IMMORTAL's DEMONAZ hasn't been in contact with ABBATH and HORGH in 'some time': 'for me, there's no bitterness', he says
IMMORTAL founder Harald “Demonaz” Nævdal says that everything has been resolved in his legal dispute with IMMORTAL member Reidar “Horgh” Horghagen over the rights to the band’s name.
One of Norway’s first and most successful black metal acts, IMMORTAL was formed by Demonaz and Olve “Abbath” Eikemo in 1990. Horgh joined the group in 1996. Eight years ago, Abbath and the rest of the group went through a bitter breakup.
The highly publicized legal battle in 2014 over the rights to the IMMORTAL name pitted Abbath against Demonaz and Horgh, with Abbath claiming the pair abandoned IMMORTAL after they moved their gear out of the band’s rehearsal space. The Norwegian court systems determined otherwise, and awarded the IMMORTAL name to Demonaz and Horgh.
According to documents uncovered by Norway’s VG, a conflict arose between the two remaining IMMORTAL members four years ago, with Demonaz registering IMMORTAL with the Norwegian Patent Office as his exclusive trademark in July 2019. The registration was approved, and he was therefore given the exclusive right to use the band name commercially. However, Horgh chose to appeal the registration, and the matter was ruled in his favor, meaning that Demonaz no longer had the exclusive right to the IMMORTAL name.
Asked in a new interview with Chaoszine about the current status of his legal dispute with Horgh, Demonaz said: “We have had some disputes. And there was problems already in 2014 with this. But everything is solved now. But I can’t tell you the details because (there is a settlement) agreement (in place preventing us from discussing it).
“Most bands, they are, like, releasing two CDs or LPs and (they) disappear,” he continued. “I’ve had a band for more than 30 years, so it’s impossible not to lose some members or have agreements for so long time. I think every band that’s lasted more than 20 years or 30 years, you will see the same… Not every marriage is a happy marriage.”
Asked what his relationship like now with Abbath and Horgh, Demonaz said: “It’s been some time (since we’ve been in contact). So that’s natural, I think. They’re busy with their stuff and I’m busy with my stuff. It’s not like in the old days when we were meeting up very often. But for me, it’s, like, there’s no bitterness. I’ve moved on, and they’ve moved on.”
As for Abbath‘s comment in 2020 to Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper that he wasn’t opposed to an IMMORTAL reunion, Demonaz said: “He has said a lot of things, I think. (Laughs) I think maybe he forgot to tell me. I didn’t hear that from him… I just wish him very well in what he’s doing.”
Three years ago, Horgh told VG that he had no advance knowledge of the IMMORTAL registration made by Demonaz.
“It could never have occurred to me to register the trademark by myself, as Nævdal has done here, but I have found myself having to fight to keep the rights I have earned through a long career in this band,” he said. “It is, and after all has been for many years, a large part of my livelihood.”
At the time, Demonaz told VG that he disagreed with the decision, pointing out that he was “the band’s only remaining original member. I am also the only one who has been on all of the band’s releases,” he said.
The Norwegian Patent Office ruled that the rights to the IMMORTAL name belong to the band as a whole, and not to the individual members.
“We have jointly as a band built up the trademark IMMORTAL, and it is therefore right that the trademark should be a joint ownership,” Horgh said.
The drummer went on to say that he was hopeful IMMORTAL could perform live again.
“It has been my goal all the way, and I know that this is something IMMORTAL fans want and have been waiting for a long time,” he said. “I hope in the long run that we can manage to put these disagreements behind us, and again look ahead as a band.”
IMMORTAL‘s first album without Abbath, “Northern Chaos Gods”, was released in July 2018 via Nuclear Blast.
Three years ago, Abbath told Dagbladet: “I got a text from Horgh saying it was great that I got sober. Harald and I haven’t spoken at all. But there’s no evil blood or bitterness on my part anymore. I realize that I was a part of the problem. Things are great for me now. But am I open to an IMMORTAL reunion? Yes, of course. But it has to be something special. I just wish we could sit down and have a talk about things when it all went to hell, instead of involving lawyers.”
Abbath used to be married to Demonaz‘s sister, and they share a son, Torbjørn.
Abbath is now the frontman of his namesake band, which released its third album, “Dread Reaver”, in March 2022 via Season Of Mist.
IMMORTAL will release a new album, “War Against All”, on May 26 via Nuclear Blast Records. The group’s tenth studio LP will feature eight new songs in classic IMMORTAL style. The album’s title track is now released, coming with a lyric video.
Watch “War Against All” below.
The band’s founder Harald “Demonaz” Nævdal states about the song: “‘War Against All’ was the first track I wrote for this album. It’s a fast one where the riffs are mostly inspired by my riffs from ‘Battles In The North’. The lyrics are in the true Blashyrkh battle feel and mood for an opening track too. The frosty, raw, and fast battle songs in this style mean everything to me. I will never forget the early years, or disappoint the fans with slowing down the pace.”
“War Against All” was composed and performed by Demonaz, and it features some session members, like on IMMORTAL‘s earlier recordings. The album was produced by Arve Isdal, and recorded at Conclave & Earshot Studio in Bergen, Norway by Herbrand Larsen and Arve Isdal.
Demonaz states: “IMMORTAL continues the style that was established and defined on our very first records. It’s fast, furious, epic, and mighty Blashyrkh metal — the one and only way!”
He also offers some more background on the process of making “War Against All”: “Even though the studio work is necessary to get an ultimate recording, the writing process is obviously my favorite. I still write all the guitar riffs/music at home with the same old vibe, and the lyrics as well. The early days of black metal inspire me the most. Cold nights in the woods, on the mountains under the winter moon. That’s what keeps the spirit alive, and the foundation to all our music.”
According to Demonaz, “War Against All” was recorded at the same studio where he recorded the guitars and vocals for “Northern Chaos Gods”. “They also did a great job with the new album, and it was a pleasure to go back and work there again,” he says. “I am especially pleased with the outcome on this one. It’s got that cold biting guitar sound, yet powerful production.
“IMMORTAL have never compromised on the original vision, which is taking fans on a journey through Blashyrkh with our most grim and dark music, with every new release. These songs are no exception to this. I am proud of the final result, it’s got a distinct expression, and I can’t wait to let the fans hear it.”
The album’s cover artwork was done by the Swedish artist Mattias Frisk.
01. War Against All
02. Thunders Of Darkness
04. No Sun
05. Return To Cold
08. Blashyrkh My Throne
“War Against All” was mastered by Iver Sandøy at Solslottet.