Published Jan 17, 2011Death is frightful in any context. Still, the thought of simultaneously being bludgeoned, eviscerated and suffocated incites as much anxiety as the human body can endure. Short of intentionally finding Vlad III's wrong side, it's a nightmare few would want to suffer though. Thanks to the abrasive delirium of Syracuse, NY trio Imbroglio, we can surmise what goes through one's mind during those moments of sheer terror and torture. Sleep Deprivation alludes to the cacophonous angularity a band of their idiom might come up with after nights of insomnia. Due to its staccato pulsations and intensely blunt viciousness, creating a menacing hybrid of black metal's maniacal deviousness, spurred on by hardcore's explicit, confrontational approach, unyielding distortion, instrumental pyrotechnics and extensive rage, this album comes across like the musical equivalent of outright panic, or a thousand stereos playing Tombs, Daughters and Gaza simultaneously. Utilizing a keen mixture of simple brutality, shifting, unsettling obtuseness and monumental girth (best represented during the explosive, building bridge of "Cement Shoes"), Sleep Deprivation taps endlessly oppressive power. From its churning, Neurosis-style, progressive din through to the bombastic rage of grindcore, opposing aspects of illuminating, atmospheric ambience, which create an odd serenity, and cloaked in nihilism, Sleep Deprivation is an unrepentant discharge of demonic dissonance.
In your mind, what does this album deliver to your fans that The Oncoming Swarm didn't?
Guitarist/vocalist D.J. Gilbert: This one delivers a message of who we are and what we sacrifice to do this: that we do this because it's all we know how to do and we aren't stopping. This is our only [personal] release. If I wasn't doing this, I'd probably be on the news for murdering anyone who's ever done me wrong. Musically, it delivers new dynamics and an overall different musical attitude, but it also lets our listeners who have hard times know they're not alone.
How was it creating such emotionally and aurally weighty music?
Our producer, T.J. Calandra, helped bring out our better elements, as well as our demons, during the vocal recording. He dug deep into the lyrics, asking about each line, to the point where we revisited and relived those events in our minds. That's how he would harness our rage and push us to make it that much more honest and real. Things ended up being broken and instruments ended up thrown on the ground, at times. It was a very long, intense, emotionally draining and pain enduring process.
How does Sleep Deprivation surpass The Oncoming Swarm?
As our first effort, we feel The Oncoming Swarm is very immature compared to Sleep Deprivation, but at the same time, we knew we were onto something that would evolve with time.
Is there a different attitude to this album?
We had, and still have, a different attitude towards things these days, including the addition of Devon [Robillard, bass/vocals] in December, 2008. Devon gave the band a breath of fresh air and a spark of different inspirations to incorporate different sounds. Devon and I also now handle all of the vocal duties because we feel we can accomplish what we want to hear. We just decided to do it ourselves and not have to deal with a singer, especially when we already know what we are trying to get across in the songs and the overall messages.
Do you feel the writing is vastly different? The arranging and production values?
Definitely, but we are still the same band; we have just become more mature with our instruments and writing. We feel like we are onto something that is more different and angrier than the attitude and material of The Oncoming Swarm. We also decided that we didn't want to be in the realm of writing part-to-part kinds of songs; we want to make sure that the parts are memorable and when they come back, they are more furious than earlier in the song. The climax and the ending are the most important parts, to us. We don't want you to feel cheated with our music, but at the same time, we don't want it to be drawn-out and have the listener, or us, bored by the end of the song.
When you listen back, what are your opinions after going through the process?
Just the connection that we made with T.J., and ourselves, as friends, including the time spent together making this record happen. We were almost at our end, but he kept us together. T.J. really made sure we still believed in our music and ourselves; it was a very trying process, but I feel we came out on top and created something that we are all proud of.
Anything you'd change?
Most definitely, but it's just one thing: that it took us so long to make this record. That's what makes it a learning experience, I suppose. For our next record, I literally want to just book six days and hammer out the songs in the studio.
What were some of the overt influences on the record?
Musically, I am going to go with All Else Failed, Anodyne, Botch, Converge, Deadguy, Deftones, Godflesh, Isis, Jesu, Majority Rule, Mare, Neurosis, NIN, Pig Destroyer, early Sepultura, Swans, Today is the Day, Tombs and White Zombie. All of those are in constant rotation on our personal playlists. I know I just gave a lot of names, but those are the bands that truly inspire us; we don't want to take influence from just one artist. To us, we are doing something different than what every other band are doing these days. We don't ever try to take a sound from our influences; we just write what comes out of our hands.
How about sub-consciously?
Believe it or not, I am going with old school nu metal albums from Korn, Slipknot and Soulfly. During the making of this record ― besides the ones we are obviously influenced by ― I was listening to a lot of stuff that Ross Robinson had produced. I love any record he produces or records; he brings out the artist and makes sure they give themselves to the music. Listening back, a lot of my vocal approach was striving to be honest, pissed and furious ― the sound that Robinson has always captured from bands he's worked with. But I didn't realize I was truly inspired by that until I was done with the recording.
Do you feel you have a stronger guttural and instinctual approach or a modestly technical and obtuse one?
That's a good, and difficult, question. A lot people think we are very technical, but for us, it's just like taking a walk or driving a car; it's repetition. But we do challenge ourselves and make sure that what we bring to the table with our material is our best. We always make sure it's something we want to share with the world. Once the riff or song is written, it goes through several different processes of evaluation and collaboration. Still, I don't feel like what we are doing is difficult to understand by any means, so I am going to go with neither. We just do what we do and what comes out as the finished product is what we know is our best.
With so many diverse influences, do you feel you've bridged gaps between extreme sub-genres?
As a group, we all listen to just about everything. In the heavy/experimental realm of music, we've fused a lot of genres together that [many] bands would be afraid to try to. I personally feel we have done ourselves justice on this record by not only being weird, but also [keeping] the intensity and ferocity intact on each song.
Quite simply: how do a power trio sound so incredibly heavy?
The secret: we don't try. We've never had a solid sound that we [strive] for. Each song is its own entity and it has always come across abrasive and monstrous, to us; it just comes out of us that way. It all relates to how we are as individuals and how we feel, as well as what is inside our heads. It is all very personal. Granted, we wouldn't want it any other way, but it's just something that is natural to all three of us. We just do what we do and keep going. (The Path Less Traveled)