When I first heard the opening notes of Immanifest I was immediately hooked. Symphonic extreme metal is a personal favorite of mine, I guess the sheer power waves and pounding metal that results appeals to some part of me. After many listens, a little research into what “Quilphotic” meant really had me hooked. Extreme symphonic metal based on some cool interesting mysticism, consider it sold in my book. ThisIsNotAScene got the good fortune to be able to talk with Anton Kalaj of the group about the band, imagery in the songs, and future plans.
Can you give us a quick history of Immanifest and a current line-up?
It started as an collaboration project between a couple of us a few years back. We formed the full band and named ourselves Immanifest in May of ’08. We demoed some tracks, chose the strongest and recorded the Qliphotic EP in 2009. It was released worldwide the following year through Tuncore DMD. Since then we’ve landed a new drummer, and are currently searching for a new vocalist. Additionally, we’re all multi-instrumentalists so we do a bit of musical chairs with our instruments.
You and your band a certainly a rarity in the US – there are not a lot of active symphonic styled death metal bands in the states. Do you think this helps or hurts the band musically and in a business sense?
I think it helps more than it hurts. We pretty much do our own thing, and haven’t gotten pinned down to any scene or movement, so to speak. I think this allows us to stick out more than we could in a sea of bands flooding the genre or country, for that matter.
How did you choose the name Qliphotic, its a term that not many Americans are familiar with and how does this name relate to the overall theme of the EP?
The music and lyrics were inspired and further developed under the inspiration of Qliphotic Qabalism, which is essentially Reverse or Anti-Qabalistic philosophy. The opening track refers to a discovery of this philosophy, the second refers to the lowest (or most high) Qlipha on the ‘Tree of Death’, and the final track explores an initiates experience beyond death, and through Da’ath.
Give us your take on the meaning of the word or being that is Thaumiel and how did this translate into a song?
A proper understanding of Qabalism is necessary to understand its reverse practice. I’m not sure how much I can explain without giving you a novel here [Laughs]. I think most people in the West have at least heard of Qabalism, in its exoteric form. However, there’s a esoteric tradition that occultists and adepts have focused on over the centuries, and that was our interest when writing Qliphotic. Qabalistic teachings demonstrate the relationship between the inner and outer nature of cosmic reality; moreover, consciousness in its relationship to the cosmos. The Sephirot is central to Qabalism, which are 10 (+1) “emanations” of divinity, or the Supreme Cosmic Principle. These Sefirah can be interpreted in a variety of complex ways, including states of consciousness, and abstract principles that form and guide cosmic formation/evolution. When the high initiate reaches “Kether”, they have merged sentience of the Self with cosmic consciousness – and have dissolved their illusory sense of separation/individuation (which is essentially just a vehicle for experience). The reverse practice of this is where the Qliphoth comes in. Thaumiel is the shadow counterpart to Kether. It represents ultimate duality – the major functioning principle of the universe. At Kether, for instance, the dualistic principles will become one, and the initiate is merged into the Supreme Cosmic Principle. However, at Thaumiel, these principles are at total opposition – a gateway rips open. The teachings of this state imply that an initiate at this point can exit the universe and experience birth as a sovereign, acosmic entity. This exit is related to Black Holes, and this is why we use them in our art and imagery; not unlike the Sun’s use in Qabalism. There’s the short-hand version!
Given your use of mysticism at least in titles for this EP where do you get your inspiration from. Most people come out with the Judeo-Christian (Satan) or Sumerian gods you choose a different set of mysticism, how did that choice come to be as well.
Lyrical inspiration in Immanifest is derived from Reality. The word ‘occult’ means hidden, or unknown; we feel this is a perfect summation of reality as we know it when entering this world. Exploring various philosophies and traditions is motivated by the desire to decode the nature of 5 sensory experience. Creating art out of such inspiration just seems natural.
What can we expect from the new release compared to Qliphotic? Will there be the same interesting mythology references as in the last album?
Next album will manifest as if your sensory perception has elevated. (Laughs) That’s fancy for saying it will be faster, heavier, more technical, more emotional, and experimental. Definitely still Symphonic Extreme Metal.
Will your new album be a concept style album? The tapestry of mythology that you wove in your EP was fascinating.
The theme overall continues to explore esoteric spirituality and ancient religious philosophy – more specifically the Cult of Akhenaten or Aten (the origins of Monotheism and also Luciferianism) will be a major focus. The Qliphotic theme will be revisited also – a sort of Thaumiel part II is being worked out, lyrically/musically.
How difficult is it for you to get your big sound from the EP into the live venues?
It depends on the venue. We’re still a relatively new band, and the shows we’ve played varied. A good sound guy is very important, and a venue with good acoustics will make the difference.
Do you have to use extra machines to get this tremendous symphonic sound into those venues?
The keyboard software we use, especially what we’ll be using next year, make the difference.
Musically, whom do you look up too?
Our most obvious influences are modern orchestral composers and extreme metal. Christopher Young, Walter Werzowa, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore are some excellent composers, to name just a few. Additionally we admire bands like Emperor, Dissection, Hypocrisy, Dimmu (old), Cradle (old), Meshuggah, Old Man’s Child, The Crown etc.
What are your tour plans for 2012? Seeing this material go from studio to stage should be an epic thing to watch.
We’re going to record and release this Album, book some Florida shows to get back into the game, land a proper label and hit then hit the road at some point towards the end of the year!
ThisIsNotAScene is grateful to Anton for his patience through the interview process.