Immolith interview with Guitarist Isaimon

How are you doing?

Things are the best they’ve ever been for me with a band, so I’m doing quite well!!

Would you mind sharing a brief history of the band for those unfamiliar with Immolith?

I began Immolith as a side project from another band that I was playing in for the last several years. We were auditioning new drummers for that band. Warhead of USBM legends, Abazagorath, came in and jammed with that band for awhile. He and I would work on some material I was writing while the rest of the band would take breaks at rehearsal. This material didn’t really fit the thrash style that band was playing. When that band started to stall, Warhead and I decided it was time to leave that band and Immolith was born.

How would you describe your music?

Both Warhead and I are old metal-heads who have been involved in metal music for a long time. Both of us are fans of all the old metal bands that are now considered the god-fathers of black metal, before there even was a genre called Black Metal. Bands like Venom, the first few Bathory records, old Mercyful Fate, etc…And then of course many of the early Scandinavian bands that really took it upon themselves to create what everyone now recognizes as “Black Metal,” Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor, Immortal and so on.
We are not out to rip any of these bands off, but we are also not out to innovate or change, or re-invent the wheel. We are creating music in the style of these bands that we grew up with and are certainly no doubt fans of. So we proudly refer to ourselves as old school black metal.

How has the response been so far to “Hymns of the Countess?” and how did the recording process go?

We’ve sent out lots of promotional copies of the CD so far, and have actually sold 3 or 4! So far most people who have heard our music have been quite positive. However, it is early and we will be interested in seeing the response as the reviews start coming in over the next few weeks…
We did the entire EP in my personal home studio, Carrion Crawler Studio.
The band laid down all the songs again as live takes of us playing each song start to finish live, as it was done in the old days of analog recording. Playing each song several times until all the musicians involved are satisfied that the song is a good tight take on each of their parts live. Once we established that we had a good tight take of the song with my rhythm guitar track, Ahazu’s bass line, and Warhead’s drums, I spent the next several sessions in the studio alone adding additional rhythm guitar tracks, and the leads where necessary. Finally Warhead came in and laid down the vocals.
I’m quite pleased with the final product, as it was the first time I’ve recorded and produced an EP on my own in my own studio.

On your website it says you’re coming out with a full-length “Storm Dragon” sometime near the end of this year, beginning of 2010. How is the writing/recording of the new album going?

The new album is coming along nicely. We’ve got 4 songs basically written for the full length so far. The working titles include “Storm Dragon,” “A Pact of Blood, A Pact of Death,” along with two that Ahazu has contributed to lyrically called “Lord of Lies,” and “Serve and Descend.”

How will it be different from the approach taken on “Hymns of the Countess” and what can fans expect from “Storm Dragon?”

I’m not sure it will be much different. If our situation stays the same, which I’m sure it will, we will return to Carrion Crawler Studios to record “Storm Dragon.” We are hoping to include 8 tracks on the album, and as we did with Hymns, we will likely also include a cover song as well. That may very well end up being a cover of “In the Shadow of the Horns” by Darkthrone, as we’ve been playing it a lot at rehearsal these days…

Where do you gain inspiration from for writing music in Immolith?

Many times, I like to write titles and lyrics first. Then when I have an idea of what the song will be about it sets a certain mood for me when I then pick up my guitar and spend hours in the studio by myself coming up with riffs for the song. The lyrics I’ve written so far draw on a number of historical topics, but I’m also a huge fan and avid reader of fantasy fiction as well. The lyrics for the upcoming full length will delve into these topics, but will also explore traditional black metal themes of the occult, Satanism, and our disgust for organized religion as well.

How did you get into contact with Lucifera Gorewhore to model for your CD cover?

She is very accessible to bands and is a fan of extreme underground music as well. We contacted her through myspace, I inquired as to price. Knowing she’s worked with much bigger bands, we were both surprised and pleased that she was quite willing to work with us for a very reasonable fee. I told her my vision for the EP, that is was based on Countess Bathory, and what I envisioned for the cover. She set up a photo shoot with one of photographers in the UK, sent me a bunch of shots to choose from, and we went with what you now see on the cover of the EP.

Many musicians in extreme forms of metal listen to a wide variety of music, not just metal. So of all genres, what are some of your favorite bands/artists?

For something completely un-metal I will listen to old Social Distortion or Clutch, or maybe even some Celtic Punk like Flogging Molly.

Why is black metal an appropriate outlet for you to express yourself musically?

It seems to come to me naturally. I just write what I write and it seems that I write much more in a black metal style then any of the other bands I’ve played with which have always been more thrash or death metal type bands. And I suppose that for the last several years at least 98% of the time I listen to music any more I’m generally listening to black metal has a big part to play in what I’m currently writing.

What do you think of bands/fans who think that USBM is not as “true” or in other words, not as credible as Norwegian or European black metal in general?

My answer to them now would be look at what label we signed a contract with to have the exclusive digital rights to our EP; Forces of Satan Records, owned by none other than Infernus of Gorgoroth. If that man doesn’t know true black metal, I’m not sure anyone does!
In my view it was a UK band that started black metal anyway, Venom. And while the Scandinavians certainly took it, made it their own, and took it to a whole new level, I don’t believe this gives them exclusive rights to the style or that they are inherently better at it based solely on where they happened to have been born. Honestly though, I’m not sure it is as much of an issue as it was back in the early 90’s anyway. The world is a much smaller place now then it was back then, and the scenes all over the world seem so much more connected then they were back then.

What are your thoughts on organized religion in general?

I hate all organized religion. It is nothing but a source of oppression, hypocrisy, and it keeps the world deluded with its false promises and fakery while it is in fact nothing more then another cooperate entity controlling the mindless masses and all the while raping them of billions of dollars…

What are your thoughts on black metal bands that take a very strong stance against Christianity that may be interpreted as inciting violence?

Black metal bands should take a strong stance against religion! Whether the music actually incites violence, well I’ve always been a believer that music can’t be the cause of such a thing. If someone is going to be a murderer, or arsonist, or commit suicide that is something they will do regardless of the music they listen to. And let’s be honest the few incidents that stand out in black metal’s history that lead to these types of discussions are so miniscule in proportion to the acts of violence, war, even genocide committed in the name of monotheistic religions. But reciting the almost endless list of atrocities committed in God’s name doesn’t sit well with the majority in society, or make for sexy headlines in the mainstream media.

Do you think the more mainstream black metal bands like Dimmu Borgir and Dark Funeral have strayed too far from the genre? What are your thoughts on bands like these?

Honestly I don’t listen to either of these bands in years. I prefer more stripped down raw production which both of these bands lack. Ahazu, our bassist is a huge fan of Dimmu, and he lent me their most recent album. I couldn’t listen to it. If I want to hear symphonic black metal I listen to Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk… It was everything I hate about many modern metal bands. They all have the same overproduced, typewriter sounding drums, and the machine like precision timing of the entire album. I haven’t really listened to Dark Funeral since the album Vobiscum Satanas and I liked those old albums very much. But honestly while I do like what I hear from Dark Funeral more then Dimmu these days, I do think they suffer from many of the elements of the modern production now that I don’t like.
Are they still black metal? I suppose so; just not my style of black metal any longer.

Have you played any live shows yet?

No we haven’t played any live shows yet. As of now there are no plans in the works for any live gigs. We are concentrating on writing the full length. That doesn’t mean if the right opportunity came along for a slot on a good bill became available to us we would turn it down. We would consider it, but for now I don’t see us actively pursuing many live dates until much later this year or really next year when the full length CD is finished.

Thanks for the interview! The support is appreciated. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

It is always our pleasure, thank you for taking the time to ask! I would just ask people to check us out and give us a listen, and if they like what they hear know they can download the EP from Forces of Satan’s MP3 webshop, or order a CD/Poster/Sticker package directly from us for as little as $5.00 US or $6.00 world wide, and that price includes shipping.
Hails and Horns!

---- interview by Suiisolation