Immortal Mindview April 1999
"The beginning of a new Era"
After a difficult time in the garrison of Immortal, because of the arm-infection of gitarist Demonaz, Abbath has taken over the guitar-duties and now he and superdrummer Horgh writes all the typical, genious riffing of Immortal. In the end it all worked out and their newest work 'At The Heart Of Winter' is the amazing result of hard work... So time to catch up with Abbath for some questions!
Why did it take so long before you made « At the Heart of Winter » ?
'Because the things that happened in the band. There was a lot of waiting and frustration and it took me while before I wanted to start working on new material and before I found the inspiration. It took some time before I wanted to do a new album.'
Is it because of Demonaz ?
'It's mostly because of him, we were waiting and waiting and I took a while before I felt to do something myself. It was a hard time for us, it was bad and a relief at the same time.'
Is he still involved in the band ?
'He is doing the management for us, he's working on other things, and he can focus on the business side of it.'
Who is writing the music for Immortal now ?
'I'm writing all of the music now, but Demonaz has been writing all the lyrics. We got a lot of proposals, but he was inspired by my music and he offered himself to write the lyrics, he's still the expert so I let him do it this time. I gave him all the credit for it. I'm working on some lyrics myself now, but at the time we started I didn't feel enough trained for it, to form the verbs and stuff. I had a bunch of contribution, to put it all together.'
Was it difficult for to you to start to play guitar and sing at the same time ?
'It was a challenge to do it live, it was very hard in the beginning to achieve this, it took me a couple of shows to getting more into acting and playing the guitar at the same time. In the beginning I really missed my bass, but now it's just great I have no problem with it. I have created most of the riffs during the years, it was more easy that I took over the guitar, because to find a replacement for Demonaz was total impossible. There are a lot of good guitarplayers around, but to find the one who is into the kind of technique we are into is very difficult and the people who fit, they already have a band which they give priority to. I decided to do it myself.'
You did well...
Are you satisfied of the production at The Abyss studio ?
'Really satisfied, it was a pleasure to work with Peter, he really had the understanding of what we wanted to achieve, what kind of songs we wanted. We also recorded a demo with the songs of a rehearsal and we sended him the stuff before we got into the studio. He really knew what we wanted, it was great, we worked real fast.'
Do you think he's the best producer in black, death metal ?
'Well, I really don't know much about other metal producers, but for us it has been great. It had been perfect and I know he's done a very good job for other bands as well.'
How do you see the musical evolution since « Blizzard Beasts » ?
'With « Blizzard Beasts », we were more flatminded and I think with the new album we took the best influences of our music. We opened more up and we took inspiration of the best side of our style during the years and developped a great deal, but at the same time kept our metalinfluences. And with « Blizzard Beast » it was a very chaotic period for us and we didn't know really which direction we were heading for. With the new material we came back to the inspirational level we have being at all the time. We made the music more catchy and listenable for more people, and we opened our style for old fans as well.'
What kind of atmosphere do you want to express in the album ?
'It's a perfect vision of our concept, which we have created during the years, it's the winter, it's the concept of the winter beyond the northern plaines. It's the most atmospherical album so far, and I think we made it very concrete this time.'
I'd say you can feel the winter in it, when you're listening.
'Yeah that's very important to us to get the sound of our music, that the people feel the way we want them to feel.'
What does the title mean for you ?
'It's the center of our concept, our inspirational source since the beginning. We have opened up the realm for everyon, but it's still there and it's more listenable for everyone.'
Your voice is sounding different, is it because of the production or did you want to change it ?
'My voice is lot more trained now, I'm more relaxed and I also felt that my voice had to fit in the production in the right way and it's the whole concept of the music and everything. I'm really satisfied with the whole. I wanted the voice to be more inside the music than outside of it, if you know what I mean.'
Do you have a permanent bassplayer now ?
'We just found recently a permanent bassplayer, his name is Scariot and he came from a band called « Enchanted », and he's a great player, he's total dedicated and totally into our music, he's a very fast learner and he's going to join us a permanent member. It's very important to us that we have a permanent line-up, as we will be able to do tours and gigs. We have been a duo for quite a long time and it's very important to get new blood into the band.'
How was the "no mercy"- tour ?
'It was great, to headline over all these bands was really exiting for me. We were accepted as headline act, anyway I thought there were too many bands, so for Immortal when we came on the stage the show was going on for such a long time and the audience was exhausted.'
Why did you choose to use another logo on the cover ?
'We wanted a more readable logo for everyone, I just felt like that the name is more important than the logo itself, so for me it was a start of a new era and we also wanted a different kind of cover and also I wanted a more pronounced, readable logo. Some people like it, others don't, we had proposal and we decided to use it. The old logo is still used for different occasions, it's on the cover, I mean it's on the cd, it's important that the name comes through.'
The french painter Fournier made the cover, why him ?
'We didn't want to present Immortal as a duo on the cover again, so wanted this album to be exeptional and we had an offer from Osmose to use this painter. I send the proposal of how I wanted it and, the result was perfect, the whole vision is there, the way he has done it is more than I expected.'
Are you satisfied of the work of Osmose ?
'Very satisfied, he (Hervé - IS) has given Immortal a great deal of priority, we have been with Osmose since the start of the label and the band as well. The relationship is great, he's doing a very good job with the layout and promotion.'
What about the upcoming tour with « Vital Remains » ?
'We just heard that Vital Remains will not join us on tour because there is a big delay on their album. Right now we don't know what will happen, it's very difficult to have a dialog with the tour-promotor. Demonaz is trying every day to reach them, to try to arrange, to discuss things. We were hoping to go out with Emperor, a real good band, which can get more people and so the package can be stronger, but these bands are on tour the same time. Marduk is going to the States and Emperor is touring with Morbid Angel. So, I hope we can find a strong band who can support us.'
What kind of music do you listen to right now, what was for you the album of the year in 1998 ?
'Right now I'm listening to 'Blood On Ice' from 'Bathory' that's an awesome album. Actually no albums came out last year which I got into. It seems that the bands Covenant and Dimmu Borgir are getting really popular and I can understand that, but it's not my cup of tea actually.'
Did you like the new Morbid Angel ?
'Yeah, I think that was ok, but I really more appreciate the old albums. This one was too technical and I didn't really like the structure in the songs, the atmosphere was amazing, they are really good players.'
Anything else to say ?
'Not right now !'