Interview with Guitarist / Vocalist Isaimon by Patrick late May 2012Ö

Immolith are easily one of my favorite and one of the best new black metal bands from the u.s.b.m scene right now. For those of you who have not heard these New Jersey hate mongers. Immolith play a semi-raw old-school black metal. There is a crisp-perfect  to their sound, the production on their new album is clear but still raw and mean. Fans of late 80's/early 90's black metal will love Immolith with all their dark hearts. I caught with band founder Isaimon to find out more about this horde.

 

 

Metal hails! How have things been going with you this week? Please introduce yourself to the readers?

Iím Isaimon, founder, guitarist, and vocalist of the black metal band Immolith. 

When did black metal first take a hold of your soul and lead you down it's dark path? What is it about this type of music you love so much? What does black metal mean to you?

Iím an old fucking metal head from way back in metalís earliest days in the 80ís. I saw Venom live in 1986, and have been hooked ever since. I was there for the birth of thrash, death, and black metal. Black metal is evil, raw, music. And thatís exactly why I am drawn to it first as a listener, and later as a musician.  

Who are some of your all-time favorite metal band {both black, and other genres}? Are their any new bands you feel the readers should watch out for?

I loved old Venom, Mercyful fate, Kreator, Sodom, Bathory, Emperor, Immortal, Dissection, and Gorgoroth.  You know all the typical legendary bands of thrash and early black metal.   New bands?  I still mainly listen to all the classics from my early days.   If I listen to any new bands, they are bands that carry on the traditional sounds of late 80ís and early 90ís.  Bands like Humut Tabal, Spectral Manifest, Plutonian Shore, Leper Lord to name a fewÖ  

When did you first get the idea  to form Immolith? How did you come up with the name for the band? Does it have a special meaning for you?

I started writing Immolith around 2008, when the death of a long time friend put me back in touch with other old friends who were also musicians. We started jamming together again after a long lay off from playing in bands.  We put together a more traditional death/thrash band called coffin. I started writing some material on my own that was much more black metal inspired. I was using the name ďImmolithĒ as my stage name in coffin.  And when I realized I had material that wouldnít fit coffin, I decided to start Immolith as a side project. Immolith quickly took on a life of itís own, and became my sole focus for the last several years.   

What is the  "current" line-up for the band? For the readers who have not had the chance to hear Immolith's music yet, how would you best describe it?

If youíve never heard us, many reviewers compare us to old second wave scandinavian black metal.  I think fans of early Marduk, Mayhem, Emperor, and Immortal would enjoy the style of black metal i write and play. Right now, Iím the sole member of Immolith.  The band started out with me and drummer Chris Warhead back in 2008 and we recorded the hymns to the countess ep.  We added a bassist Ahazu and second guitarist Prolixus back then for a live line up.  After that, Warhead left to focus on his original band Abazagorath and Ahazu left to start his own band Malcanthet, we recruited drummer void and bassist Tizon. That was the line up that recorded the debut full length album Storm Dragon, me, Prolixus, Tizon, and void.   After the release of the album, I decided that live shows were no longer a priority for me or Immolith, and Iíve decided to go back to writing alone in my home studio for the next album.  If people were actually clamor to see the band live again, Iíd consider putting a full line up together down the road.  But I donít know that this will ever happen. 

The band released it's debut cd  Stormdragon  through Metalhit.com how did you come in contact with the label? Happy with them so far? Are you planning to work to work with them for the next Immolith release or have you all even thought that far ahead? 

Iím extremely happy with Metalhitís support.  Storm dragon has had great distribution and support from Metalhit.  They got our digipack cd into the hands of many reviewers and made it available from a lot of big retailers, and of course all the standard online digital retailers as well.  Yes the next album will be released on Metalhit, as Iíve already discussed this with them.  Iíll spend the next year writing and recording it, and hopefully have a second album ready to be released through Metalhit sometime in 2013.

How long did it take you guys to write, record the music for the songs on Stormdragon? Did the whole band take part in the writing process or did you handle it all? Which usually comes first the lyrics or the music? What are some topics you write/sing about?

Two of the songs included on storm dragon are several years old.  Ghost Tower of Inverness and hymns to the countess were originally on the first ep.  So those were written back in 2008. The first ep was recorded in my home studio using an electronic drum kit.  We recorded storm dragon in a much more professional studio using acoustic drums.  So I really wanted to do some of those older songs justice just in terms of quality of recording.  The remaining six songs were probably written the span of about 4 or 5 months.  Iíve always written everything myself in my home studio.  I start with titles and lyrics usually.  Iíve spent years reading occult literature, fantasy fiction, and studying history, so I draw inspiration from these things for most of my lyrics.  These last few years I would write everything and record scratch versions of each of the songs at home. Then when i had finished versions of the songs Iíd bring them to the band to start working on together.  So thatís not to say the other guys that were involved in the band didnít contribute at all to any of the songs, because they did.  Clearly the drummer would bring his own style, beats and fills to songs.  And often times they will be very different to what I might have had in mind when I programmed software drums to my scratch versions of the songs.  Also Prolixus would contribute some extra layers to what he was playing on guitar to some of the songs and so forth.  But the foundations of everything on any of the Immolith releases have always been laid by me in my home studio.

I believe I read awhile back on your web-pages you were thinking of possibly stopping Immolith as a live-band. Is this is going to happen? What made you decide to stop playing live?         

After four years of playing out live with Immolith, and getting the chance to share some big stages in ny, nj, and pa with some pretty amazing bands like Triptykon, Enthroned, Destroyer 666, Black Anvil, and so on, we still struggled to draw on our own.  We could very rarely get paid anything to play because we could never draw an audience on our own.  So the cost of playing shows out of our own pockets just outweighed the results.  For the most part the band was always older guys with careers, so the idea of getting in a van and trying to tour to reach new audiences was never really an option for us.  It seemed like after four years of playing shows in our tri-state area for the same small audience of friends (I could name most of the people who attended our shows for the last four years by first names)  there was nothing to be gained from playing live. So I decided after the string of shows we did in march 2012 following the release of storm dragon,  to put an end to our live appearances..  

What were some of your some of your most memorable shows? And who were some of your  favorite bands to play with? If you could have the chance to play with any bands past or present for a "dream" show/tour, who are some bands you would love to play with?

I met tom g. Warrior when we opened for Triptykon at the gramercy theater in nyc.  That was a highlight of my career for sure. I listened to Celtic Frost since morbid tales was a new release, so that was mighty to meet and open for them.  The best turnout for us was the destroyer 666/enthroned tour show we opened in Brooklyn.  There were probably a few hundred people in the room that night when we played.  And the other career highlight for me was when we opened for trident, which is Johan Normanís band from Sweden.  As a huge Dissection and Necrophobic fan it was a huge honor to share the stage with those guys.  We were supposed to open for a dark funeral/inquisition tour that got cancelled.  I would have loved to play with those guys.  Other bands I would have liked to play with?  Any of the legends of black metal of course, Gorgoroth, Marduk, Immortal, Kult Ov Azazel, Absu, would all be killer bands to open for. 

The band comes out of the great state of New Jersey what is your opinion of new Jersey's metal scene? Who are some of your all-time favorite New Jersey bands? Are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out? 

Iím an old man, so I when I think New Jersey metal, I think Overkill, Blood Feast, Ripping Corpse, and so onÖ  I guess there is a bigger New Jersey metal scene going on, but I think Iím not really involved in it because it is the younger guys playing modern metal styles that I donít listen to.  There are still some New Jersey bands like Mortum, Death Sick, Abazagorath, and Raining Murder that have the old traditional death and black metal sound, but I think the audience for the old styles is more limited.

What about the over u.s black metal scene? It seems more people take it seriously now {unlike back in the mid-90's} favorite u.s.b.m bands?

I donít know if usbm getsí more respect then it did in the 90s.  Maybe it does? Iím not sure.  I still like Absu, Kult Ov Azazel, Judas Iscariot, and so on as some of my favorite us bands.  I know ďpostĒ black metal seems to be on the rise in the US, with a lot of bands and fans all having that vibe.  I donít really care for that at all.  I like the traditional ugly black metal with all its traditional clichťs, spikes, blood, Satan, and death.   

You handle the guitars for the band when did you start playing guitars? Are you self-taught or did you take lessons when you started out?

I took lessons a long long time ago for about a year when I was like 14.  I played in bands from then until I was about 20.  Then i took a long time off and didnít play at all until about around 1999- 2000.  Iíve been playing pretty steady again since then.  Iím a lousy guitar player by most peopleís standards, but when Iím writing basic black metal that isnít much of an issue.

Who are some of your influences/favorite guitarists? Do you play any other instruments?

My favorite guitarists as far as lead players go were always Hank Sherman and Michael Denner from Mercyful Fate and Adrian Smith and Dave Murray from Iron Maiden.  I play bass when Iím writing and recording Immolith songs, but only out of necessity.  Iíve never played bass in a band or anything.  And drums are only programmed when I have to do them for recording and writing.  I canít play real drums to save my life, but I wish I could.  Drummers are rare and always hard to find. 

You also do vocals for immolith, when did you start singing? Do you do anything special to keep your throat/voice healthy?          

I had always done scratch vocals for the songs as I wrote them starting back in 2008.  However on the first ep and the early days live, I let our drummer warhead handle the majority of the vocals back then.  When he left at the end of 2010 to concentrate on Abazagorath, I auditioned some vocalists.  Nobody really worked out, or could commit to the band full time.  So I just decided since I was writing all the lyrics and recording scratch vocals as I wrote the songs, I might as well just take over full time. So Iíve been doing that since 2011.  It is still a role Iím growing into.  I donít really do anything special.  The drummer void that played in the band for the storm dragon album is a pretty amazing death metal vocalist in his own band, and he would give me some tips.  Heíd suggest drinking lots of room temperature water and to avoid alcohol to help maintain my voice.  But Iím old school metal, I grew up with Venom, so I was usually like ďfuck it, Iíll just keep drinking my beer!Ē  I guess maybe if I were to ever have to do a tour Iíd have to be a little more sensible about it, but since Immolith was never a touring band, I didnít have to worry about it much. 

Well brother, we have reached the end of the interview thank you for taking the time to fill out this interview. Do you have any final words for the readers?        

Thanks to you for your continuous and unyielding support of Immolith since our inception!  Hopefully some of your readers will check out the album on Metalhit and support the band and the label with some purchases.  If underground music fans donít support the music they claim to love by actually spending a few dollars on the music or merch, we are all fucked.

 http://www.immolith.net/

http://www.reverbnation.com/immolith

 

 


The Immolith Discography 

Sojourn / Ghost Tower Demo, 2009

Hymns To The Countess EP, 2009

Storm Dragon Full Length, 2012


 

 

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