Charges Against Behemoth's Nergal Dismissed in Controversial Merch Case | Revolver

Charges Against Behemoth's Nergal Dismissed in Controversial Merch Case

Polish officials asserted T-shirt, poster designs disrespect country's coat of arms
Nergal Split, Sergione Infuso /Corbis via Getty Images
photograph by Sergione Infuso /Corbis via Getty Images

UPDATE: In January Behemoth frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski, designer Rafal Wechterowicz and another individual were charged with mocking the Polish coat of arms, which is a punishable offense in Nergal's homeland, with one of the band's merch designs. According to a post on the extreme-metal musician's Instagram account today (April 16th), those charges have been dismissed. Nergals promised that the design would return to the Behemoth merch store. Read his celebratory post below:

ORIGINAL STORY, 1/11/18: Last fall, Behemoth's frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski claimed he'd been brought in for questioning by Polish authorities over controversial t-shirts depicting a sinister version of the country's national coat of arms, sold on the death-metal band's Republic of the Unfaithful tour in 2016. Now, Polish prosecutors have officially charged Darski and Behemoth promoter, Maciej G. with mocking the national coat of arms in the aforementioned merchandise and on tour posters, reports Radio Poland. No details have been made public as to when the musicians will appear in court, but if convicted, they face a fine and up to one year in prison.

The District Prosecutor's Office in Gdansk, Northern Poland — who referred Darski's case to court — claim "an expert's opinion on heraldry and iconography" as evidence of wrongdoing, concluding that the artwork featured on the posters and shirts "included elements and symbols considered Satanist and anti-Christian, with the aim of conveying content far removed from the historical and state ideology," according to RP.

Darski's rightly bummed, but he's not not going down without a fight. "Well... this is the first thing that hit's me after coming back from a relaxing and sunny holiday trip," he began, "Me and two other dudes are accused of profaning Polish emblem. What a bummer! PIS-driven Poland is trying its best to nail my ass down... as an example I guess. But first thing is: it is NOT a Polish emblem. Second... let's leave those arguments for the court case which is to begin shortly...! Is their limits to their obscurity and blindness? Bring it on!"

This isn't first time the Behemoth frontman's been in hot water with his home country's authorities. Back in 2010, he sat trial for blasphemy charges stemming from a Behemoth show in Poland several years prior, during which he called the Catholic Church "the most murderous cult on the planet" and tore up a Bible. Darski was later acquitted of the charge, thereby avoiding up to two years' prison time.