West Of Hell - Interview

This band doesn't really need an introduction but since this is the first MetalBite interview, I owe you at least a short one.

Immolation has been on the metal scene for almost 15 years serving brutal, aggressive death metal. If you don't know them you probably spend too much time jerking off, which by the way, I didn't forget to ask Bob for his professional opinion on the matter. Their music reminds me of a shotgun placed in my mouth and a noisy trigger click that blows my fucking brain across the wall. (Don't try this at home!!!) Immolation's latest album "Close To A World Below" only proves their membership in the death metal elite. Before they hit the road I sent Robert Vigna a bunch of questions, here are the answers...

Enjoy, Chris.

It’s almost the 15th anniversary of Immolation, what in your mind was the band’s biggest success and failure over those years?

It's been very successful, ... we've been able to travel alot and play metal for 15 years, ... can't complain! haha We don't make any money off it yet, but that is something we are trying to change. We've made the mistake of letting time pass by too long between releases in the past and well we are done with that now,..we released "Close To A World Below" only a year after our last album "Failures For Gods" and we will continue to push forward into the new decade. We are more focused and ambitious now than ever before so we are ready to have metal take place!!! We've been into this for a long time and we are into it 100%, we love all kinds of music and making our own in the dark and unholy way is the best for us!

Let’s go over some history of the band; 15 years and only 4 albums, what caused those huge time breaks between releases? Especially between first three albums.

It happens, .... that's just the way it went. We've learned alot over the years and we all work alot to, Tom has his own business which started in 94, so that keeps us very busy and involved. So between that and alot of other things time would just go by before we knew it. We have that under control now so we look forward to another release later this year or early 2002!!! It all depends on the touring schedule this year. We might be out there for most of the year so we shall see.

For a musician to not be on the stage for almost 5 years had to have sucked a big cornhole. What did you guys do over that time?

We didn't have an album out, but we did do shows and did travel to some cool places. We went up to Canada for an interesting set of dates, we also traveled down to South America and played a one off in Lima, Peru which was awesome!!!! We did many fests, etc,... so although the whole album/label situation was in a void at the time, we were still active with the band. And for us to release our second album 5 years after the first and still be around, and now a few years later pretty much at the top of our game, ... that's a success in itself! haha

"Close To A World Below" was released just one year after "Failures For Gods". Can we count on a more regular schedule now?

Yes absolutely! We will have another album out soon. Like I mentioned, later this year or early next year. We have alot of ideas and will make the next even darker and heavier, .. but it will once again be something new and fresh! We can't wait to get it done!

It seems that the less time you have between albums, the better the final outcome. How much time did you actually spend in the studio writing this album?

This album was written in under 2 months. We decided in March of 2000 that we needed to get another album done asap, .... so we set the studio time for June 1 and by the time that date rolled around we had the album done. We work much better under pressure I can tell you that. This is the best album we've released to date. They keep getting better and better as we go.

How much time did you spend in the studio bathroom jerking off?

None at all, ....... it was in the studio bedroom! hahaha! Shoosh!

Looking at all these bands around today, there are not too many of them that stuck together for 15 years playing this same style. You are still extreme, still playing brutal death metal, in one word, you’re still: Immolation. How did you pull it off and why haven’t you changed?

We are into what we are doing and all have the same goal, and that is to make very dark and heavy music, but also make music that has alot of feeling and emotion. We always take it further each time and are always bringing something original and interesting into our catalog of unholy metal. We try new angles and ideas. When you go to pick up a new IMMOLATION record you know you are going to expect the same thing each time, ... and that's the unexpected! You know you are going to get something special, something unlike what you would imagine this style of music would do. And that has really become our trademark. We have our own style, sound and way of doing things, and it shows. When you listen you hear the difference.

What bands had the biggest influence on Immolation? What inspires you?

Music and life inspire us. I think we are inspired by alot of positive things as well as negative. We all grew up with music and were into bands and the way the music made you feel, ... we like travelling, putting a great show together, ... creating music, meeting people, ... it's a beautiful thing! Of course the deep feelings of misery, depression, and stress, etc, play a major roll in our writing and emotion of the music. So there are many things that have an effect on us.

Some people say that listening to this same style of music that you’re playing stops the band from being original. What’s your opinion?

That is completely wrong. We are very original and always expand on our music. Maybe not everyone can do that, ... and that could be in any kind of music. But we are always bringing something new to the table, so that's proves that statement false right there.

In my opinion, "Close To A World Below" is your best release to date. Are you satisfied with the final outcome? Would you change anything if you had a chance?

We are very happy with it. I don't think any band with the budget under $20,000 couldn't find something they would like to be better on their album, ... I know for the time and money we had to get this project done it's unbelievable!!!!! CLOSE TO A WORLD BELOW is a very powerful album. The production is very strong and very audible. The feeling is there and the atmosphere is there. It is really one of the best albums to come out in a long while in content and production in this extreme music, .. and that's a fact!

Each Immolation album carries a strong anti-Christian, anti-religion message. The lyrics and art on this release are just un-fuckin-believable. Is this something you really believe as a band? What are your religious beliefs?

We have none. We believe in what we write, ..as it really is not that unbelievable. We take the personifications of good and evil and twist things around, really mocking both at times. We are very serious when it comes to our music and lyrics, ... but we don't take ourselves too seriously if you know what I mean. We are very down to earth people and look at everything with a realistic view point. Look at "Father You're Not A Father" , this track is basically a song against child abuse, ... and "Lost Passion", this deals with someone who has devoted their life to something only to be let down and somewhat deceived in the end. It can relate to not only the religious context it is written, but if you look closely at the words it can relate to a relationship, or someone you look up to, ...it looks at how things in life let you down, .. and that is something I think we've all experienced at one point or another. We put alot of thought into what we write and it can be looked at in different ways where the individual can take in whatever meanings that suit them.

The artwork, well those are our concepts too, ... and Andreas Marschall is just the most amazing artist alive, so he brings it all to life!!!!!!!

Speaking of religion, if you had a chance what would you do as a Pope?

I would take all the money the church has locked up and put it to good use and fix alot of problems in the world.

While we’re at it, which would you rather see, Jennifer Lopez naked and cooking breakfast for you or Tammy Faye Baker on the end of a rope?

Oh please, I'm not going to even try and be humorous here, .... breakfast with a naked Jennifer Lopez would definitely make my day!

Let’s go back to more serious questions. In March you start the longest tour in Immolation history. Any expectations? Do you have plans for the rest of the world? If so, when and with whom?

We have alot of plans, but we are still working on them! We got the World Of Darkness tour together for the US in March/April, .. then we go directly to Europe after that in May for a month. Then in June we are working on Japan and Australia. The in July/August we will go out again in the US for a full tour which we are trying to get a package together, ... then we will be out again in the US at the end of the year. We are going to try and squeeze a more extensive European tour in there after the summer, .. we will see ... so we have alot coming up!

It seems like it’s going to be a very busy year for you. Anyhow, could you tell us more about your coming projects. Have you already begun to work on the next album & if so, can you tell us more?

We have ideas but we will get going full force on that in the next coming months, ... it's going to kick your ass for sure! haha!

Thank you for the interview. Do you have any closing comments?

Thanks for the interview and support, we appreciate it! We will be out on the road alot this year so check our site for upcoming details: www.ImmolationDirect.com

See you on the metal road!!!!

Entered: 2/16/2001 5:24:41 PM

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