Q&A with Primordial

On new material: "We have moved from talking about talking about it to actually standing in a room together...."

Primordial, primal... Primeval, all parallel here. The black metal outfit from Dublin like all black metal bands, cut their teeth on primitive thrash - down into the seedy underbelly of the black metal scene - Primordial began to spew forth their bitterness to the hoardes.... For close to thirty years now the band continue to sweep this absinthal position with cunning.... and it is about to reach our shores Australia!  

A sound that blends elements of black and doom metal with traditional Celtic elements, how easy or difficult was this to achieve? "It's really Irish traditional music. Not really. It's really in the phrasings, timing signatures and what you might call a droning note....which underpins the melody. Not difficult really, you might notice a lot of our songs are in 6/8 for example instead of 4/4..." 

What are some of the definitive elements in the music of Primordial that have placed the band in a league of their own? "I don't know really this is for other people to say but I imagine geography is important. We sound Irish....visit the sodden windswept Atlantic coast and listen to the gathering wilderness and it will make sense. Just like Dark Throne sounds cold and mystified, sounds hot....add in some Irish traditional music, clean vocals, long songs. All adds up".  

Being the first black metal styled band to emerge from Ireland – how difficult was the early stages of the band? "No more difficult really than for anyone else I would imagine. Nowhere to rehearse, shitty equipment, no money....Dublin was a rough old place. We did our best to escape from it in the band. However it wasn't El Salvador....it's all relative". What challenges did the band have to overcome? "Just being young and foolish really [Laughs] nah, the same as most bands. Staying together and not letting the raging hormonal chaos of being young teenagers force us all in different directions. We stayed the course". What was the scene for this particular style of music like in Dublin, Ireland 1980's? "Ciaran [MacUiliam - Guitar] and Paul [MacAmhlaigh - Bass] started playing together in late 87 but really as young teenagers. The 'band' started to take some form in 91. There was a small and dedicated scene of movers and shakers back then. Many are still standing, from Invictus to Cruachan, Underground Movement, Sentinel, Abandon Incarnate.....all still throwing down". 

The bands most recent album; ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’ really highlighted the bands skills in terms of song writing and progression – has this album upped the ante for the band? "It's hard for me to be entirely objective I guess. I mean if the next album sounded like Hellhammer I'd also be happy with that...." Primordial get darker and heavier with each release – was this an obvious progression considering the style the band write within? "Well it's a darker world right? Again I don't know. I do agree though that the newer albums are 'darker', people often say to me....ah the older more black metal stuff and I wonder do they actually know the first album? The opener is a straight 4/4 rock song......we don't judge things like that. We progress but again, new album sounds like Hellhammer? Fine also....

Where does the band like to experiment with the writing? "Where? With Primordial there's no plan, we don't sit down and make a 6 month structure. We don't write to order. Whatever happens is really as it is....we don't trade sound files or write remotely. We meet in the room and work on it together". Is the band currently working on new material? "Slowly we are now beginning yes. We have moved from talking about talking about it to actually standing in a room together...."

What differences are evident within celtic styled black metal – what are the signatures and how would you compare it to its traditional Black Metal elements? "The celts were indeed we could say the first masters of Europe but this is metal right? There's a cultural historical inheritance within Primordial but I don't write about iron or Bronze Age history. To The Nameless Dead (2007) is about nation and state building in the 18th and 19th century for example, where greater men leads us to WW1. We are not fantastical......"

After more than twenty long years Primordial is heading to Australia – what are your anticipations for this long awaited tour? "Great shows great people and a great experience.....that's enough!".  


with Vomitor & Nocturnal Graves

July 7, Melbourne

July 8, Sydney