IMMORTAL frontman Abbath (real name Olve Eikemo) claims that he rightfully attempted to secure exclusive rights to the band's name and logo after lyricist/guitarist Demonaz (real name Harald Nævdal) and drummer Horgh (real name Reidar Horghagen) effectively quit the legendary Norwegian black metal group this past summer.
According to Dagbladet, Abbath's application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office — which was filed via his sole proprietorship Eikemo Compositions — has been stopped by a lawyer representing Demonaz and drummer Horgh, who want the IMMORTAL trademark to be shared by all three members.
In his latest letter to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, Abbath says that he thought Demonaz and Horgh left IMMORTAL earlier this year after they moved out of the band's rehearsal room and stopped paying their share of the rent expenses.
"This summer Olve received amessage from Harald and Reidar indicating that they wanted to take a longer break from [IMMORTAL] after a conflict occurred between Olve and the other two bandmembers," writes Eikemo in his letter to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.
"The band rents a rehearsal space where costs were being shared between the three bandmembers. Harald and Reidar did not want to pay their share of the rent since the band, in their opinion, was not active. Olve, as [IMMORTAL's chief] songwriter, was dependent on the rehearsal [space] and was willing to cover the rental costs himself. The other two members then moved out of the premises and stopped paying their share of the rent. Olve perceived this move as them pulling out of the band."
The letter also argues that Nævdal has not played guitar since he suffered an injury to his arm in 1997, and that Horghagen's role in the band has been limited to playing drums. In addition, Abbath claims that, as IMMORTAL's composer and frontman, he is virtually synonymous with the band and that, as a professional musician, he is dependent on revenue generated by IMMORTAL and therefore cannot simply take a break.
The letter also reveals that IMMORTAL is contracted to deliver a new album to the German label Nuclear Blast and that Abbath has now more or less completed work on the CD with the help of other musicians.
"[Nævdal and Horghagen's objection to Eikemo's application] appears to be an attempt to prevent Olve from engaging in his profession. He has spent 25 years trying to incorporate his character Abbath and his music under the trademark IMMORTAL. It seems unreasonable that the band's ex-members can prevent him from registering the trademark IMMORTAL, especially since they are not qualified and presumably have no desire to take part in any band activities in the future."
Nævdal told Dagbladet that he has seen Eikemo's letter. "I've read it and our lawyer has read it," he said. "We will come up with a response. [Abbath's letter] contains incorrect information."
IMMORTAL's core trio consisting of Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh has been together since 1996 and has been responsible for crafting the band's last five albums: "Blizzard Beasts" (1997), "At The Heart Of Winter" (1999), "Damned In Black" (2000), "Sons Of Northern Darkness" (2002) and the 2009 reunion album "All Shall Fall".
Speaking to Lords Of Metal in 2009, Demonaz clarified his status with IMMORTAL. "It's my band!" he laughed. "Me and Abbath started this band, and I got problems with my arms back in 1997. Instead of finding another guitar player, Abbath just took over the guitar and we went for a new bass player. But I still tour with the band, you know."
In a 2008 interview with Guitar World magazine, Abbath spoke about IMMORTAL's 2003 split, which at the time was attributed to "personal reasons." He said: "Of course, it was for personal reasons. The band is personal. We are a family. We are brothers. It's like a marriage. When you marry someone, you believe in it. You want to continue it, but sometimes you need a break. A lot of bands just milk it. We could've continued and made a lot of money, but I've never done this for the money or the fame. All that stuff means nothing if you don't have the spirit inside. And we were starting to lose it a little. We're not stupid. We are very smart when it comes to our shit. We think long term. To quote Paul Stanley, 'KISS is not the latest trend, it's a lifestyle.' Same thing with IMMORTAL. It's our life."
Asked about the fact that Abbath and Demonaz were actually brothers-in-law at one point, Abbath said: "Yes, I was married to Demonaz's sister, and I have a [teenage] son with her. She's still one of my best friends. So Demonaz and I are really like a family. There's no fucking around. Demonaz is my brother. I'm an only child. He has two sisters but no brother. But we have each other. Family is important. We have strong bonds."