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Interviews : “It was time to just concentrate on the music”- An interview with Demonaz (Immortal) 

By on June 26, 2018

Immortal – Demonaz

Norway has long been the spiritual home of black metal. The debate will continue among cvltists as to the pecking order of the countries premiere musical export, few, however, would disagree that Immortal is, and will always be, a fine example of Norwegian black metals enduring popularity and uncompromising musicianship.

Harald Nævdal AKA Demonaz, is the sole remaining foundation member and chief architect of Immortal’s output since the landmark Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism (‘92) album cast the runes favourably for riff-based, rock ‘n’ roll oriented black metal. He now acts as the band’s frontman and sole guitarist after the exit of longtime guitarist and vocalist, Olve Eikemo AKA Abbath.

“I actually talked to Metal Hammer Greece before you called, and the guy said the same.”

As long-time fans of Immortal may identify, the new album Northern Chaos Gods sounds as good as a successor to the poorly recorded, yet influential 1997 album, Blizzard Beasts.

“He asked me where I would put this album. If I could go back, I told him I would put it between Blizzard Beasts and At The Heart of Winter (’99), maybe. In a way. Because I wanted this album to have the energy … It was like … I guess you’re going to ask me about what happened to the band in 2014, 15, but we can talk about that later…”

As the conversation unfolded, we certainly did discuss Abbath’s exit. You can listen to the full conversation (link below feature) and wrap your inquisitive ears around Demonaz’s feelings toward the separation. What’s important is to focus on the reasons Northern Chaos Gods sounds so furious, to understand why the spirit of the bands revered early 90’s output reverberates through the album…

“I think it was time to just concentrate on the music. It was really good to do that after all the things that happened to us. I really wanted to go back to the time when we have the real energy, and where there was more freedom to think about the band only, and nothing else, and just lock out the world and say that we’ve got to put together an album, I don’t care about anybody outside.

It made the album more vital, more furious, more like pushing things to the limit because I felt that freedom when this time it was only me writing all the lyrics and came up with ideas for the songs. I felt an enormous freedom just to do whatever was necessary to make, yeah, a great album, and don’t think about anybody else so much.”

After much speculation, the foundation members are on good terms. Abbath may have formed his own eponymously titled band and will continue to perform classic Immortal cuts, yet Demonaz recalls fond memories of the bands earliest years and Abbath’s contribution to the Immortal legacy.

“…The four first Immortal albums, Abbath played the bass. He was not a guitarist. But he was with me, also, in the songs composing and making riffs, and he had a lot of brilliant ideas. He’s a very talented musician. But we are different, in a way. He came from something else when it comes to the instrument. Well, I was two years older than him, and I also helped him a lot with the guitar playing, of course. He was young when I met him, and he was not very experienced.”

Australia and New Zealand occupy a unique place in the psyche of Demonaz and Immortal. Recalling the outfits inaugural Antipodean tour, he is especially keen to return.

“I always wanted to go there. We never had the opportunity to go before, in 2007. It was like, we finally got there. We really had a great time there. Really. I thought it was fantastic to be there. I thought it was like people there are totally different. It was really nice, actually. Really nice. And the fans from there were really into it. In Sydney, they were like … I think it was like 800 people in the concert, or 900. I’m not sure, but it was really intense and great, and the people were really enthusiastic about it. We had a really good time, so I really want to come back, you know?”

Listen to the full conversation here.

Northern Chaos Gods is available via Nuclear Blast from July 6th, 2018.


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith