Adam “Nergal” Darski of Behemoth is a helluva public figure in Poland. A recent Luikemia survivor, he publicly uses his triumph over cancer as a clever anology for ridding people of the degenerative effects of organzied religion. He’s been publicly attacked by the church, tried in court for blasphemous public obscenity, and revered in popular counter-culture to the point of being given a seat on Poland’s version of The Voice. Sure, we’d all like to see Negral duke it out with X-tina over some tweeny crooner but the point is it was only a matter of time before he was regarded as a legitimate source of social commentary. Naturally, Darski’s upcoming autobiography Sacrum Profanum looks like it’s going to be a lot him sticking it to the Catholic Church of Poland and the flocks of organized religion at large. The book’s sleek cinematic trailer (after the jump) looks like it was crafted by an edgy high fashion designer. Despite being pretentious, it’s very rewatchable and flashes some colorful thoughts on religious persecution and violence. There’s still one Buick-sized hole in every anti-religious crusader’s logic, though: the assumption that if it wasn’t for religion, empires wouldn’t have found other pretexts to subjugate, enslave, and wipe out entire cultures.
Good show but let’s be real. The Crusades meant to “liberate” Jerusalem but soon turned into a tool of political persecution. The Conquistadors may have preached a religious mandate but it’s a bit naive to think that it wasn’t good ol’ fashioned imperialism at its core. Call me crazy but religion itself was a tool for diplomacy, the consolidation of power and, when necessary, the crushing of dissent. Does Mr. Darski really think that Aethelbert of Kent’s conversion to Christianity wasn’t more about smoothing over relations with the Merovingians of modern day France than genuine religious zeal? Or that the Baptism of Vladimir the great, which turned Russia into an Orthodox nation, wasn’t ultimately about consolidating power and building bridges with the Byzantines? Lots of brainy people will tell you that it’s an opiate for a ruler’s subjects and a conquest tool for soon-to-be subjects. This take goes for all over-puffed explanations of creed-driven conflict and suppression.
After WWII, the world’s superpowers fought dozens of bloody proxy wars over what was painted as an apocalyptic clash of worldviews. That epic struggle of collectivism vs. individualism that we now call the Cold War may make for a good Bond flick but any person who’s ever spelled his own name correctly will tell you that it was more, if not entirely, driven by geopolitical footing, resources, and relative threat/security levels. The ironic cherry on this cake is that one cannot rage without a machine to do so against; without the existence of the Church, the Behemoth frontman wouldn’t have the lyrical fodder and ideological conviction to be as famous or successful as he is.
Revered as Nergal may be by us death metal nuts, it seems that he owes the Catholic Church some royalty checks by now.
So, doesn’t all the above, combined with the awesomeness of the trailer, make it seem like a crafty quasi-documentary film would have been a better investment?
If you read Polish you can order it here. No word yet on an English translation but, considering the band makes a killing in the States and Western Europe, the dollars and sense tell us that it isn’t too far off.