So, finally 'To The Nameless Dead' was released, and it seems it was aclaimed whenever you can read a review, so I imagine you are quite happy with the feedback, aren’t you? Has it acomplished all the goals you wanted to?
The response has been great from the fans and the media, I dont think we could have asked for anything more positive. I think its too early to tell what else we will accomplish but so far in 08 things are progressing well.
Let's start speaking about the changes the band suffered, since you very first beginnings with “Dark Romanticism” to this new work. Even if the sound and feeling of Primordial are, in my oppinion, still the same, the music has been showing a big progression, from a more basic and straight kind of Black Metal(even if you always used some original details) to a more athmospheric, intense and progressive one. Which are the main differences with “The Gathering Wilderness” in your oppinion? Am I wrong if, as I said on the review of the CD, I felt some influences from the Post-Metal music from bands like Neurosis, Isis or Red Sparrowes on some parts of this new album?
We have grown as musicians and people so it's inevitable that the sound will have matured over the years however you can hear it’s the same band that recorded the demo back in 93. we dont repeat ourselves yet dont stray to far from the path we have cleared for ourselves. There are some influences here and there from neurosis and isis among others, equally some burzum parts. Using the same droning notes.
Going to the lyrical part of “To The Nameless Dead”, which seems to be quite strong, as it has always been for Primordial; we can see some kind of relation between the tracks, or even some of them. I don't know if we can call it patriotism, nationalism or whatever, but songs like “Empire Falls”, “As Rome Burns” or “Traitors Gate” have this kind of feeling and, at the same time, seem to be related with nowadays world’s situation. What can you tell us about this? Which relations can we find on this album with that political/social situation we had during the last years? We have all that war on terrorism stuff that makes people paranoiac, and at the same time big economic problems starting to appear here and there, is there a change coming over?
There is always change. The only thing you can be sure of is that nothing will ever stay the same. We are in a very volatile period in our history and I think things are only going to get more violent, more extreme and darker. The themes that bind some of the songs are nationhood, martyrdom and faith. Primordial is not fantasy or romanticism, it’s about the here and now.
Still about the same subject, I’d like to know your oppinion, as one of the most reknown Pagan Metal bands(and one of the creatos of this style) of its continuous relations with extreme politics and radical views that seem to divide people who like this kind of music. Do you think there is place for that kind of stuff in this music? I mean, everybody has an opinion about those things, but are they related to paganism? You're clearly positioned for that fight for oneself's culture and remembering the past of a nation and the efforts of its people, but isn't that manipulated and used sometimes to confuse and make people afraid of differences and changes?
I dont really know what a pagan is in 2008 to be honest and in the modern world it’s almost impossible to remove yourself from politics. We dont live 2500 years ago. You have to engage with the here and now and meet it head on, not hide from it. Extreme politics will always be associated with Metal and some forms of music in general, there are a lot of angry people out there. Personally speaking I’m on the side of common sense and logic, not right or left. However no one is going to tell me how i can and cannot relate to my culture, history or ancestory. Nor dictate my politics to me.
I can't forget to speak about the artwork of this new album, especially because I bought the limited edition and it looks simply great, with a cool digibook, a fantastic booklet with lots of interesting explanations about the songs and, none to be forgotten, a second CD with a live show. Who was in charge of all the artwork stuff this time? Is it important for you to transmit the same we can find in the music and lyrics on the artwork of your albums? Where do the pictures from the booklet come from?
I am in charge of the artwork. Paul from Scald executes it. Most of the pictures I have found here and there over the months preparing the art. I think the music and artwork should work together and go hand in hand towards a greater aesthetic.
What about your contract with Metal Blade records? You’re the only Black Metal related band of the label. How do you feel about that? Has the promotion and support been strong for this new album in your oppinion? Is there any other band on the label that you like?
The label have been great and are very supportive of us. We signed with them because it made it easier to stand out compared to the bands they have. To be honest i don’t really like anything they release these days but that doesnt really matter.
Some months ago I interviewed your landmates Mael Mordha, with which you released a split EP just before 'To The Nameless Dead', and we were speaking about Ireland's scene, which seems(from here) to be quite small, even if the few bands I know from there are really good in my oppinion(Geasa, Mourning Beloveth, Abbadon Incarnate...), and they explained me the problem is the fans are few, but that there are loads of bands, and that labels seem to have some allergy to sign irish bands. What do you think about this? Which are the best ones in your oppinion?
Irish bands are getting out there, releasing albums and playing shows abroad. It definitely isnt as hard to get out and play as it was for us before cheap air flights but it is harder to become established and grow in an over crowded scene. I think right now the irish scene is doing better then ever to be honest.
Past year(or was it 2006?) you were meant to be part of really cool tour which had to cross Europe, together with bands like Morbid Angel, Origin or Enthroned (amongs others) and which finally was cancelled, so again we couldn't see you playing in Spain. Are you planning a tour for this coming year? Will we finally have the opportunity to see you live down here and hear those great new tunes live? With which band would you like to share the stage? My only opportunity to hear Alan's great voice was at Party San with Deströyer 666, which was fucking cool, but I need something else, hehe.
The tour was cancelled alright. M. Angel wanted too much money. We havent played any further south in Spain then Iron since 2000 so it’s long overdue. Touring is difficult for us now, we are older and have more responsibilities and can’t go away for a whole month, but we will try and do what we can. Touring with any band we have something in common with and can get along with is fine with me.
Maybe this question is not so related to Primordial, but, as I’m a big Thin Lizzy fan, I’d like to know your oppinion about one of the greatest bands out of Ireland (for me). Don’t you think they should have received a bigger recognition for their high influence on NWOBHM and the whole Metal scene? Did they have any influence on Primordial, for their music or lyrics? Don't you find some resemblances between their “Renegade” album cover and the one of 'To The Nameless Dead'?
I agree. The twin guitar thing is something Lizzy were doing along with Priest in the 70s but never got the recognition for it. Maiden certainly took huge influence from them. Don’t forget though that they did sell millions of records back in the day! They were a huge band. I’m a big fan of course, we all are and now that you say it there are some similarities between the album covers.
Somes short choosing questions:
Bathory or Iron Maiden: Very hard to choose, Maiden is my favorite Metal band but Bathory had the biggest impression on Primordial ...
Earth or fire: Earth I suppose.
Paganism or atheism: My head says atheism and my heart says paganism
Past or future: Future. No point living in the past
War or peace: Peace ... those who long for peace must prepare for war !
We arrived to the end of the questions. Sorry if the interview was a bit long, but I wanted to interview you since some time ago, thanks a lot for your time. Good luck, I hope to see Primordial’s name risen even higher and to finally see you live somewhere. If you want to add anything else, it’s your time ...
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.