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Twenty years on from when they first formed, Ireland’s undisputed metal kings Primordial are still at the peak of their powers. Edwin McFee caught up with them recently to find out where it all went right for one of the country’s biggest bands.
Edwin McFee, 10 Jan 2012
It’s safe to say it’s been a hell of a year for Irish extreme metal anti-heroes Primordial. Not only did they shift a veritable shed-load of copies of their seventh album Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand (which charted in territories such as Sweden, German, Finland, Belgium and more), they performed a near mythic homecoming show in Dublin a few months ago, which saw fans making pilgrimages from all across Europe to worship at their dark and blood-stained altar. The band they also picked up ‘Best Underground Band’ at this summer’s Metal Hammer hosted Golden Gods Awards to boot.
Currently celebrating their 20th anniversary together, the band have been steadily carving out a name on the world stage as one of the most inventive and uncompromising acts to ever emerge from this island, and this year especially has seen the ferocious five-piece establish themselves as real heavy hitters. It may be a hoary old cliché in the world of metal, but sometimes it really is a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll.
“It doesn’t seem like 20 years since we first started,” begins singer AA Nemtheanga. “We didn’t set out with the ambition of being in whatever position we are in now. It was 1991, we were ‘80s metal-heads as teenagers, and back then Dublin and Ireland was a rough place, and it was our way of dealing with that anger and frustration. When we started the band our sole intention was to make a demo, and then when it we did that it was to make our first album and get out of this burgeoning underground scene which we helped forge. Then when we made one we didn’t think we’d make two, then we made three and I think no-one would’ve said we’d make seven, but time just kept going by. We never thought of this as a career.”
Bonded by a love of black, death and thrash metal, the early days of Primordial were fraught with friction and uncertainty, but there was also an unspoken and unwavering commitment to the path they’d chosen for themselves, as Nemtheanga explains.