The cosmic lords of death and wonder Blood Incantation are back with yet another album of gonzo material fit for a fever dream of smoky purple haze adrift in the ether.
It's an unexpected next step for the Denver four-piece, unless you're a diehard fan or follower from jump-street, in which case the ambient and cinematic instrumental album Timewave Zero is the most Blood Incantation record yet.
"I mean, the umbrella term that's been used to describe the record is 'ambient.' But that's just one aspect of the album," said Blood Incantation guitarist Morris Kolontyrsky in an interview Metal Injection. "Once people hear it, once it's out, I think it'll be understood that it's a lot more than that. It's a composition. It's not just like, floating in a cloud the whole time. There are riffs. We just use different instruments to do it basically to evoke a different atmosphere. And yeah, like you said, it's been an inherent part of our sound pretty much since the beginning."
Adds Blood Incantation bassist Jeff Barrett, "We've all been interested in electronic music in some way or another for a long time. So this is us trying to just create more of what we want to hear."
The followup to 2019's epic (and much-lauded) Hidden History of the Human Race, Timewave Zero bookends a ten-year plan for the group that has seen the ever-rising eclectic outfit stick to their guns in all their creative glory.
"Our band since 2011 was saying we're going to make Morbid Angel, Gorguts, Disincarnate, and Death-style death metal mixed with the eccentricity of Lykathea Aflame, later Gorguts, mystical death metal like StarGazer. Our second record is going to have a green logo like [Domination], and our third record is going to be ambient. Literally over 10 years ago we said that in the practice space," shared guitarist and vocalist Paul Riedl.
"We don't play games, man," he adds, fired up at insinuations from fans and industry types that the band has gone off track. "We're not here to just have fun because death metal is fun on the internet. We've all been in bands for 20 years. We've been on tour. Jeff and I have been in bands on tour since before any of us met. We met Isaac on tour, we met Morris on tour. The whole thing is we're lifelong fanatics of extreme, eccentric, individualistic music of all genres. Could be ambient, could be noise, could be death metal, could be sludge, could be krautrock. It doesn't matter.
"We listen to music that speaks to people's intellectual spiritual side. And we've never once taken a consideration for what a label, a website, a band or any other thing is doing. That's why our band is successful, because we don't care about what these people are doing."
"Because our first two full lengths are so intense and insane, and packed with riff, after riff, personally, if I was a fan of the band, there's so much of that type of music we have released already that it would be a nice palate cleanser before our next release. Which is going to be even more insane," adds Kolontyrsky, tipping his hat to the fact that a return to punishing death metal, blended with all the influences you'd expect and then more you don't, isn't far away.
"We do have some ideas and some riffs and sequences that we've been playing around with, the soundtracks or whatever. But like this is the first time that Blood Incantation has the skill set and the wheelhouse of our total discography at our disposal and the time and the palate cleansed enough that we can create music that we're no longer having to catch up to ourselves," adds Riedl.
"We don't have to fight to be up to date with our own ideas. We have now totally wiped the palate clean and we can just play. Honestly, people are mad now, if they were mad at Starspawn, nobody is ready for what is happening next because when you come up with like straight up psychedelic, progressive technical, ambient fusion, world music, prog, extreme shred, and New Age. People are going to be like 'what the fuck is this?' And then all the people who are down will be like 'dude, this is the most Blood Incantation record ever.'"
On Underground Death Metal
Paul: From 1999 to 2009 there were 12 great death metal records and nine of them were made by legendary bands like Immolation, Incantation, Nile, Morbid Angel – these famous bands. But the underground was negligible for its impact on relevant contemporary music. Not just being like, oh yeah, I like Dismember's second demo too, trying to be interesting and pro-active, but also still not befuddled with this post digital MySpace era of slam whatever scene-kid deathcore nothing. Honest music.
On Merging Sounds And Internet Critics
Paul: Our band exists purely for our own interests. That's why we mix everything that people are like, "you can't have a funeral doom riff in a black metal riff that goes into a clean guitar part and then goes into Pink Floyd. You can't do that." And we're like "that's crazy, because I'm listening to this record we literally just made and it does that, so what are you fucking talking about?" We don't care what they have to say.
People are like "this band is great." Good. People are like "oh, this band sucks." It's like, "OK, I hope your band is better." I know it's not because otherwise, if you had something to do with your time, you'd be making that band that's better. You wouldn't be on the internet telling people that my band is not as good. You know what I'm saying? You got something to do. That's the reason why you'll never see anybody in a real band talk shit about a younger band.
Nobody's ever going to criticize somebody trying to do something. You're only going to be criticized by people who have nothing to do, and they either want a piece, they want some attention, they're jealous or bored, or it doesn't matter. If they had something spiritually, artistically, creatively compelling and fulfilling, that would be their priority. And that's why our band is that way, because that's all we care about. We just want to make music that is meaningful to us. And when people love it, that's sick. We love it and we appreciate those people and they come and they talk and we hang out with them. We'd be chill. Everything's great. But our music would look and sound the exact same as it does and as it has whether anybody would listen to it.
On The Definition Of Success
Morris: You think of all these giant bands like Iron Maiden to Pink Floyd, to Opeth – whatever. When people think of them for years it's like, "OK, that band is just doing what that band does." You say their name, you immediately know what it is, what it sounds like. They achieved a certain level, right? They broke through to the public in a way that most bands cannot. So the ultimate success for us is literally that same exact thing.
Paul: Maybe for you. My ultimate success is being able to not have to play it and I can listen to it and hear all this music that I was like man, wouldn't it be cool if the riff did this and then that and those things. I could sit down, I could smoke my pot and listen to it and not have to physically perform it and hear at aloud.
Morris: You create your own language, you know? And then other people try to speak it. It's pretty crazy.
On Who Blood Incantation Fans Are
Jeff: There's a very broad spectrum of people, I would say. We've run into a lot of people that aren't into metal at all and they're like, you know, "I don't get metal, but I've listened to your record and it really stuck with me here."
Paul: And it's because it does more than one beat in more than one riff. It mixes it up, and there's a musical dynamic within each song that you can kind of enter this little world. On the one hand, all of our songs kind of sound a little different, but they all sound like a Blood Incantation song. You can pick them up and be like, oh that's definitely a Blood Incantation-style riff or whatever. Or you know, no offense but like, I love Motörhead, but you can hear one or 30 Motörhead songs. I know it's Motörhead, but I have no idea what record it is besides these first six. You know what I mean?
On Timewave Zero As A Cinematic Project
Paul: We just want to play the show literally like Tangerine Dream in a cathedral, candles everywhere, giant synths everywhere, visuals projected on us and 2001 projected on the back. That's all we want to do, man.
If they think Timewave sounds like a planetarium soundtrack they're right and we'll do it for them for money. Just like Pink Floyd. We will make a soundtrack just for you, for money. And the movie has got to be great.
Blood Incantation's Timewave Zero is available February 25 through Century Media.