With Abbath Out, Immortal Members Still Fighting Over Band Name
For a band who titled an album Battles in the North, that move is looking quite prophetic as legal conflicts continue over the rights to the name of Norwegian black metal legends Immortal. After successfully ousting longtime vocalist and guitarist Abbath in 2015, drummer Horgh and guitarist Demonaz, who has since taken up lead vocals as well, are now duking it out with each other over who is rightfully entitled to ownership of the moniker.
Due to internal problems in 2015, Immortal fractured. Abbath sought to file the Immortal trademark for himself and once this was discovered by both Horgh and Demonaz, the icon quickly pursued a solo career instead. Ultimately, the name was awarded to Horgh (who first joined in 1996) and original member Demonaz (who relinquished his role as guitarist in 1997 but remained the band's lyricist) and, together, they released Northern Chaos Gods in 2018, the first Immortal record without Abbath.
Last year, Demonaz successfully registered the Immortal name as an exclusive trademark for commercial purposes with the Norwegian Patent Office, as outlined via Norway's VG. Horgh later won an appeal, meaning Demonaz no longer holds the exclusive rights to name.
"It could never have occurred to me to register the trademark on myself as [Herald] Nævdal [aka Demonaz] has done here, but I have found myself having to fight to keep the rights I have earned through a long career in this band. It is, and after all has been for many years, a large part of my livelihood," Horgh told VG.
As to why he registered for the sole rights over the Immortal name, Demonaz argued, "I'm the band's only remaining original member. I am also the only one who has been on all of the band's releases. Fans know well who music and lyrics have come from the very beginning, and I have no plans to disappoint them even if conflicts arise."
Demonaz also stated he has worked on material for a successor to Northern Chaos Gods over the last year.
Whether this new record will again feature Horgh remains to be seen, but the drummer feels he and Demonaz are both an integral part of the band's history. "We have jointly as a band built up the trademark 'Immortal,' and it is therefore right that the trademark should be a joint ownership," Horgh assessed.
Meanwhile, Abbath, who found sobriety over the last year following a disastrous concert incident in Argentina, recently expressed openness to an eventual reunion with Immortal. He acknowledged his behavior within the band was problematic and has a desire to speak with his former bandmates instead of getting lawyers involved.
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