Monday, December 29, 2014

Interview with gun slinging metal veteran Alan Averill aka Nemtheanga (Primordial/Dread Sovereign/Blood Revolt/Twilight of the Gods)

Primordial have yet again produced a rock-solid opus known as Where Greater Men Have Fallen (review) which is being highly hailed in various metal-zines across the world. In light of that and also regarding Alan's various projects and the recent Dread Sovereign album I did this little chat with him. Enjoy! 

Moaning Eggnog: How's it going over at the shooting range? Gearing up for
the next Blood Revolt?

Alan Averill: Life is going more or less ok down the shooting range, some stray bullets here and there. Strangely enough I talked with J. Read about making another album only about a month ago. We agreed in principle over the idea but I definitely think the last one is kinda of definitive statement so maybe we need to change tack on some of the music. We shall see what happens, watch this space.

M.E: Actually my elder cousin got me into Primordial through your Metal Blade debut "The Gathering Wilderness." At that moment we were really into Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, the Norwegian scene, Abigor, Marduk, Setherial, Sarcofago, Mystifier and all sorts of 'kvlt' stuff as well as traditional, thrash, death and doom metal. So, my cousin gave me a copy of TGW and told me, "Listen to this shit man. It's like a doomy love child of Celtic
Frost and Bathory raised in Ireland by a pensive twin of Bruce Dickinson. How unique is that?" And as expected I was totally blown away upon hearing it. So, did you have this sort of songwriting approach in the mind from the very beginning? To my ears Dark Romanticism... sounds fairly atmospheric and catchy for a raw black metal oriented demo even though it doesn't feature much of your latter intense clean vocals.

Alan: No we don't really make plans, what happens happens and the songs on that album in particular were just what we were working on at the time, you don't really have a sense of what you are fully creating until it's out there in the public domain and people react to it. The song writing just reflects where we were as people at the time, it's a dark claustrophobic album that without a doubt has some sonic flaws but as an overall texture it works. I think you can still hear it's the same band from the demo to the new album, we just forged our own path and kept with that.

M.E: Now that I've seen you mention "The Alchemist's Head" is Voivod influenced it really does sound quite off-key and twisted. It's kind of stupid of me that I didn't get it earlier. Anyway, I think most people wouldn't have guessed it because it still sounds like Primordial and way more sinister than Voivod (although I rarely associate 'sinister' with Voivod, they're more on the insane and fun side and sometimes a bit moody like Angel Rat or The Outer Limits) even though the influence is really there as you've mentioned. 

Alan: Well it took me a long time to crack Voivod, I had the albums as a kid/teenager but the punky shouty vocals really put me off for years. It's only really in my 30s that I've fully grown to love that band immensely. But what the band represents is something incredibly unique and that in itself is inspiring, that even over the various chapters in the band they held their heads high and created this fiercely individual sound. The Alchemist's Head also has some modern ortho black metal kinda vibes as well if you ask me, a little Deathspell
Omega perhaps, who knows. definitely something more sinister at work there.

M.E: Does the opening of "Babel's Tower" remind you of a more doomy take on "Freezing Moon" as well as lot of fans are getting that vibe including me to some extent. Apart from that I think it has nothing whatsoever common with the Mayhem classic except that it's already quite a Primordial classic. I think it's a far more introspective and factual song rather than sinister or mystical.

Alan: Ughhh another person saying this. I can see the similarity in the picking kinda style but really the notes are different and it's a really lazy kind of comparison to me personally. Definitely Mayhem was not on Ciaran's mind when he wrote this song. I love de mysteriis but I wouldn't consider it an influence.

M.E: Human Antithesis is a one of a kind. It's a different sort of masterpiece but shamefully overlooked. I don't come across stuff like that much often even though I listen to a lot of doom bands and it's actually my favourite subgenre.
Would you like to do something like that or collaborate with the duo from Void of Silence (I'm not even aware of their current status, they don't seem to be active at all) again?  

Alan: That was a special period in my life actually and I have nothing but amazing memories from going to Rome to make the album. It really showed me personally that I could make it happen and rely on my own talents outside of Primordial. It is indeed a unique and one of a kind album but far from whatever the trends are in doom metal. Not occult or hippie enough for most people I would imagine but it has its fans and I didn't make it with the intention of it being huge. It could do with a repress perhaps now though! I'm always open to musical collaborations within reason and I have a strong feeling the next album I make will be something non metal....and definitely in 2015. 

M.E: I love the Roadburn EP and I liked the wall-of-sound approach of "All Hell's Martyrs" but overall it didn't hit me as hard as 99.9% of your stuff does. Do you
want to keep the sound of that album and expand upon it in the next Dread Sovereign? 

Alan: Well, I really don't know what to say then, I think the album is a stormer! in truth and honesty from the aesthetic to the sound it's something very close to my heart and I don't think you'll hear anything out there for example like the final track "Live Through Martyrs / Transmissions from the Devil Star". I understand that people have short attention spans these days and an EP for the underground is easier to digest but we had to make it like this. Listen again is all I can say, there are some more textures and layers to the album!

M.E: Your political stance has been a subject matter in most of your works. I remember reading one of your old interviews with the obelisk where you've been very critical towards the governing body of Ireland. You even went on to say that the common people helped them to perpetrate their various misdeeds. Whether it's Ireland or India, do you think that people should stop electing the culprits over and over again? Is it better to somehow amend the electoral
process (well, it's easier said than done) because in India whichever party gains control the leaders and party members turn out to be hypocrites, thieves and even rapists afterwards. We have numerous examples of that.  

Alan: Well you get what you pay for don't you? unless you live in a dictatorship. People here complain about Fianna Fáil (the main ruling party over the last 100 years) but they always voted them back in. I used to say I was against the church and the state and for the people but lately I've been finding myself against all 3 historically in Ireland. People hid from the truth, whether it was recognising paedophile priests in their midst and doing nothing or never standing up to the institutions of the state that oppressed and abused them. The world is ruled by power and economics and democracy is just smoke and mirrors. A poorly worked ideal that lies to you that your vote matters at all. If you want to change things start a lobby group and learn to be as bad as the people you oppose. 

M.E: What are some of your favourite non-metal acts apart from your much acknowledged appreciation of David Eugene Edwards (Wovenhand/ex-16 Horsepower)?

Alan: Loads, Nick cave, Leonard Cohen, Klaus Schulze, Joy Division, The Cure, Bauhaus, Rome, Arditi, Townes van Zandt, Johnny Cash, Popol Vuh, Unit Black Flight.

M.E: What are some of your favourite records of 2014 (both metal and non-metal)?

Alan: This was my top 20 for deaf forever magazine

which neglect to mention Behemoth's 'The Satanist' which was a great record

1 -Woven hand - Refractory Obdurate
2- Nick cave - Push the Sky Away
3- Dead congregation - Promulgation of the Fall
4- Grand magus - Triumph and Power
5- Kreigsmaschine - Enemy of Man
6- Solstafir - Otta
7- Bolzer - Aura
8- Unit black flight - Tracks from the Trailer
9- Necros Christos - Nine Graves
10- Satan - Life Sentence
11- Arditi/Puissance/Acherontas/Shibalba - Pylons of the Adversary
12- Slough feg - Digital Resistance
13- Bohren and der Club of Gore - Piano Nights
14- Lana del Rey - Ultraviolence
15-Crippled Black Phoenix - White Light Generator
16- Bullet - Storm of Blades
17- Reign wolf - Sessions
18- Electric wizard - Time to die
19- Midnight - Mayhem with Mercy
20- Winterfylleth - Divination of Antiquity

M.E: When are we gonna witness "Children of the Harvest", "The Coffin Ships" and "Empire Falls" being performed here in India, in the flesh? 

Alan: I have no idea, if there is a promoter tell them to get in touch with us! We need to come and play some different places. 

M.E: Thanks a ton for your time. It was my utmost privilege to get the chance to interview one of my biggest musical heroes.

Alan: No problem, take it easy.

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