According to a press release issued by Decibel Magazine, sponsors of the highly anticipated first annual Decibel Magazine Tour, Polish heavyweights Behemoth have dropped off the trek, vacating their headlining slot.
The press release states, “With great frustration, regret, and heavy hearts, we are forced to announce that Behemoth will not be participating in the upcoming Decibel tour. For these guys to hit the open road again in North America after such a long absence, nobody was more stoked than we – except you, the patient fans. Alas, uncontrollable circumstances have reared their heads. Perhaps one day, if we’re lucky, we will see this terrific band perform once again, and we still have our fingers crossed for a new album later this year.”
The release goes on to state that unless a replacement act is found in time to fill Behemoth’s slot, direct supporters Watain will be bumped into the headlining position, followed by The Devil’s Blood and In Solitude. A tentative search for a potential new first opener has already begun.
As for the somewhat cryptic “if we’re lucky” remark, Decibel and the band's label Metal Blade Records were unable to provide further clarification. Metalunderground.com then contacted Behemoth’s North American booking agent Nick Storch (of The Agency Group). While overwhelmed with the magnitude of these cancellations, Storch admitted that an alleged “spiritual conflict” on the part of bandleader Adam “Nergal” Darski had forced the band off the road. According to Storch and other close sources, Nergal had been expressing doubts about his ability to continue Behemoth “as is,” now that he was “starting to see things a little differently.” All sources declined to comment further.
As most might recall, Nergal was hospitalized and treated for leukemia in late 2010, and has been convalescing for much of the past year. The Decibel trek was to be Behemoth's first U.S. tour since his diagnosis. In summer 2011, he fought off blasphemy charges in Poland for tearing apart a Bible onstage. Originally raised Catholic, Nergal has used Behemoth as a musical platform for a consistently anti-religious stance, expressed through dark and rebellious lyrics. His vaguely cited "spiritual conflict" has not been further defined or explained.
Nergal formed Behemoth in 1991 and went on to become one of the founders and primary proponents of the Polish extreme metal underground. The band has released nine studio albums, most recently "Evangelion."  It is unknown whether or not Behemoth's promised next album will arrive this year, or if it will indeed be their last.
I'm hoping this is some sort of an April Fools Day joke.