As it has been a while since Insanity Reigns Supreme released an album,
could you therefore introduce I.R.S. to those who don’t know you ?
Insanity Reigns Supreme was formed in 1989, so we´ve been around for quite some time. In that period we released 2 demo´s, 2 tracks on samplers and 2 full CD´s. The first CD was in 1998 “...and Darkness Drowned the Land Divine” and the current one “Prophecy of Doom”.
We´ve had our fair share of line-up changes and it doesn´t seem to stop. Recently Burt has left the band to concentrate on drumming again. In positive news however, Christophe, one of the founding members has returned to take on the bass duties after a hiatus of 5 years. It seems that we have come full circle again.
As far as the music is concerned it is a mix between Doom and Death metal. One of the best description was in a review, where it was said “Insanity Reigns Supreme has found the ideal mix between the funeral grimness of doom metal and the nihilistic patterns of death metal.”
Could you give an introduction to the new album and what you hope to achieve
For “Prophecy of Doom” we really wanted to get rid of all the fluff you usually find on Doom records in order to concentrate on the bare essence. This means you won´t find any female vocals, keyboards or tears filled spoken word on this record. The reasoning behind this was that we had already done this on the first album and we also consciously wanted to differentiate from the “oh no, my girlfriend has left me and now life doesn´t have any meaning” sort of Doom and deliver strong, solid and menacing hymns. We realise that this will be hard to swallow for most people, since this means that listening to the record is a really draining process, since all little tokens of hope have been removed. For those that have the stomach for it, it will be a very rewarding experience.
For us this album marks the next step in our development that we had to take. Where it leads from here is left to be seen, since at the moment we are also without a label, since we dibanded that cooperation with Burt (who runs Uxicon Records) when he left the band.
On “The Peel Sessions” the death metal band ‘Prophecy Of Doom’ has a song called ‘Insantiy Reigns Supreme’. I think it is safe to presuppose that I.R.S. is reffering to this band, certainly with the current album title. Has this band influenced I.R.S. and if so, in what way?
They actually released an EP that had the titel “Insanity Reigns Supreme”, so it is indeed true that our bandname was inspired by them. We started out under the “Mental Defect” but when we released our demo in 1991 we changed into Insanity Reigns Supreme, since this represents the same but is more eloquantly put. We always said that in return we had to release an album with the titel “Prophecy of Doom”, since not only is it fitting with our music, but it also is a great twist on things. Musically we differ quiet a lot though, but I can really recommend their debut “Acknowledge the confusion master”.
Which other bands have served to be influential for I.R.S.?
Difficult to say, since I believe that most of the influences just aren´t around anymore. It seems that when we mention influences, we always have to add “old”, eg old MDB, old Anathema, old Paradise Lost and the list goes on. One review put it as being a mix between (old) Paradise Lost and (old) Gorefest. That probably isn´t far from the truth. Having said that, every member brings his own set of influences into the band. That is the reason why we have this mix between Doom and Death Metal.
One of the strongest aspects of this album is the heavy theatrical quality of the songs. I connect this with the esoteric imaginery the band uses. This is one of the strongest aspects of I.R.S. How has this characteristic come into life?
This is mostly due to Ron and myself. We have a strong connection towards the esoteric/occult and hence express this in the band. This goes beyond the music and lyrics and finds its way into the artwork and imagery when we play live. Just as with the music everybody brings his own belief system into the band. Therefore we do not have a unified religion but a wild variety of outlooks on life. However, since Ron and I are also responsible for the graphic side of things (the entire CD was put together by us under the monicker Doomcult Design), it is our view that is predominantly expressed in lyrics and artwork. All of this linked together, the language, the visuals, the music, the history has grown into a “cult-ure” which we have baptized “Insane Cult of Doom”.
How come it took I.R.S. so long to record and release this second full length?
Firstly, as I already mentioned above, line-up changes played a big part in this. After the first CD, we lost our guitarist and bass player and hence it took quite some time to find an adequate replacement and then integrate them into the “Insane Cult of Doom”. I myself lived abroad between 1998 and 2001 (and still do, but at least now it is close enough), which didn´t help getting the band to the next level.
Secondly, since nobody is expecting to make a living out of this music, we also approach things in our own pace. We have been around for 15 years and we don´t intend to be leaving the scene soon.
Finally, there is always the trouble for getting backup from a label for what we do. The music we stand for tends to scare most people off and hence finding someone who is willing ot support this is hard. We also like to be in total control of what we do, from studio, over artwork to packaging and T-shirts, which doesn´t help when looking for a partner. Since this our representation of our “Insane Cult of Doom”, we don´t want to compromise and would rather choose for self financing than giving part of it out of hand.
I don’t want to rush things, but are there already plans for a third full length and on what will the possibility of a third release be dependant?
At the moment we feel that there is a strong possibility of releasing a next album. We finally have the right people together and the creative process is already bubbling. The timing is another issue however. We are now looking for a new partner for distributing the current album and hence will concentrate on that first.
Although I like the album a lot, my all time favorite song is ‘Finsternis’ from your first full length. Is it possible that I.R.S. will write another song in this vein?
Never say never. From the outset it was clear that “Prophecy of Doom” would never contain a song like Finsternis, for the reasons that I have already outlined. We do realise however that with that song we have captured something magickal. We felt it when we recorded it in the studio and since then decided to never play it live, since capturing that moment again would be extremely hard. Not to mention that without having a female vocalist in our line up it is a practical impossibility. For the current album we feel that we have again captured something unique with songs like “the Fallen” and “Dawn of Awakening”, but with a total different outcome. What we will bring for the next album, who is to say?
What do you think of the doom scene today and the Belgian scene in particular?
I think there has never been a more active period for doom and especially in Belgium a select few individuals have taken it upon themselves to organize various things. Compared to the past that is a massive increase, since there hardly was anything to support our music. I know that a lot of people are complaining about the lack of support from the belgian fan side of things, which the attendance of the last Belgian Doom Night proved (only 25% of the people attending were actually belgian). I believe it is a growing process however, and most metal minded people have it stuck in their heads that Doom has to be boring and only for Goths. We can only find strength in the fact that the only way to tear down those barriers is by continuing to actively spread our word. It is also about managing expectations: Doom metal is a niche (doom) inside a niche (metal), so it will never gain a gigantic following, That is it´s strong point however, since it isn´t intented for the masses but for the select few. The support we get from this small selection of people is however so dedicated that it more than makes up for the lack in numbers.
I.R.S. has played at the first Belgium Doom Night. This was the biggest doom event for Belgium ever (although B.D.N. II will take that place soon). How did the band experience this gig?
It was a brilliant experience. To perform before a crowd of like minded individuals is always more gratifying and the response was magnificent. A show like that means more than touring half across Europe in front of an uninterested metal crowd. As a band you put extra effort in occasions like these and return the support 100%.
What do you think about these kind of events?
It is brilliant to see that there are still people out there that are willing to make the difference. It is on their efforts that the scene thrives.
You presented your album on the Doomed Legions Fest where Endor and In Somnis supported you. How was this gig for I.R.S.?
It was somewhat of a strange situation, since we decided to play the entire new album first, before playing some of the more well known songs. That meant that for both audience and band it was a special event, since for a lot of these songs it was the first time we played them live. It was good to see that the organisers were able to put something together that was more than just a concert. I look forward to visiting the second edition.
How were the reactions of the crowd?
Although as I said it was the first time that they were able to hear the songs, the reactions positively surprised us as well. We hadn´t expected that the fans would welcome these new songs so openly, so quickly.
What do you think about Endor and In Somnis?
It was a good mix of styles on the bill for the evening, which makes it more interesting for the audience as well. It will be interesting to see how both bands will develop.
Could you give some of your favourite bands (doom/non doom)?
Since I listen to a wide variety of music, I´ll just tell you what is currently in my car CD changer:
1. Immolation Unholy Cult
It hasn´t left my CD player since it´s release. Phenomenal stuff.
2. Nile In their darkened Shrines
Already a classic in my eyes.
3. Gorgoroth Twilight of the Idols
Totally brutal, totally brilliant.
4. Naglfar Sheol
A band that is getting better with each release.
Now you can see where the Death Metal influences come from ;)
That’s about it. I wish you and I.R.S. the best of luck. The last words are yours.
Thanx for your support. Remember that we cater to a select audience and hence need to keep it pure. For those individuals whose curiosity has been aroused by this interview, we invite you to join the “Insane Cult of Doom”.
Visit the Insanity Reigns Supreme bandpage.