Published May 24, 2013Yonkers, NY death metal veterans Immolation are back with their latest release, Kingdom of Conspiracy, their ninth studio album and follow-up to their 2011 EP, Providence, and 2010 album, Majesty and Decay. The new record features the dark subject matter that Immolation have become known for throughout their 25-year career, but as vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan explains in a recent Exclaim! interview, Kingdom of Conspiracy is also a concept album that incorporates Orwellian themes.
"It's our first concept album that we've done intentionally," Dolan says. "People have said to us in the past for different records, 'Is this a concept album?' Especially with Majesty and Decay. They really weren't, even though a lot of the themes on those records were connected in some way and kind of applied to the new record as well.
"[Kingdom of Conspiracy], conceptually, is about the world today, and we've always had that great knack of honing in on the darkest side of humanity... It just talks about the world today and all of the really bad things that are happening all over the world."
Having touched on religious themes in the past, as well as incorporating politically charged ideas into the band's lyrical subject matter, Dolan explains that Kingdom of Conspiracy is more about the human side of the spectrum.
"[It's about] how we all play a part in this total unravelling of our world, in a lot of ways. I think we're at a really weird point in our history right now, and I hope things go in a good direction, but there's so many really negative things that are happening right now, and that's kind of what we focussed in on."
Dolan says that the lyrics also incorporate an Orwellian aspect, which makes the record even darker.
"When I read 1984 back in grade school, it was a very dark book to me and it was a very scary book, and unfortunately, a lot of what Orwell was writing about back in 1948 is starting to happen now," he explains. "That's basically what the album is about, and each song has that common thread running through it and each song is kind of like a different symptom of this sickness that we see today all around us."
With dismal music — Immolation's own brand of crushing, early '90s New York-style brutal death metal — to match this lyrical concept, Dolan says that the message they convey is as important to them as the music.
"We've always taken the lyrical end as seriously as the music, they go hand-in-hand. You can't have great music and shitty lyrics, or lyrics that mean zero. So we've always spent a lot of time on lyrics.
"I think it's always fun for the listener to kind of take their own personal take of a song, you can have 10 different people read the lyrics to any one of our songs, and they'll probably get 10 different things out of it, but that's good. That's why I liked lyrics so much when I was younger. I still do, but I'm saying when I was first getting into metal I was always really into lyrics, what the bands were talking about, what was on their minds. And I loved stuff that wasn't right up front, I loved stuff that you kind of had to dig and think on for a while. Those are always the best lyrics to me. So we try to keep that in mind when writing."
Kingdom of Conspiracy is out now via Nuclear Blast. Immolation are out on a North American tour with Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death. Find a complete list of dates here.
Read more of Exclaim!'s interview with Immolation here.