Interview with Alan Averill
You have been sort of inactive since the 10″ split with Katatonia. How did it come about and how have things been going?
You are right: Primordial has been rather inactive, all things considered. I’ll be honest, until about 6 months ago, Primordial has hardly been what could be called a “band”; a multitude of personal conflicts, differences, apathy and time were our hindrances and many times it looked the band would end… But the malign cancer in our midst has been extricated and we are now back stronger than ever. In 2 months, we’ll go to Academy Studios in Yorkshire, U.K., to record our new album. It has taken a lot to brings us to this point, but believe me, it was – and will be – worth waiting. We are pushing boundaries and we have really laid our souls bare. A lot of bitterness, frustration, anger and resentment, has gone into this release. It is very heavy, atmospherically, and very emotional (you will hear).
The 10″? That was mine and Anders’ idea, and Misanthropy agreed; in the end, it didn’t turn out at all as I hoped, as the mastering was fucked so, all in all, a folly best forgotten. All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait should be the title of our new LP!
Last year you said that there were “weak parts” in your debut, Imrama. Were you referring to the old Dark Romanticism demo tracks?
Sure, it’s old now – the older it gets, the more the gap between old and new material is severely evident. Of course the sound could be better, or the playing tighter, but, as an “artist”, I feel it’s your lot to never be 100% happy; if you are, you may as well give up. It’s that few percent that keeps you striving to always better yourself and that is healthy. Actually, the two demo tracks date from 1992 and still sound good on the CD, whereas other songs like Here I Am King or Let the Sun Set Forever don’t stand up so well for me. 1992 seems like a long fucking time ago, my friend! I joined the band in 1991 and the guitarist and bassist formed it with our departed drummer, in 1989 (a wasted youth)! Buy Imrama if you haven’t (shameless prostitution)!
Originally, you were to sign with Lee Barrett’s Candlelight, but later on you signed with Nihil’s Cacophonous. Since you are presently with Tiziana’s Misanthropy, why do you think you have such problems in finding a proper company? Also, are you pleased with her work so far?
Candlelight promised many things to many, many bands, and we are just one of a long list of bands that Candlelight failed to honour promises, contracts and whatnot. I’m quite thankful not to be on Candlelight, to be honest, as without Emperor that label is worth fuck all. Cacophonous? I have no problems with Nihil nowadays, he’s a cool guy and a good friend, but when we signed and released Imrama the label was in turmoil, and I guess he knows why we left, but things are fine between us. As for Misanthropy, Tiziana has had to wait a long time for us to get our act together, but we are at the threshold now… We’ll see what happens once the LP is released – ask me in 6 months!
Primordial is not an easy band either to be in, nor labels to deal with! However, hopefully, things will change from now on. Fight hard and live to win!
Back in December 1997, you played a couple of shows in England with your label associates Mayhem (and Thine). How did you like the way the whole event went and how was it like to play with such an icon of the genre?
Mayhem are quite cool people and typically Norwegian (i.e. a little rude and standoffish), well by Irish standards, but that is just natural to them. They treated us all right and stood and watched and seemed quite into what we were doing, but we were quite the antithesis of them as our show was quite melancholic and melodic and theirs brutal and aggressive, but it worked out fine. We travelled with them and went out drinking, but at the end of the day I’m interested in what’s best for us, and it was not the realisation of any ambition or any sort of deeper meaning to play with Mayhem, it was just a gig, you know? The concerts themselves were brought with bad organisation, but delivered the goods in the end! Touring with Mayhem I don’t think would be a great idea… I don’t think a totally fanatic “knives and spikes” style German Black Metal audience would really appreciate the nuances in our music, but we’ll see. Hill og Farvel, if you’re tuned in Jan and Sven-Eric: Hill og Farvel.
There was this controversial performance you did three years ago, at the The Devil’s Church in London, with several bands from the European underground where a member of the audience lighted a torch at you. How did you feel at the moment and have you ever had similar experiences on stage?
Fuck, you have a good memory! I’d forgotten that. That two-day festival was a good experience, as it was our first time playing abroad and the first time any Irish Metal band had played abroad – the Irish stood proud that night, I can tell you, and many of us were there. As for this guy, he was just some black skinhead freak, burning and cutting himself and for some reason decided to shine a torch at me; strange chap, as he subsequently disappeared! I guess we played with Occult and Bal-Sagoth on Sunday night and I think Gomorrah and Threnody played on Saturday. Neither Moonspell nor Ancient Rites ever came! Pity that.
Unexpected happenings? I got in a fight with some guy with a Christian cross on stage, here in 1994 (early), and then I jumped into the crowd and there was a bit of violence (pretty funny, really). He was from some Christian Doom Metal band, from the west of Ireland, that is so famous I cannot even remember the name (split-up many moons ago). The Devil has all the best tunes, don’t you know? At the one gig we played in 1996, outside Dublin, it was stopped by the police after four songs because of the noise, violence and the fact they didn’t like the look of us – well, who would? – contributed to that! I guess you want to know about all the drugs, the groupies, the money and the fights… Well, sorry, but my lips are sealed (sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll: ain’t I a wild child?).
What does Imrama mean?
Imrama means “journey to other worlds” or so (roughly translated). It’s ancient Irish and it suited the concept of the music – and still does, I feel. Fuil Arsa means “ancient blood” (in case you’re also interested)! The name came from our guitarist, Ciáran, and it seemed to fit. I don’t know if there will be anything in Irish on our new full-length, but we’ll see.
What can you tell about the album cover and its symbolic depictions?
It shows a circle of standing stones that it’s magically symbolic in Celtic mythology and to be found throughout Ireland. The owl symbolises knowledge and the cauldron is heavily symbolic, as to all intents and purposes, and it serves to make the “journeys” that the title speaks of. The Celts surely mixed substances within the cauldron that had hallucinogenic qualities – hence the “journeys” – but it’s symbolic either way. I am not too into Celtic mythology, but the cover art is exceptional. It was done by John, from Cruachan (R.I.P.), and in truth it is genius; however, there will be no Celtic art, or references, in our next record.
How do you see Religion (as a concept) and how do you view the bipolar stand of Christianity with its narrow philosophies of Good and Evil and Right and Wrong from which the orthodox Satanic principle is based upon?
What can one answer to that? Man needs no other leader than himself; however, we are not all created equal: the wise should rule the strong, who then rule the weak. Christianity, as a religion, is the opiate of the masses: it thrives on ignorance, stupidity and weakness, and, while the “mass” still upholds these Christian “virtues”, so we will have “God”. Christianity is a religion based on subservience, humility, subordination and, above all, as I said, weakness; it is the cancer upon our Earth. You have to start with yourself, understand your own will and strive to be “homo deus”: carpe mundum. Personally, I do not see Satanism as the polar opposite of Christianity. Satanism – or my perception of it – is directly descended from the belief, virtue, essence and will of a higher culture prior to Christianity; the Nephilim, if you will, or the concept and ideology thus entwined. Satanism, by proxy, is a twentieth century “focus” for this “belief”; the springboard into a new millennia with the blood and essence of the past. Some may call it by other names, but this is how I see it. The rebel Lucifer sparks the Will. Symbolically, enter the symbol, rebel of the cosmos: micro and macro! As Above so Below! Am I making sense?
Recently, you said that your forthcoming album would be different from nowadays’ standards. What did you mean by that?
I always thought and knew Primordial was at odds with the “scene”; Imrama, and even our demo, proves this. But our new album will push us further into the void. We play whatever the fuck we want, exclusively! We have evolved as people, musicians and artists, and Primordial is art – Music is art. To be honest, most of the bands who use corpse paint and the likes in 1998 (Cradle of Filth, Satyricon and Immortal, especially) have become sad parodies. For a young scene it was apt in 1992 and 1993, but now? My beliefs are stronger than ever and my love for the music as well, but, in 1998, who will take what you write, create and play seriously when they are confronted with the optical specific? We are Primordial, we wear corpse paint, we are Black Metal. Black Metal is a loaded question – like I said, a parody of what it stood for. Bands like Immortal are a joke – ridiculous paint and now music – as they have painted themselves into a corner, never to evolve; sort of like the Status Quo of Black Metal. But what is Black Metal nowadays, anyway, a joke? A circus? Does it exist? Bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir sell 95-100.000 copies: are they true or false, as opposed to some numbskull band who overdose on spikes, sells 2500 copies and is “evil”? It’s all bullshit. I please myself and, after that, who gives a fuck?
As you are aware, Burzum and Mayhem are currently on the same label, of which Primordial’s a part of. After all the turmoil, problems and general havoc from a couple of years ago, did you ever think it would be possible to have these two share the same record company? And what do you feel about their current musical approaches?
I can see the humour in having Mayhem and Burzum on the same label – life’s definitely full of surprises! Does anyone really care any more? I surely don’t, nor ever did. Music is what counts, not killing commies. To be honest, I don’t think Hellhammer cares anymore, and why should he? It’s a closed chapter.
The new Burzum’s Daudi Baldrs is one of the funniest records I’ve heard in ages, it’s hilarious! One cannot fly when your wings are clipped and one should have the sense to know that. Varg, sense? A truly dreadful listen. The new Mayhem’s Wolf’s Lair Abyss is fast, noisy and brutal, not my thing; sort of in-between Deathcrush and De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas. However, I find no dark passion or sinister hunger in Mayhem. De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas is the defining moment of this band, plain and simple! The new album of Arcturus is great, by the way!
When Venom first assembled Black Metal, as a genre, they could’ve hardly foreseen what it would become several years later: a strong musical genre alienated from the rest, due to its strong philosophies and intricate manifests. Even Satanism would be more of a façade to represent their punk and anarchic attitude than anything. As a listener, how do you see both sides of the coin and to which do you feel more attached to?
Interesting question! You know, no one actually took so-called “Satanic” music seriously until Mercyful Fate came along. Venom were just chaos and noise mongers – yet bloody great – and used Satanic, or occult, symbols purely as a rebellious statement, but Venom never really took themselves seriously; even Mercyful Fate had some tongue in cheek moments. Somewhere along the line the humour got lost but was replaced by stupid eco-Thrash Metal bands like Nuclear Assault and Hard-Core orientated Death Metal bands such as Napalm Death. Black Metal was also a reaction against their normalising of the scene and, especially, in the Death Metal scene. It’s difficult to say, but, at the time, I probably would have been into doing stuff like Mercyful Fate and Angelwitch, but one can never tell. For me, my beliefs are separate from my music; sure, they are felt and read in the atmospheres and lyricism, but one did not make the other. I, as an individual, am ever entwined with my music and all of me goes into it; however, there is a separation. Metal has evolved fast in the nineties, and there is a far more intellectual, well-read, cultured atmosphere pervading the scene (well, some of it) and this can only be good.
What is your view of Primordial in the new millennium, and do you think the next thousand years might be capable of bringing a more responsible, evolutionary and wholesome behaviour to Man?
Primordial in the next millennium? I’ve never even though about it! I don’t know if we’ll still be together, or if any of us will still be alive, for that matter. Chaos culture is speeding up towards the millennia, a subconscious fear is being felt. Man does not like change, yet he can do nothing to halt it. We will see the millennia and enjoy it, but it won’t last long. A nobler disposition sadly perished at the hands of Christianity, but every empire falls and this is no exception. The Golden Dawn believed in a cyclical change of the 2000 years, and Yeats’ masterly poem, The Second Coming, deals with this cyclical change: our order through chaos. Light up the sky for all to see. But it’s Man’s weakness that kills this world; ego is weak: ego sum lex mundi.
Feel free to share your upcoming goals and future projects.
Check out our new album, which should be out by the time you read this. As for goals, “live in fame, die in flame. I ain’t ever gettin’ old!” Until the next time, and “may our sword stay wet like a young girl in her prime!” Hail and kill!