Denver, Colorado based BLOOD INCANTATION will be familiar to most of our readers as they have been part of our BEST OF readers polls for two times already with both their full length albums. Being deeply impressed by their music myself, after the release of their second full length opus “Hidden History Of The Human Race“, I tried to get as much information as possible about BLOOD INCANTATION, their history, background, development and of course, their new record. Delve into this huge and informative result thanks to guitarist / vocalist Paul Riedl…
Paul, welcome to the extraterrestrial Voices From The interdimensional Darkside. At the end of November 2019 you descended your second album “Hidden History Of The Human Race” upon mother ship earth to trepan human skulls. How were the feedbacks to “Hidden History Of The Human Race” in the meantime (in our BEST OF 2019 readers poll it was voted #3 of the 10 most important releases of 2019)? How content do you feel yourself with what you achieved with the record? And what was the worst statement you received?
“Greetings and thanks for the interview. The worldwide response to the new album has been really wonderful; people have been extremely supportive and enthusiastic about it. In our private world we are also satisfied with the album. We worked diligently to create something that we felt surpassed our debut as well as our personal expectations and interests, and I believe we succeeded. At the end of the day, whatever people are saying about it, they are simply focusing on us and supplying their personal energy to us. If you praise it, you are feeding us your direct, conscious focus. And if you hate it, you are feeding us with an even more powerful, subconscious focus. Both are compliments, and we appreciate their attention.”
From what I noticed “Starspawn” was a real high-flyer in the world wide Death Metal underground and even beyond its border. Did you feel any pressure or obligation when starting to write new songs for “Hidden History Of The Human Race”. With what kind of mindset, concept and ideas did you get into the process of composing?
“Thanks man. This pressure was mostly self-imposed. Not wanting to make “Starspawn” Pt. 2, we just needed to push ourselves (and the music) in order to feel justified in making another record. We toured “Starspawn” for three years, all over the world. Combined with more or less constant word of mouth support for the album, things resulted in a very successful underground debut. And everywhere we went, people were asking when they could expect the second album. So, we knew people would be extra critical of our next release, but we were confident in our ability to push ourselves, as we have tried to do since our EP. The compositional process for all of our material varies from song to song. For the new album, some songs were written at home by one person, and others were written in the rehearsal space as a group; other parts were worked out on tour during soundchecks; some of the material was written before “Starspawn” was recorded and some parts we were still hammering out up until the final witching hour before entering the studio again. So it just depends. We typically rehearse 3-5 times a week, but before recording “Hidden History Of The Human Race” we rehearsed every day for over a month. This allowed us to get tour-tight in our playing without the distractions and fatigue from endless driving, load-in / load-out, and socializing. During this time we focused heavily on the conceptualization and aesthetics of the album, really making sure everything was in its right place. The night before the studio sessions began, we all went to a float center together and spent 90 minutes in stimulus-free isolation tanks to help release the stress and our cluttered thoughts. I believe this really enhanced our focus and also relaxed us in the studio.”
“Starspawn” was recorded analogue already and so was “Hidden History Of The Human Race”. How did you get the idea to avoid digital recording processes completely and why? When you compare both recordings, where did you want to change things an progress things further? What were your goals with the new sound production?
“This is merely a personal preference we share, both in terms of the resulting production as well as the nature of recording live, as a group. Simply put, the intangible subtleties of tape recording cannot be digitally replicated – and it is precisely those qualities we want to imbue our music with. When you are enjoying a classic 1970s drum sound (and performance), it’s because there’s no ProTools in sight for decades, and the players can’t hide behind the production. Same goes for the majority of late-80s / early-90s Metal production: These records were made by real people playing real instruments in a real studio in real time, together, as a real band. And although the audial differences are an endless debate, we believe you can simply feel the difference. In the mid-90s all-digital recording and hyper-compression began to take over, and from the late-90s onward you are hard-pressed to find a genuinely pleasurable Death Metal recording – heavy, certainly, and definitely loud, but the majority don’t sound very good. Anyway, I think part of “Starspawn”‘s success is simply the sound. You can hear the players’ individual movements within the group, and everything has room to breathe. It’s not overly loud, nor unnecessarily polished; and the depth and warmth of the sonic landscape are a direct result of recording live onto analog tape. Additionally, at least in 2016, not many Death Metal bands were going for that style of production, which only helped the record to stand out. All that said, analog recording doesn’t automatically equate to a good record – the music itself is what’s most important. Additionally, plenty of great records were 100% digitally recorded, and I love them all the same. There is no wrong or right way to make a record. This is all just to explain our personal penchant for analog recording in the context of BLOOD INCANTATION. For “Hidden History Of The Human Race” we just wanted to improve on as much as we could from “Starspawn”. The music itself is faster, more aggressive, and the playing is much tighter. So, the production to needed to emphasize and enhance these components. We wanted tighter guitars, a more upfront kick drum, a lot more synths, and more guitar effects. We wanted it to be very cerebral and overwhelming, but retain an organic vibe. I think the production on the new album is really professional, very balanced, and a good compliment to sprawling rawness of our previous album.”
I imagine it is quite hard to find appropriate analogue equipment, not to mention a complete studio. How much effort did it take to fulfill this criteria? And for all the ones interested into the technical side of things: which equipment did you use?
“While it is true that it’s harder to come by analog studio equipment, at least in Denver, what’s more important is finding someone who really knows how to make the most of the limitations of that gear. To that end, we really struck a break when we met Pete deBoer of World Famous Studios. We actually met him through our other band SPECTRAL VOICE, who ended up recording some split 7” tracks with him in the summer of 2015. We had a great time and knew it was the place to record our debut album. We have since recorded there many times for multiple projects, always with tremendous results. “Hidden History Of The Human Race” was recorded, mixed & mastered through a 24-track AMEK Rembrandt console onto an Otari MTR-90 II 2” tape machine. Pete’s extensive collection of outboard gear, vintage electronics, and the knowledge to put everything together really bring about the maximum effects of your music. Interested parties should seek him out, as he knows much more of the technical specifics and I’m sure would enjoy discussing them.”
Please reveal the “Hidden History Of The Human Race”? And what do history books of humankind not tell?
“Unfortunately, this is not something that can be quickly explained through text on the Internet or in a magazine. It is a purely experiential knowledge accrued across millennia, and through endless lifetimes of reincarnation and repeated lessons if one’s soul cares to notice. Nobody in BLOOD INCANTATION is claiming to possess these answers; rather we simply want to know. On earth alone, there are millions of books and theories one can investigate solely pertaining to the mysteries of humanity and the questions of life in the cosmos. It is not our place to tell you where to look, what to read, or who (or what) to believe. The purpose of “Hidden History Of The Human Race” is simply to spark the mind of the listener. The album artwork, the ideas and concepts within the lyrics, the booklist and accompanying esoteric pamphlet itself, as well as the sequencing of the songs and the music itself all work together to bring the listener into an altered state of potential awareness, itself deepened or shallowed according to the specific curiosity of the listener, in a strange synthesis of metaphysics and philosophy, ancient and future history, conspiracy theory and science fiction, the osmosis of consciousness and biology of psychedelics, the endlessly contradictory riddles of reality and ultimately; Paradox. Dig in, dive deep and remember: No Death As Known… Only Doorways. You are the stargate.”
Let’s dig a bit in the past: BLOOD INCANTATION was founded in 2011. What was the initial spark to get the band started and to play Death Metal? Where did you draw your inspirations from?
“Though this particular band was formed in 2011, each of us had already been playing in underground Metal bands for many years, which is how we all met. Isaac and myself (Paul) had already been in Death Metal bands in the past (like CENTIMANI and TOTAL DARKNESS), but the majority of our projects revolved in the extreme Doom and Black Metal spheres with bands like STOIC DISSENTION, LEECH, MERKSTAVE, STILLBORN FAWN and many others. From the beginning we wanted to play weird Death Metal, outsider Death Metal, atmospheric Death Metal or whatever you’d like to call bands like GORGUTS, STARGAZER, LYKATHEA AFLAME, or early AMORPHIS, but mixed with the classic 90s style of MORBID ANGEL, DEATH, and DISINCARNATE. We always wanted strange, atmospheric components, lots of clean guitars, unusual lyrics, and a very specific aesthetic focusing on the mystery, metaphysics, and alien darkness of a psychedelic cosmos.”
The first BLOOD INCANTATION line-up consisted of Isaac Faulk (drums) and Paul Riedl (guitars, vocals), if I am rightly informed. Where did you meet first and how did you hook up with each other? At least you shared mutual musical territory with ABYSMAL DIMENSIONS, with whom you recorded one demo in 2011. Can ABYSMAL DIMENSIONS be seen as forerunner of BLOOD INCANTATION?
“Isaac and I met when I first moved to Colorado from Oregon in 2011. At the time, we were both playing in blackened Doom bands (STOIC DISSENTION and VELNIAS, who Jeff joined shortly after). I had a bunch of leftover riffs from one of my older bands münn, who played extreme funerary Drone / Doom in the mid-2000s, and we started playing Funeral Doom guitar together as ABYSMAL DIMENSIONS. After learning he is an incredible drummer, I showed him some other riffs I’d been working on since the dissolution of TOTAL DARKNESS that eventually became “Mephitic Effluvia”. During that time we discovered our mutual penchant for Kraut- and Prog-Rock, as well as ambient / experimental music, cult Black Metal, extreme Doom, and classic Heavy Metal, all of which still informs our playing today.”
Soon after Morris Kolontyrsky joined on guitar in 2012. How did you get in contact with him and how did BLOOD INCANTATION evolve from now on being a three piece?
“We met Morris at a party in 2012, and just hit it off and immediately began jamming. We were already working on more complicated and melodic material, but our limited playing abilities kept the evolution of the band at a steady pace. After playing a few shows as a 3-piece in 2013 and 2014, we resigned to not perform live again until we could find a fretless bassist, which we eventually did in 2015 when Jeff came over from SPECTRAL VOICE.”
Together as a three piece you recorded and released three demos: “Blood Incantation” (rehearsal 2013), “Demo II” (rehearsal 2013) and “Astral Spells” (rough studio previews / live tracks, 2014). What can you say about these early recordings, which contain several songs spread on more than one release? How do the demos differ from each other, what are connecting elements and how do you view them today?
“Those first two tapes are just rehearsal recordings documenting the songs as they were written. They’re really not very cool, but people go out of their way to pretend like they’re cult. We made them simply to be able to hear ourselves without playing, and with the delusional hope of maybe finding a bassist locally. They have tape covers and labels because I (very loosely) run multiple tape labels and simply love making tapes, just for fun. I would trade them around to friends and a few pen pals, but they were never intended for the general public as a proper release. The first actual demo was the promo tape “Astral Spells” in 2014, which as you say was a mixture of rough studio previews and live tracks, all of which were recordings from 2013.”
In July 2013 you record your first EP “Interdimensional Extinction”. Where did you record, in your rehearsal room? I guess it was especially this release that got your name on the map in the international Death Metal underground, plus it got the scene awestruck and realizing that there was a storm coming. How were the reactions on “Interdimensional Extinction” and how do you value the EP today?
“It’s funny you guess that the recordings were made in our rehearsal room; they were actually recorded in a semi-professional home studio, with more than adequate gear. The emaciated production is the result of an incompetent engineer who gradually destroyed the recordings through endless remixing. The July 2013 sessions were originally intended to be our first actual demo release, but it took until March 2015 for the tracks to be finished, and they weren’t released until August 2015. I released “Astral Spells” (in March 2014) just to keep the name in peoples’ minds after the long gap in time since the rehearsal tapes. A few months later we hooked up with Matt and Dark Descent Records who agreed to release the demo as an EP, but by the time the engineer handed over the finished product the tracks were just unlistenable – the entire thing had to be remixed again! Thankfully, Damian Herring from HORRENDOUS was able to salvage the tracks at his Subterranean Watchtower studios in early 2015. Since the original engineer had sabotaged his own stems from the recordings, Damian had no choice but to work with what he was given, resulting in the production heard on “Interdimensional Extinction”. The production on the first track from the “Astral Spells” promo is much closer to the original mix of the EP songs.”
Who came up with the idea to use the brilliant artwork by Bruce Pennington? What were your motivations and intentions doing so?
“We had known of Bruce Pennington for quite some time, having used his artwork for the cover of our second rehearsal tape in early 2013. We’ve been in contact with his estate ever since. Isaac actually discovered the “Interdimensional Extinction” cover image before we entered the studio to record it, and we instantly knew it was going to be the cover. I always make prototypes of the layouts in their various stages, to help me refine everything piece by piece, and we were holding the prototype of the layout while listening back to the initial mixes, just enjoying everything finally coming together.”
The same year you released a split 7’’ with SPECTRAL VOICE, who shares three quarter of the actual BLOOD INCANTATION line-up. Your song ‘Mephitic Effluvia’ is the only demo song left that did not appear on your EP. So, recording the EP, did you already have the plan to release this song on the split 7’’ or why did it nor end on “Interdimensional Extinction”?
“‘Mephitic Effluvia’ was the first song we wrote, and was always intended for the split with SPECTRAL VOICE (which contains the first SPECTRAL VOICE track as well). All five songs were recorded in the same session back in July 2013, but due to the aforementioned mixing fiasco ‘Mephitic Effluvia’ is the only track from those sessions that approaches the original mix. “Interdimensional…” was always intended to have the four newest songs on the CD and mini LP versions, and the cassette version would contain all five tracks from the demo era.”
Somewhere after the EP and the split 7” you obtained your fourth member with Jeff Barret on bass guitar. How did you find him and why did it apparently take several years to fill the position of the bass player?
“As mentioned, the EP and split 7” were recorded in the same session back in July 2013. Since we weren’t able to find a fretless bassist locally, our friend Damon Good (from STARGAZER) filled in for those recordings because we really wanted to have fretless bass. At that time Jeff and I still played in VELNIAS together (from roughly 2011 – 2014), but he wasn’t in either of the other bands yet. Contemporaneously, both bands were actively searching for bass players, and had even asked Jeff to play, but nothing ever worked out. Anyway, during those years Jeff and I toured many times together, both in the States and overseas, and we became very good friends. So when I quit VELNIAS in 2014 in order to focus on SPECTRAL VOICE and BLOOD INCANTATION full time, Jeff left with me and came first into SPECTRAL VOICE. Then, after the first SPECTRAL VOICE tour in January 2015, he also came over into BLOOD INCANTATION. It’s worth noting that Jeff didn’t play fretless bass in VELNIAS, which was part of the reason he couldn’t join BLOOD INCANTATION at the time. A few months after joining SPECTRAL VOICE, he got his first fretless and began using it in that band – which only made us more adamant that he join BLOOD INCANTATION. He ended up buying a second fretless specifically for BLOOD INCANTATION, and the rest is history.”
Now as a quartet BLOOD INCANTATION went on to compose new songs that eventually became your debut album “Starspawn”, which obviously took the hearts of the worldwide scene by storm and was rated as one of the 10 most important releases in our BEST OF 2016 readers poll. Have you ever been aware that you crafted something fresh sounding, unique and extraordinary before the release? And did you expect such a success? How did you experience that period?
“”Starspawn” was completely written before “Interdimensional Extinction” even came out, so we were already very familiar with our next step before the public were even aware of our first. We had been rehearsing the material for years, and were passionately excited to finally record in a real studio. Having been in bands for my entire life, as well as being a fanatic record and obscure tape collector, I was definitely stoked about the material, and aware of its outlier nature in relation to the scene at the time. The recording sessions were extremely fun. Everybody was laid-back, we were allowed to decorate (and party) excessively, and there was even a hot tub. At the same time, we were very well prepared and everybody was totally focused on making the album as sick as we could. Everything was tracked in two days, with another day for leads, one for synths and then we mixed on the fifth day. The only negative part of the process were the vocals; I had become incredibly sick after the initial tracking was done, and had to record the vocals with a garbage can next to me that I was constantly hacking up phlegm and spitting into, constantly coughing and running out of breath. I had a piercing headache, one of my ears was clogged, and my sinuses were painfully congested, but ultimately I think it benefitted the sound of the album, as my voice sounds much more wet and disgusting than usual.”
What were the most inspiring moments during the songwriting process of “Starspawn”? What are your thoughts on this album today?
“Most of the album was written during the long wait between the EP’s recording and eventual release, so we had plenty of time to work out the kinks in the rehearsal room and get everything into order. On our first tour in October 2015, we were playing three out of the five songs from the album, in addition to the EP and split tracks. By playing the unreleased songs on tour, we were able to refine them even further, getting our chops tour-tight in preparation for recording the debut album. We stand behind “Starspawn” today as much as we did in the studio and the years before, and the songs still bring us great pleasure to perform.”
One of the main characteristics of BLOOD INCANTATION that lead to the uniqueness is the combination of technical / progressive Death Metal (mid – period DEATH, NOCTURNUS, ATHEIST, DEMILICH come to my mind) with very atmospheric and even meditative elements (PINK FLOYD?). A combination I did not experience before. How did you evolve into this individual mix? Was it a somewhat conscious decision or an outcome of a creative process?
“We get asked this question so often… but this is just the music we want to play, simple as that. We don’t listen to many bands (especially Metal bands) that just play the same beat over the same riff in basic 4/4 time for four straight minutes. A brief look into our past projects will reveal the majority of our projects have always used long-form linear songwriting, attempted to fuse multiple genres, or at the very least dabbled in mild subgenre splicing. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a puritanical band, even when I was a teenager… there’s always been Folk in my Black Metal, Black Metal in my Doom, Metal in my Punk, etc. I’ve always had an affinity for atmospheric music, so most of my bands have some sort of drone / ambient / psychedelic / noise / etc component in addition to the Riff Storm. BLOOD INCANTATION in particular combines basically every collective interest we have in music, and puts it all together in the way that pleases us most.”
All members in BLOOD INCANTATION participate in countless other projects and bands, SPECTRAL VOICE being the best known. Are all of you creative overlords or how do you manage to handle that many bands and creative expressions? In which respect do they differ from each other? And what are the most important projects / bands we should check out?
“We’ve all been in multiple bands for basically our entire lives, because this is just who we are as people. Music’s unlimited potential is the most important thing in our lives, so it’s illogical to limit our creative output to one channel simply for the convenience of the casual listener. Each band occupies a distinct quadrant of our minds and lives, each has different goals and respective bandleaders, and there’s never an issue knowing which riff goes to which band. Finding the right timing for everybody’s activities amidst the maelstrom of all the bands’ intense touring schedules is a constant juggling act, but ultimately that’s just how it goes with this sort of lifestyle. I’d prefer not to patronize you or your readers by doling out a play-by-play of the differences between the many projects; an honest listen will tell you the answers if you’re genuinely curious. Beyond BLOOD INCANTATION and SPECTRAL VOICE, various members are currently involved in WAYFARER, CHTHONIC DEITY, BLACK CURSE, ABYSMAL DIMENSIONS and STORMKEEP. From the dark past I would recommend checking out MERKSTAVE, LEECH, STOIC DISSENTION and STILLBORN FAWN before digging into the more obscure projects.”
What else can you say about the persona of the four individuals building the entity of BLOOD INCANTATION?
“We just wish people would do a little more research, both in regards to our band as well as life in general.”
According to “Encyclopaedia Metallum” the concept of BLOOD INCANTATION is based around space, Anunnaki mythos and astral death. Would you care to enlighten us what Anunnaki mythos is about? And how did you get the idea to use these topics within the cosmos of BLOOD INCANTATION? Where do you draw your lyrical inspirations from?
“The Sumerian creation myths are some of the oldest known literature on the planet. While it is convenient to dismiss them as mere mythology, it takes only a cursory glance to reveal that most of the world’s religions owe their origins to this mysterious civilization we know very little about, who came to prominence relatively overnight over 5,000 years ago, and who left an enigmatic legacy of staggeringly vast ancient history, advanced mathematics, the first written language, and complex astronomical sciences to the world. And while all of the world’s major religions may owe their existence to the Sumerians, most seem to ignore their basic precepts regarding our human origins, namely: Genetic engineering, resource wars, and non-human lifeforms. People love to wonder about “exotic” theories like anti-gravity propulsion, human cloning, or living in a simulation, but nobody wants to look back at the first written language known to man and really try to figure out why this incredibly advanced culture was so adamant about writing all of this strange “mythology” and “symbolism” down.”
Besides, why the moniker BLOOD INCANTATION? Is it just another cool sounding Metal band name or does it contain a deeper significance for you?
“BLOOD INCANTATION represents the ultimate cosmic conspiracy that is humankind and all occult / philosophical tangents that permeate from this abysmal fractal. All esoteric and mystical philosophies are pointing you in a certain direction, and our music, lyrics and aesthetic in general are pointing you somewhere as well. Your species / plague in particular was genetically engineered by yet another humanoid, very similar in anatomy to homo sapiens but with superior intellect, originating from a dwarf planet in our sun’s binary star Sirius B. Homo sapiens sapiens is the resulting hybrid, bred for energetic / astral predation / occupation as well as physical slave labor, specifically to mine / hoard gold which your progenitors use for all sorts of neat purposes, such as psychoactive ingestion, monoatomic gold plating for their spacecraft, nanotechnology, etc. Greed is literally bred into your DNA, and civilization is just a cute way for them to get you to consistently clamor for gold / wealth and stockpile it. Your world is as corrupt from the top down as much as it is from the inside out. Ultimately our band is an omen: your entire civilization is a joke, and will be washed away by its own blood. Your entire species is a living blood sacrifice, dude, endlessly warring and manipulating each other throughout the millennia, obsessed with money, power and material objects, slaughtering themselves as mindlessly as they do the poor animals and degrading the whole environment in general. Society is the ultimate blood ritual and industrialized civilization itself is your ultimate god. Humans are like bacteria, just heaps of cells assembled into a vehicle that is as easily commandeered as it is edible. Nothing you’ve ever believed in has any actual value, and your eventual deterioration into nothingness is as meaningless to the rest of the cosmos as every cell that has ever lived or died within your own body has ever been to you. Humans are the BLOOD INCANTATION, the “Starspawn” and the stargate.”
Do you generally view the topic of extraterrestrial life as something purely fictional or in contrast as a scientific topic with a real background?
“People who don’t acknowledge the inevitability of life existing beyond the realms of humans’ limited understanding are squares. Truly, there’s nothing more Western you could do than to believe everything is under control, nobody in power would ever lie to you, and the system always has your best interests at heart.”
You toured several times through Europe and America. Where else did you play? When you roam through your remembrances, what sticks still to your mind? What were the most unique or odd places you visited?
“So far BLOOD INCANTATION have toured the USA 6 times, Europe 3 times, and Australia once, with appearances in Canada, Turkey and Israel. We have played nearly 300 shows in the past 5 years. Consequently, the list of good memories and odd, unique places is far too long to pull out of a hat for a quick answer.”
In Germany’s Black Forest region you played in the factory hall of a metal processing company. For the duration of the small festival the production was stopped with machines put aside in order to give room for the concert hall. For me entering the venue was very special in itself as the “sweet odour” of evaporated metal and oil hung all over the place. What better fitting surrounding can you imagine for a Metal concert? Astonishingly and against all fears the sound was very very powerful and clear. How do you remember this place and evening?
“That was a fun show for us because we got to hang out with our friend Andrej Peters for the night. We took a group photo before we all went to bed that evening, and Andrej later sent me a wood burned version of it that now proudly hangs over the doorway in my home. We also went so crazy on a guy’s used record distro that we each had to borrow money from the band fund just to afford it all, ha-ha. From what I remember the sound was fine, and people were stoked.”
BLOOD INCANTATION performed in red stage light only whilst your brother band SPECTRAL VOICE was illuminated solely in blue. What was / is the idea behind this minimal use of light show? At least it is in hindsight quite easy when delving into remembrances about this evening with friends to talk about “the red band” and “the blue band” : – )
“This is mostly for practical reasons. Neither band enjoys excessively busy / strobe-laden light shows, and with the changeover between bands resulting in the same three people on the front of the stage it would be even more confusing if the lighting were identical for both bands. It’s also stylistically consistent with each bands’ aesthetics; SPECTRAL VOICE always uses blue accents, and BLOOD INCANTATION always use red.”
On “Starspawn” one song crossed the 10 minutes mark for the first time, clocking in at 13 minutes. Which is not that far away from half of the playing time of the whole album. “Hidden History Of The Human Race” once again contains another song that is even longer (18 minutes) and that divides the album in exactly two halves. Was it intentional to have 3 songs for the first half and one for the second? How do you come up with such lengthy songs? I guess you do not feel just to glue three or four songs together for that purpose?
“As mentioned, all of us have been pursuing long-form linear songwriting in multiple bands for over a decade, simply because we enjoy it. The fact of the matter is that while some songs only need to be four minutes long, others just need more time to tell the story. However, we don’t set out to write “long songs” for length’s sake, we just write the riffs as they go and the song tells you when it’s finished. For “Hidden History Of The Human Race” we definitely wanted the B-Side to be one single sidelong track, in the tradition of 70s Prog albums, as that’s something we’ve wanted to do for as long as we’ve been a band. But the idea that any song can be made longer by simply attaching small sections of shorter songs together is false – you have to keep the narrative of the music in mind, and there needs to be a complete story to the music. So while creating a genuine story within the landscape of each long song is very hard, that is exactly why the songs are good. We want each of our songs to create a distinct environment for the listener to explore: some larger, some smaller, some faster, some slower, etc.”
Whereas the cover art of “Starspawn” was no eye-catcher, the artwork of “Hidden History Of The Human Race” with the huge alien in the foreground and the flying Atomiums is definitely a real one again, indeed. What can you say about the painting from the 1970s by Bruce Pennington, whose art you use for the second time now (the album booklet contains two further artworks by Pennington)?
“We knew were going to use that particular image before “Starspawn” came out, actually. One look at the cover and the reasons for its use are obvious. Additionally, the album covers are all just part of the concept and plan for the band’s aesthetics since the beginning. Starting with our EP, each release gradually increases the color palate as well as the sonic qualities, constantly growing. For “Interdimensional…” everything was monochromatic, very obscure and minimalistic, with slight red accents. “Starspawn” was full color (though still relatively minimalistic) but introduced slight yellow accents. And for “Hidden History Of The Human Race” we have gone full dynamic color and incorporated green, with slight purple accents. We had been planning to go green for the second album since we started the band, as yet another nod to MORBID ANGEL’s stylistic change with Blessed Are The Sick.”
“Omnia ab uno” – if I get it right it means “All from one” or “All out of one”. The first thoughts that came to my mind were like “everything out of the universe”, “everything from divinity” or “all out of the quanta field” (Psi field)? What do you personally connect with the phrase and how does it fit into the cosmos of BLOOD INCANTATION?
“When we took that band photo, we were just graveyard moshing in New Orleans and saw the pyramid randomly, recognizing a good photo opportunity. The Latin phrase is deeply consistent with the band’s lyrical philosophy and cosmic / metaphysical aesthetics, so it was a perfect little synchronicity. We didn’t know it was Nicolas Cage’s tomb until afterwards, but that just made it more fun.”
Somewhere I read that the glyphs printed on the back cover symbolize drum patterns. What can you tell us about this idea? Do you write down the complete drum patterns of each song or was it merely one part for the booklet?
“The symbols on the back cover are Sumerian cuneiform. The glyphs in the LP booklet are the drum patterns, drawn by our friend Paweł “Tuna” Tunkiewicz from HYPERDONTIA, PHRENELITH etc. He actually draws them out for personal use in own bands, somehow discerning the patterns in his mad scientist mind. He did the same thing for the inside of the PHRENELITH / SPECTRAL VOICE split 7” as well. I have no idea how to read them, but it’s my understanding that each glyph represents the “shape” of the beat for each part. The patterns in the booklet represent the final song, ‘Awakening…'”
What are your recent plans and goals concerning BLOOD INCANTATION?
“The same as they’ve ever been: play the music we like, and tour relentlessly. At some point we will release an ambient album just to throw people a curveball. In the meantime we are just waiting to start our world tour, hoping that 2020 isn’t cancelled for everybody on account of the covid-19 situation…”
In my personal collection your releases come to rest between BLOODBATH’s “The Fathomless Mastery” and BLOOD RED THRONE’s “Monuments Of Death”. Do you like to comment the bands and / or albums?
“I’m not familiar with either, sorry. On my own shelf our releases rest between AUTOPSY’s “Tourniquets, Hacksaws And Graves” and BOLT THROWER’s “In Battle There Is No Law”, which suits me just fine.”
I hope we covered everything for now. Thank you for taking part in the interview! Anything else you’d like to add here?
“Thanks for your interest. For future reference, 31 questions is perhaps a little excessive. Cheers.”
I sincerely thank you alot, Paul, for taking your time, for your patience with the odyssey of questions I came up with and for making this interview as huge and impressive as it came out.
Live pics: Pete Slate (6-9), Thomas Georg (11-13)
Interview: Thomas Georg