What is the better soundtrack for the horrible state of the world nowadays than one proper apocalyptic doom album? Dread Sovereign got that fixed for us with their new album entitled Alchemical Warfare and Alan Nemtheanga is here to answer some questions about it…
Greetings Alan and welcome to the pages of Metal sound! How are you doing these days, my friend?
I survive. Trying to stay sane, a lot of running and working on my podcast. That’s about it for now. Well…….is a complex question. If you mean quality of life then no not really, if you mean physically fit then yeah…..
Well, first off I would like to ask you how are things going on up in Ireland in the midst of this horrible pandemic, are everyone in the band healthy and strong in these trying times? What do you think about this whole situation?
We are in level 5 lockdown, the most strict. We are essentially living in an open prison. Everything is closed apart from a few essential shops. We are as healthy as can be expected, some people’s lives have not changed drastically and some have been completely taken from them. Some people cope better than others and have different mechanisms. I have too many thoughts really to nail one down….it can be a health crisis and also a civil liberties crisis at the same time, but I don’t hear enough people discussing freedom/liberty/sovereignty…..
Your third full length entitled Alchemical Warfare goes hand in hand with the whole vibe going on in the world, and it should be said that the music feels more immediate and rock’n’roll this time – was this immediate decision?
The album was made before this whole situation so it is incidental. However yeah the album is a good old school reckless fuck you to the situation we are in! If you want to let loose and get the blood pumping then this is the album for you I think!! We wanted to up the tempo anyway…..
The music itself found on Alchemical Warfare is faster this time, with a lot more influences from Motorhead, Venom, Hawkwind and NWOBHM. What made you guys want to speed up a thing a little bit?
I want it to have as I said this wild reckless energy…..the sound of 3 humans alive in a room together making music, a white knuckle ride far removed from the safe concerns of most modern metal and most modern society. So I plugged in my old 1979 Rico BC Rich into a nasty old guitar head, found the best Lemmy tone, adopted the stance, took a shot, did a line and raised my middle finger to the world. This is Dread Sovereign. Also touring and playing a lot together made us tighter, and more focused and it felt right to put the pedal to the metal…..
As I know, Alchemical Warfare is concept album of sorts but since I don’t have the lyrics yet can you please explain to us concept behind the lyrics a bit further?
Well, in the artwork the 3 characters are lab assistants to Isaac newton, who of course was obsessed with the secret of alchemy. So the title is a loose poke in the eye of modern culture that seeks to wage war on our personal process of overcoming and actualisation….in a magical sense! Or maybe it is us who needs to wage war with our personal magic? either/or…..I am very interested in these post enlightenment hermetical occult orders who sought the secret of alchemy, base to precious metals…..but the philosopher’s stone represents the process towards a form of self godhood. Or some such
Dread Sovereign is bit more based in ”standard metal” lyrics than Primordial so to say, but I guess that in this band also there are no places for big fiction. I remember that you said once that you hate that kind of lyrics in metal, so where would you say that Dread Sovereign can move further in this realm?
Well let’s be clear, although DS is not Primordial of course, it is still no fantasy…..it is another side to me, the reckless, devil may care attitude, and indeed written in the classic language of old metal but it is no parody or ‘taking the piss’ as we say here….they are serious in their own way, I don’t hate ‘those kinda lyrics’….so to say, what I dislike is the modern obsession with novelty/parody/humor, what I love is the early 80s lyrics which have such a reckless wild spirit….the lyrics on ‘in the sign of evil’ for example are absolutely classic! You just got to mean what you say and stand behind it with complete conviction!!
The album is closed with Bathory cover which gives proper middle finger to nowadays’ political correctness and it is filled with fuck it all vibes. Can you explain the choice of this cover?
Again no real reason, it seemed to be a cool way to end the album, we were jamming it in rehearsal so thought….fuck it, let’s put it on there
You are also doing podcast called Agitators anonymous, so what can you tell us about this work, will you continue with it when the times have changed?
It was something I wanted to start years ago but put on the long finger as they say so when all this lockdown situation started I knew I had to do something to focus my energy, save my sanity and remain creative so I started the podcast. Well the connection is really it is me….of course, there are very few podcasts done by musicians and less even by Europeans, it’s a very American thing, I have a lot to say so it makes sense. Some are historical deep dives into characters from the past, tour stories, politics, gallows humor and thoughts on society and culture…..you might find something of value there! Take a listen
While we are at it, the world today is filled to the brim with paranoia and conspiracy theories of all sorts – about vaccines, fake virus, 5g antennas etc. What is your take on this situation?
Well…..Epstein had an island right? Things are complex and require nuance and rational thinking, which society has little of these days. Every opinion is always taken at face value and everyone assumes the worst/most extreme intentions of the people they want to oppose/cancel etc. the fact is that the phrase conspiracy theory on some level is now used to stop conversation and debate, some things that were considered a CT are now clearly true….while of course others are nonsense, but not asking questions or having debate is far worse. Is the idea that the situation around the virus is being used to implement new levels of digital social control and empower a technocratic state that now has great access to all levels of your life…..and will demand conformity to gain access to ‘living’ through vaccination? Is that a conspiracy theory? I don’t think it necessarily is…..it’s certainly worth discussing.
Speaking of which, what do you predict – when the things will go back to normal considering the music that we love and its strongest merits, live activites?
I am a pessimist by nature…..so, it is possible things never return to what we knew before. Or we get a sanitized, structured, enforced distant, stand in your square and do not socialize, health passport scanning facility, very corporate and lifeless version of what we had before. Or I am just an angry fool and we return to normal, but don’t forget unless we go back to 0…..and stop lockdown completely, we don’t get live metal shows as we knew. So ask yourself, is the situation of lockdown going to endlessly roll on and on in some fashion? If so, then rock n roll as we knew it is over and done. Simple. dark….but simple, so force your local elected officials to not destroy the arts.
What lies in the near future for your band Dread Sovereign and Primordial, are some things already planned?
What can we plan 100%? Nothing really….there are tours and ideas…..for this and that but like everyone else we are in limbo.
That would be all for this chat, I would like to thank you and wish you all the best! Close this interview as you wish…
Stay fit, stay sane, stay strong and healthy and stay metal!!
Interview by Slobodan Trifunovic