Stockholm's death metal band Insision was formed in 1997 after the demise of Ildoor and Emblamer. The band issued a demo meaning it too with the title Meant To Suffer! Johansson replaced guitarist Patrik Muhr. The new line-up signed to the Swedish label Heathendom Music and recorded The Dead live On MCD. Johan Thornberg and Joonas Ahonen took their leave.
A new line-up meant the induction of Birath and Ekroth and the band was soon on track again playing locally. This line-up recorded Promo 2000 at Real Studio. Next up was the recruitment of Toob. The band recorded a new demo called Revelation Of The SadoGod (also a split 10" with Inveracity for Nuclear Winter Records) before being snapped up the Wicked World subsidiary of Earache. The label had been interested in the band for a while, but had hesitated to sign the act pending the stability of the line-up. The band's debut full-length was recorded at Studio Berno with Berno Paulson and Deranged's Axel Johansson. In March of 2004, the band entered Soundlab Studio with Nasum's Mieszko Talarczyk as producer for a new album, Revealed And Worshipped. A tour with Disgorge and Suffocation followed. The band later hit Australia. The band dumped Earache Records in the summer of 2006. The group entered Black Lounge studio on October 16th, 2006 in order to begin recording a third album, entitled Ikon. The band was still seeking a label. Bassist Daniel Ekeroth published a book about the Swedish death metal scene in late 2006, simply called Swedish Death Metal. Toob was out and Magnus Martinsson was in around September of 2007. Bassist Daniel Ekeroth left in the middle of 2009 in order to concentrate on his writing and publishing activities and to make money. His replacement was Joel Andersson, who had previously played with Immersed In Blood. Insision asked guitarist Magnus Martinsson (Grave, etc.) to leave in late 2010 due to his "involvement and focus on other bands and projects" and recruited Tobias Alpadie (Miseration) as a session member.
Insision left Dental Records in September of 2010 and was seeking a new label. The band had new songs ready. Insision would release a new EP, End Of All, in 2011 through Sevared Records. The album was recorded at Off Beat Studio. In 2012, Insision was commemorating its fifteenth anniversary with the release of a 23-song compilation with material from the first demo, 1998's Meant To Suffer; a recording of the band's second live appearance in 1998, Live Like A Worm; the 1999 demo The Dead Live On; 2000's Promo 2000; 2001's Revelation Of The SadoGod demo and more. The album was due in May through Sevared Records.
INSISION - Promo 2000
Can you imagine Immolation and Cannibal Corpse getting together, incorporating some of the bruising slashing of old Swedish death metal and releasing a demo tape with four titles like Ex Oblivion and Rewind Into Chaos? Imagine no more. With no shortage of experience - the band features former Dellamorte, Disfigured, Ildoor, etc. members - the Stockholm bunch arrive at Metallian Towers with a pro-copied/well-sounding demo tape that earns them a gracious nod and an audience with The Metallian. This is pure death metal with low vocals, sharp guitars, fast riffing and drumming all the way. The drummer could have tuned his snare lower for a heavier sound, but that's all the complaining possible here really. The only farcical detail is that Heathendom Music has already released a MCD by the band two years ago which I don't believe I have ever seen either sold or reviewed. What good is a label in such a case? No good. Write the band enclosing $5 at Thomas Daun, Tomtebogatan 24, 113 38 Stockholm Sweden.
INSISION - BENEATH THE FOLDS OF FLESH - WICKED WORLD/EARACHE
Insert the debut full length CD of Sweden's Insision into your player and you will notice that the quintet does not waste time going for the throat. It's as if they want to claim to the Brutal R Us tag. In fact, this isn't for the death metal fan who listens to Dark Tra...(!?!?!) but rather a meeting of Cryptopsy, Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel. Most of the tracks here are rerecorded demo tracks which are beefed up for the full length. One might be forgiven for wondering whether the Swedes are playing with our heads just a tad. Have you noted the peculiar spelling of the band's moniker? Demo song Impamiis Graa makes an appearance here as Impamiiz Graa. Ex Oblivion is now called Ex Oblivione and so it goes. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Beyond that, the guitars slash and bruise and the singer experiments with a couple of screams on top of the growls. The drumming is unrelenting and furious and the high drum sound is reminiscent of Cryptopsy. The sound and production courtesy of Berno Studio's (Seance, The Haunted, etc.) Berno Paulson and Johan Axelsson of Deranged is bottom-heavy and, along with the riffing, results in an atmosphere not dissimilar to Monstrosity's Impending Doom. Insision, though, plays at higher speed levels than most Florida bands. Song-wise Trapped Within features several high screams next to the heavy growling. Sado God is again one of those altered titles and Temple Of Flesh has both an opening riff and lead work reminiscent of label-mates Morbid Angel. The intriguing title Rewind Into Chaos is a song which begins with a grunt reminding me of Seance before launching segments adrenalized by dual-channel vocals. Impamiiz Graa has impressive blasting in the middle which the band consciously cuts short and the song ends with a melody which throws the listener off-balance. My Fever is a strong song with particularly powerful vocalizing. The guitars rage, the drums pound and there is a Morbid Angelish riff here again. Before My Altar begins with a wailing riff but not before sampling a short dialogue. The album ends after 30 minutes with a musically modified (from the demo version) Ex Oblivione and more crushing singing (?) and blasting. Still alive and with me? Then hold hands and observe a moment of silence in memory of our fallen comrades (remember the Gothenburg reference earlier?). Chances are slim as always, but it would be nice to have Insision grace a Canadian stage.
INSISION - REVEALED AND WORSHIPPED - EARACHE
At some point one has to look fate in the face and decide whether the real thing is for him or not. The real thing, as far as death metal bands go, is Sweden's Insision.
The band's second album is an exercise in punishing brutality. Taking Deranged and Immolation as its reference points, the Swedish monsters completely circumvent all counterfeit death metal pretenders and deliver from beginning to end. The complex riffing and brutal savagery is augmented by ferocious speed, insane vocals, whirlwind passages and vocals so depraved the cold-blooded American military machine seems dignified in comparison. Favourite tracks on the album have to be the opener No Belief, the pulverizing Grotesque Plague Mass and the ambitious The Cleansing. Unconventionally enough, the title track is a spoken monologue. Also worth mentioning is the Slayer-infleuned The Unrest.
Non compos mentis one should say to those who would dare to buy this album! - Ali "The Metallian"
The guitars slash and bruise and the singer experiments with a couple of screams on top of the the barbaric growls. The drummer is a beast on the run and the snare bangs away as if bent on destruction. The production is bottom-heavy which, along with riffs, translates into a sound not dissimilar to Monstrosity's Imperial Doom albeit with more vigour and technicality. Words evoke demons and power and come at you incessantly. Who, what and where? Sweden's Insision with the debut full length album Beneath The Folds Of Flesh courtesy of Earache Records.
Having soaked in the nine tracks and 30 minutes which is Beneath The Folds Of Flesh, Ali "The Metallian" invites singer Carl Birath, guitarists Roger Johansson and Torbjorn Drynedal (a.k.a Toob) and drummer Thomas Daun into Metallian Towers for a chat. Pleasantries over, drinks served and the serfs dismissed, the four get their heads around the band and the current release. - 31.05.2002
Let the first question be the obvious one. Will you give an account of the band up to the present and generally introduce Insision to the readers? Who wants to take this one?
Roger: Toob, why don't you take that one.
Toob: OK, the line-up currently is drummer Thomas Daun who has been with the band from the start. Daniel Ekroth is on bass, who joined us around 1999 or 2000. Guitarist Roger Johansson joined us in 1998 from Disfigured. Karl our singer joined the band in 2000 from his former band Azatoth and I joined the band several months after Carl after quitting my band Genocrush Ferox. Insision's story begins in early 1997 with Thomas and some other guys . In '98 they did a demo called Meant To Suffer and went through several line-up changes. We now have a stable line-up and I think we'll continue as such for a long time. In 1999 they released the MCD The Dead Live On through Heathendom Music of Sweden and that got a pretty good response. There were problems with the members though and so everything slowed down. At times only Thomas and Roger were at the rehearsals. Later through lucky coincidences they met the rest of the band and when I joined in 2001 the line-up was complete.
What became of the original singer Johan Thornberg?
Toob: He was... not sick, but... he's a good vocalist but he was tired, couldn't manage it and decided he doesn't want to do it anymore. He isn't in a band right now.
What can you tell us about the band moniker? Why is it misspelled?
Toob: Well, they thought it would be cooler to have a S in the name instead of a C. Like Kreator is spelled with a K instead of a C. It looks better.
Is the EP you mentioned still available or is it sold out?
Toob: No, it is still available and you can order it through us.
How did the contract with Earache come about? Who found whom and for how many albums is your contract?
Toob: Earache got in touch with the band long before I was ever a member! But they had members quitting and so decided to wait. They maintained contact with Earache. When I joined, Earache sent over a contract and we signed for four albums. You need a stable line-up before you sign a record contract.
I am sure many of your compatriots would argue that point! Never mind, let's delve into the album.
Toob: I think it turned out really well. There are good songs with variation. The production also turned out well, it's not too clean and not too... well-produced. It's well-produced alright, but is not a digital sound. We recorded it totally analog. We got a cool sound. Overall it's really hard to say though, it's hard to talk about your own record, you know? I didn't listen to the recordings for months and finally when I got the disc I listened and am convinced. It's value went up for me when I finally listened to it. It's a good record and I am very happy and very satisfied.
The brutality of the album might deceive some people. There is much technical ability on it, but casually listening to it might give one the impression that it's all about heaviness and brutality when in fact there is much on the album that is complex. Toob concurs.
Toob: Yes, you are right, we have quite a massive sound. You might not hear all the technical details. That's exactly right, you have to listen to it a couple of times and each time hear a little more of the details.
One such example is the riff on Trapped Within which I like to describe as a rolling one.
Toob: Yeah, I know which one you mean. We used many trills... by trills I mean a hammer-on which is when you go up the neck or down the guitar neck. That gives it the rolling feel.
Talk about the high screams one hears on that song.
Toob: You have screams like that on a couple of songs. We never really plan those.
What is the song Sado God about?
Carl: The lyrics are about when you hurt yourself and, it's a mix, you can almost get a high and everything goes away. Then you can concentrate on really interesting things and the interesting thing for me is Satan. So when you hurt yourself you can experience Satan more easily. But at the same time, life's a bitch and then you die. So the lyrics are a mixture of those feelings. It's my own interpretation of life itself and while I hurt myself. You can see the contrast in it. Life is intense, right? If you like it to be, you can make your life more intense and bigger. It's all about who you are and what you like to do with your life. You can experience things which are... this is something that means a lot to me.
I am putting all my energy into Insision now. This band means a lot to me and it's my life. I walk and talk Insision 24 hours a day. Devotion and dedication are the two main things for me. These are strong words and they are what you need, or else things turns out to be crap.
Why don't you talk about Rewind Into Chaos. Beside the intriguing title, you also have incorporated interesting dual-channel vocals on the track.
Carl: The title means this world is crap, is created by a crap person and we are all crap so why don't we rewind back to where we came from which is chaos. As for the dual-channel vocals, I used them to emphasize certain points. So where you hear two vocals, that is where I am emphasizing the lyrics. It makes them heavier and gives extra emphasis. All the vocals on Rewind Into Chaos are mine, but on a song like Ex Oblivione Toob does some vocals and backing as well. Toob does the first scream between the long growls on Trapped Within as well. I think he's saying 'Who The Fuck Am I?' or 'Where The Fuck Am I?' there.
The grunt at the beginning of the song reminded me of Seance.
Carl: You know how this world began in a state of chaos and we were all animals? Well the grunt (makes a grunting sound) is meant to represent that state. That's why it's at the very beginning of the song as well. It's the grunt from mankind. It's better to go back than go forth because what we are doing is destroying everything. There is nothing good about anything or the world we live in.
Exactly! Let's move on to the song Impamiiz Graa. Firstly what does that title mean and secondly why has the title changed from the demo version's Impamiis Graa to the album's Impamiiz Graa?
Carl: (smiles) this creature Impamiiz Graa is like my alter ego. He lives inside me. He is a kind of a demon. This creature, who is true and I promise you is for real, lives inside my head and body. I can move inside him as he can move inside of me. The first time I met this creature was when I started to do Satanic rituals. I started to create this alter ego so I can step into. He is a person that I am not in the real world, or what we call the real world, because I promise you there are several worlds in the same dimension in which we are speaking now. When I step into Impamiiz Graa I can become this thing that I am not right now. Over the years he has developed from being just this person I imagined to something real. I thought all the voices in my head, which talk to me, had to be someone that I know as they know everything about me. My explanation (now) is that it is he: Impamiiz Graa. The first time I met him, the first time I created him his name was spelt with an S. For a while I didn't think about him and he went away for a long time. Then he came back again and now his name was spelt with a Z! Then I realized this was the way his name was supposed to be spelt. He deserved to be named correctly. I talked about this creature on the Superior (Carl's former black metal bands) demos as well.
Another song whose title has changed from the demo days is Ex Oblivione which used to be called Ex Oblivion. Are you playing with the fans' heads?
Roger: (laughs) It wasn't our idea. It was the record company that fucked it up. Oblivione (emphasizes the 'e' at the end) sounds like a pizza!
Carl: Roger is mistaken. It wasn't the label at all. It was me really. I was speaking to Dan at Earache and he asked me about the title. I went back to the H.P. Lovecraft story where I had read the story and noticed that the story is actually called Ex Oblivione. I wanted it to be correct in remembrance of one of the great writers of the twentieth-Century.
The demo version of Ex Oblivione has a slapping bass sound at the beginning which you have omitted on the album version. Why is that?
Roger: Well, the album versions of the songs are different from the demo versions. They are also more aggressive on the album. They are more immediate. We were talking about this bass-slap sound in the studio. We wanted it, but when we heard it in the studio we felt the sound was too noisy and distorted. Since it was too awkward, we skipped it. So we went for a punch sound instead of a slap.
Do you worship Satan?
And what is Satan?
Carl: I know what you are getting at. I am no LaVey fan. Satan for me is really personal. It's nobody else's business. I am not involved in a group. I can't explain Satan in terms of black and white. It's not as simple as God has created Satan. But at the same time I believe it in a sense. What it comes down to is that I can change my mind whenever I like - I have the power of everything I do. I will come to Satan eventually. I believe He is real, but a person through other persons. He is a force that can bring people together or shatter them. This is not a charade. I am not going into the forest with axes and stuff and saying that I worship Satan.
One thing I noticed musically in Impamiiz Graa and others songs is how the patterns change often and, for example, the blast beat lasts all but five seconds when it could have benefited from a longer run.
Carl: This is something that Roger and Thomas have developed together throughout the years. When you watch a movie and the ending is coming and you know it, but suddenly something comes and things start happening all over again. You are asking yourself, 'what is going on?' and you're all awake! That's what they try to do. It's like a surprise or a punch in the face. You can do this in the opposite way as well. Other bands do things which are so predictable. You know the formula and it's predictable. We don't want it to become too complicated though. It should still be listenable.
Tell me about the melody at the end of Impamiiz Graa.
Carl: This is something that I and Roger came up with.
Roger: The melody comes after the riff where I felt like creating a melody - but not a melodic riff, if you know what I mean. It's the same story with the beginning of Before My Altar. We want to create an atmospheric feeling, but it should be brutal. The intro to Before My Altar also goes with the Satanic theme.
The song has a great lead part which stops quickly again. One might ask why is the lead work so short.
Roger: I ask myself that question too! It should have gone on. The riff goes on and so should have the solo. But the guys in the studio said it should stop and so it stops. When we discuss songs we try to agree with one idea and with each other.
My Fever is a great track. The riff on that song is reminiscent of Morbid Angel.
Roger: You think so? We wanted to do things differently on that song. It starts a little bit dark and goes over to the high hats. We wanted to have a mix of everything. I agree with the Morbid Angel comparisons, but it wasn't something I wanted to do with every song.
What about the cover art and the title of the album. Who wants to pick up on that?
Thomas: The title, Beneath The Folds Of Flesh, was Daniel's choice. The title doesn't appear among the lyrics, but we think it is fitting because you can see it's a gore title or as (reference to) what is inside the human body - a deeper and more psychological thing.
As for the cover, it's chaotic. I think of it more as a punk cover. We were looking at paintings and we liked it as soon as we saw it. It's done by Mike, a Polish artist.
How did Insision end up using Johan Axelsson, who is the guitarist for Deranged, as an engineer? Does he work at Studio Berno?
Thomas: Johan Axelsson engineered and Berno (Paulson) himself and us produced the album. Johan has engineered bands before. That's the arrangement at Berno Studio. We knew those guys from before. The decision was between Berno and Soundlab Studio and we chose Berno because we felt comfortable with them.
Daniel is not here. So who wants to give his book a plug?
Thomas: Daniel has written a book about Italian horror movies. It's called Violent Italy and is an independent publication. It's in English. He pretty much distributes it on his own. I have a copy.
Thank you for coming and congratulations on your debut full length album. Let's end this conversation with your latest news and developments since the album's release.
Thomas: We have discussed many tours with Earache. We have confirmed a tour with Immolation throughout Europe in November. Deranged was supposed to be on the bill, but I am not sure now. There are supposedly five other bands on that bill. I have also heard that Six Feet Under are playing. We would like to come to North America, it's a dream, but I haven't seen anything from Earache so far. I like Cryptopsy from Canada!
Please visit www.insision.com for more information on this Swedish death metal band.