PRIMORDIAL are one of my favourite bands from Ireland and although I have not
really been keeping an eye on all the Metal news that´s constantly streaming
through my mailbox I did take notice that PRIMORDIAL are again scheduled to play
Summer Breeze. This gave me the idea to shoot some questions over to Alan
Nemtheanga and see what´s the latest with the band.
You guys were supposed to play Summer Breeze last year but had to cancel. What
We had loads of problems, the first being that Stuttgart is the most expensive
destination in Germany usually to fly from Ireland and we were not being paid
and without proper label support this makes it very hard. Our time slot was
quite frankly ridiculous - before bands like hypnos and darkseed ? So, we had to
come over a day early and then just as we sorted it out it didn't matter anymore
as our drummer had an accident 5 days previous to the festival which meant he
couldn't play drums and we couldn't play the festival. Thankfully this year we
are playing and we have a time slot that is a lot better, I'm looking forward to
Yeah, me too ! I have yet to see you guys so I hope it all works out smoothly.
As I said above there should be no problems this time around and we will be
Good. :) What does the cover of "Storm Before Calm" represent and what was the
medium used to create it ?
I was really stumped over what to call the album and what the cover should be
and then I had the idea to use the eye within the logo on "Imrama" and it
basically was born from there, some people hated it some people loved it. I
wanted to move away from the brown hues we had used before and symbolically it
was easily identifiable as the new PRIMORDIAL album and held within a very
simple meaning... whether it be the eye of Horus, Lugh, Herne or Odin himself
the symbol of an eye resonates in all cultures and the meaning should really be
pretty obvious and diverse as well.
Are all the PRIMORDIAL albums linked in one way or the other as far as the
lyrics or concepts go ?
In ways yes, I like the idea that each album is another step on the same path.
Never retracing the same steps but definitely recognisable as PRIMORDIAL
instantly. I also like the idea that for the people who bother to scrape beneath
the surface of the band there are many things to discover and uncover, sometimes
oblique and vague references to tracks from years ago or blatant echoing of what
went before in the band, it was never meant as a casual listen and if you are
looking for a quick metal fix then I don't think you will get it from
Could you go through the 7 songs from "Storm Before Calm" and give some of your
thoughts about each one ? Which are your favourites ? Is it even possible to
pick favourites when you´ve spent time creating them ?
It's hard but I do have favourites over the years. "Storm..." is a strange album
really, the pressure it was recorded under and the circumstances were definitely
not ideal by any means but I think we conquered in the face of adversity as
usual. 'The Heretics Age' starts the album at hells pace and is a nice departure
from the usual windswept intro, lyrically it is a seething political commentary
upon the state of society and people who seek to rewrite our history and impose
their vision of my culture and history upon me 'Fallen To Ruin' I guess is the
consequences of the lyrics in 'The Heretics Age', a powerful song that speaks of
an honourless age we live in. The cinematic part in the middle is a pretty
rousing part I think. [Agreed !] 'Cast To The Pyre' changes things completely
and is a much more personal and emotive lyric and a dissonant and darker song,
perhaps a continuation of 'The Soul Must Sleep' from "Spirit The Earth Aflame".
It really deals with what you might have done differently in the past and moving
on from that. 'What Sleeps Within' is fire breathing black metal all the way and
is meant to be exactly that, lyrically dealing with awakening the beast within
and forcing your ideals upon the world as opposed to the other way round. 'Suns
First Rays' is a short instrumental that's quite self explanatory. 'Sons Of The
Morrigan' is perhaps my favourite track and has become a real favourite live, it
swings and grooves in a much more classic heavy metal way and lyrically fits
perfectly with the music evoking a tragic tale of a warrior looking back over
his life, basically this songs asks "are your deeds in this life to be
remembered in song ?", or at all ? 'Hosting Of The Sidhe is a very dark and
almost hypnotic track set to a poem by W.B Yeats. Something we have wanted to do
for a long time, came out great in my opinion.
The whole album came out great in my opinion ! Hammerheart changed their name
sometime around 2003 (or maybe even earlier, I´m not sure) so will you release
your next album on Karmageddon Media ?
Right now our new album, whenever that may be, will not be on Karmageddon Media.
Speaking of a next album, can you give any details on that ? When do you plan on
releasing it ?
We have had many problems lately within the band but they seem resolved and we
hope to record during the summer here in Ireland or autumn perhaps. We are
working on songs right now and although none are quite finished it sounds
different at least... a little early to tell any more.
It seems really popular for bands to release a DVD these days so are there any
plans for that in the future of PRIMORDIAL ?
Yeah it's cheap and has little overheads generally, our demo is coming out on
Karmageddon Media with some old live tracks as a bonus and also a bonus DVD free
with it of our Party San Open Air performance from Germany last year. It's rough
but worth seeing. We may plan for something more later in the year.
What is the most memorable moment you´ve had while out playing live ? What has
been the most frustrating part of playing live ?
Thankfully many, many memorable moments over the years, more then low points
really. Wacken 98 was a low point because we were really inexperienced and
didn't know what we were doing but thankfully things improved and Wacken 2002
was quite a triumph for us. Last year we played in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece
which was really memorable and something different to the usual European
countries you tour through.
Do you think that playing live and having people actually see the band perform
the songs in a live setting is just as important as listening to the music at
It's the most important thing for a metal band really, I'm not sure how it
affects your sales, mind you, as people are often very bored with live shows
over in Europe and save their money for festivals and big tours and often you
see bands slogging it out in front of 50 people on weekdays all over the place.
However, we love it whether it's 50 people or 500 or 5000 - we always give it
our all and it's when you breath real life into the songs.
What would you hope that the listener gets from the music you create ?
Honesty, purity, passion and devotion I guess. To be taken somewhere by us for
the duration of the album, to connect with what we do on some emotional or
I think that one of the most important aspects of Metal is the amount of emotion
poured into it, whether it be sadness, anger, frustration, happiness, party
mood, etc. It encompasses such a wide range of human emotions. Would you agree
with both my statements ?
Of course ! Look who you are talking to !
Haha... yeah, so true. For you what makes a stunningly perfect Metal album ?
A band who loves what they do unreservedly without concern of trends or the
scene in general, bands who have character and personality and play every note
like it bleeds from their very pores, that every note comes from their souls !
As I said: honesty and purity. I don't ask for much huh ?
Nah, that´s the same thing I expect from bands. How´s the scene in Ireland ? Are
Irish bands getting a fairer amount of exposure thanks to the internet or are
they still pretty much only known within Irish bounderies ?
The scene is growing all the time although we don't really have that many fans
to go around the underground bands you know. If you want to know more about the
irish metal scene check out www.metalireland.com.
What bands would you recommend to fans of PRIMORDIAL ? Who are some of the best
In Ireland ? [Yeah] I recommend MOURNING BELOVETH who are a great doom band, THE
DAGDA, SOL AXIS, GEASA, among others. Check out the site above.
MOURNING BELOVETH are outstanding ! When it comes to younger kids starting up a
band what sort of advice would you give them in regards to finding a label,
getting their name spread around, etc. ?
Well, releasing a cd is no big deal these days, kids can record an album
practically on their computer at home and burn cds so for many bands their first
album is almost like a demo ! My advice ? ...try and find your own inspiration,
a sense of your own individuality and don't simply copy whatever is coming out
of Sweden or wherever. There are way too many average bands out there, we don't
need more. Stay at home and practise as well ! Aand be wary of the men in suits.
Do you think it´s a lot easier nowadays for bands to get signed to a label or
even put out their own self financed CD ? Is some of the magic of getting signed
lost in nowadays fast moving, high technology world ?
Totally. Absolutely. The magic of the old underground is more or less dead,
although there has been a great revival in the underground black/death and doom
scenes in the last 3 or 4 years with tons more independent 7"s, demos and zines.
It won't be like it was in the 80's or early 90's but it is healthier then it
was before even if it is hard for it to be often more then a pastiche of the old
underground. Kids these days spend more money on ringtones for their mobile
phones then they do on music... that says it all really. Music doesn't often
have the same power it used to. Thankfully we are involved in a niché market
that has the most stubborn resistance, amen to that !
Yeah, that´s for certain. A lot of the underground is very stubborn and
resistant to change. Hehehe. I´ve always wanted to ask: what does "Imrama" mean ?
It means journeys to other worlds. a shamanistic journey.
As time goes on it gets harder and harder to come up with original song
compositions that don´t take huge amount of influence from a band gone before.
Would you say this is true ?
I guess so, we've thankfully always been one of those bands with a very
independent spirit and sound, we don't sound like anyone and these days we can
often plagiarise ourselves sometimes and it doesn't matter as it has that
PRIMORDIAL sound, but sometimes after years of forging your own sound it can be
cool to throw in a real BATHORY riff or something. We have established ourselves
you know, we still have things to prove but we have a very definite handle on
what makes PRIMORDIAL PRIMORDIAL and we don't feel confined or restricted.
Throughout your rather long history as a band is there anything you´d want to go
back and do differently ?
Generally I rather not dwell on these kinds of things but I think if we had
released our '93 demo as a 12" back in '93 on some label we would have
established ourselves much more solidly and the band would have been definitely
bigger. I guess knowing things about the legal side so we weren't ripped off at
every fucking turn by people who don't tell you anything and some of the
contracts we signed over the years as well... However we are survivors from the
old days, the old underground and there were many casualties. We are still
Tell us about VOID OF SILENCE and your involvement with that...
Well I had their 2 older albums and liked the band, they wanted a singer I said
I'd do it... so I went to Rome and sang on their new album, and it sounds
massive, really huge and is something I am very proud of. Check it out if you
Sure will ! You´ve got your own art business on the side. Care to share some
details on that ?
Basically I paint backdrops and banners for bands when playing live and that
kind of thing, I've done work for DEATH ANGEL, MELECHESH, SEVERE TORTURE, Doom
Shall Rise, CIRITH GORGOR... loads of bands so any bands who want something done
then get in contact with me. You can see some of my work linked from the
PRIMORDIAL site (www.primordialweb.tk, then go to Nemtheangas art
Cool, I´ve seen some of your work and it´s quite good. Thanks a lot for your
time Alan and I look forward to a new PRIMORDIAL album in the not so distant