Immortal’s Abbath Talks About New Bassist Apollyon
Norwegian black-metal legends Immortal are currently on a four-date North American tour supporting the excellent All Shall Fall. It is the first release to feature new bassist Apollyon (pictured below), who also plays in the excellent blackened thrash band Aura Noir. For this installment of our lengthy interview with Immortal, Abbath talks about why he wanted Apollyon to join the band. Click 1, 2, and 3 to read the previous parts of the interview.
REVOLVER Why did you want to work with Apollyon when you re-formed Immortal?
ABBATH Horgh and Demonaz knew who he was and all that, but they had never met him that much. They didn’t know the guy that much, but they knew which bands he’s from. He’s also a huge fan of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto from Darkthrone. He comes from the true, old-school Oslo.
He also got married, believe it or not, to this woman from, like, eight kilomoters from where I live. I live in the countryside 30 kilometers south of Bergen, by the sea, and he called me now and then like, “Hey, I’m in town. Want to hang out?” Because this guy, he pretty much likes exactly the same music as me, and he is so fucking relaxed. I mean he doesn’t stress about anything, he’s totally dedicated, but besides from being Apollyon, he creates balance in the band.
I called him one day. He was like the first guy I thought about. Because this other guy who played with us in 2003, this Swedish guy [Saroth], he didn’t even call us at all. We tried to stay in touch with him, but we never heard anything from him. Only when the news was out that we were going to reunite, then we heard from him. So fuck him. He was a good guy, but when it comes to Immortal, fuck off. You know what I mean?
When we went to a place, anywhere it was, he never hang out with us. He showed up to do the job, he did a great job onstage, but it was like only me and Horgh, and it had only been me and Horgh for quite some time. I really missed Demonaz, and we didn’t have a bass player who fit in with us. Because we know some bass players, like Ares from Aeternus who did the bass on the ’98 tour, on the Blizzard Beasts tour, when I took over the guitar. He was a great guy, not a real bass player or anything, but he was a really cool guy to hang out with. He was dedicated and he did a great live performance. He could have stayed with us but he was
And then we got Iscariah, who was totally dedicated, but he was kind of like Erik, our old drummer; he didn’t improve. But all of them, great guys. But I mean Saroth, the Swedish guy, he was more like a guy we met through [producer] Peter Tägtgren, who played in this band Pain with him. Actually he helped us out. He was never part of the band, it would have been wrong to re-join with him, especially when ’t keep in touch with us all these years.
Anyway, Apollyon, when I asked him if he wanted to join, I didn’t take for granted that he would say yes, because his baby is Aura Noir. But he was, yeah. He also wanted the bigger gig and he got the offer from the right band. He would stay with us forever if he wants, he’s our fucking brother; he’s more than Apollyon.
You said that you and he had the same taste in music. What bands would you say you guys are both mutual fans of?
We share the same love for early, old KISS, old heavy metal. Maybe I’m more of a Motörhead guy than him, but early Manowar stuff and especially Venom. We share the same special tastes for Venom. You can se Apollyon on stage with me, with Immortal, he is like, it’s like standing next to Cronos, you know? It’s like “Raaahh!” I’m playing guitar now. I cant pose as much as I did before when I played bass, so it’s great to have that natural demon next to me on stage.
Interview by Kory Grow // Photos by Peter Beste