Imminence: Swedish Metalcore Explosion
Imminence is a dynamic metalcore entity based out of Sweden, who has just released a powerful EP stateside courtesy of We Are Triumphant Records. Return To Helios is the name of their latest masterwork, a short yet thrilling collection of tunes demonstrating just how intensive and ambitious the Imminence sound is. Whether they are unleashing a technical assault or lulling the listener into a state of sonic bliss, Imminence is destined to find a worldwide audience seeking extreme music seething with passion and innovation. Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the Imminence members to find out more about this resourceful band on the rise. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Imminence, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Harald Barrett and I’m one out of two guitarists in Imminence, also I’m supporting Eddie with back-up vocals during live performances. The current formation of our group goes back for only about a year, however, Imminence saw the daylight in the fall of 2009. It all started out as a project between myself and our former drummer, and quickly we joined arms with recruiting instruments and since then we’ve seen band members come and go until we finally formed the strongest quintet Imminence ever has seen.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Originally, Imminence was formed in the southernmost part of Sweden, in a small, dead-end town outside of Malmö. However, our current set-up of members stem from different parts of our region so we recognise ourselves as Malmö-based. The local music scene around here is small, yet so very vivid. Unfortunately is the main focus set on mainstream genres, such as hiphop and r’n’b, but scratch the surface and you can’t seem to oversee musicians and fans with beating hearts for the underground metal/hardcore scene. Being a Malmö-based metalcore act, we could not miss out on the chance to recommend some highly talented musicians and close friends of ours – Immolate, Obscene Optional and Massdistraction.
Is there any story or concept behind the EP title Return To Helios?
There is indeed. ”Return to Helios” takes part where our former EP ”Born of Sirius” ended and were purposed to become it’s back side. Being brighter yet darker, harder yet softer, more brutal yet more beautiful, ”Return to Helios” is somewhat it’s predecessors front side. Our deepest intentions and prospects are that whomever listens to our latest release will put their own hopes, experiences and dreams into the lyrics and let the concept behind ”Return to Helios” as well as for ”Born of Sirius” speak to each and every one at a most personal level. Music, lyrics and artwork all together carry a deeper meaning and purpose. Whatever conception of life, rightful deeds or other message the songs carries for us might not be the same for others.
Select two songs from Return To Helios and what inspired the lyrics.
As goes for most bands, at least as far as I’m concerned, more or less all of our lyrics are composed by Eddie. Clearly we all have a saying for both lyrics and vocals, but the main result is due to our lead singer. However, this would not restrict anyone’s thoughts or concerns about the lyrics. Even though I would not be capable of revealing the exact thoughts and concerns behind the original founding of the lyrics to our songs, it would seem somewhat hypocritical of us to engage people into their own interpretation and experiences of the songs if we would not be able to share our own opinions and comprehensions.
For my part, I tend to merge the sensation of how the actual musical is performed and the character of the lyrics. Wine & Water is an exemplary song in this matter. The lyrics are forceful and spirited, filled with frustration and in some degree also anger. I would not consider myself being a religious man, although I have strong reliance in the actual believing. I do believe in creating or finding your own purpose which will make anyone engaging in working on their own craft. I am convinced that everyone can relate to Wine & Water and the frustration and worriedness we face when wherever we seem to turn and look to find that purpose, we end up with the same desperate sense of failing in what you’ve tried to achieve.
Snakes & Ladders is interesting in the way that at it’s first glare can seem discontinuous and confused, which for my part is also a part of what this song actually tries to reflect. All people are unique and according to my beliefs, our stories shape our way to interpret our surroundings and the people in it, which by philosophical and sociological terms would be known as the concept of ”paradigms”. Once in a while, we face a shift of paradigms. To me, this has meant to learn that conceptions and understandings I’ve earlier had considering my personal story have been in some degree incorrect. The feeling of discovering that this concept of ”truth” is wronged is undeniably uncomfortable, but what has always comforted me in these intervals called moments is that by each paradigm you falsify – another one closer to what is ”true” is actually closing in.
How close is Imminence to writing and recording a full length?
Writing and recording are indeed two most separate actions. With two EP’s behind us, the latter just being released, we’re surely planning ahead for greater things to come. We’re already filled with inspiration and are, as always, fully determined to perform after our very deepest capacity. A greater leap for Imminence will occur within graspable future, what that will be remains for the world to see.
How did you wind up signing with We Are Triumphant Records in the States?
I was personally in touch with Greg Long, head owner of We Are Triumphant for just over a year ago, by the time we were about to release our debut EP ”Born of Sirius”. We were counseled to get in touch as soon as we had built up some recognition and accomplished greater things in our career. So we did. After a year of prosperity in Imminence history, we spoke to We Are Triumphant once again, just after releasing the video for ”Wine and Water”. Luckily, the response this time was different.
Has Imminence ever played here in the States or plan to do so in the future?
Playing in the States have always been one of our aims. Unfortunately we haven’t been given the chance for a profitable performance/tour yet, but with ”Return to Helios” being released by an American label, we’re more than hopeful for more people across the Atlantic to appreciate our music enough to come see us at a show.
What could one expect from a live Imminence show?
Back here on homeground we’ve been recognised for our infinite and never-ending intensity and vividness on stage. Whatever emotion travelling from ourselves into the songs, we’re delivering them in a merciless and blistering way that leaves few people unaffected. Losing your voice, breath, foothold or almost passing out would not even matter for us, we will deliver a show worth remembering.
Any strange or scary happenings while out on the road or at a show?
There is and always will be happenings that will come unexpected and catch you off guard. Amplifiers stop working, cymbals smashes to pieces, your bassist couldn’t make it since he’s in the emergency room, it starts raining all over your gear and so on. My personally most frightening experience was at an underground gig where bottles of beer broke and I slipped and fell in it. Strangely enough, both myself and my guitar seemed to be in one piece despite the glass shards and concrete floor.
Who did the cover art for Return To Helios and how much input did you have on it?
The artwork for ”Return to Helios” was designed by graphic designer Brian Morgante from the staggerlingly beautiful post-rock act Deadhorse. We kept regularly in touch with Flesh and Bone Designs, Brian’s company, and were more than stunned over what he was capable of accomplish. We were clear over the general ideas behind the artwork but Brian delivered a far greater work through his interpretation of the songs and the lyrics, than we could ever have imagined.
What was it like opening for Hammerfall and did you get to meet or hang out with them at all?
Hammerfall is, no doubt, one of Sweden’s most succesful acts and yet being in another genre, we connected very well with some of the members. Anders, the ferocious wilderbeast behind the drums, actually spend more time hanging out with us than with his own band. After the show, various members spent the remaining night back stage, for my part a very memorable experience.
What was the experience like playing the Metaltown Fest with Slayer and Lamb Of God?
When I was 16, I attended Metaltown Festival and I would never have dared to dream about one day have the name ”Imminence” printed on the posters all over the country. Metaltown is absolutely the largest metal event in Sweden and to be a part of the festivals supply was undoubtedly an unforgettable experience which I know each and every one of us will carry with us for rest of our lives. Partly, it was an amazing acknowledgement as a band, but naturally it was slightly unrealistic to share dinner with Killswitch Engage by the table at your left, Machine Head at your right and members of Lamb of God and Trivium waiting in line to have some supper.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
For my personal point of view, and I’m sure this goes for all my fellow band members, I could ramble examples for hours. However, August Burns Red and Architects joined arms and recently head out on a European tour together… Alas, they did not attend any Swedish venue, where I’m convinced we’d be perfectly suited. Both the acts have deeply influenced members of our group and I could very clearly see us on the road with these two giant metal acts.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing your music for the first time?
If someone were to hear our music for the first time, I’d be overwhelmed if they would have gotten the feeling of being truly emotionally touched by a sound that seems just as sharp as it is innovative. Nonetheless, our very intentions are also that people will get surprised by what they actually could find in our music for each and every time they hear it.
Any final words of wisdom?
People can sit back and they can analyze, they can critize and they can state that our actions don’t even make sense. But we are living our lives to fullest and we are sharing what we choose to do and what we choose to believe in, to anyone who chooses to listen…
So we have to do what we have to do.
Vocalist: Eddie Berg
Guitarist: Alex Arnoldsson
Guitarist: Harald Barrett
Bassist: Fredrik Rosdahl
Percussionist: Peter Hanström
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
Imminence in Facebook