Interview: Primordial Tells Us ‘How It Ends’

“We don’t trade files, we don’t do anything digitally. It’s exactly the same since 1991,” says A.A. Nemtheanga, vocalist of the long-running Irish metal band Primordial. “Not a single thing has changed and it has to be this way. We are analog men living in a digital age.”

The group’s newest album, How It Ends—the tenth studio full-length in their thirty-two-year-long-and-counting career—is out September 29th via Metal Blade Records. It continues the trajectory of sound the band has been following since their beginning; a fusion of their black metal roots and Celtic heritage, all with Nemtheanga’s powerful vocals leading the way. And as a band that delivers with the consistency that Primordial does, the inner workings of the music have stayed just as true.

“Instead of old school cassette recorders we have our phones, and maybe some better instruments, but that’s about it.” He says when asked if the writing process has evolved over the years. “We have to be in the room together composing, arguing, laughing.”

Unlike the majority of albums coming out in recent times, How It Ends wasn’t born out of COVID boredom or the free-time that many musicians found themselves with during lockdown, the band only really started piecing it together about a year prior to its release. It’s just the way that Primordial work.

“We don’t plan anything, we do what we want when we feel the urge,” Nemtheanga remarks. “We aren’t a professional band so aren’t locked in any creative cycle.”

“Once we have a studio date booked, it lights a fire under us and the wheels start turning,” He adds. “We don’t demo things into oblivion, you have to trust in your instincts as a musician and leave some things to chance, and they more often than not fall into place.”

How It Ends builds upon both the epic and melodic nature at the core of the band’s sound, but at the same time feels heavier and grander than their previous records. And, as always, Nemtheanga’s lyrics touch upon themes of history, society and culture, painting images of an apocalyptic ending for everything we know.

“It could really be anything, there’s not one thing, but slowly a theme emerges,” he says of the inspiration behind his words. “In this instance, revolution, liberty, doomed resistance.”

When asked specifically about the use of spiritual verbiage such as the Kali Yuga and Ragnarök found in the song “All Against All”, Nemtheanga responds, “It’s a strange lyric, invoking ancient sieges, massacres, imagery of streets running with blood, and stating that this is human nature.”

He adds, “The album is full of cryptic questions.”

You can purchase How It Ends from Metal Blade Records. Follow Primordial on Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Fergal Flannery.

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