Primordial interview (03/2018)

With: Nemtheanga
Conducted by: ScreamingSteelUS (e-mail)
Published: 03.03.2018

Band profile:


SSUS: Howdy, and thank you for sharing your time with us at Metal Storm.

I enjoyed your comment on the hardships surrounding the recording process of Exile Amongst The Ruins that "It all adds to making the music what it is - and if it was easy, we'd be a power metal band, right? Strife is life." That strife does show in the darkness of Primordial's music; from where else do you take influence for Primordial, other than suboptimal recording conditions (and aside from musical influences)?

AA: Well, all things in perspective. It wasn't hardship. We just made the album around our lives so taking our time over things wasn't an option. I do think the tension, stress and drama bring something ultimately to the music. Did you really just ask me what are our influences? [Ed: Indirectly, but yeah, I totally did.]

SSUS: You've written a lot of songs about empires falling, gods dying, and civilizations collapsing; decline and decay are among the most prominent themes in all of Primordial's work. You've stated that the song "Exile Amongst The Ruins" as well has to do with the self-destruction of "classical European civilization." Could you explain this in more depth: tell us where it seems to you that European society is going, where it has come from, and how this ties into your music?

AA: Well yes and no, it's about several things, but some of the songs have this at their core, observation of the movement of culture and history. What I am trying to get at is perhaps the foundations of the west, and that the west is only now used by some as a pejorative. So if we take the values of the enlightenment, rationality, empiricism, separation of church and state, etc. it would seem to be all of these are being forgotten. Also perhaps the classic era. I feel there is some kind of intellectual or spiritual sickness in the west, as if we have collectively forgotten our core values. It's also about the past being another country and the modern movement to rewrite history. It's not written from any modern political perspective, despite no doubt people reading what they want into that, it's an observation as I said of what I perceive as the end of era.

SSUS: The image on the cover of the new album, that of a marble portrait with the face smashed away, is a powerful one, and one that seems to underscore the aforementioned preoccupation with erasure and damnation. Where does this image come from and what pushed you to use it for the cover?

AA: It's a photo taken of a tomb in Greece and indeed sums up what I said in the last answer. Iconoclasm on some level but the will and want to rewrite history and paint everything from the past in black and white, speaking ill of the dead.

Exile Amongst The Ruins

SSUS: You've worked with Costin Chioreanu a few times now; most recently, he directed the video for "Stolen Years." How did you first get involved with him? Would you ever commission an album cover from him, as numerous metal bands do these days?

AA: He made the new album cover? And the last one as well…..they just happen to be photos. [Ed: He sure did. Somebody forgot to finish doing research…]

SSUS: By your own admission, "Stolen Years" was an unusual choice of single, being a different kind of song from what Primordial fans are used to. How did that song go from barely making the album to being the first single?

AA: It just happened. No grand plan. I agree it's an odd choice but on album 9 we needed a few side steps. Long-time fans of the band need not worry; there's plenty of chest-beating gloom to get into.

SSUS: Can we expect more adventures outside the band's comfort zone on Exile Amongst The Ruins, or otherwise in the future?

AA: I have no idea about the future. We just made an album, how would I know what we will do in 3/4 years from now? The album has some surprises; that will do for now.

SSUS: Primordial stands apart from a lot of folk-inspired bands by keeping a firm balance between multiple genres rather than concentrating on one or the other - but is there any chance of you guys going full Korpiklaani, hiring a full-time piper, playing "The Wild Rover," etc.?

AA: Hell will freeze over before that happens. What Korpi do has its own spirit. They are great guys, and on one hand truly 'pagan' in the sense it is wide-eyed and joyous with a helping of black humour. Not my style but definitely helps keep history alive.

SSUS: Imrama came out in 1995, making it one of the earliest albums to introduce traditional and folkloric elements to heavy metal. Since there was little precedent at the time, what inspired you to make that leap?

AA: Hard to say. Personally I'm not into Irish traditional music at all. Not my thing. "Beneath A Bronze Sky," for example, is an example of what you are talking about. I think Ciáran [guitarist MacUiliam] has always been into trad and folk music and that whole album is the learning curve of very young men, you think you can master anything! And this is what gives it such charm.


SSUS: What kind of kinship do you see in traditional music and black metal such that the two can blend so well?

AA: Not many other than perhaps a fundamental purity of intention at its heart.

SSUS: "Nemtheanga," or "poison tongue," was the epithet of Bricriu, a trickster figure in Irish mythology. I agree that it's a fitting description of your voice, but why did you choose this as your alias?

AA: It was 1992, we all had them. You probably should have asked me then. It was just the black metal thing to do and also created some drama, a Jekyll and Hyde situation and also some distance from people.

SSUS: Your singing style is rather unique; not only are your vocal melodies, rhythm, and metre often independent of the instrumental melodies, but your technique, which I might characterize as some manner of charismatic bellowing, has few direct analogs in heavy metal. How did you develop your approach?

AA: Bellowing? Curious word. I don't know, even on the rehearsals from '92 I was trying to sing some kind of clean vocals, inspired by [Celtic Frost's] Into The Pandemonium, Christian Death, early Tiamat and Candlemass/Nemesis [pre-Candlemass]. I didn't know if I could sing and then over the years found a voice and added some texture, tone and character. It's not perfect by any means but who is interested in perfection?

SSUS: Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers in parting?

AA: Nope. Take it easy.


Posted on 03.03.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 5   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 286 users
03.03.2018 - 18:33
Account deleted

I will read this later, awesome to see a Primordial interview!
03.03.2018 - 21:27
The most surprising thing to find is that he isn't that much into traditional Irish
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

2021 goodies
04.03.2018 - 15:51
Account deleted
Great interview!
05.03.2018 - 22:25
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
About traditionalism soon some people as anti fa can label this band as nazie band, because that stands for Ireland, can make a stand , till last man drops,
There are some spirit in irish folk songs but in some way I agree whit him, great and philosophical band , ideas, lyrics and band personalities.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
04.05.2018 - 08:38
Cynic Metalhead
Nasha Vich Paisa
Written by Guest on 04.05.2018 at 03:11

This is very great and brilliant information
talk to mcalister's

He's spamming all over the forums.

Ban this /spammer!

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