Metal Wani‘s editor in chief Owais “Vitek” Nabi recently conducted an interview with guitarist, lyricist and vocalist Demonaz (real name: Harald Nævdal) of Norwegian black metallers IMMORTAL about the band’s forthcoming “Northern Chaos Gods” studio album. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the nine-year break between studio albums for IMMORTAL:
Demonaz: “Well, it was a long time. We’ve been busy. After all the complications we had, we could focus on the music around 2015. It’s been a process of writing, making pre-productions, going into the studio, and also, we had to wait a little bit for access to the studio. It’s been a process and a long time for the fans to wait. For us, it’s been work all the time in a way.”
On whether “a lot of work” went into creating “Northern Chaos Gods”:
Demonaz: “We don’t think there was when we’re working. When I was bringing the riffs into the rehearsal room, the first song we made was the opening song, ‘Northern Chaos Gods’, and then, I had written the first lyrics and it inspired me to write the rest of the album. We took it from there. There was no big plan. It was more like working like we always did, the same process, but it’s like you have one song and you build it from the next one and when you have five or six songs, you see the end of the album and you know this kind of riffs and atmosphere will be there for the rest to make some variety, also.”
On whether “Northern Chaos Gods” represents both IMMORTAL‘s storied past and future:
Demonaz: “I can agree with that. Like I said, there was no plan to do this album or make it sound like this. It was hard, but we always do it, but you have to go with a gut feeling and you develop a kind of style of guitar playing or guitar riffs, it’s guitar-based music, so it’s like you have to just follow your gut-feeling and do your best and I think we put a lot of energy into it. We didn’t want to have any deadlines. We work on our own terms. We were never a deadline band. Also, to make sure that there is no compromise for us all the time.”
On his return to full-time guitar duties in IMMORTAL, a position he originally held until 1997 when he was sidelined with a debilitating arm injury:
Demonaz: “I never stopped playing the guitar. I just had to take it down a level because I had a problem with my left arm. In 2012, I had surgery for the shoulder. They found the muscle was broken, so they had to put it together and I had a recovery for nine months. Four of those months with no playing at all. It was really bad. After I recovered, my arm was good again. It’s like I never stopped playing, so it’s not like I suddenly woke up and started playing again. [Laughs] It’s like you said, I understand, in a way, we just followed our gut feeling and I tried to make a better album than the one before.”
On trying to silence naysayers who thought now-departed guitarist/vocalist Abbath was the primary songwriter and driving force behind IMMORTAL:
Demonaz: “You cannot think about that in the situation we were in. We just moved on. We just leave the complications and just focused on music and worked the same way we always did. Starting from scratch in 2015 after the arguments and everything. It was like, we just had to move on. It feels natural. We just did it the same way and tried to put the most IMMORTAL elements into it and make it as grim, dark and cold as possible. Also, I started this band, I think it was in 1990. For me, it’s natural.”
On what he wants fans to take away from listening to “Northern Chaos Gods”:
Demonaz: “I think that it’s like, if we feel it when we make the songs and if we get the drums, the guitars and the bass and the vocals and everything and also the lyrics, we just want to put it into that one-hundred and ten percent IMMORTAL package where the listener can take it in. They know it’s IMMORTAL. They can hear it. It’s a signature of its own. That is what I want the fans to experience. I want them to go as deep as they can into this music and also with this song, ‘Mighty Ravendark’, you just want them to get into that same feeling that we have.”
On whether IMMORTAL will tour behind “Northern Chaos Gods”:
Demonaz: “Until now, it’s been a step-by-step process with the album and now it’s promotion. There’s been mixing and everything before. So, the whole plan is to go home after the promotion and everything now and start in the rehearsal room to make plans for the next step which is live. So, we don’t have any breaking news at this day, but you will know it.”
On how IMMORTAL will fill out their live lineup:
Demonaz: “I will do all the vocals and we will have a guitarist and a bass player.”
“Northern Chaos Gods” will be released July 6 via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by Peter Tägtgren (Abyss Studio), who also helmed IMMORTAL‘s “At The Heart Of Winter”, “Damned In Black”, “Sons Of Northern Darkness” and “All Shall Fall” LPs.
In addition to Demonaz and Horgh (drums), IMMORTAL‘s new disc features Tägtgren on session bass.