Nemtheanga & Dubh SOL are 2 names more associated with long running Irish Black Metallers Primordial, but lurking deep in the dark shadows is Dread Sovereign, joined on drums by Bones (Wizards of Firetop Mountain) they deliver a sound that harks back to classic heavy metal and doom, with a new album ‘All Hell’s Martyrs’ now available for consumption, we thought the time was right to catch up with founding member Nemtheanga.
Dread Sovereign is a curious and cool name. How did you come up with that? What is the meaning behind it?
It’s an old American expression, those who travelled on the mayflower referred to James I as the ‘dread sovereign’. Feared ruler is how I interpret it.
This kind of metal, full of danger and inspired in the classics like Saint Vitus, Cirith Ungol and Candlemass… What’s in this music, specifically, that captures your attention as a music fan and as an artist?
Character and personality. Of course the sound, the songs and all the rest but doom is more a state of mind then some other kinds of metal. It feels totally natural to me.
Before the band was formed you were already writing some riffs. How was the creative process? Was it a collaborative process between you three?
Yes and no. I had all these ideas, had tried something like this before and it never worked out. This was just the right time. I came up with 90% of the stuff on the album but everyone adds their touches.
How did the recording process go? Did you guys enter the studio with everything sorted out?
Yes and no. Some riffs were written literally a week before, some had been in my head for 10 or more years. I always leave a % to chance in the studio. Spontaneity is very important.
Your vocals are, as always, top notch. It must have been a delight for you to sing over all the atmospheres that we hear on the album. Do you feel that perhaps with this project people will start to give you the credits that you deserve?
No I don’t care about that, did people not give me credit before? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. each album you learn a bit more and I am getting stronger as a singer and composer.
What can you unveil regarding the lyrical content of these ten songs?
It’s historical blasphemy, something like that. Written with this occult angle. there’s no fantasy but there is no message either. Some of the lyrics deal with the Cathar rebellion in the 13th century in France which I find most fascinating.
The artwork is amazing. Were you involved at all? What can you tells us about All Hell’s Martyrs’ artwork?
Of course I was involved. I’m involved in everything. The cover depicts Saint Bartholomew being flayed. The lyrics of the last song are about him. The title really means ‘Hell Is On Earth’ and it has many martyrs, and how we live through them.
The 12″ EP ‘Pray To The Devil In Man’, was released by Roadburn Records and now the new album is released by Ván Records (The Devil’s Blood, The Ruins Of Beverast, Urfaust, Year Of The Goat, etc.). It seems that you’re hitting the nail on the head every time. How do you feel about these partnerships?
Great. It was the main label on my mind when I started this. Everything works great. Real dedicated passionate people. Back to the underground.
It only took a year to release the first full length. Do you see this band releasing new music on a regular basis?
Well it really took longer than that as some of these ideas have been around a long time. I think from now on we will release some splits and songs here and there. This is a big body of work and was more a statement of intent. We will rest on that for a while.
Any plans to tour “extensively” with Dread Sovereign?
We will tour later in the year with procession.
‘All Hell’s Martyrs’ was released earlier this year via Ván Records and can be purchased here.
Interviewed by: Tiago Moreira