Behemoth is a Polish death metal band. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish extreme metal underground, alongside bands such as Vader, Decapitated, Vesania and Hate.
Until the late 1990s, the band played traditional black metal with heathen lyrical content, but soon changed to that of occult and thelemic themes written by their lead vocalist Nergal and Krzysztof Azarewicz. With the 1999 release of Satanica, the band showed their presence in the blackened death metal scene, while retaining their own signature style characterized by the drum work of Inferno, multi-layered vocals and Nile-style Middle-Eastern influences. Even though Behemoth has been labeled as death metal, black metal or thrash influenced, Nergal has mentioned that he doesn't like the band to be labeled .
Behemoth may at some point become banned from playing in their native country, Poland. In July 2007 the All-Polish Committee for Defense Against Sects distributed a list of bands that allegedly promote Satanism and murder to many Polish officials. Critics of this policy primarily see this as a violation of free speech, with the most scathing criticism generally eminating from within the metal community. As of present, the list has not gone into effect, and Behemoth is still allowed to play in Poland freely, but the band provoked further controversy in February 2008 when an official complaint had been registered by the committee, which cited a bible-tearing incident on behalf of frontman Nergal at a concert in September 2007.