Immortal Throne of Blashyrkh: Russian Tribute to Norwegian Black Metal band Immortal


Interview with Abbath from (2002)

After having had the possibility of listening before of the release the new "Sons Of Northern Darkness", I've start searching for the Norwegian combo, just to have a chat with their leader Abbath. That's what happened during our conversation on the telephone...


I think this is the most mature album of your career. How did you create it?

Just say that we made as we made the previous two ones: I've written the guitar's lines and then I went to the studio with Horgh, who has written all the drum's parts. Afterwards Demonaz, who was very impressed by the music part, worked on the lyrics, which came out in a very spontaneous way, much more spontaneously than it happened on "Damned In Black". When we had finished the songs we went to the Abyss Studios and we recorded everything with our friend Peter, the only person who could give this sound to our album. He is a great sound technician and he immediately understand how you want a song to sound. He can get straight to the centre of the problem without messing around: he doesn't waste time. We had worked with a lot of people before, but he is the best one and, now, it is natural for us to work with him in this way.

The new record is titled "Sons Of Northern Darkness", you have already used it for a couple of tours between 1994 and 1995 with the Marduk. Why have you decided to call it in this way?

Let's say that it could be considered a part of our being: it was like dedicating the album to ourselves. There is no other reason behind this title.

Why did you decide to leave the Osmose Productions to sign with the Nuclear Blast?

It was just because the Nuclear Blast offered us a better deal: we had a lot of opportunities, but this was the best one. We signed for "Sons Of Northern Darkness" and other two records; they gave us some guarantee which couldn't be given by the others.

Is it true that you are working on a live album?

Not really, at least we haven't started to work on it yet and, for the moment, we have no live recording made. We want to record a few shows during the next tour and if we'll like them we will make a live album out of them.

The previous two albums have sold quite a lot all over the world... What do you expect from this new work?

If I have to be honest I have no idea about it. I know it is a good album, maybe the best one we have ever made and I think it is reasonable to expect good things from it. The time is good, because at the moment this kind of music is pretty fashionable and I think it will be liked. We are pretty calm about it, because we took all the time we needed to do it and we are satisfied of the result, moreover this time, with the Nuclear Blast, we had a better production and we will have a better distribution.

I know you have recorded a cover for the tribute of the Mayhem, which was released by the Avantgarde Music. Why did you chose "From The Dark Past"?

We were asked if we were interested in recording a track for the Mayhem's tribute when we went to the Abyss Studios for "Damned In Black". We said we would have accepted only if we could play a song we liked and not anyone; so we looked at the list of the songs that were already chosen and we decided to play "From The Dark Past", a song that we really like. We are very satisfied with the final result, have you heard it? Do you like it?

Yes, I've heard it and I like it, but the whole tribute is very good!

Shit, I haven't heard it completely yet! I know that it includes a lot of great bands and the things I've heard are very good! I know that the Mayhem liked it and our cover in particular!

What do you think of the new Mayhem's attitude?

Well, it is pointless to deny: I prefer the old Mayhem, those who made "De Mysteriis...". Maniac is not my favourite singer for this band and I don't like very much the whole the sound of "Grand Declaration Of War", I think they could do much better than this. They decided to trey out new things, but I don't think a lot of people is following them on this adventure. What do you think?

I? If I have to be honest I don't like the new album, I prefer what they did in the past. I've seen them live a couple of times, but I think that seeing them at the beginning of the 1990s must have been different... I find interesting "Mediolanum Capta Est", the live they recorded here in Milan, but I really don't like their new sound... and now that Maniac has left the band and I don't really know what they will do. Let's go back to our interview, what do you think of the bands that do not want to play live, like Darkthrone?

Well, the Darkthrone don't play live because they don't need it, but I have no idea about other bands. For us it is important to play live and I don't understand people who don't do it. A lot black metal bands are losing their identity, changing, at the same time, their music and their habits, just think of the face painting.

Why do you keep using it?

I think it is a sign of our identity, we have always used it and we believe in it. We have always had it: we decided to make things in this way when we started with the Immortal and I think it would be meaningless to change everything now. We keep doing what we want and we don't care if other people say that is not fashionable anymore to use the face-painting, we think with pour own head and we'll keep on our own way. Black metal is not just music: it is a movement, which has got its image and its concepts behind it. The discussion about the make up are an old story: at first no one used it, then it became fashionable and all the bands used it and now it is not trendy anymore. We don't care about trends, because we don't accept the rules that other people decided for us.

Which is your favourite Immortal's song?

This is a very nasty question...! It is too difficult for me to answer, all their songs are important for me, I can't chose just one song.

Why did you decide to change instrument when Demonaz stopped to play guitar?

Well, it is a bit complicated: at the time I was enjoying more the guitar than the bass and so the choice was already made somehow. Moreover the songs were written by Demonaz and me, and it would have been difficult to find someone else, who could express these feelings with the guitar, Demonaz asked me to play it. Fortunately, we found a very good bass player, Iscariah, who was a great Immortal fan and knew all our songs. Certainly, I'm not a great solo player, but I think I've got my own recognisable style.

Which are the main steps of your career?

There have been a lot of steps in our career, but I think that including Horgh in our band was one of the most important one: because there had immediately been a great feeling among us and it was easy to write the new songs, helping each other. Abbath, Horgh, Iscariah, this has been the line up in the past 3 years.

Do you think it is the best one you've ever got?

Yes, I think so, but do not forget that Demonaz is always a part of our band! Demonaz can't be on stage with us, but he keeps helping us with the lyrics and the arrangements. Unfortunately the problem he has got to the sinew, which can't really and definitely be solved, makes impossible for him to hold an instrument for a long time.

Author: Riccardo Maffiodo (© 2002

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