Ingurgitating Oblivion are a death metal act from Germany
who play some of the finest melancholic and haunting death metal I have ever heard. The band released a
fantastic album in "Continuum of Absence" last year. We sat down with
the founding member Florian Engelke for an in-depth talk about the band, their
musical voyage and some general death metal chatter!
MM: Hi Guys, it’s a pleasure to have you over on Metal
IO: The pleasure is in our side, too. It's been a while,
really, since we've done an interview. So here we are. Sun's shining in merry
old Berlin, I took some days off. Life's good!
MM: Firstly, the new album “Continuum of Absence” [REVIEW HERE] released
last year, was the first full length after nearly a decade for the band, what
caused the large break?
IO: Oh well, that's a bit of a lame and tedious story,
really. After we finished “Voyage towards Abhorrence“, I moved to southern
Germany and after that to Berlin. My bandmates at the time basically stayed
where they still live right now – northern Germany, that is. Well, I had to
travel up north once every 5-6 weeks, which sucked and was extremely time-consuming.
Also, me being the major contributor of songs, structures and definitely the
main man coordinating things like website, partly shows along with most of the
organizational matters which come with a band and being quite distant
geographically, all this slowed the entire compositional process down. When we
actually started recording the tracks of "Continuum of Absence", this posed
quite a logistic challenge as well owing to the fact that the guys recorded
their stuff up north and I had to finish everything as a musician as in all rhythm
guitars and lead guitars and jointly with our producer we had to sort the
editing, mixing and mastering as well. Well, to say the least, the material the
other guys recorded in the first place was questionable regarding musicianship
and that is why the producer and I had to spend weeks of editing, re-recording
and so forth. This is how you secure the Nobel Prize in inefficient working
processes if you know what I mean. Rest assured, though, that such a long time period
happen again. Either we break up altogether (which hasn't been envisaged as of
now) or we publish high quality music on a regular basis again, which is
exactly what we have in mind.
MM: The album has a very raw yet technical death metal sound
to it. How would you guys describe your sound to the unactuated? What was the
idea/concept behind going for that melancholic sound the album has?
IO: I guess this just happens. We did not pursue a particular
sound – this all comes naturally. When it comes to components such as the kick
drum, the overheads, bass sound, guitars, a certain kind of reverb applied to
the vocals, I do have a specific idea indeed. However, I cannot claim to
envision the entire sound prior to getting started with the mixing, for
instance. I kind of take things gradually and at the end there is this
beautiful result and I haven't got the faintest idea as to how it came to be.
So how would I describe our sound? Well, when it comes to “Continuum of
Absence“ I'd say the album presents a mixture of down-to-earth Death Metal
tracks which have been spiced up with a certain degree of complexity in the
guitar work. The song structures are multi-faceted and diverse, the lyrics are
kind of typical of the Death Metal genre – possibly kind of eloquent and certainly
dealing with quasi-religious / spiritual matters such as death, rituals,
diverse traditions of burial ceremonies, resurrection and such. On “Continuum
of Absence“, it was mainly Ulrich, our former singer, who was in charge of the
lyrics. I only did “Stupendous, Featureless, Still” and “Descent to the
Temple“. Both these pieces of lyrics have been done in an expressionist
stream-of-consciousness kind of style. I mainly envision pictures such as
labyrinths, rivers, surfaces, busts, faces and put these pictures into
language. That is mainly what I do when I write lyrics. That is why I usually cannot
be bothered to nail down the lyrical ideas later on, hahaha. Personally I am
fine with good language, tasteful pictures and some kind of semantic tension.
MM: What would you like for the listener to feel while
he/she is listening to your music? Or let me phrase it this way, do you aim to
provoke a reaction or recognition in the listener and if so, what is it?
IO: I very much hope to trigger some kind of awe or an experience
which can be likened to diving, swimming in sounds and letting go or possibly
disappearing in some sort of vast ocean. I also like to think of IOs music as
sonic paintings, something utterly deep. Personally, I like “Stupendous,
Featureless, Still” quite a lot as this track kind of foreshadows what is to
come on the next IO album. This is a beautiful track both lyrically
(linguistically speaking this is a wonderful, dense and sublime) piece and
musically I love its complexity and intricacy. This is by far no show-off explosion
of technicality. This is a beautiful piece of music which makes sense both
technically and most certainly artistically. The new IO tracks will dwell on
these ingredients quite a bit, the new tracks will be even more epic and most certainly
deeper, deeper, deeper...
MM: I have also noticed that the band is going for a
makeover (at least on social media), with a new logo and website in the works.
What does the near future hold for the band?
IO: Well, I have been through quite a lot with the band,
man. I mean I founded the band almost a decade ago and it has grown dear to me
if you know what I mean. At the moment I am working on the new website at www.ingurgitating-oblivion.de. This
whole chapter was a drag as well and I had to fight for that domain for a year
or so. But that has all been sorted, which is great! The band has undergone
some major changes in its line-up – basically four band members left the band
or vice. At the end of the day I am the sole remaining original band member and
yeah, I managed to team up with some great musicians to record the new IO which
is due for early 2016 / mid of 2016. Again, it won't take us another 10 year!
We are in the middle of recording the new material and lo and behold, a teaser
can be checked out at www.ingurgitatingoblivion.de already! The band has also
undergone a makeover, as you rightly stated above. That is, we use a different
logotype and some friends and I have created an entirely new website as well.
The new album will be more state of the art when it comes to recording
standards, we will work at a different studio, some of the tracks are up to 20
minutes long, we have developed some progressive aspects which had already been
indicated in “Continuum of Absence” such as fusion elements and rather
unconventional instruments, the lyrics will be b-e-u-t-i-f-u-l and the
complexity of the tracks has been cranked up quite a bit. The recording guy has
been working on one of the tracks aptly entitled “A mote constitutes what to me
is not all, and eternally all, is nothing“ for more than half a year, which is
a good representation of how complex these tracks are going to be. The tracks
are being recorded by two session drummers by the way. One guy is called Paul
Wieland, a good friend of mine. The other guy most of you will know as he is
the drummer of the most important Death Metal act from Germany, Defeated
Sanity. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's gonna be Lille Gruber, which is gonna
MM: With an amazing album as “Continuum of Absence” now
under the belt, what is next in the musical journey of Ingurgitating Oblivion?
IO: We will finish recording the new material by the end of
2015 / beginning of 2016. Also, we have teamed up with Lille Gruber of Defeated
Sanity on session drums. By mid-2016 we will release the new IO album on
Willowtip and parallel to all that we will get down to business and play some
shows and also complete the line-up. As of now, we are happy with how things
progress. I will create a sublime album cover with Rafal, the guy who is running
the website together with me. So much looking forward to all that, man. Also,
it is just great to work on new material without other people hampering
efficiency and decreasing speed. Such a relief! It is awesome to work with such
talented musicians right now. Lille and Paul are just amazing drummers. The guy
on bass is a good friend of mine, too and is one of the most talented, probably
the most talented bassist I have ever had the pleasure to work with. His name
is Adrian, he and I write the new IO material, he is an analytical geek, which
results in impossible as well as immaculate bass lines. Also, he is a kick-ass
vocalist. You better check out the new IO release, haha.
MM: Do you believe you have found your original sound and
base, or can fans expect the band to march into further unknown territories
with future releases?
IO: We will most certainly venture further into untrod and
rugged territories. Rest assures. I guess we will become more progressive, but
increase the level of brutality. The new material will certainly be more
complex, even more layered, more epic, unconventional without being over the
top, irrelevant or cheesy. So no, we have not established some kind of sound
base, really. I mean there certainly is ingredients which will tell you right away
that you are listening to a new IO album. You will also realize that it has
always been me who coined this kind of sound. We will most probably continue to
use massive riffs and epic structures. The lyrics will evolve, too, but I will
always stick to this linguistic mania of mine, I assume. We will develop
elements such as vocals and add ideas, instruments and moods which bear witness
to the only one goal I have always pursued: the highest level of musicianship
the band was capable of capturing at the moment of recording the respective
albums. Life's good and teeming with inspiration. That is exactly what IO have
dared to encapsulate in their work – and that is exactly what I will keep on
doing. Not matter the odds!
MM: Coming back to some general death metal talk, what is
your take on the modern death metal bands and the underground death metal scene
IO: Personally, I care more about music as such … as opposed
to some particular genre. I love good music and I appreciate decent people.
Bands or composers I dig are the likes such as Nobukazu Takemura, Gorgots,
Alessandro Marcello, Prokofiev, Deathspell Omega, Stockhausen, Dordedu, Les
Tetes Raides, Brigitte Bardot, Schubart, In the Woods, Ved Buens Ende,
Incantation, Coil, Reich, Dvorak etc. There is an infinite number of
interesting artists out there – in post-modern composition, Rock, Metal, Jazz
and so forth. What I love about bands such as Ulcerate, for instance, is that
they care about sound, musicianship and atmosphere. That is what I appreciate in
music. Technicality per se is tedious. The bass guitar needs to sound good, the
song needs to make sense, and the tension needs to be generated. That is all
what I care about. When it comes to Metal as a genre (and again, I do not
really care about this category) I am more into obscure shit such as Angel
Corpse, Anal Vomit, Sarcofago, early days Sepultura, early days Obituary,
Ignivomous, Iniquity, Mayhem, Perversor, early days Morbid Angel, Cerebral Fix,
Portal and such.
MM: This brings me to, what does the word “underground” mean
to you? Can a band be popular and successful, and still be considered
“underground” in spirit?
IO: Hmmm, all I care about is that I like the music. The
whole business which comes with it is a technical necessity, I guess. When I go
to concerts and people are cool, relaxed and respectful toward one another, I
am all happy. I appreciate inspiring, enthused conversations as well as I
appreciate a good party. You know, I do not want to over-accentuate this
underground idea as I believe it is not really a relevant category. It is
normal that people form bonds and want to separate themselves from others.
These are traits, however, which cause a lot of conflict and are the perfect
feeding ground for preconceived ideas, you know? I go to concerts to have a
good time and not to define myself as a person who belongs to a certain sub
culture. Don't get me wrong, I have been into Metal for more than 20 years now.
I reckon I can be considered a Metalhead. But still, I really do not separate
myself from the world by over accentuating categories such as genre,
underground and such. This takes a bit of thinking out of the box to grasp a
standpoint like “I love Metal, I love music, and I love life”. However, I do
not necessarily care too much about underground or subcultures as categories
which are relevant in my life“.
MM: That is all from my end. Thank you for taking the time
and effort to answer the questions. Is there anything else you’d like to
disclose as we end this interview?
IO: Thanks heaps for the interest in IO and what we are
about, music and passion for complexity both lyrically and structurally. I am
so much looking forward to delivering IO releases again on a regular basis and
hey, the new album, of course, is gonna outshine its predecessor. Keep it real,
chill out and check out www.willowtip.com as well as
www.ingurgitating-oblivion.com for some forward-thinking music :-)