"if I had my way Immortal would have been on tour right now."
For a man who's built a career on tunes celebrating the frozen northern wastelands Abbath is a pretty jolly interviewee. He talks with relish about his eponymously titled new band, Judas Priest (expect a cover of Riding On The Wind in the near future) and his upcoming Australian tour. But as soon as the circumstances surrounding his departure from Immortal are raised his tone quickly changes.
"I feel like I've been fired," he spits. "It was never my intention to go solo but I really feel like I've been forced into it. Apparently they are going to continue on without me and that's fine - but it was very disappointing that no-one, not even Nuclear Blast, wanted to hear my side of the story. The other guys wanted to do things solely on their timetable and also claimed that I need to go to rehab, which was just nonsense because I've always delivered, live and in the studio: always. My plan was to go into the studio last year - if I had my way Immortal would have been on tour right now.
"It was very disappointing that no-one, not even Nuclear Blast, wanted to hear my side of the story. "
"I just think they ended up being in it for the wrong reasons," he continues. "They weren't showing any passion for what we were doing. Even though my new band is called 'Abbath' it finally feels like I'm in a real band - part of a group of musicians who have a great dialogue and share a passion for the music. It didn't feel like that in Immortal for a long time."
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Abbath has rebounded in admirable style. With his new band in place he has completed his debut LP for Season Of Mist (simply entitled Abbath) and has hit the road re-introducing his frostbitten stylings to the black metal masses. Abbath is keen to describe his new winter born baby.
"The album sounds like a mix between Immortal and my old side project 'I',' says Abbath. "There's eight songs as well as a couple of extra songs for bonus editions. Most of the songs are around four or five minutes long but there's one called Winterbane which is a long motherfucker at about seven minutes. I'm really proud of the playing on the record. There are no triggers or any shit like that it's a very organic sound - King (ov Hell) is great on bass, Creature (drums) has done a great job: my music has never sounded this great before. Anyone who liked Immortal or "I" will love this."
And as for the band's upcoming Australian tour Abbath promises a mixed bag that will keep everyone happy. "We're only allowed to play one song off the new album before it's actually released," he laughs. "So what we're going to do is mix things up. We'll be playing a couple of songs off the "I" LP as well as some Immortal songs. I really want to play some songs we haven't played live before. One song we're thinking of rehearsing right now is At The Stormy Gates Of Mist from Battles In The North and Solarfall from At The Heart Of Winter. So you can definitely expect some surprises in the set."