'Your prayers, I don't feel them in my heart. It is not hate. That I stare coldly at the son of God. I can not force the blood of Christ to flow through me. God is love and his love is dead... Their paradise not mine, an illusion I will not believe. In the name of the Father, In the name of the Son. Where is the Holy Spirit, I feel nothing. -I Feel Nothing from Here in After

The following interview is done with Ross Dolan.

Let's begin by asking some basic questions. Tell us the history of Immolation... Immolation was formed in February of 1988 after the split up of Robert and Tom's first band together, which was Rigor Mortis (N.Y.). Rigor Mortis released two demos, one in 1986, and one in 1987 before splitting up due to the departure of their singer/bass player, Andrew. The name was changed to Immolation, and I joined the band along with our first drummer, Neal, which became the first Immolation line-up. We recorded two demos, one in 1988, and one in 1989 before getting signed to Roadrunner Records in 1990. We then released our first full length album entitled "Dawn of Possession" in 1991, and we also had a new drummer at this point, Craig Smilowski. We later did two tours for this album, and after a few years, we changed labels. We are now on Metal Blade Records and have released our second album entitled "Here In After" last February 14. We also have a new drummer, Alex Hernandez, who did all the touring for the "H.I.A." album. Craig was kicked out of the band shortly after the recording of the new album. So that about sums it all up, the entire Immolation history, which is coming close to ten years now.

What is your current line-up of band members? The current line-up is Tom Wilkinson (guitar), Robert Vigna (guitar), Alex Hernandez (drums), and Ross Dolan (bass/vocals). The line-up has remained the same throughout the years, with the exception of changing drummers twice. But we feel with Alex in the band now, things are much better than they have ever been.

The new release "Here in After" stayed true to your previous releases with its sound, message, and lyrical content. What do you have planned for the next release? Do you plan on changing in any way from your original sound? We plan to take the third album one step beyond what we were doing on the second album. Just like "Here In After" is much darker, intense, destructive, and complex than "Dawn Of Possession," so will the new album be much more extreme, darker, and intense than the first two albums. We don't plan on changing our style or lyrical direction, we just want to make everything better. We have plenty of lyrical ideas already for the new album, and they will all continue on in the same way as the "Here In After" lyrics. Musically, as well, I think people can definitely expect to hear Immolation on the third album, only a much darker Immolation.

Here's a question that I'm sure you're asked often, which we're sure many wonder. Why the long wait in between "Dawn of Possession" and "Here in After?" There were a lot of things going on during those five years that most people didn't realize. Most people think we just kind of took a five year break and then jumped back into the scene head on. Well that was definitely not the case. After doing both a U.S. and a European tour for the first album, we realized that Roadrunner wasn't working out for us. So we began the long process of slowly getting off of that label. What took so long was that they really wanted to do a second album with us and we didn't; we had to wait until the extension on our contract for the second album was up, then we went down to their offices and had a mutual parting of ways, no hard feelings, just a business decision in the interest of both of our futures. Once that was a done deal, we were very cautious in searching for a new label, and we weren't in any big hurry. So we slowly began laying the foundation for our second album and the future of Immolation. We played many shows in new places for us such as Peru, South America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and a number of shows throughout the U.S. including the Milwaukee Metalfest, and Michigan Metalfest. In addition to the live shows, we were doing a lot behind the scenes as well. We began working with our manager, Chris Forbes, around this time, and established the first official Immolation overseas contact address with Frank Stover of Voices from the Darkside 'Zine in Germany. We also put together the Stepping on Angels...Before Dawn C.D. on Repulse Records in Spain. This contained all the Rigor Mortis studio demos and all the Immolation studio demos, plus live stuff and unreleased tracks. All this with a nine panel fold out collage of old flyers, adds, reviews, picture and a complete, in-detail band history. In late 1994 we recorded a three song promo tape to shop around to labels. This is what caught Metal Blade's eye, but it wasn't until they saw us perform live out in California that they sent us a contract. So there was lots of things going on during this time period, also the fact that we were continually answering our mail and promoting the band through mail and also writing the second album. It was a busy five years for us.

Did you have any problems re-entering the music scene after such a lengthy wait? No, because we never really left. We were always part of it, we just didn't have a new album to promote. Once the new album was out, it was like there wasn't even five years between albums.

You've been touring with Cannibal Corpse and Brutal Truth. How was it? Was it a very successful tour? Have you noticed any changes in the scene since your "Dawn of Possession" tour? We have done four tours this year with Cannibal Corpse, and all four have been the best experiences of our careers. The two European tours with Cannibal were the greatest, and both parts of the Cannibal/Brutal Truth tour were just amazing. The turnouts every night were phenomenal, the crowd responses were better than we could of ever hoped for, and it was a fun tour for us. Everybody got along great, and on the second leg we also had Oppressor, from Chicago, joining us which made the second leg a bit more interesting than the first. Overall, it was probably our most successful U.S. tour to date on all fronts. As far as any changes in the scene, I think people are still as curious to see extreme bands live now as they were back then. The main difference is that there are many fresh new faces and we are reaching a lot of new people, which is a good sign, a sign that the scene is growing an not stagnating like some people might think.

How have the sales been on your new release? From what we are told by the label, and other reliable sources, the new album is selling extremely well. We are very pleased, as is Metal Blade, with the sales so far. The album is selling consistently, and is still selling even a year after its release, which is a very positive sign. All the touring and promotion has certainly paid off.

What are some of your favorite bands today? Do you listen to any black metal? Some current favorites that I have been listening to most recently are: new Theatre of Tragedy, My Dying Bride, The Gathering, Cannibal Corpse, Autopsy, Morbid Angel, Rotting Christ, Marduk, Samael, Tori Amos, Type O Negative, Ever Dark, ExMortem (new promo tape), Mortician, Incantation, Infamy, Alice in Chains, etc. etc. etc. We listen to all types and styles of music, from death/black metal, to classic rock, to jazz, to popular, if it appeals to us, we listen to it.

You carry a strong anti-Christian message within your lyrics, imagery, and art. Explain your thoughts on Christianity and religion in general. How long have you felt this way? I think we have always felt this way deep inside, but were never able to express it until we had the band as an outlet for these feelings. We don't agree with most of what we have been taught to believe, all the years we spent learning about religion and going to church led us to the question: "What does it all mean to me?" The answer was simply, "Nothing." I didn't believe it, and was tired of going through the motions and pretending to believe in something so far fetched and intangible that it seemed unrealistic. After giving it much thought, I realized I didn't need any of this, all I needed was a clear head and a good grasp on what was right and wrong, and, of course, a good sense of moral values. All I believe any of us needs is inside of us, the power, strength, drive, or whatever we have, and all we need to do is to look within ourselves. What I'm saying is that we don't need anyone telling us what is right and wrong, and by which standards we must conduct our lives; everyone is an individual and everyone can't conform to one person's beliefs and ideals. Who gives these people the right to set the standards anyway? Religion is unfortunately used as a crutch for weakness, and this we don't believe in. I, myself, am a realist; I believe in myself and know that whatever I want to do in this life and whatever I want to accomplish, it's up to no one but me to do it, and that is truly the bottom line.

Explain to us your thoughts on why you think Christianity has attained such a wide spread "success." People are afraid to be free thinkers, they just accept what is handed to them, never questioning and never looking beyond this. Some people want to believe and be part of something special so bad that they look in all the wrong places, and it's sad. For some it may work, but for the majority I don't think it does. Most so called devout Christians are no more than hypocrites, not practicing what they preach. There are so many harsh realities in this world, I think some people turn to religion so they don't have to face these realities head on, but this is not what I feel is the right thing to do.

Do you believe in a "Here in After?" Explain to us your thoughts on the supposed afterlife... I don't believe in an afterlife such as the ones we were given as options when we were young and impressionable. I don't believe in a heaven or hell; I think life is our heaven and hell, it is what we make of it. So it can be a living hell or a pleasant place, depending on what choices and decisions we make during the course of our lives. I would like to believe our spirits live on after our physical body dies, but no one really knows for sure so I'm not willing to hold my breath on that one. We must enjoy what we have and where we are now and not worry about what will become of us when we are dead. Who really cares anyway? We'll be dead.

What inspires you in both music and in life? Everything inspires us from thoughts and feelings, day to day life, pressures and stress, and past experiences. All this contributes to how we act as people, and what we write as musicians.

Death metal/black metal has always been a rather unconventional way of expressing certain thoughts and ideas. Which would explain why it has always been underground. All throughout history, ideas not accepted by the masses and their masters have always remained in the shadows, per se. Do you foresee a time when this type of music will gain the acceptance and recognition it deserves? I don't see what we are saying in our lyrics ever being accepted by the masses; to them, it is too far-fetched and extreme, when all it is is honesty and expressing our true feelings. So until people are willing to be honest with themselves, I don't think certain ideas will ever be fully accepted. Musically I hope one day people will see that this form of music is very elaborate, complex, and far from easy to play. A lot of thought goes into this music, and it should not be taken lightly. This, I hope, one day will be noticed for what it is. As far as the lyrical side, they are our thoughts anyway, so if they are never accepted, at least we know we believe in what we are saying.

In a world so twisted and dominated by lies, even the "truth" seems so uncertain in today's age. Usually when the common man is confronted with truth, he hides his eyes and runs away. The truth is sometimes a very uncomfortable thing, yet it is a necessary one. Where do you find your truths in this world? This is a very fitting question considering all that we have talked about up until now. I agree, sometimes the truth is uncomfortable and unexpected, but it is the truth regardless. Where do I find the truths in this world...this is a good question because sometimes the truth doesn't reveal itself for a long time. It's hard to generalize, but I guess I look to my feelings and to those close to me that I trust and respect. I suppose those are the only places we can look today.

Explain your thoughts on the world in general. I feel it is getting worse day by day. It is a situation that is out of control and I know that I have no power to change it, so I just concern myself with those around me, and try to do the best I can in everything I do, and I think I speak for the rest of the band when I say this. Life is very good at times and sometimes it can really test a person, but we know we must be strong to make it all work.

Any closing comments? Thanks for the killer interview, I really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who came out to support us while we were on tour, we appreciate your support. We will be back soon with a new album, so we will see you soon... BURN WITH JESUS...

P.O. Box 566
Yonker, NY 10710

Immolation Germany
c/o Frank Stover
P.O. Box 210 212
28222 Bremen


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