Irish heavy metal group rock the world after 24 years of hard slog


IT HAS taken 24 years, seven albums and multiple changes of personnel, but finally Irish heavy metal band Primordial have had international chart success.

Their new album Redemption at the Puritan’s Handcharted at No 31 in the German album charts, Europe’s biggest music market. They also charted in metal-mad Finland, Sweden and Switzerland. On the other side of the pond, they reached No 1 in the metal download charts in Canada and top five in the Billboard newcomers chart in the United States.

The antithesis of Eurovision entrants Jedward, who achieved instant fame and celebrity through X-Factor, the group have travelled a long road after starting out as teenagers in Skerries, north Dublin, in a thrash metal cover band in the late 1980s. They’ve kept the dream alive since, even while working part-time to supplement their music income.

Their success is remarkable given that they inhabit the more extreme fringes of the genre and have been described variously as black metal, doom metal or pagan metal. Lead singer Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill (36) said they were being rewarded for their refusal to compromise their sound and for their live performances.

“For some reason we just keep getting bigger and bigger. You are witnessing what once were underground metal bands all over the world charting more because metal fans tend to be a bit less transient than fans of other types of music.”

The band have a small but loyal following in Ireland, but have struggled because of the absence of a well-developed scene and a lack of exposure in mainstream media.

Averill has just graduated from DCU with a degree in journalism having originally trained as an engineer.

“I’m sure we’re selling more records than the Coronas worldwide, but you won’t see us on any magazine covers in Ireland. It is just a complete lack of respect,” he said.

“In Scandinavia rock and metal is accepted simply as part of society not as a sub-culture pushed to the periphery as it is in Ireland. Somewhere along the line, rock became deeply unsexy here.”

Needless to say they will not be watching the Eurovision tonight. “Jedward is a celebration of banality and talentlessness,” said Averill.