Continuing the Crucifixion
An Interview with Immolation
by: Gino Filicetti
Seeing as it has been almost five years since you've probably encountered the name Immolation, it would be no wonder if you are a bit fuzzy on the details surrounding this band.

In the fateful year of 1988, Immolation was formed after the demise of Robert Vigna and Tom Wilkinson's previous band: Rigor Mortis. The duo went on to form the first incarnation of Immolation that also included Ross Dolan on bass and vox, and Neal Boback on drums. Just before the recording of their first album, the relationship with Neal deteriorated to the point of the band being forced to move on. Enter Craig Smilowski to fill in as a session drummer on Immolation's debut, _Dawn of Possession_ and later staying on for the long bout of touring that followed. Just recently however, the band decided that Craig was not the right person for the job. "He just wasn't into it with all his heart. I mean, Craig's a really good guy but he wasn't one to take initiative. He always had to be told what to do and it just got to the point were we wanted to move on to bigger things, and Craig couldn't handle it. So now we got Alex Hernandez (ex of Fallen Christ) who is an excellent drummer, who knows exactly what he wants to get out of drumming, and is obsessed by the music. I mean, the guy had to be part of four bands just to get the amount of practice he desired."

With the release of their album just around the corner, and more than one tour already planned, the band is more than psyched to get out there and get back in people's faces. However, it has been a long time since their previous release (five years). Will this fact hurt the band's chances at all? "No way! I think if anything it actually helps us. I mean, it's not like we are some kind of trendy band that lays low and tries to figure out what the next trend is so we can jump on it and cash in. No, I think people appreciate that we are still the same band we were five years ago. I think that we will have not lost any of our fans, and we hope to grab that many more with this new album."

One reason that can account for the gap between albums is Immolation's label switch. It can be said that the band had to start completely from scratch after releasing themselves from Roadrunner, in that they had to shop for a new label themselves. "It was just a matter of us being fed up with the label and all the bullshit we had to put up with. Everything was great with them, we recorded _Dawn of Possession_, and everything was really smooth. Roadrunner then sent us on a couple of tours, and they were ready for us to release another album in the few short months that followed. We tried to tell them, 'Look, we just won't have the album ready by then.' I mean, we all had full time jobs and we couldn't focus our complete attention on the band at that time. But the label wouldn't accept that, so we decided that it was best if we just leave and find someone who would be more into our music, and appreciate us in the same way everyone else appreciates us."

One of the most unfortunate things about getting pre-release promos is that more than likely, the album's lyrics will be left out and forgotten. What most labels fail to realize is that (in my opinion) half the album's worth consists of its lyrics. Rob Vigna shares my opinions; "I know, that really sucks about promos. I mean, you'd think that people who are doing interviews and reviewing records are the ones that need the lyrics more than anyone." However, from the song titles alone, it is apparent that Immolation are still keeping up with their anti-Christian beliefs. What is behind the lyrical ideas on this album? "Well, I think that this album is very personal to all the members of the band. Very much more so than the last one. There is more of an anti-Christian theme on this album as well. It just reflects what we feel inside. I mean, in my opinion, it is very hard to write a really good song. I can honestly say that we, as a band, have always taken our time to deliver the best lyrics we can possibly write."

In music, we have nasty things called labels. Everyone in this business feels the need to categorize and pigeonhole bands into certain genres: death metal, thrash, grindcore, black metal, etc. How does Immolation fit into all this? "Well, Immolation is just Immolation, plain and simple. Fuck man, you know, we have been called it all, from death metal to black metal to death/black metal. It's just stupid I think, but then again, people need a frame of reference when talking about new bands or unfamiliar bands. I just think people should spend as little time as possible thinking about what certain genre a certain band is."

Since their debut album, Immolation has certainly had more than their share of road time. The band has successfully toured America more than once, Europe, South America and even the greatest country on earth, Canada. What are the tour plans this time around? "Well, we are going to go out with Six Feet Under in support of their American tour, and after that we are heading out to Europe to open for Cannibal Corpse. There will probably be an Osmose band opening up as well. After that, we will probably follow Cannibal Corpse back to the US and support their tour here." He continues, "As for headlining a tour, we have nothing planned yet, but these tours will take up most of our time for the rest of this year. Maybe late this year or early next year, we will put together a headlining US tour. The thing is that headlining is just so much better. You are in control, I mean, you pick the food and you get first crack on the sound board, and you go on last, and you get to play all the songs you want. And in the end you know that if you pack a venue, it's because all those people were there to see you."

As my interview drew to a close, I asked Rob if there was anything else he'd like to say to everyone out in cyberspace. "Yeah well, we'd just like to thank everyone for all the support and encouragement we've received throughout the years. We know that without the help of each and everyone of you, Immolation would not stand where we are today. I hope everyone completely digs this new album, and hopefully we will see you all on the road."

(article submitted 9/2/1996)


CHATS
2/22/2005 J Smit Immolation: Hail to the Conquerors
5/13/2001 P Schwarz Immolation: A Truly Individual Sin
7/7/1999 P Schwarz Immolation: Incinerating Yourself to Live
ALBUMS
8/23/2013 A El Naby 8.5 Immolation - Kingdom of Conspiracy
3/7/2010 J Smit 9.5 Immolation - Majesty & Decay
6/10/2007 T DePalma Immolation - Of Hope and Horror
6/10/2007 T DePalma 9.5 Immolation - Shadows in the Light
1/20/2005 J Smit 9 Immolation - Harnessing Ruin
6/30/2003 P Schwarz 9 Immolation - Unholy Cult
1/10/2001 K Buchanan 9 Immolation - Close to a World Below
7/7/1999 P Schwarz 9.5 Immolation - Failures for Gods
1/17/1996 G Filicetti 7 Immolation - Here In After
GIGS
6/3/2005 T DePalma Deicide / Immolation / Skinless / Despised Icon / With Passion Tear Through the City, Tear Through the Soul
5/21/2003 J Smit Immolation / Malevolent Creation / Aborted / Noctiferia A Kingdom United
5/21/2003 J Montague Immolation / Malevolent Creation / Aborted / Noctiferia Goth Club Destroyed by Death Metal Gods
3/16/1997 A Bromley Cannibal Corpse / Brutal Truth / Immolation / Oppresor Cannabis Corpse and Friends
5/10/1996 V Singh Deicide / Fallen Christ / Immolation / Incantation The Wave of Death
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