Ichor – Endless Depths of InspirationSaturday, 23rd May 2015
Whereas many bands, particularly in death metal, are looking towards the sky to find lyrical inspiration, there is a growing movement to look below. Now we aren’t talking about Hell of course, as that has been tried and true metal fodder for years. What we are talking about is the ocean. A vast, unexplored territory that some bands are beginning to move towards. One such band is Ichor, who have been using the setting for their past two albums (2010’s Benthic Horizon and last year’s Depths).
Taking an approach to death metal that takes the stronger aspects of deathcore and merges it with more traditional death metal territory, it’s safe to say that Ichor are onto something. As that usually indicates, we at DR decided to fire off some questions to bassist Norb, who was able to shed some light on their oceanic themes, some mishaps during a video shoot, and more.
Dead Rhetoric: Where did the name Ichor come from?
Norb: The term ‘Ichor’ is based in Greek mythology. It is the golden fluid that flows through the veins of the gods instead of normal mortal blood.
Dead Rhetoric: Who are some of the band’s biggest influences?
Norb: I guess you could say that polish death metal is a big influence for us. Behemoth, Hate, Decapitated they all have this brutal and honest sound which influenced our perception of music a lot. But you could also say that other, more classical metal bands have influenced us very much, such as Cannibal corpse, Suffocation, and Entombed. They all had big impacts on our lives, as musicians and as people as well.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the deal come about with Bastardized Recordings?
Norb: Early in 2008 we released an EP called Kingdom of the Dead. We produced and released it all by ourselves and after a few good reviews and concerts Bastardized Recordings asked us if we wanted to work with them, recording a full length album. Of course we said yes and started to write The Siege which was released in the same year. After that Bastardized pushed us forward and we continued working with them for the next album.
Dead Rhetoric: Depths is a concept album. Did the writing process differ compared to your previous efforts?
Norb: Not really. There was a small lineup change but the process of writing stayed the same. We found a good balance during rehearsal, working on our live set, playing old songs and after we finished that section of rehearsal we wrote new songs. In times when we played a lot of live gigs of course we focused on that but there is always time to jam an hour or two. Sometimes there were just two people at home recording riffs and then we just took them to rehearsal and elaborated. There are a lot of ways to create art.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the artwork for Depths come about? It’s rather striking.
Norb: The artwork is by the great Swedish artist Par Olofsson. We found him when we researched possibilities for our album artwork. He did a lot of work for great bands and we immediately fell in love with his work. We asked him if he was interested in working with us and after that we send him our wishes, our music and the concept behind the album and he started working. We are very satisfied with the outcome. I think the artwork perfectly fits the music. I hope we can work with Par Olofsson again in the future. There are still a lot of stories to tell.
Dead Rhetoric: There is a music video for “Ra’iroa,” which features the metal necessities: playing your instruments, blood, and fire. Any fun stories from shooting the video?
Norb: Well in retrospect you could say it’s funny but at the moment we were pretty pissed off. When we first drove to Belgium, to the abandoned chapel right in the middle of nowhere, we built up our gear, started to get ready to shoot, everything was set and then we found out that our power generator was defective. It wasn’t really compatible with the big lights the film crew brought along. So we tried and tried for a few hours, drove to the nearest town to see if we could get another generator. But all in vain. At the end of the day, we packed our things and drove home without having shot a single second. But the second time we drove there all went well.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve explored plenty of underwater themes within your music. What makes the ocean so metal?
Norb: I think it is mostly the dark unknown. Deep down you have to be pretty well adapted or you just get crushed. By the ocean itself – it’s enormous, unimaginable pressure or the creatures which lived there for a long time, unseen by anybody. Most of the darkness has not been explored and maybe we’ll never know what strange creatures there are, lurking in the shadows. Darkness, unknown, fear are some pretty good metal themes.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that the ocean theme is something that you’ll continue to stick with?
Norb: Yes definitely. The last two album where about the depths and its perils and I don’t think we explored it enough. The seemingly endless sea provides endless possibilities of inspiration and strength you can draw from it.
Dead Rhetoric: Depths came out in 2014. Have you started considering its follow-up or are you still trying to push Depths as much as possible?
Norb: We are trying to do both. Of course we try to push depths as much as possible at the moment. It was released just last year so there is still a lot of work to do promoting it in the world, getting people to come to our shows. But in the meantime we are also writing new material for a follow-up. In the last years we found a good balance of keeping the old material fresh and producing new stuff at the same time.
Dead Rhetoric: Are there any touring plans at the moment?
Norb: We are playing some gigs in Europe in the next week, and we definitely try to play a European tour later this year. Of course we would love to come to the United States sometime. We’ll see what the future will bring.