Following a brief hiatus, Dayton, OH-based metallers Imbroglio have returned, and they're about to release what may be their best material to date on new EP The Struggle in Pursuit. The hiatus came as a surprise in December 2012, just a week prior to the release of their stellar album, Declared Self Hatred, but in a recent interview with Exclaim!, frontman D.J. Gilbert opened up about the deeply personal reasons behind the band's break. As it turns out, Gilbert was battling serious personal demons at the time.
"Overall the brief hiatus was for my sanity," he explains. "I have kept this band alive for over seven years now. I no longer felt a fire burning inside because with Declared Self Hatred I felt like I finally wrote my final piece, my suicide note. I knew I was on my way to the easy way out. I literally expelled every ounce of hate for myself on that record. So it was either put it on an indefinite hiatus for a while or just allow myself to self-destruct."
Having come out of that dark time on a brighter side, Gilbert says new drummer Bret Newland had a huge impact on the reformation of Imbroglio.
"The regroup was an idea brought up by Bret. I wanted to start a whole new band, basically new everything," Gilbert explains. "But no matter what I do, it will always sound like Imbroglio. If my hands are on the strings and voice is being heard, then it would just be Imbroglio with a different name.
"So I agreed to Bret's proposal of wanting to play drums. I even asked for our original drummer's permission and consent to further this idea. He gave me his blessing and he knew of Bret's capabilities, so overall Nate [Harrah] was comfortable with everything. So I got Josh [Deeter, bassist] back into the fold. Once we had our first full band practice it felt right. Not that it never did before, but it just felt like everything was meant to be."
The positive vibes are evident on the new five-track EP, which features Imbroglio's chaotic amalgamation of grind, sludge, doom and experimental noise. However, where Declared Self Hatred was filled with feelings of despair, hatred and defeat, The Struggle in Pursuit contains a sense of hopefulness and optimism.
"I feel this new release from us shows that we are more mature now. I am not trying to write music that will send me to my grave anymore. This new material is very self-triumphant in the sense that it's no longer negative for me. It just feels alive to us. It's breathing with us. Imbroglio is no longer this machine that is fuelled by hate for the wrong reasons. It's fuelled by a band of friends, and people who want to create together, who also want to dominate their expectations within evolving, playing and writing music."
Lyrically, the themes conveyed on The Struggle in Pursuit are "about the struggle of being a working class, blue-collared American citizen; failing friendships; the seasons and how they affect the moods of us as people; the inner walls we build to guard ourselves from harmful people; and the uphill battle of the pursuit of happiness."
"I grew tired of the consistent negativity in most extreme music," claims Gilbert. "Nobody wants to seem to talk about the real problems or the real things that are truly going on with themselves to try to become a functioning, real member of society."
The Struggle in Pursuit is set for release on March 21 via the Path Less Traveled Records.
Read our full interview with Gilbert here.