Inanimate Existence – Melt the SkiesFriday, 1st September 2017
Lots of changes abound between last year’s Calling from a Dream until this point for the California death metal act Inanimate Existence. They switched labels from Unique Leader over to the quickly rising The Artisan Era, they went from 5-piece to 3-piece (and now back to a 4-piece), and took a look back at their previous works when engaging their fourth album, the recently released Underneath a Melting Sky.
Where Calling reveled in experimentation, Underneath instead goes for a more focused energy. Combining what has worked for the band in the past (and helped define them within a sea of tech-death bands), Underneath has a certain freshness to it that shows the band is still hungry to move forward and not willing to rest on their laurels. Being that there was much to discuss with the band, we reached out to guitarist/vocalist Cameron Porras to get us back up to speed.
Dead Rhetoric: It’s been a year since Calling from a Dream was released. How do you feel about it at this point, looking back?
Cameron Porras: Calling from a Dream was a great album and really fun to make. So much experimentation and cool ideas. I can’t believe it’s only been a year since we recorded that one. Shit, it’ll probably only be a year until album #5.
Dead Rhetoric: The band has shrunk down to the three of you at this point. Any reasons for the loss of personnel?
Porras: Our vocalist and other guitarist needed a little time to get their finances and personal life in order. Scott [Bradley], Ron [Casey], and I really didn’t want to lose any momentum for the band so we decided to keep things going and write an album. Joel [Guernsey] has actually joined with us again as a full time member so you can expect to see him on our next tours and albums.
Dead Rhetoric: Where did the idea come from to have two of you doing vocals at this point?
Porras: I have always been the writer of our lyrics and themes so it was just a natural fit for me to step in and do the main vox. On one of our tours, our vocalist had to go home early for medical reasons so out of necessity I forced myself to do guitar and vox simultaneously. In Scott’s case, he and Joel’s first band used to do dual vocals with a high and a low combo. I think one night of hanging out and watching old Youtube videos we watched on old video of them and I realized that that would be a good fit for us since I gravitate toward lows more.
Dead Rhetoric: What caused you to ‘take a look back’ when writing for Underneath a Melting Sky?
Porras: All of our albums are really quite different from each other, so I thought it would be a good idea to try and create the perfect melting pot or our best signature styles. Also I wanted to do a very dark album theme, more akin to our first album. We’ve always had evil shit in our themes but this time I wanted it as the main focus.
Dead Rhetoric: Looking at the final product, where do you feel Underneath a Melting Sky falls, sonically, in the band’s discography?
Porras: I believe this is our best work yet and still I know that we are only going to improve from here.
Dead Rhetoric: Could you go through your thoughts on the artwork for Underneath a Melting Sky?
Porras: Justin Abraham is just an incredible artist and he really took the time to get into the theme of our album. He really captured the vibe from our second cd but much darker and with all these little tidbits from the lyrics added in for depth. It really portrays our album perfectly.
Dead Rhetoric: As a band that has always been involved with excellent cover art, how important is finding the right art that both fits your vision and is still visually appealing in a general sense?
Porras: We are really about personality and our art is one of the main ways we show it. That’s why we only use the dopest art for our shirts and not just gory bullshit.
Dead Rhetoric: What prompted the move over to The Artisan Era?
Porras: To us, our old label seemed spread a little thin. Our good friend Malcolm is with Artisan Era and after talking with him for a while we decided to join and it’s been the perfect fit. They hooked us up with Justin Abraham to do our cover and they’ve been taking good care of us ever since.
Dead Rhetoric: Summing up a number of these earlier questions – streamlined line-up, new album, new label…do you feel this is a bit of a fresh start for Inanimate Existence?
Porras: At the time of conception, I totally thought of this album as our rebirth and wanted to put everything I had into making it awesome. Now looking back I see it as monument to the band’s ability to adapt keep the ball rolling.
Dead Rhetoric: How does eastern philosophy and mysticism continue to shape the band?
Porras: There is a lot of those ideas still in our songs but it hasn’t really been the focus for us for a while. Like in our stories there’s often overlapping universes, souls, spirits, magic, and thing like that.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s your take on how the tech-death scene has progressed since you’ve been a part of it?
Porras: There’s a lot of really great bands popping up lately but my biggest gripe with the scene is that there seems to be a lack of individuality. Every band wants to sound like another band not a lot of bands are willing to experiment with their sound.
Dead Rhetoric: Likewise, how important is the emphasis on atmosphere in order to contrast the technically driven instrumentation?
Porras: For me it’s really important to have music that portrays the lyrical ideas. This time around I actually wrote lyrics first and the made notes to myself of how I wanted the music to go along with my lyrics. This worked really well turned out some interesting music. The technicality in our riffing is just accidental and not really our goal.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s planned for the next few months for the band?
Porras: We have a tour lined up with Alterbeast and Arkaik going all across the U.S. from September to October and I have a few tabs I’m working on for the next album and so does Joel. You’ll be hearing a lot from us.