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Dread Sovereign's Alan Averill: " Make the lives of your local elected officials hard, petition them to save the arts. Without them as a species we are nothing….and stay strong"

Interview with Alan Averill from Dread Sovereign
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 21 December 2020, 9:57 PM

It is probably better to explore science in terms of history rather than be focused on what is going on outside, the Covid-19 pandemic, upon its damages and effects, which some will take their hold after the virus is already gone. Mankind became something different this year, other than being social, it remained still, at its place, not willing to touch or feel anyone else. The personal space became the main reason to stay healthy in a way, kind of sad. Upon the continuous efforts of his Primordial band, Alan Averill returns with his Heavy / Doom Metal Triumphant Dread Sovereign. Newly signed to one of the giants, “Alchemical Warfare” emerged, and as dirty as it can. Steinmetal had the pleasure to talk to Alan about the new release and the power it holds.  

Hello Alan, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

As well as can be expected under the circumstances I guess

I trust that this past year hasn’t been easy on you, it is rendered by many as a cursive year, a time period that took humanity backwards and it would take us quite some time to recover from the massive blow of the pandemic. How do you perceive all this situation in overall?

Complex question, it’s very hard to know entirely as all we are doing is mainly taking in information from our own screen, curated by our own algorithm, it looks like something slightly different for every person. For some people their life has not changed much, of course for someone like me, a musician who relies on travelling, touring, festivals and being creative for agency, identity and purpose it is nothing less than a disaster in reality, and not just economically. identity / agency / purpose / creativity. But it’s complex, what is malice and what is incompetence and what is malign or benign? it’s difficult to say but I don’t feel positive about us emerging from this as we were in terms of liberty/freedom and sovereignty.

This pandemic broke many people, whether emotionally, economically and of course health wise, where does it find you and how do you cope with it? Have you already gotten the hang of all of these lockdowns?

No. and even if you feel somehow comfortable in them you should consider the level of anti-humanism that is forced on people. We are social animals and these attempts to remove our humanity and people should never accept that things will stay like this. In the long run lockdown will duo far more harm than good, in terms of the impending wave of cancers that went unchecked/screened/tested, mental health, suicide, abuse before we even got the economic implications. Remaining as we are being a joyless life. I am healthy, and economically can survive but have my ups and downs like most people. Level 5 without even exercise is the most difficult.

Your second band, after Primordial, Dread Sovereign, came to my senses in a moment of surprise, as I had no idea what you guys have been planning all along.  For one thing, you went up the ladder by signing with Metal Blade Records, which is also Primordial’s home. I guess that it was only a matter of time until your path with Dread Sovereign crossed with the American giant label? How do you feel about the signing and timing?

Van records is awesome where we were before but the new DS is more heavy metal than doom and it kind of felt more at home on Blade. Both labels are great in different ways. No big deal. The timing is fucked of course, for all bands, but what can anyone do?

Introducing your third album, “Alchemical Warfare”, you had me intrigued no doubt. Firstly, by the vastly interpreted title of the album, which had me thinking quite a lot. I know that this album was in the making for quite some time, yet I couldn’t really not relate it to the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular its origins, which a lot are saying that it was man made. So in regards to the title, we are forming concoctions to virtually end our existence? What is your take on that?

The album was made in 2019 so it has nothing to do with the situation we are in. The cover portrays us as lab assistants to Isaac newton, searching for the secret of alchemy. The process to spiritual and personal enlightenment. The philosophers stone.

From what I could understand, you are saying that our future is set, we are doomed, and our doom will happen in this coming year. Whether it is just a saying or not, there is a lot of meaning out of this simple, yet hard to comprehend, sentence. It has me thinking of the vaccinations, and perhaps that these wouldn’t really save us. Where do you think we are heading with this? I assume that there is no salvation?

To be honest ‘this world is doomed’ is just a catchy phrase for a shirt :) we play doom so…. interpret it how you want as without doubt there is of course some truth behind it. Considering your question, you really want to put your freedoms in the hands of big pharma? Think about that.

That points me to your personal belief, do you believe in the evil of man and that the devil stands behind every person, guiding its thoughts, its movement, its heart? How did this thought pattern, or at least the approach, lead you on “Alchemical Warfare”?

Not really, please remember DS is not Primordial. This is not my life work, Primordial is weighted with a cultural, historical significance. DS is, while certainly not fantasy more in the realms of classic metal syntax. Historical Occult horror, hermetical societies, a straighter and simple gallows view of the world with a devil may care attitude but don’t search for huge meanings under the surface, there are a few here and there but that’s not the intention. Sympathy for the Devil……no doubt.

One of the main advantages of “Alchemical Warfare” is its wide selection of musical motifs and a whole lot of conviction. With the music ranges between early 70s Black Sabbath, as appeared to me as a main influence, the psych Hawkwind, and the robustness and dirt of Motorhead and Venom on the side. Quite a toolbox I’d tell you that. With four years in the making, how do you capture the musical progress of the band through the new record?

Well we wanted to shift the pace up a bit and make it more as you say influenced by this 1980-83 nwobhm rock feeling. so more venom, Motorhead, Manowar, Tank, Bathory…. that kind of thing. I don’t really think about it too hard, it also comes from chemistry between us, touring and playing live.

Continuing the previous question, what kind of changes in the band’s perspective towards its songwriting and arrangements do you believe that made it happen for the band this time around to become uncanny in its efforts?

Touring, playing live, understanding chemistry more, and also recording live in the same room together. no anti humanism.

Listening to the larger part of the song, as mentioned, there are hefty chunks of Black Sabbath within the tunes, the circa of “Black Sabbath”, “Paranoid” and “Master Of Reality” mostly. What is the magic that you found in the old darkened form of the old juggernaut and in your viewpoint how did it come to life within “Alchemical Warfare”?

Of course Sabbath is always an influence, the album opens up with the opening riff to ‘she wolves’ it is total Sabbath. of course there is some sense of sir lord Baltimore, MC5, grand funk, blue cheer, Uriah Heep…..

What form of challenges were up against you while the album was in the making and of course its recording phase? What helped you mitigate the risks during these processes?

Same as everyone these days. staying within budget when there aren’t the physical sales to justify spending more money. finding the time between working and the rest of life is difficult.

One of the album’s most interesting songs is “Nature Is the Devil's Church”, merely by its concept it is a mind blower. The main riff pretty much nailed it, but that rapidly changed into becoming some more as the structure of the song changed rapidly. What can you tell about the song’s creation process?

It's the first one I wrote for the album. I had this main riff and the idea for the vocals and built around it. certainly that main riff was the tempo I wanted things to continue as we moved forward. my structures are pretty simple and then Bones adds the magic on top….

If there is one song that is totally straightforward is “Devil’s Bane”, a straightforward Heavy Metal tune, dirty as hell, but punchy as mid tempos could be. Since the album, at least of how I find it, is rather complex, this number here is catchy and quite reachable. What is your appreciation of it?

Yeah this is Bones song, a more up-tempo 1983 style nwobhm vibe song. actually it’s more complex musically than it sounds, at least in terms of the arrangement. of course dirty as hell, all of it is!!!

Now covering Bathory, with “You Don't Move Me (I Don't Give a Fuck)”, that was quite rich and pretty much changing the vibe after the last rather deep track. Did you have several candidates as cover tracks? How did it come to be this particular song?

No not really. we were jamming it in the rehearsal room and when we made the album thought to just fire it out, this is almost completely live, not even mixed like the others so I figured fuck it, end the album with a fuck you to the year we had.

Though I have the feeling of what you are going to answer about that, but I will ask anyway, how do you feel about this large wave of live streams going on? Is it safe to say that Dread Sovereign isn’t going to take part in one of these ventures?

Not a chance. no. I won’t take part in this for any of my music. The more we accept being corralled into living remotely and accepting the anti-human nature of the society that seems to be being forced on us the more we have to resist. I understand why bands are doing it of course, to stay relevant and try and do something creative and positive but I won’t do it.

Alan, your darkened creativity on “Alchemical Warfare” is really having me being doubtful regarding everything that is going on around us, this is quite an event to be honest. I thank you for this great album and your time for this interview

No problem…. hang in there, keep an eye on your local venues and bars as if/when we emerge from this they may not be there, then there is nowhere for anyone to play and sub cultures die. Make the lives of your local elected officials hard, petition them to save the arts. Without them as a species we are nothing….and stay strong.

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