowski

In a recent conversation with Australia’s Heavy, Adam “Nergal” Darski of Polish extreme metal band BEHEMOTH expressed the aim he had in making their 12th studio album — Opvs Contra Natvram — sound as natural and organic as possible, especially when compared to its predecessor, 2018’s I Loved You At Your Darkest.

“Every band these days, you talk to every band, and every band — literally — heavy metal band, thrash, death, whatever, says, ‘Oh, we managed to get that organic sound.’ And then I go and listen to those records and I’m, like, ‘There’s nothing organic about this record.’ Ninety-nine percent of the records, they sound robotic,” Nergal said.

“Every f**king click, every kick, every snare drum, every part of the record is exactly the same. It’s not organic. ‘Organic’ is when music fluctuates, when there’s dynamics, when it goes up and down. That’s why we tapped Joe Barresi [to mix the LP]. You know him for his work with NINE INCH NAILSQUEENS OF THE STONE AGEMONSTER MAGNET and a lot of rock bands. SLIPKNOT… Basically, rock bands, mainstream bands. And he does this old-school mixing. He doesn’t use Pro Tools. I mean, he uses Pro Tools, but then, when he’s done with one song, he just pulls all the knobs down and starts from scratch. You go, ‘Hey, but I wanted to do some tweaks in the previous one.’ ‘Sorry, it’s done.’ You’ve got to pay for everything again. So [when] it’s done, it’s done. You don’t endlessly go and correct that, which is beautiful. Twenty, thirty years ago, it was done that way.”

“These days, you can f**king perfect things to the point that you cannot f**king listen to it, because the perfection makes things boring, imperfect and a whole lot uninteresting,” he continued. “Live, it’s not perfect; that’s why it’s so f**king exciting. So why make things that are just so f**king polished? I don’t get it, especially in extreme metal music. It’s gotta be f**king weird, it’s gotta be dangerous. Where is the danger factor? So I really wanted to bring the danger factor back to our music. It was present, but maybe this is the record [where] it’s the most present ever.”

The ten chapters of fury that make up Opvs Contra Natvram were written and recorded over the course of a very strange year for the globe — a situation which only heightened the level of craft seen in these 43 minutes and 15 seconds of searing wrath. As with previous studio outings, Opvs Contra Natvram was produced by BEHEMOTH, with mixing handled by acclaimed studio legend Joe Barresi.