Behemoth are in hot water with Polish authorities over T-shirts depicting a modified version of the country's coat of arms, sold during last year's The Republic of the Unfaithful tour. In a recent Facebook post, Adam "Nergal" Darski claimed that he'd been brought in for questioning by local prosecutors over the shirts, which authorities allegedly deemed disrespectful to the cherished emblem. Behemoth have since discontinued the controversial merch, which can be seen below, along with the coat of arms in question.
"So here I go again," Nergal's statement opens. "On my way to the prosecutor's office in Gdansk to be questioned as a suspect in 'The Republic of the Unfaithful' case. Me and my partner in 'crime' Maciek Manticore Gruszka is showing up too. Several individuals have been already questioned, including heraldists who have made their statement clear: THIS IS NOT A POLISH EMBLEM. Apparently it's not [enough] for the decision makers in the court.
"Is this another attempt of the Polish government to convict Nergal and give an example for other artists? What's the hidden message of those actions may I ask? 'Do NOT fuck with us?' 'Polish emblem as well as other religious symbols are meant to be untouchable?,' 'Art has its strict borders and thou shalt obey Nergal!!'? Weird times, weird country, weird vibes…I do NOT feel safe and comfortable here, I must admit, but do I feel guilty? Fuck no.
"Sadly, we have stopped selling shirts with this motive (but hey, it's ALREADY the best-selling shirt in our catalogue! huurraaay!), but what we are gonna do with fans who have tattooed 'The Republic of the Unfaithful' on their back? Shall we arrest them? Peel the skin off? Cover it up? These rhetorical questions I'm gonna leave unanswered here and go to do what I do best: piss stupid people off with sincere and honest art and I shall NEVER give up on my freedom to do so."
Behemoth may have backed down from selling the shirts, but they're not giving up the fight. "These rhetorical questions I'm gonna leave unanswered here and go to do what I do best: piss stupid people off with sincere and honest art and I shall NEVER give up on my freedom to do so," the frontman vowed, going on to paraphrase famed mystic Aleister Crowley: 'Do what Thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!'
This isn't the first time Behemoth — all of whom are Polish citizens — have tangled with authorities. In 2010, Nergal sat trial for blasphemy charges stemming from the band's concert in Gdynia in September 2007, during which the frontman declared Catholic Church "the most murderous cult on the planet" and tore up a Bible, calling it "a book of lies." (96 percent of Polish citizens belong to the Catholic Church.) He was later acquitted of the charge, thereby avoiding up to two years' prison time.