by Niklas Göransson
Drifting into the arena of the unwell; Adorior is British black metal violence in its crudest form. Jaded Lungs chronicles decades of coasting through murky waters, remembering those who’ve passed but remain ever-present.
The following is an excerpt from the full article, which is twice as long and published in Bardo Methodology #6. The same issue also includes conversations with FUNERAL MIST, DEAD CAN DANCE, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, SUNN O))), MYSTICUM, Metalion, Dave Haley, OFDRYKKJA, Michael Denner, NECROS CHRISTOS, TEITANBLOOD, and Wim Hof.
The story of ADORIOR started in 1994 when Jaded Lungs – based in London – placed an ad in a metal mag looking for like-minded maniacs to play music with. This is how she found ADORIOR bassist and co-founder Chris Nunravager who lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the time.
– Naturally, the ad stated clearly that no pussies, posers, or time-wasters need apply, along with some obvious threats about how fucking metal you had to be. An interesting piece of trivia in this story is how the only contact details I included were my first name, landline, and ‘London’. This call to arms caught the eye of the Nunravager, and the envelope his letter arrived in had only three things written on it: my name, my phone number, and ’London’. How the fuck it ever found its way to me from Northern Ireland is still one of life’s greatest mysteries. After that, Chris and I started tape-trading and soon realised we saw eye to eye on most things – from metal and literature to lifestyle. So, once we’d agreed that we were the heaviest cunts around and the world needed to burn, Chris moved to London.
Jaded Lungs and Chris Nunravager recruited guitarist Tony Slutsodomizer and formed ADORIOR. The band’s name, which is Latin for ’to rise up to attack’, came from an old dictionary her uncle had given them.
– Drunk and lazy, we didn’t even make it past A. When we were preparing to record our demo, Chris and I lived in a small, white garage full of black mould with no proper hot water. We’d have twenty-hour rehearsals where I sang until my throat tasted like raw meat. I signed up to some shitty college course just so we could use their photocopier for our demo covers. I’d saved up loads of 5p coins in an old bottle so I could go see VENOM – that money was sacrificed to pay for the demo.
ADORIOR’s 1996 tape, “Beyond the Distant Blue”, caught the attention of Slayer Mag editor and Head Not Found manager Metalion. The noted underground stalwart wanted to sign them so badly he broke his agreement with Voices of Wonder – the label’s financial backers – to stick to Norwegian bands.
– Neither of us had met him before but we’d read Slayer, of course, and liked the cut of his jib; it took serious balls to sign a female-fronted band from London. We respected how instant his decision was and, after that, became lifelong mates – Mister Metalion and ADORIOR have shared many adventures. After signing with Head Not Found, we, along with Sam from DEMONIAC, headed to Norway in June ’97 and had some very fucking crazy nights in Sarpsborg. I remember Metalion telling me he liked getting to know new people since a lot of his friends were now either dead or in jail. I’d learnt how that felt at a very early age. We appreciated what those maniacs had been up to and so, in order to get into the local spirit of things, took photos holding cheap Bic lighters outside churches, pretending to burn them down. I later heard that two of the people we met had their baby die of dehydration. I also remember going up the lift to the Voices of Wonder office and thinking to myself how many of their bands were now deceased or imprisoned. People sailed a lot closer to the storms in those days.
Two months later, August 1997, ADORIOR entered Boom Studios in London to record their debut album, “Like Cutting the Sleeping”.
– We didn’t know a damn thing about digital recording. I remember bringing my snake along with me to the studio and the bloke there scored us baby rats for him. We did the promo photoshoot in a graveyard where Tony and I used to get wasted in our teenage years. Paul, our old drummer, smashed his face open in a tomb while we were all pissed on vodka so, naturally, that’s the photo we used. It was released the year after and then Metalion came to London and stayed with us in the ADORIOR house.
In what at least sounds like a step up from the white garage, the entire band had now settled in a black house.
– Living together like the Young Ones, having our own band van, and generally leading a life much like the bastard child of MOTÖRHEAD and BAD NEWS had been a lifelong dream of mine. The house front door didn’t see all that much action – there was an off-license directly opposite our living room window, so we’d just slither in and out of that. Tony recently told me the liquor store went out of business shortly after we left.
It would’ve been around then those mental Russian friends of yours surfaced?
– Argh, our Russians! Now that was a time to be alive. We had so many adventures, most of them involving vodka and hospitals. Let’s see here… bandmates setting their hand on fire, the affectionate stabbing of one bro by another – then bicycles, swords, televisions, and the occasional person flung through windows. Oh, lest we forget the sorely missed ’throwing yourself down the stairs competition’. I, of course, was far too sensible to take part in any of this.
Perhaps my finest memory of young master Nunravager stems from a night in 2004 when ADORIOR performed in London. Upon entering the backstage, I noticed Jaded Lungs sternly chastising a rather abashed and penitent-looking Chris who was in the process of getting his broken fingers duct-taped together so he could hold the bass pick properly. While pleading guilty to the prohibited act of engaging in a fistfight the night before a gig, he remained adamant that all violence administered was in fully justifiable self-defence. After being caught fraternising with another man’s woman, in their own home, he’d simply been given no choice but to pacify the somewhat agitated host.
– Haha, yep, he decked the guy outside his own front door after banging his girlfriend. Well, she did end up with Chris for a while after that; all is fair in love and war. But bloody hell was I pissed off with him – having recently found a new guitarist, we were keen to at least keep him long enough to record “Author of Incest”. We assumed he’d run screaming as soon as he realised what utter fuckheads we all were, so imagine my boiling rage when Chris not only turned up at the very last second but also physically debilitated. To express my empathy I grabbed a pick, shoved the damn thing in his hand, squeezed his broken fingers around it and, yes, firmly duct-taped them together! There might also have been more violent reprimanding, something that tended to happen quite a lot with ADORIOR.
In all fairness, Chris is not the only member known to facilitate pre-gig chaos. Case in point: April 2006, ADORIOR are set to perform at Portugal’s SWR Barroselas Metalfest IX.
– They’d put us up in this killer five-star hotel, only problem was we got there three days before we had to play. The festival’s nickname is ‘mud-fest’, because every year it pisses down rain, but the year ADORIOR played offered nothing but glorious sunshine so we basked by the pool like the filthy afterbirth of Chris Holmes and MÖTLEY CRÜE. Tony was so busy being drunk and naked he only remembered to re-string his guitar just before we got picked up, still in the nude of course. By this stage Chris, Dani Molester (drums) and I were in such a state that neither of us could stand and we proceeded to roll around like lab rats on the backstage floor, trying to hide underneath each other and praying for an end to my vomiting fits. This was a huge crowd for the likes of us, and what’s worse is that we were supposed to open for BOLT THROWER – already the ultimate hangover hell scenario – but at the last minute they had to leave… so we were upgraded to headliners. Fuck! Not only that, they took their fancy backline with them.
Show went well, I presume?
– Mm. On we stumbled, suckling a bottle of JD, line-checked, and then realised Tony was tuned to the wrong tuning. Fucking fuck! Long story short: Shrapnel saved the day by acquiring another guitar… the only problem was the massive KISS logo plastered all over it. I began by slurring a sweet dedication to some Spanish diehards who’d found us backstage. Amongst a crowd of about one thousand, these five – along with our Pack, we travelled everywhere together – were probably the only ones who knew who we were. The remaining 990, mostly Portuguese, were deeply offended as they apparently got the impression that I thought we were in Spain. Moral of this story: ADORIOR never stays for more than a day before we play! When we did Rites of Darkness III in Texas, the night before the show they locked me in the hotel so I couldn’t escape… but that’s another story, also involving five-star hotel upgrades, cracky hooker joints, a taxidermy bear, and criminal records. I love Texas!
ADORIOR members were commonly spotted at European underground metal festivals during the 2000s. It’s interesting, in an almost anthropological sense, to note how the absolute worst derelicts from the respective countries tended to gravitate towards each other and then amass in one big quarrelsome congregation, much to the chagrin of the surroundings. Open Hell Festival, hosted by a tiny rural town in the Czech Republic, was the golden standard – no security in sight, combined with hilariously cheap booze.
– Open Hell was and always will be my shining example of the perfect storm – hell-raising excellence with a soundtrack of your dreams. I mean, watching ROOT in an outdoor auditorium off your face with the Pack… man, life doesn’t get much better than that. I fucking loved those festivals, Open Hell, United Metal Maniacs, Keep it True: they are what defined us, what created the Pack which stands still defiant to this day. We became the people we are today by surviving these glorious bloodbaths. I forged one of the greatest bonds of my life at Open Hell, though it did involve a headlock, a gang fight, and wrestling him off a moving train.
A particularly noteworthy ADORIOR achievement at Open Hell 2004 entails no less than three members breaking various bones within thirty-six hours of crossing the Czech border.
– One of them actually managed to stage-dive and land on another; breaking his wrist upon impact, in turn smashing the recipient’s elbow. Quite a feat! Have you ever seen an elbow resemble a toasted sandwich? The first break happened the day before, while they were standing by the river chatting up some Czech girls. I’d already drunk all my money and decided to go mug our guitarists – pretty standard behaviour – so I brought my hot mate along to distract them. Anyway, there they are by the river; one is receiving all the attention so the other grows jealous and then proceeds to get completely naked, walk into the river, and hoist a massive rock above his head… He screams my name, slurring like a drunken Gollum, cackling with laughter, while I’m busy trying to steal his money. I hear a peculiar sound, look up, and notice something’s not right. ’T, where’s the rock?’ He’s white as a sheet, staring down at his foot; the attempted robbery now turns into a fucking search and rescue mission as I’m forced to wade into the river to save him. We remove the rock and find his toe has popped like a grape. We drag him out and he proceeds to self-medicate for the remainder of the trip. After the festival, whilst re-convening with the rest of our Euro-trash Pack at the Hell’s Bells bar in Prague, a certain band of Swedish wolves sniggered that our guitarist had been spotted limping around the city on crutches. We nearly pissed ourselves laughing.
Jaded Lungs firmly believes that, beyond all the puerile antics and messy carousing, such unhinged chaos carried out in the flesh to be an inherent and inseparable part of underground metal culture.
– Metal was my first love and life choice, it meant freedom for us. We jumped into the chaos because we wanted to; it was all about rebellion, staying hungry, facing adversity, and turning the Christian shame upside down. Generally saying ’fuck you’ to the system. I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. We were united and strong back in those days and, in our own way, forged values many of us still live by to this day. A testament to our bond is that Chris, Tony, Dani, and I are all still close. As far as I’m concerned, you can come from the other side of the planet and speak a different language – many of us do – but over two decades on, it’s the values that count. Loyalty, truth, courage, and pride. Be authentic, don’t lie unless it’s to the law, and never leave a Pack-member in the shit. Respect the natural world and live a decent life.
This is an excerpt from the full article, which is twice as long and published in Bardo Methodology #6. The same issue also includes conversations with FUNERAL MIST, DEAD CAN DANCE, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, SUNN O))), MYSTICUM, Metalion, Dave Haley, OFDRYKKJA, Michael Denner, NECROS CHRISTOS, TEITANBLOOD, and Wim Hof.