Immolation: Failures for gods - Reply
27/08/08 || Lord K Philipson
Ross Dolan of Immolation
Global Domination: We at Global Domination saw fit to add your release, “Failures for gods”, to our esteemed Class 6(66) hall of fame. Do you feel this album is worthy of such an honor?
“Failures” was a weird release for us in a number of ways. Musically, I think this is probably one of the hardest Immolation albums to really absorb as a listener because there is so much going on within the songs, many riffs, many tempo changes, and also many great parts that never really were given the chance to grow within the songs. This was a turning point for the band in a lot of ways, because it was after this album that we really paid more attention to the arrangements to make sure there weren’t just parts thrown in that weren’t necessary, or did nothing to move the song forward. We were still fine tuning our style, and this was a necessary album for us to see things clearer in the writing and arranging department. Also, this album marked the official live departure of our rhythm guitarist Tom, so we actually toured for this record as a three piece at one point, which was interesting, but fun nonetheless. It also saw the recording debut of our then drummer Alex Hernandez, which added a whole new element to the band and allowed us to do much more in the drum department. Do I feel it is worthy to be in your hall of fame, well that’s not for me to decide, but apparently it made it, so it seems to be a favorite of some people. I think it’s a solid record, but I also think now we could have turned those riffs into something more devastating than what is on that record.
GD: What was the ultimate goal for you while recording this album?
To play the songs tight………hahahaha!!!!! It was such a tricky album to play; we were just worried about getting everything sounding tight and having everything cut through in the mix. It was our first time using producer Paul Orofino and his studio in Millbrook, NY, so this was a great experience for us as well as a learning process for Paul since he never worked with a band quite like us. We tried to get the drums up in the mix because Alex did some really cool stuff on the drums and we didn’t want any of it to get lost. But all in all, I think it turned out well considering the time we spent in the studio (3 weeks) and all the various little challenges we had with each song.
GD: Name something of interest that you remember from the recording sessions.
I remember it taking a long time to lay down the drum tracks because we were still recording analog on to 2 inch tape, so this of course takes longer and there are less options to punch in while tracking the drums, so if it’s not perfect, you have to play it again and again until it is. Since we are all perfectionists when it comes to this, it became a long process. Alex was also nervous because he was the new guy and wanted his parts to sound perfect, so needless to say, there were many long days and we thought Paul was going to jump out a window at one point. In fact, when we came back to record the fourth album, he already scrapped the analog and went digital for bands like us that didn’t have the luxury to spend weeks tracking drums and guitars. It was a little stressful, but we made the most of it.
GD: If you could change any one thing about this album, what would you change?
I would sharpen up the production a bit and bring out some of the guitar overlays so that they are more in your face instead of underneath the rhythms. Other than that, it was a cool record, probably our most busy sounding album, but it was very dark, with something for everyone, speed, mood, heaviness and plenty of variety.
GD: Why do you think this album means so much to those who consider it a classic?
I think it was a very unique album because it took what we were doing and went in a more “experimental” direction for lack of a better word. A lot of the songs weren’t very friendly in a live situation just because of all the tempo changes and the way the songs jumped around a lot, but we made it work and today we always get people coming up to us at shows to tell us that was one of their favorite albums, so I guess it worked for most of our fans. It did have some catchy moments in “No Jesus, No Beast”, “Once Ordained”, “Unsaved” and “The Devil I Know”, which are all songs we still keep in live rotation even today.
GD: Finally, as an artist and musician, what special place does this album hold in your heart?
This was a cool album for us because it pushed our limits as players, especially live, and it also helped us make that slow transition into the later records stylistically. It saw the departure officially of two of our earlier members and it showed our fans that there wouldn’t be anymore five year waits in between albums.