"We cover many heavy subjects, but it is written in a way where we want people to feel a connection and feel helped and recognised"
Imminence are just about to release their new album 'Heaven In Hiding' via Arising Empire, and it's set to take them to a completely new level.
Further burrowing into the sonic and emotional elements that have littered their music up until now, the band explore the things that make them who they are and how the world around us affects that and come out the other end with one of the most intriguing and intense modern metalcore releases of the year. It's a record designed to be dissected and discussed, and one that will live under your skin long after the last notes have rung out.
To find out how we have found ourselves in this position, we spoke to guitarist Harald Barrett and discovered the new lengths that they went to to create such a masterstroke...
In terms of the first building blocks of this record, what would you say the initial vision was? How did you start piecing it together?
"Coming out of ‘Turn The Light On’, I would say that was the starting point. The next album always starts where the last album finishes. But the first challenge we had was to take everything we had built up and then tear it back down again. It’s all about focusing on something completely new rather than what has come before. So you are perfectly blank somehow. That’s not entirely true, just because you learn so much in the process of writing songs and putting an album together. You grow as a person as well. But you don’t just want to continue what you have already done.
"This time we were very open-minded in terms of how we approached the songwriting. I would say that Eddy and I were a lot more relaxed, spontaneous, and intuitive than ever before. Each idea was interesting, whatever it could have been. If it gave us the right vibe, it was the right thing to work on. We didn’t know what to expect, and there were no actual decisions about how we set about approaching it. Everything fell naturally into place just because we chose for it to work that way. It was about being playful. And it’s interesting when you see how elements are repeating themselves and characteristics coming back in, even though every album has been so different. But there is still an essence of what the band is and what we want to say that continues to come through, and I feel like they were able to shine even more."
And what would you say that essence is? And how has that intensified over time?
"I think there is a very emotional theme that we always come back to. Even though we have written songs that have been more progressive or more pop at times, the borderline has always been somewhere between absolute tragedy and absolute strength and power. That’s where we have always wanted to be about and what we have always wanted to write about. We cover many heavy subjects, but it is written in a way where we want people to feel a connection and feel helped and recognised. This is a repeating theme that always comes back and always feels like the right thing to do. It’s always important to feel inspired by the emotion bouncing off the music we are making. That’s how we know it is right. The best way to describe Imminence is the sound of a wounded animal fighting for its life. That’s what we always want to feel like."
It feels like the balance between those two things is all the more visceral on this album than ever before, and all the more connected too…
"I absolutely agree, and it feels like the particular songs, despite being opposite in tone, is still possible for them to exist together. We found it interesting to combine them, as we did with ‘Chasing Shadows’ and ‘Alleviate’ because they tell the same story but are portrayed differently."
And that must come together when you bring your own experiences and views on that same subject into the band, allowing you to explore them most personally…
"I think we have a very strong sense of collaboration within the band. Me and Eddy have known each other and have been writing music together for so long that we’ve come to the point where we understand each other. Not all the time, of course, because it can be challenging to explain some things when they are just a sketch. But there are moments where we can show each other something, and it clicks just like that. It’s hard to talk about a creative process because you’re trying to put words to pretty abstract things. And I think it’s incredible when you reach a level of like-mindedness where you can make sense of it. You’re in tune with each other."
And to have that connection develop over time allows the more personal and dark parts of what you’re trying to do to make all the more sense. Those things don’t just happen overnight…
"It doesn’t matter what subject it is, but you become very vulnerable when you’re writing something. You’re showing yourself, especially if it’s something that carries some of your personal stories and experiences. When you invite someone in to work on it with you, you have to be ready to receive criticism or even someone putting their personal touch on it. I think it’s essential to have that if you want to create something unique for you and your group. I believe that is where we have come to at the point we are at now. There isn’t any ego, just the means of creating joy by writing music together."
What would you say were the threads that helped to turn the batch of songs you had together this time around into an actual album?
"There were a couple of tracks that we wrote that we felt we had a good vibe with. ‘Temptation’ was one of the first songs we had, and there was something about how it hit. It was so much heavier than what we had written before, and it almost set a standard for us to reach. But not a direction. But I think that when the song ‘Heaven In Hiding’ was written, it started to come together. It’s a song and a sound that stands out that I don’t recognise in other music. It’s fascinating musically and lyrically, where we could start to see the themes within it connecting with the other songs we had. The song's theme also helped us to conclude the story that we were trying to tell whilst also helping us define what ‘Heaven In Hiding’ means."
And what do you feel as though it means?
"It’s very much about looking a little bit deeper than the surface. It’s about trying to find your inner heaven in hiding, in a time when it is easier to find your strength and power in places you wouldn’t expect to find it. Everything is so fast these days, and they're are so many solutions that are easily accessible. But we want to encourage people to look inside of themselves and find that love before heading out and searching for it elsewhere."
And especially with the period that we have all had to go through, the pursuit of searching inside yourself is even more vital and completely different to how it would be at any other time…
"With the album being written in the middle of the pandemic, it felt like the right time for us to do a little bit of soul-searching. We’ve been living a sort of lifestyle for many years because of being out on the road as much as we have. It’s been incredibly meaningful to us, but then suddenly, it was all ruptured and changed by things out of your control. You start to consider things differently and the paths in life that you decide to take. So writing the album in the way that we did allow us to put all of the feelings of doubt into something even more meaningful. And I feel like we did find the answers to the questions we were asking because of it. It gave us so much purpose, and we felt so blessed to have such a guiding light with us."
What do you feel this process has taught you that you probably weren’t aware of before you started?
"I think this whole period has given me the means to stop and get a different perspective on how you have lived your life and how you appreciate the things you do. When you’re not able to go out and meet your fans or the people who support you, it’s so different. Because the time that somebody shares their view of your art and what they have gained from it, that’s the point when it all becomes real. So now, at this point, I feel like we better understand the bigger purpose of our pursuit in this artistic career. And more than ever, it is about reaching and connecting with people."