EXCLUSIVE: A Conversation With Cory Johnson of Impending Doom

With the landscape of the deathcore scene becoming more and more diverse over the last couple years, some bands are still looking to find their way, to settle into their own unique niche. Obviously some bands are doing it better than others, and it would appear that Impending Doom are about to join the leagues of people finding their home in the extreme music realm. Fusing a somewhat standard assortment of influences into a groovy package that separates them just enough from the pack to both be extremely accessible and still interesting. Amidst making some power moves to cement their spot in the metal ranks, guitarist Cory Johnson took some time to discuss the band and new record with us.

Baptized In Filth comes out on 3/13 and will be Impending Doom’s fourth album in five years, how do you find the time and effort to put out and support that much music?

I just kinda like being on the grind and releasing new material. We like that because we don’t want thing to become stagnant or anything like that. We like releasing so many albums, as weird as that might sound. Also, it’s an inspiration to find a new label and do everything on eOne. This fourth album, we definitely wanted it to come out sooner rather than later.

So, speaking of eOne, how has the transition from Facedown to eOne been so far?

It’s been awesome. The album’s not out yet, but up to this point it’s been amazing. The transition was pretty easy. The cool thing is that Bill, our publicist, we’ve worked with before over at Facedown records so it made us feel more at home having him with us at eOne. The transition has been phenomenal so far. They work so hard, it’s like a whole new experience–it’s so much different than Facedown. Not that Facedown is a bad label  or anything, we just feel like it’s a step forward for us.

The press release mentions that “complete realization” of your “multifaceted sound” over the last few albums. Do you guys feel like this is the record you’ve been building towards?

Yeah, I guess that’s a good description of it. This is our favorite material. I mean, we say that every time, but this material just feels better. It just feels like this is what we’ve been trying to release. I just feel like we’re more comfortable as a collective effort and we got the chance to work with a real producer this time around. Before, the freedom was nice, but it would have been kind of nice to have the producer there to help guide us and really help us make the best of all our material. I think having the producers we worked with, Machine and Andreas Magnusson, really refined our sound and helped us move forward to the next level.

And you guys worked with Tim Lambesis on There Will Be Blood and The Serpent Servant right?

Yeah, we did, but he only produced about five or six songs on There Will Be Blood, and he really only produced the vocals. All of the music and everything was just engineered by Daniel Castleman.

Baptized In Filth definitely sounds like a step forward for you. In the press kit for the new album it mentions some of your influences–how often do people mention these influences showing through your music?

When I was in middle school Slipknot’s self titled came out and I was obsessed with it–it was like my escape and I feel like their music has just become a part of me as far as an influence goes. When I go to write riffs and stuff it’s always there, you know. Bands like Slipknot, Meshuggah, Korn. That’s just what we grew up on and what we’re in love with musically. I feel like we try as much as we can to bring this influences in, but still sounding fresh and not be a direct representation of those bands. It’s always on our mind, and we’re a heavy band, so why not bring some of those influences in?

You mentioned that you had a new producer this time around, did the songwriting and recording processes change much for the Baptized In Filth compared to your previous records?

It was totally different. We had a bit of down time when we started writing the album, but then we had to go out on the road when we went out on our headlining tour for six weeks this summer and we were out on the road finishing the album, and we didn’t actually finish it on the road because it was much harder to focus and write than we anticipated. We went in the studio and started writing songs with Andreas and it was amazing, he was like a fifth member. Just the way he helped with the writing process, the ideas he had and everything. It was just awesome to have that because we’ve never had that before, you know, we’ve just gone into the studio and whatever we had was what we recorded. I feel like it was monumental for us because he’s been producing for ten plus years so when he hears a riff or something he can hear where that’s going and he can take it and just refine it, and make it so much better. And the same with Machine,  his techniques as far as recording and producing and everything made the vocals tenfold of what they could have been than if we had someone there just hitting record and whatever’s there is going to be the raw sound. So yeah, I think those producers helped a lot in refining the way the album sounds and it was awesome.

The next to last song one the album (“My Light Unseen”) is, to my knowledge, the only song of yours to heavily feature clean vocals–what made you decide to keep it on the album?

The clean vocals? Honestly, we just wanted to work and collab with Ryan Clark [of Demon Hunter]. That song was supposed to be an instrumental and we had the idea of just sending him the track and seeing what he could do with it and we’re super stoked on what came out with it.

The last track on the album–”Death. Ascension. Resurrection”–is this an homage to Nailed. Dead. Risen.?

Sort of, yeah, a bit.

Baptized In Filth definitely feels a lot different than your previous two records, the change in producers really shows through, and in a good way.

That’s awesome to hear, man, it’s awesome that people are seeing this as a separation but at the same time the same band. Like I said before, everything about this album is is different. New life experiences, new producers, it’s all different. I’m stoked.

So, in regards to the new symbol you guys have for the Baptized In Filth and merch, did you expect so many people to miss the point and meaning of it?

Actually, no. If you look at the word “repentagram” we thought people would put two and two together that it’s the opposite of a pentagram, but no, that’s not the case. People just look at it and assume it’s a Satanic symbol or they look at it and get confused. I feel like we’re still constantly explaining it.

I mean, you guys already kind of dealt with this once before with the term “goreship” didn’t you?

Yeah, [laughs]. It’s weird because we never get any flack about that, but they’re constantly bringing up the repentagram. Maybe it’s a visual thing, because it’s something to look at. Could also maybe be because of Slipknot’s symbol, I feel like maybe they think it’s similar to that symbol. I dunno.

So, looking through the preorder packages for the Baptized In Filth I noticed there were none for vinyl–are you interested in or looking to release the new album on vinyl at some point?

We are pushing for that. We have every other album on vinyl, so we really want to release this one on vinyl as well. Right now we’re trying to get an exclusive vinyl pressing for Warped Tour, but we haven’t heard word on whether that’s happening or not. Either way, we’re going to push for a vinyl release of this record, so hopefully it happens.

So tell me a little bit about the art for the Baptized In Filth, and how the theme ties into the lyrical themes for the album.

Well, Brook had the idea for Baptized In Filth way before we even started thinking about artwork and stuff. We kind of didn’t have a visual concept, to be honest. We had a title concept and it did all tie together with his lyrics, and we were just trying to convey to the artist that we needed to represent a baptism of some sort.

Actually, interesting story about the artwork, we kind of feel like it could have been more because two days after he started working on our art his dad passed away, so it was a really tough situation for him. It is what it is, and we just conveyed to him “Here’s the concept of the album and here’s sort of what we need for the art.”

You’re out on Metal Alliance this spring, is this one of the larger tours you’ve done in regards to sheer number bands and high profile artists you’ve done?

We’re stoked on. I think it will be similar to Thrash And Burn from 2010. Maybe not the same fan base, by I’m expecting it to be a similar type of tour. We’re stoked on it and it’s definitely a good your for us to be on. We’ve never toured with Dying Fetus, we’ve never toured with Job For A Cowboy so hopefully their fans will accept us. I’m sure they will on a musical level, but… it’s always a bit nerve-wracking because I feel like some of their fans can be a bit closed-minded at times, but hopefully they’ll like us and it will be a good time.

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