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INTERVIEWSInterview with Demonaz from "Heresy" magazine (# 02, autumn 1997)
Immortal have just released their fourth album "Blizzard Beasts". Over the course of the last three albums, we have come to expect a faster, more frostbitten Immortal with each release. Will this be the case with "Blizzard Beasts"?
Yes, "Blizzard Beasts" is a harder album, with more complexity. It bears the powerful identity of the band.
Immortal have also completed their quest in finding a suitable drumer. Did he play on the album, and if so, how did this change the way you worked in the studio, especially when Abbath performed all the drums on "Pure Holocaust", and "Battles In The North"?
Horgh played the drums on the new album, he is a permanent drummer. We work better than ever, now that we finally found the right member. In the past we had problems finding a member serious enough, but with Horgh it's the first time we are 100% satisfied. We're no longer just two people, but stronger than before.
Are there any major turning points that you see in "Blizzard Beasts"? I mean have you tried any radically different techniques when working with your overall sound?
"Blizzard Beasts" was recorded in Sigma Studios. We wanted a better studio because we wanted to work with more professional people. We didn't want a polished sound, but a stronger production.
Is the time of year important when Immortal approach things such as recording, etc.? I don't imagine the summer months to inspiring? Is this something that you consider before entering the studio?
Most of the material is written at winter time, the summer doesn't inspire us at all. We don't choose a particular time of year to do the recording!
I understand that Immortal chose another studio this time... Sigma? I guess that makes this the first album recorded outside of Grieghallen? How great a role did you also play in the production of the album?
It was time to do something else. Sigma is a much better studio, with more professional equipment. We produced the album ourselves, with a good sound engineer assisting us. "Blizzard Beasts" could never have been recorded at Grieghallen.
I think that Immoortal create their sound in such a way that it always borders on the edge of chaos, yet it always manages to retain a definition. Do you feel so, and do you ever find yourselves discarding material because it is perhaps too precise in it's orchestration?
We never think in this way, and we have never discarded any material for being too precise. We write the music how we want it to be regardless of anything else...
I remember when the "Battles In The North" promo CD was released, the cover was radically different to what was actually released commercially. The images of this original cover I imagine to convey "Blizzard Beasts" exceptionally well. Will this cover ever be used?
The cover will never be used, but it is great. The album cover for "Blizzard Beasts" is without doubt our best ever. But all our covers are great...
When "Battles In The North" was reissued with is original cover it was radically different again. Why did it take 3 different versions before everyone was content? Is this a trait of Immortal... perfectionists perhaps?
We wanted an original concept on the "Battles In The North" album. The promo cover was great but we changed our minds. The third cover appeared on the limited edition, since Osmose Productions wanted to release something special.
Immortal came with the first commercially available Black Metal video clips. I was surprised when I first saw these, due to the dark music, and images, which contrasted with the bright light of the Northern sky and daylight. Why use the contrast between darkness and light? Is there a significance?
Instead of making a totally boring, unoriginal video, we wrote a brilliant manus. The contrast between darkness and light worked out perfectly... The face of our band is strong. We have someting to offer... I believe the videos to be highly original, and outstanding, which is most important.
The image of the Raven appears very significant to Immortal... both in a lyrical perspective, as well as a visual one. This creature is of course extremly symbolic, but I wonder why Immortal grant is such an intensive prescence?
Yes, it does mean something to us... we've grown up with these creatures, they are a part of the nature in Blashyrkh... our world and dimension. There's a magic feel with these birds, which are the messangers of fear... and we like to keep that mystical feel in our lyrics. It's like a part, a page in our book.
Immortal did a tour with Morbid Angel some time back, and from what I understand, Morbid Angel were not so well recieved. Morbid Angel is band that have always done what they want, and I see this also with Immortal. There is no path followed by Immortal, instead a path is forged. The point of the question is, are you conscious that you drive, and integrity is subject to so called trends, and do you take any measures to ensure the longevity of the band in the eyes of the weak, trend following types?
As a band we never followed anything at all. We create our very own musical and lyrical style. Throughout the years we take more and more inspiration from ourselves. All our albums stand as monuments of the time, and we will keep our identity with stronger, and better albums. We are a curse to any trend, as we started the unique style we bear ourselves. We will always be one step above anyone else.
Immortal also have an intensive focus on the live medium of a band. What in particular do you find most satisfactory about performing live? Is the necessary method to reach new listeners - why?
We have a good live reputation. Playing concerts is important to present our band and concepts. It also helps selling T-shirts and albums.
Is it definetly a medium where theatrics rule, and there is no place for normality, and human attributes. You are elite, aggressive and IMMORTAL? Please share some thoughts...
When we play live we're a strong live force. The essence and spirit in our shows is parted with our identities. We show what we are capable to do for our fans. We have a kick ass attitude, and our intention is to blow everybody else away, no matter what it takes.
How do Immortal view those mortals who pay to see them perform? Are they an alien body to you, or do you feel that some of the old school values of interaction with the audiences are beneficial?
There are always different kind of people coming to our concerts. We play for the people that are our true fans. It is those pepole who keep the spirit alive...
I guess the media are becoming more and more interested in Immortal nowdays. Do you find more satisfaction in revealing less through words, and more through the music?
There is more satisfaction on the musical side of things. Very few magazines create interesting interviews. There are just too many standard questions, like "When did you form your band", etc. I prefer doing interviews with someone who know the bands history and music.
Immortals lyrics are quite surreal to a great extent. What do you hope that regular mortals will gain from them? A view into another dimension?
The lyrics are important, one could say that it's a view into another dimension. The lyric must fit with the music to create the perfect song. The mind must float with the music. We have our very own concepts spreading the tales of Blashyrkh.
I guess as one of (if not the) priority bands on Osmose Productions, the label must be interested to send you further across the globe on a trail of live devastation. Have you considered areas such as America, or even Australia? What do you expect to find in these countries... audiences, etc?
With the right conditions, we will play in America and Australia. I don't think there's a big difference between the audiences there and Europe. It's difficult to get a big audience outside Europe, especially in USA. We expect nothing so far... time will show...
I have heard that many european audiences are like statues... Does this also give you incentive to search far and wide to find maniacal audiences? Australia has a good reputation for mayhemic audiences. Is this appealing?
We are not used to audinces like that. We don't have to go far to find maniacal audiences. I'm not sure about Australia, but it seems we have a good following there. I am definetly looking forward to play there.
What is one thing Immortal must do to remain at the forefront of extreme metal?
We will keep our identity also for the future. We have alot to offer now that we are able to present our material better, with our new drummer Horgh. We will stay on the hard side of things. So far it is the extreme music who have taken us to where we are today, and I don't see the point in changing that.
Do you have a vision of how this world will come to an end, and more importantly, how will it affect Immortals such as yourselves... does this leave you with no where to roam?
Read our new lyrics to find out. We're predicting the final ice age... It leaves us to the dimension we always searched for.
Well Demonaz, a great thanx for doing this interview. Is there anything you wish to say in conclusion?
Thanx Jason. Your support is highly appreciated.
© 1997 "Heresy" Magazine
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