Band Interview: Primordial

We here at Damnation Magazine love what we do and will continue doing it so long as we have readers. However, it can really suck running a magazine, while also working full-time jobs to make ends meet.  Mostly, it keeps us backed up when it comes to original content, though we feel like we’ve done a decent job keeping you up to date on some stuff. Where it really hits home, is when it comes to interviews with bands around the world, and we aren’t available when the bands are for phone interviews. Don’t get me wrong, we will take anything we can get, as we love trying to promote all bands but, actually having a conversation versus sending questions to be answered has some HUGE benefits. While we got some of the answers we wanted, there were some that could’ve been elaborated more upon if we were talking on the phone, hell even in person but, alas you can’t always get what you want. Our most recent interview was with Alan Averill “Nemtheanga,” vocalist for Irish Black/Doom Metal band, Primordial. This is one time I wish we could have stepped away from our day jobs for one day to pick his brain and really dive deep and expand on some of these answers, because while we got some great input, I feel like there is more than meets the eye. Another time maybe?? Without further ado, sit and read as we discuss the upcoming album, Exile Amongst the Ruins, the first single off the album “Stolen Years” amongst other topics below!


First and foremost, I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this for us. I have been a fan for years and am excited to see what journey, Exile Amongst the Ruins, will take us on. Judging from first single “Stolen Years” it seems like there is a lot in store for us, but we will get to that in a second.

For those less familiar with Primordial, the Irish Blackened Doom Metal band originally started as a cover band back in 1987, performing mostly covers and some originals. It was the introduction of vocalist Alan Averill “Nemtheanga” in 1991, that brought them to where they are today.

2018 marks the twenty-seventh year of Primordial‘s seminal career, and returning with their ninth full-length, Exile Amongst The Ruins, they have lost none of their vitality. Once again building upon their signature sound, the follow up to 2014′s Where Greater Men Have Fallen is a more raw, “old school sounding” record than its predecessor. Hitting home with what vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga describes as “a direct energy” and wielding an urgency that is undeniable, the Irish quintet once again effortlessly blend elements of Celtic folk and black metal like no one else. Likewise, the evolution in their sound continues to be organic and unforced, ensuring that Exile Amongst The Ruins is essential listening for both their long term faithful and those only now drawn into their world. – Metal Blade Records

  1. If I’m not mistaken, Primordial was the first Black Metal style band to come from Ireland? 1b. What was the scene like as you were getting started back in the late 80s early 90s?


  • I guess we were. Tape trading, fanzines, enthusiasm and excitement. Pre internet. Part of a cultural zeitgeist.


  1. Who were some musical influences early on, both as a musician and the band as a whole?


  • Sabbath to Bathory, Venom to Maiden


  1. All too often, metal bands will release their heaviest tracks to promote their upcoming albums. “Stolen Years” is far from what some fans would expect as a first single from Primordial, though personally, I feel it is an excellent choice. It shows a whole other side of the band and needless to say is a phenomenal song. 3a. What process goes into picking songs to promote a new album? 3b. What lead to choosing “Stolen Years?”- More or less by accident. We ended up delayed on a bus trip through rural Romania to the shooting. So, we had to work with what we had. There was no grand plan.
  2. When coming up with music video ideas, who creates the concepts for them? How did the video for “Stolen Years”  come about?
  • There’s no huge concept to “Stolen (Years)”. It’s just us preparing to play live and then some live footage. I hate narrative/story metal videos, they nearly always look cheesy, poorly executed and acted so I stay away from that.
    What is the theme of the album/story behind the lyrics?


  • “Stolen Years” is about the passing of time and mortality. The general theme, if there is one, is the end of old Europe, sickness in the west. Ruin.


  1. Tell us about the recording process for Exile Amongst the Ruins.


  • Functional, practical and without frills.


  1. Was this different or similar to previous releases? How so?


  • More functional and more practical.


  1. What can fans expect from the new album (sound, production, etc)?


  • Raw, direct, live and rich in tone. With a few surprises.


  1. Tell us a little about the cover art for Exile Amongst the Ruins. 9b.) Who did the artwork? 9c.) Had you worked with them previously?Primordial-ExileAmongstTheRuins.jpg


  • it shows a defaced statue upon a tomb in Greece. fits in with the theme of the passing of empire and the end of European Classical Civilisation. Costin Chiorneau and yes (including the live album and Dark Romanticism on vinyl and Where Greater Men Have Fallen.)


  1. A lot has changed in the music industry since you first started. For a band going on almost 30 years, how do you keep things fresh? 10b. How do you maintain the relationship in the band to keep going after all these years?


  • We just have our own lives. We don’t do anything when there’s no reason to. We don’t tour ourselves into the ground. Yet, the band is an institution in all our lives.



  1. In an age where Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) is everywhere, what role do these pages play as a band? as an individual?


  • Part evil necessity, part soul destroying pointlessness for little or no reward.


  1. As someone that has yet to see Primordial live, tell me about how you create a stage presence for a live performance? (such as deciding the set list, theatrics, etc.)


  • Look on youtube.


  1. When not writing music or touring, what are some of your favorite past times/hobbies?


  • That doesn’t matter. Strife is life. Take it easy


Thank you Alan for taking the time to answer these questions for us! Exile Amongst the Ruins is due out March 30, 2018, via Metal Blade Records. Be sure to pre-order here while they still have some great packages available!


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