The members of Immortal just cannot seem to stop fighting over ownership of the band’s name.
In 2014, the renowned black metallers’ longtime frontman, Abbath (né Olve Eikemo), got into a legal dispute over the group’s name with his former bandmates, guitarist Demonaz (né Harald Nævdal) and drummer Horgh (né Reidar Horghagen). That eventually lead to Abbath going solo and Demonaz and Horgh soldiering forward on their own, releasing the first Immortal album ever to not feature Abbath, Northern Chaos Gods, in 2018.
Now, Norway’s Verdens Gang reports that Demonaz and Horgh are involved in ANOTHER lawsuit for control of the band’s name… this time with one another.
Apparently, Demonaz registered the group’s moniker as his exclusive trademark in July of 2019… but Horgh says that his bandmate did this without his knowledge:
“It could never have occurred to me to register the trademark on myself as [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.”
He also says he can’t believe Demonaz is trying to do more or less the same thing Abbath attempted, and failed, to accomplish in 2014:
“It amazes me that [Demonaz] registered the trademark for himself in 2019, as the conclusion from [Abbath’s] registration in 2014 was that the trademark belonged to the band’s permanent members.”
Horgh subsequently contested the trademark in an appeal, arguing that “We have jointly as a band built up the trademark ‘Immortal,’ and it is therefore right that the trademark should be a joint ownership.” The Norwegian Patent Office agreed, ruling that the right to the name belongs to the band, and not to individual members. In other words, Demonaz no longer has exclusive rights to the “Immortal” name.
But Demonaz says he’ll likely take measures to try and win the trademark back, pointing out that he’s the band’s sole remaining original member and sole member to appear on all of their releases: “Fans know well where the music and lyrics have come from since the very beginning.”
Although you might assume this is the end of any creative partnership between Horgh and Demonaz — Horgh says the two have recently had contact “only through their lawyers” — the drummer remains optimistic that “in the long run that we can manage to put these disagreements behind us, and again look ahead as a band.”
Meanwhile, Abbath recently said that he’d be open to an Immortal reunion. Although I understand that reinstating the frontman might be the last thing Demonaz and Horgh wanna do in the midst of a legal squabble, it would be a wise move from the point of view of convincing fans that the whole band hasn’t turned into some kind of money-fueled parody of itself.
You can read Verdens Gang‘s entire report here.