Interview by Dale Roy with John McEntee Summer 1998…

A band I have been into for a long time and respect greatly is Incantation. Ever since I got their “Entrantment Of Evil” 7” ep I’ve ‘banged to the brutality and blasphemy that is their calling card. In July 1998, a few hours before they were due to play I interviewed John McEntee, the bands founder, all-around metalhead and killer guy. Read on as we chatted backstage at club Area 51…

*Update - I am proud to say unlike many of the other old interviews I am posting. Incantation are alive and kicking ass around the world. John McEntee has started his own record label called Ibex Moon (w/ bands like Bloody Sign, Hell-born, Incrust etc...) and he has used his own label to issue the newest Incantation album. I know they had a lot of bad situations with labels so it is good they are taking it into their own hands. Hail Incantation the old crusty bastards!! 


Hey John! A lot of bands back in the early days had problems with a seven inch label by the name of Seraphic Decay, since your “Entrantment Of Evil” ep originally came out on Seraphic could you tell us the problems, if any you experienced with them?

You want to know what problems I had…it was a long time ago!. The problems were, he (label head) didn’t organize things too well when pressing it, because he pressed our stuff he also pressed Goreaphobia, Mortician, Derketa and whole bunch of different releases. He bit off more than he could chew and he got all seven inches out and he didn’t have the covers for them. He was selling the 7”s without the covers just to get the orders out cause it went past the date they were supposed to be out. Some people never got the covers for those 7”s and I guess he wasn’t too organized as other people ordered stuff and never got anything from him. Things were really confusing with the whole thing and he basically he started ripping off the bands not giving them their copies of the 7”s, I got a bunch of the copies without covers and stuff like that you know. He didn’t send Derketa copies and Goreaphobia didn’t get many copies and he was pressing up more copies than he was saying and it was all and it was all fucked up…

How many do you think he pressed up of yours?

It’s about a good 2000 maybe even 3000 he pressed, I don’t know it’s all up in the air. I know that Relapse was distributing his stuff for awhile and I know they sold a shitload of it, the first pressing was 1000 and I know there was a second pressing because he had different colored vinyls and different colored covers and stuff like…

Yeah my copy (of the vinyl) had a pink w/ white swirl on it.

Yeah the Seraphic Decay thing started off as a good idea but it worked out disastrous. So we decided to go with Relapse for the (same) ep and have something reliable that people are able to obtain you know.

Your first demo featured members of Profanatica(R.I.P.), a fave band of mine what caused the split and how were things with them in the band?

Okay first of all the only thing we recorded with them was a promo/demo with 3 songs, it had “Profanation”, “Holy Massacre” & “Third Of The Storms” by Hellhammer. It was cool I liked jamming with Paul and Bret and basically it just came down to they wanted to be more black metal and use the face paint and use the imagery thing instead of worrying more about the music. My concern was more about the music and I wanted to play more brutal and aggressive and more death metal with darker lyrics than just black metal so I basically pretty much just split ways. I haven’t seen Paul Ledney for years but I seen Brett a few years ago, the blonde guitar player he cool ya know, I haven’t seen Aragon I guess he died about 2 years ago and I didn’t find out about that until way afterwards.

Were things simpler in those days before you put an album out or did things pick up and are better since then?

Well I mean it’s easier maybe if you don’t have a record company business wise I mean. But I wouldn’t say it’s more fun. I like what I’m doing now but even with the problems we’ve had with record companies, it’s still the bottom line is I like doing this music. It’s easier if you’re just playing local, but I like to go out and playing shows other places and I don’t mind the difficulty or extra effort.

You once were the co-runner of Elegy Distribution, why did you stop it, lack of time?

The main reason why was because I moved from New Jersey to Cleveland and we tried to work it with a office out of  New Jersey and a office out of Cleveland but it just wasn’t gonna work out, we weren’t organized enough and I was too busy with the band. I couldn’t find someone in Cleveland I felt confident enough to run it with me cause I just moved out there, so I decided it was just best to let Rob take care of the whole thing. It kinda sucks I like doing it and everything but the main thing for me is playing music and writing music not selling it. It was cool, it was basically just a way for me to get stuff for cheaper, if I am buying a bunch of copies of stuff I can get it cheaper than if I just buy one.

You and Rob obviously have a close relationship he just released your live CD tell us about that?

Yeah well, the CD itself is semi-live in the studio, I say semi-live cause we had to do overdubs and we had a bass player at the time didn’t know all of the songs so I had to do overdubs on that. We were supposed to do a live show but the guy who was supposed to do sound for it screwed it all up so we decided to do it in the studio…(laughter…somebody was playing some gay horns like Dukes Of Hazard over the P.A. so hence our laughter))…yeah we basically did it on Elegy one because the dude is a good friend of mine and second I owed him money from doing the whole Elegy thing and he said he would just do the CD thing with us instead of just paying him back which is fine with me.

Why do they call from Elegy the “Troll” and (they wiped real goats blood on a number of the CD’s) do you think he will shed any tears over the loss of his pet goat?

Hahahaha…I don’t know why they call the dude “Troll” I guess cause he is pretty short and looks funny but um you know the name I know by is “Scrotum” because when he had his Cheese Factory mag he was a total dick to most bands, the dude’s totally cool and total metal. As far as his pet goat it sucks he’s gone but we had to get the blood from somewhere.

Yeah I hear ya…What originally caused your departure from Relapse?

Just that they were being dicks to us pretty much they didn’t believe in the band after Craig Pillard left and pretty much they didn’t want to believe in the band. Until we did the “Unforsaken…” ep on Repulse than they realized were not over with or we don’t suck anymore or whatever and they decided to work with us again. We didn’t want to work with them at first but we worked with them because we were still contractually bond to it. Repulse there was a mix up between them and us and so Relapse ended up getting the rights to release the third and final (in the contract) album, it sucked at the time the time because we thought we were screwed ending up back on Relapse again but they ended up getting their heads straight and ended up realizing things could work out good for them and us.

How many LP’s did you originally sign for?

We signed for 3 originally so “Diabolical Conquest” is the last one.

So your free from the contract now and look elsewhere?

Yeah but they are supposed to give us another contract and it is supposed to be a good contract. The way I look at it if they want to sign and keep us they will give us a good contract and not try to pull one over on us. If they give us a contract and it is crap there is no use in going with them again, but from what they say they are going to give us a good contract. So we just hope it works out that way cause if not we will just sign with someone else.

Have you had other labels showing interest?

There is interest from other labels but nothing serious because I am not looking right now, because for myself I would kind of like to continue working with Relapse cause things are going good with this album and with another label we would be going from the beginning and Relapse knows what we are going for and knows what we are all about and working with a new label we would have to go through all of the bullshit again trying to get everything under control it is a big pain in the ass.

What was the reason for Craig Pillard leaving the band?

Well it was just two egos, me and him just clashed. The bottom line both of us are pretty stubborn I wanted to keep the band brutal, fast and aggressive but slow stuff too. He wanted to go totally doomy and we were just stubborn on both sides and things ended up getting fucked up and he just ended up leaving.

You had a pretty cool line-up for your promo ’96 tape, did you ask any of those people to join?

I didn’t ask any of them to join for awhile the guitar player the dude from Deathrune Mike Saez he was thinking about but it didn’t work out and as far as Mary from Prime Evil it was just totally a help out thing, with her it she totally into doing something cause she hadn’t done Prime Evil for so long so I thought it was a good opportunity since she was so hungry to play. Then Will has Mortician and stuff like that and he just wanted to help out cause we are friends and we have done that in the past on our earlier demos and stuff in the past so he just stepped up and did what he had to do.

Can you tell us about how things went in the studio and so far on tour with Incantation’s new throat Daniel?

He did good in the studio but as far as now in the band in the last couple months we have been having some problems with him, unfortunately. The main problem is trying to get him a green card cause he is a Mexican citizen and yeah that’s a real problem it is really expensive.

Did he make here into Canada with you?

No he couldn’t get into Canada no.

What! Whose doing the vocals tonight then!?

It’s Tom Stevens he’s from the band Nokturnel and Morpheus Descends (fine replacement and he did a great job that night! -Dale) he’s definitely really good he is basically finishing the tour up here (in Canada) because Daniel’s doing the (Milwaukee) Metalfest. At this point I don’t know what Daniel’s definite status is in the band because before we left on the tour for Canada we did half the tour with him in the states but he wasn’t happy with certain aspects with the band, so it’s really difficult for me to say. You’re really going to have to talk to him about the situation so I don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t jam with him, and it’s hard dealing with somebody form another country and immigration stuff…

Dude I am going through that right now so I can be in the states with my fiancee!

You know what I’m talkin’ about!

I have to ask you this I always see you in pics with Venom t-shirts on, they are my all-time fave band so please give your opinions on them especially the early stuff!

Yeah Venom rules!! I don’t it was great to see them at the Metalfest last year!. Incredible to see them live, christ! It was so fun to see them play live. Yeah I love the old stuff “Black Metal” and even up to “Possessed”. The new one is good, yeah really good like good production Venom but it’s still really sick you know, it’s still Venom I am really happy with it, Cronos didn’t let me down!. It’s good to see they really got their shit together and put out some good stuff cause for a while they weren’t doing too good unfortunately.

What kind of kid were you, did you like school?

No! I thought school sucked!. I don’t know school was like I was kinda on my own I was into metal for a really long time, kinda young and into metal. There wasn’t many people in my school into metal so it was just mostly chilling out with a couple of my friends talking metal and playing metal (dude I feel your pain, I grew up in a tiny isolated little town! -Dale). I started playing guitar around 15 yrs. old.

Did you ever get any training?

I had some schooling I took like a college course for some classical guitar thing. I don’t know if you ever remember that band from New Jersey Hades and “Resisting Success”(I sure do and don’t you love little nuggets of info. like this that pop up! -Dale) while the guitar player from that band gave me lessons for about a half year. It’s all basic stuff I didn’t really learn too much I mean the college course I learned sight reading which was pretty cool you know I was doing that while I was playing in a band called Revenant but I stopped doing that cause I wanted to spend more time on the band instead of sight reading classical songs that I really didn’t care about.

When did you first get into metal and what were some of the first bands/zines that you were into?

Well I first got into metal I guess I would say like ’75 with Kiss or something like that you know. I guess that’s considered metal I mean it’s poser metal but it’s metal for that time is was brutal. I was like 5 yrs. old or something like that. As far as getting into the underground stuff like really early Metallica, Mercyful Fate & Slayer stuff like that, Venom. Somewhere like ’82 or ‘83-ish I don’t remember it was a long time ago so I don’t really remember. You know as far as zines go I didn’t get into that part of it as far as getting demos, tape trading and getting ‘zines I guess that was about ’86 and the first mags I picked up were Total Thrash from Philly, Pennsylvania, there was one from Japan called Deathrash Mayhem and there was one from Europe called Morbid mag. Those were the first ones and there was one from Steve of Impetigo called Splatter ‘zine and I just went and picked those were some of the first ones I picked up. Then I just went sick and started writing to everybody and every band, I just wanted to learn more. I knew all the bands with albums out but there were all of these killer demo bands I just wanted to get more knowledge you know.

That’s part of the reason I put out my mag so I could trade for everybody else’s mag and read ‘em!. I heard you had some fun touring through Mexico with their gov’t officials and what not?

Yeah there’s a couple things, you definitely did your homework. In Guadalajara they first wanted to close down the show cause they had flyers all around town saying ‘Unholy Satanic Death Metal’ and the cops came to the show and they were going to shut it down but they worked it out that only people over 21 could go with Id. and no one knew you had to have Id. to get into the club. So 6 or 7 hundred people outside the club literally and only 200 or so were allowed to get into the club so the club promoter lost shitlaods of money and everything and we were really bummin’ cause all of these people were there and couldn’t get in.

Now I heard they were claiming that you were having orgies and sacrifices at the show!?

Oh yeah what it was they wanted 21 and over at the show because they said there was going to be satanic orgies and goat sacrifices and something like and I am like that is cool and everything but that’s too bad cause it’s not the case you know it would be pretty fun!. There’s one other show there (in Mexico) that the day of the show they decided to tax the club promoter after he had all the money from the night they taxed him like six hundred dollars!. So when it came time to pay us he had no money left, people were lined up out in the street and they made up this new tax the out in the street tax. Unfortunately Mexico is corrupt I mean I like playing down there and I like the people but their government kinda sucks.

The scene is good there I hear!?

Oh yeah they are totally sick, they’re totally into it and hungry for it, they totally appreciate the bands that come down. It’s a good thing to play in front of those totally die hard fans you know.

Getting back to tour stories I heard you had a bit of fun in Columbia as well?

Columbia was interesting, Columbia was a good scene. One thing was we were traveling through the windy mountain roads there and the roads there are really thin. When you are climbing the mountain it drops off at the end of the road so if you go off the road you fall off of the mountain. It’s crazy when there is a bus and truck come side by side it’s like wholly shit were going to fly off the edge and shit. We had some fucked up shit like this one truck was coming up the other side of the road and there was a thing of Coke bottles, they were carrying coke bottles and one flew out and shattered right in front of us and it almost hit the window it would have shattered and hit us so it was kinda fucked up. Yeah it’s kinda weird cause they have all of the Guerilla warfare up in the mountains and they had these checks with guys with guns looking for weapons.

The album marks the best production for Incantation in my opinion, are you happy with it and how was the recording process?

It was kick ass!. The dude who engineered it Bill Korecky and helped produce it he is totally metal and he knew what we were looking for. He knew we wanted good production but wanted it raw and heavy at the same time. He was good to work with he wasn’t a jackass and he wanted something that people were going to like and that the record company was going to like. Most importantly it came out how we wanted it, I would say it came like 90% exactly how we wanted it to as far as production wise goes, so we’re happy with it. We’re not a band that wants something too polished and clean, we want that rough edge to it it’s just cause that’s what we are. At same time you can hear the instruments, you can hear the bass, the guitars, the drums and everything. It’s clearer but brutal!.

Have you found it difficult taking over the lyrical reigns since Craig left the band?

It was a pain in the ass at first, I didn’t wanna do it, but I just focused myself into it. It’s not impossible to do, it’s just something I never really thought about doing or cared about doing so you know it was cool, it was good.

What do you do in your spare time away from the band?

I just like to go to shows and hang out and have as much sex as possible…(pause)…with chicks of course or goats.

I imagine you do a lot of reading on the road, what are some ‘zines and novels you have read lately?

I don’t read a lot on the road, I read some magazines and stuff usually just whatever magazines I get on the road. I just really don’t. I usually end up driving too much, I either drive or sleep or play metal that’s pretty much most of time.

Oh I didn’t know you did the driving on tour!?

Yeah I do most of the driving, unfortunately. I mean though it gives me a lot of time to listen to stuff and I get to listen to a lot of metal so that’s cool, too.

Do people you see on tour hand you a lot of demos to check out?

We get a good amount. It’s cool. That’s one good thing about being on the road I get hear a lot of new bands. Either we play with some cool bands, or we get demos. I mean, lots of times you get really shitty stuff bands that suck. But, a lot of times you get some really good stuff and find out about a lot of new kick ass bands like from San Antonio there is this band called Thornspawn, they’re kinda a more black metallish type band more in the vein of Mayhem or something like that but they are really good. A band from Florida called Diabolic which is really good, also another band Burning Inside which I like a lot. There’s another band from California called Infamy (this band kills -Dale) but I heard one of their members died so they are probably not going to continue. Not a new band but a band that doesn’t get a lot of respect cause of their name that is really good is Corpse Vomit (Gods! -Dale), they are really good band but people don’t give them a chance because of their name but I think they are a great band. They are one of the best underground bands out there excellent live really brutal and sick.

Do you usually come up with a basic concept for the cover art and let the artist go from there cause you have had some of the best covers on your albums!?

Yeah, I basically gave the idea to the artist who did the artwork for “…Golgotha” & “Mortal Throne…” and it came out looking really twisted and sick. It’s original looking, you know. It looks sick and warped and it’s not trendy, you know.

What do you know about Canada as a country?

I know you have Poutine’s (a dish of french fries smothered in gravy and thick mozza cheese churds, fucking awesome stuff! Damn I miss those… -Dale) up here which I like!!. There’s Bob and Doug McKenzie “It’s cool, eh!”

Yeah haha “You hoser!!”…(laughter all around)

I don’t know. What do I know about Canada? I know it snows a lot!. It’s cool we have a lot of good friends up here and we have a good time when we are up here and everything. I hope we can come up here again sometime time and play for all of the sick metal mutants!.

Give me some thoughts on the Canadian scene past and present?

In the past I’ve been a fan of the Canadian scene since about 1986 when I started getting into the underground there was some cool bands from the Montreal area, one of them was called Cremains and one was called Damnation (cool I hearing remember them! -Dale) then stuff like D.B.C., Voivod and I was into Infernal Majesty of course. I like Blasphemy, I mean they’ve always had some sick underground bands and you know the scene’s good. The scene everywhere we go here seems to be good. I mean, there is always at least a reasonable amount of people. I  mean, it is never under a hundred people so that’s cool, as long as it’s not like 20 or something we’re happy and people here usually go pretty sick and stuff.

Okay John bro thankx for the interview! Fave food and final comments?

While one thing I like is that Poutine up here and also Springfields cashew chicken it’s special to Springfield you can’t get cashew chicken anywhere else like that except in Springfield. Cool, thanks for the interview, dude.


The Complete Incantation Discography 

Rehearsal tape, 1990

Demo #1, 1990

Entrantment Of Evil 7"EP (Seraphic Decay Records), 1990

Entrantment Of Evil 7"EP (Relapse Records), 1991

Onward To Golgotha, 1992

Mortal Throne Of Nazarene, 1994

Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse,1995

The Forsaken Mourning Of Angelic Anguish, 1997

Tribute To The Goat, 1997

Diabolical Conquest, 1998

The Infernal Storm, 2000

Blasphemy Live in Brazil, 2002

Blasphemy, 2002

Live Blasphemy, 2003

Decimate Christendom, 2004

Primordial Domination, 2006



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