Primordial Black Metal / Co. Dublin

Editor Notes:

PRIMORDIAL is an extreme metal band from Skerries, Co. Dublin. First formed in 1987 by Pól MacAmhlaigh (bass) and Ciarán MacUiliam (guitars), their sound is primarily black metal with notable Celtic and pagan influences.

The band have slogged at it for almost 30 years now and have deservedly built up a vast worldwide fanbase and a solid  reputation for themselves as Ireland’s leading metal export.

1991 – This year can be seen as a big change for the band, not least because this is the year I joined the band (ahem), but now a little older and with more playing ability the band sought to find a singer by placing one fateful add in Dublin’s main Metal shop, an act that displayed a in itself a willingness to take this further than what it had been. Living indeed in what was a relatively isolated part of the county of Dublin (Skerries), or rather not at the hub of the city’s underground the guys were not privy to the sounds of Samael, Master’s Hammer, Impaled Nazarene, Rotting Christ, Necromantia or Mayhem for example… which is more where I came in, being the only person who answered the add and indeed being awful at the first rehersal, but what I did bring was a knowledge of the underground scene, having been writing around the world at this stage for some years and having done my first fanzine. It seemed like a good marriage, my talentless enthusiasm and underground savvy and their burgeoning playing ability. That October we played our first gig in Skerries community hall with a Metallica cover-band and we played covers by Sodom, Sepultura, Death and Massacre among others… And the first tentative steps at aping our heroes was beginning… we started to try and write songs.

1992 – This was the year that we started to play some gigs in Dublin, the little underground Death/Black enclave in Ireland was burgeoning. Back then we really knew fuck all about fuck all but it was to be honest exciting. There was also a compilation tape released that Summer with a rehersal version of “The Darkest Flame” on there. For Primordial completists if such people exist I guess this is truly the rarest thing there is. It was the first compilation of it’s kind in Ireland and in retrospect one of the most important turning points. Our first two original tracks “Nefarious Affliction” (yep I know!) and “Prince of The Sky” contained many Satanic (albeit naïve) and Occult references and this began to see us at odds with the rest of the Irish scene. We saw ourselves as having more in common with a band like Rotting Christ or Varathron then many of the eco-friendly hardcore “death” metallers in the Irish scene. Black Metal polarisation lay around the corner… the impetuosity of youth my friends! That year we also wrote “To Enter Pagan” which is now a staple in the live set still, and most of “To The Ends of The Earth”, things were indeed changing and that December we changed the name of the band to…Primordial.

1993 – I must be honest, at this stage we were writing songs but doing a demo did not seem a tangible reality, what with school work, money, travel and equipment taken into account. Over the previous year we had been finding our sound and found ourselves looking back to bands like Bathory, Celtic Frost, Sabbat and Candlemass for inspiration, and feeling far more part of the burgeoning Black Metal scene over the previous year and with the death metal scene becoming for the most part staid and boring…it was obvious that if we could do a demo it would most defintely be rooted firmly within the second wave Black Metal movement. And indeed in June of 1993 what had seemed previously impossible was achieved. We recorded our first and only demo “Dark Romanticism”, recorded for about £50 in the lads home town of Skerries in a converted front room studio on eight tracks. Considering the equipment and the time and our experience we were quite shocked at how well it came out. “Dark Romanticism” went on to sell over 1 100 copies and is still heralded by many as a classic second wave Black Metal demo. At the time we left the politics of labels and categories to others but it was clearly obvious in retrospect it was Black Metal. We played our first gig painted up and ready for War in August of that year, times were indeed changing and I think underneath the greasepaint and leather we knew these were special songs and being signed and actually recording a CD was perhaps going to happen?! And slowly but surely the offers started to come in…1993…some year that was my friends!




Black Metal, Pagan Metal

Year Formed




Members (Current)

  • Nemtheanga - Vocals
  • Ciáran MacUiliam - Guitars
  • Michael O'Floinn - Guitars
  • Pól MacAmlaigh - Bass
  • Simon "Sol Dubh" O'Laoghaire - Drums

Members (Former)

  • Feargal Flannery - Guitars
  • Shaun Cadogan - Guitars (live)
  • Gerry Clince - Guitars (live)
  • Dave McMahon - Bass (live)
  • Dave Murphy - Bass (live)
  • Derek MacAmlaigh - Drums
  • Steve Hughes - Drums (live)
  • Gareth Averill - Drums (live)
  • Cathal Murphy - Drums (live)