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Naddred | Interview

The dying days of 2016 bore witness to the emergence of a new black/ death entity from dirty old Dublin town.

Naddred ushered in this new and potentially exciting year for Irish metal with their first live show in support of Australian Antichrists Destroyer 666.

While the project is new, the characters involved will be familiar to most, having stamped their identities on such local acts as Slidhr, Eternal Helcaraxe and former black metal hopefuls Sol Axis.

And while similarities to some of those projects might be drawn, this is a separate twisted limb on that impressive genealogy.

Cold harsh musical murmurations twist and mutate into ever new forms while those ghastly, familiar vocals return from some abysmal forgotten grave. Andy Cunningham hears from musical mastermind Deegan and possessor of that inimitable howl, Balor, to get the skinny.


Maybe to start you could give a brief introduction as to how the wheels got in motion with this new project.

Everyone in the band has been around a while, and have other bands on the go (bar Steve) so what need is Naddred fulfilling that wasn’t being satisfied with Slidhr and Eternal Helcaraxe?

Deegan: ‘It started when myself and the drummer got talking about doing something. I had written some material that was quite different to Slidhr and was on the lookout for a drummer, initially with the intention of putting the full band together.

Praetorian (bass) was in the process of moving to Dublin and wanted to get involved in something so it went from there. We have both known Balor for years and there isn’t really anyone else like him as a vocalist. It came together fairly quickly’.

I know I’m going to come under fire for this, but fuck it… this sounds to me like a logical progression from the Sol Axis material from over a decade ago, with some added twists and turns thrown in.

That won’t come as a massive surprise seeing as Deegan and Balor made up half of that band, and both have their own distinct styles, but also tonally the guitars are similarly cold and shimmering.

Is there any concern that this will be seen as Sol Axis part two, rather than its own entity? How have things changed in terms of the scene and in terms of your own outlook in the intervening years?

Deegan: ‘Balor’s vocals are very distinctive but besides that there really isn’t much similar to my ears. Granted I’m probably too subjective to tell but I don’t hear it in the slightest.

Nobody knows who Sol Axis are now anyway. It was twelve or thirteen years ago or something and we were little more than a short lived demo band. It was a great time but this is something different.

From what I’ve observed of the Dublin underground, it’s pretty much the same handful of people who have always been there with maybe ten new faces showing up to gigs’.

Balor, this is your first time participating in a band since 2004/05, so how does it feel to be back behind the mic? What have you been at since and how come you stayed away from performing for so long? Do you feel a new creative fire?

Balor: ‘Yes it has been many years since I have been involved in a band so standing behind the mic for the first time in over 10 years was a great feeling , kind of like, that’s it now I am back doing what I love .

After I decided to finish with Sol Axis I decided to take a break instead of just jumping into the next band that came along and while I was not active musically in the scene I still had the desire to get back into a band and was always looking around for options, but It had to be with a band that wanted to head in the same musical direction as me and also with people I could work with.

When Naddred was starting up it seemed to be a good time as any for my return, I already had a history of working with Deegan so I knew we could work well together again .

I think on top of getting the chance to be creative again I also have a big hunger for this as it’s something that has been building in me for so many years’.

From the song titles it looks like half of the subject matter deals with Satanism and the other half with Irish mythology/folklore, is that correct?

Can you maybe give a run-down of each of the songs’ themes. Are the lyrics pure fantasy or should people read them as allegories that relate to the real world?

Balor: ‘Yes, correct. Two songs are Satanic and two are from Irish mythology. I think it’s important as a band not to just focus on the same subject matter all the time but at the same time to keep with the tone and feeling of the music and band, so we have our satanic songs but also the Irish mythology songs are still on the darker and evil side of things.

The current songs are more stories about things I have an interest in rather than having any deep meaningful messages.

‘Four Crowned Prince of Hell’ is a song about carrying out a ritual to raise the dark lord from hell. Four robed figures in a dark castle chanting prayers to raise the prince of hell.

‘Sluagh’ is from Irish mythology and is about winged spirits who are too dark for hell; at night they steal the souls of the living . The myth says that if you ever have that feeling like your body just dropped as you are about to fall asleep, that was the Sluagh trying to take your soul.

‘The Beast Walks the Earth’ is a story of what will happen on the day that Satan attacks heaven, destroys it and returns to take over the earth leaving nothing but darkness.

‘The Dullahan’ is another from Irish mythology. The Dullahan is a headless horseman, dressed in black and carrying a whip made from a human spine. He hunts down humans to take their soul. Hear the Dullahan calling your name and he has come for you’.

What does the name Naddred mean and how does it tie in to the band’s ideas?

Balor: ‘It took us a while to pick a name we felt suited the band. We all liked the idea of something Celtic or Pagan related but didn’t want something that would stand out too much, like, “oh, they are a Celtic band’’.

It’s also important for a name to have a good sound so that when you say it you get a feeling for what the band might be like.

Naddred is a word the druids would use to refer to themselves and it means ‘serpent priest’.

Slidhr has become quite active recently in terms of touring and now Naddred is lined up for your first gig in support of Destroyer 666 on New Year’s Eve.

As far as first gigs go, that’s one to be excited about. If I was to put two and two together here I’d hazard a guess that you plan on gigging and touring this band as much as possible. Have you anything else lined up?

Deegan: ‘The New Years Eve gig has come and gone, it was a rushed affair as it usually is. We opened the evening with minutes to set up as things weren’t running on time but we were prepared for that. It’s not too complicated, get up and play the songs.

We are opening for Ereb Altor in March but nothing concrete planned beyond that. Playing every weekend in Ireland is not that appealing to me so we’ll see what happens’.

What’s the plan for the release? I understand the tape will be out for the Destroyer gig, but will it be a self-release or do you plan to shop it to labels?

Deegan: ‘The idea was to have the recording finished in time for the Destroyer 666 gig but not to have physical copies available. There’s no way it would have been possible.

However we are happy to say the demo ‘Sluagh’ will be release on cassette by the very capable Invictus Productions. Darragh was one of the first people outside of the band to hear the finished recording and he offered to release it, no point going elsewhere as he always does a great job’.

Interview by Andy Cunningham ::: 22/01/16

  1. What does the name mean?

  2. Eoin McLove Says:

    Serpent priests.

  3. It just means serpent though. Serpent priest is something else iirc.

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