INCANTATION return with new album “Sect of Vile Divinities”. We had the opportunity to talk to Chuck Sherwood and John McEntee about their inspiration and their 30-years-career!

Incantation album

Hello John and Chuck! First of all, how are you, and how is the band dealing with the Covid-19 situation?

Somehow, do you find inspiration in it? Have you developed new ways of communicating with your fans?

Chuck: Hey man, we’re dealing by essentially being productive while the world’s on lock down. More time devotion to writing and creating videos till the flood gates open and we can return to the road. “Zoom” conferences for Q&A’s has been a great outlet to connect with our fans for sure.

 

Could you tell me more about your creative process as a band? Does it differ on each album? How was it for “Sect of Vile Divinities”?

Chuck: Process is primarily the same album to album, we all contribute. Whether it’s a riff, a collection or even completed songs we individually contribute then edit to the tastes of all to mold it into something greater than the sum of its parts. Ego plays no part which is mainly why we end up with so much material. Musically it as such, lyrically I can write entire albums worth when the inspiration strikes then John, Kyle and I will meticulously arrange cadence and syncopation to the music. Editing is always to the last second as new ideas forever emerge, no different with “Sect” as we had these nearly completely over 2yrs ago. If you listen to a song that long, self-reflection often dictates we refine it.

Has “Sect of Vile Divinities” a particular concept fans should know about? Where did you find your inspiration this time?

Chuck: Conceptually, the entities and deities mentioned in the album are assembled in a sort of forgotten temple as a common “sect”. As the cover portrays. All of them sharing the same “vile” nature against opposing religions (or religious ethics) and humanity’s failure.

For this album in particular I drew upon my typical muses, but adding topics unfamiliar to myself. A way to research interests, and explore my subconscious with death metal as a catalyst. Folklore, mythology, history, occultism and my dreams are within, like everything I’ve ever contributed lyrically throughout the past 4 albums.

Last week the video clip of “Entrails of the Hag Queen” was released, can you tell us more about it? How was it to work with Nader Sadek as director? How did the storyline come?

“Entrails of the Hag Queen” is about a Balinese/Hindu legend that says during the reign of Airlangga in the late 10th century a witch’s daughter couldn’t be married due to her mother’s use of witchcraft. The witch killed crops, caused disease and floods from being widowed. Now in outrage from an unwed daughter she sacrificed a child at the “temple of death” to Rangda, a child eating demon that leads an army of “leyaks” against Barong (their benevolent god) was unleashed. Leyaks themselves look human by day but by night their heads and entrails fly off from their bodies looking to suck baby’s blood or eat a newborn from the womb. If you ever saw the flick “Mystics in Bali” it’s loosely based on the same story.

Working with Nader was an amazing experience, so understanding. We were inspired just as much as we were to have it released. After a brief introduction through a Zoom meeting he had tirelessly created a script. The extremely short timeline posed issues and concerns and he persevered to everyone’s appreciation. Signature traits are noticeable along with every aspect of the afore mentioned story within. It turned out fantastic in our opinions, would love to work with him again.

Do you already have new materials and ideas for a new album? Or compositions you haven’t used on this one that may be released in the next future?

Chuck: Indeed we have nearly 10 songs at this point. Some complete others in more a skeletal form, which need attention. The lyrics are completed and being arranged to the material with a number completed thus far. We had exhausted most of our “over stock” of unused material. Save for just one that is too be edited in the future.

Incantation has been quite a big thing in the underground scene for many years. After 30 years, how do you explain that you’ve got such a strong fan base with some of them being there from the very beginning and new ones popping out? You’ve gained a “cult” status with « Onward to Golgotha» however it seems you’ve never rested on your laurels. Am I having it right?

Chuck: The ebb and flow of the scene and fan base is unpredictable to say the least. Although there are three distinct eras of interest I notice from people that can either be exclusive or like them all. While even in the past decade the new interest from younger folks is truly humbling. All are ardent and have a dedication that never goes unappreciated.

 

Incantation

Do you feel like Incantation has become something bigger since you’ve re-signed with Relapse Record in 2016?

Chuck: Hard to self-reflect ones popularity without coming across as egotistical in my opinion. These recent years there has been a considerable amount of support. To attribute it to one factor wouldn’t be accurate just grateful to have Relapse behind us. It’s been amazing, their communication, keeping us abreast of all steps, their willingness to help and understanding when we may not see eye to eye. Very fortunate to say the least.

Speaking about your musical career, what are your biggest achievements as a band?

John: Really just to be still doing it 30 years after we started. We have a lot to be proud of. But most of all its our dedication to our style and the will to transcend all the metal trends.

 

What do you think of the underground scene nowadays? What would be your advice for new bands trying to emerge?

Chuck: Always impressed that the scene endures regardless of taste changes, alternatives in style or even pandemics. Many amazing bands have surfaced in these more recent years which gives hope to the stability for years to come.

For new bands I’d say to keep inspired, focus on things you truly enjoy. Till you develop the drive to always learn and expand so as to not become stagnant. The wealth of tablature at our disposal these days is staggering. Cultivate and nurture your talents regardless of how fast or slow it comes, there’s always someone better then yourself. Just enjoy your craft, and apply it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Chuck: Many thanks for the interview, we’ll see you on the road for “Sect of Vile Divinities” hopefully sooner than later. Crush souls with sorcery, crush skulls with death metal. Till then!

Thank you for your time! I wish you all the best and I hope to see you at the Mass Deathtruction Festival here in Belgium in November.

 

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