Imminence Assert Artistic Self-Determination with, 'The Black'

Imminence Assert Artistic Self-Determination with, 'The Black'

- By Ramon Gonzales

Vocalist Eddie Berg and lead guitarist Harald Barrett explain the diverse influence, genuine intensity and focused intentionality of their fourth full length. 

Though widely regarded as one of the most innovative and forward-thinking bands in the space of contemporary metalcore, it would hard to commit Sweden's Imminence to just once corner of the heavy spectrum.

Coloring outside the lines of modern metalcore, the band's well-executed balance of Scandinavian pedigree with classical composition make for a epic meld of that resonates as equal parts grace and guts. 

For the band's most recent effort, The Black, the collective reconnected with venerated Swedish music producer Henrik Udd - whose resume boasts the likes of Architects, Bring Me The Horizon, At The Gates - a fitting combination of artists in line with the direction that Imminence was steering towards. Combining contemporary heft with orchestral instrumentation and execution, Imminence tapped into the most complete version of themselves thus far. 

Implementing an especially methodical approach, the band's fourth full length album leaned heavily into grandoise compositions and well-developed thematic concepts. Classical strings were contrast with fits of chaotic catharsis creating powerful dynamics that resonated as pointed, focused and calculated. More than ever before, Imminence had dared to explore new creative terrain in heavy music and were doing so in a way that emphasized substance over spectacle - authenticity over shock-and-awe. 

Further reinforcing that creative conviction, the band had also opted to pursue a less conventional means of the bigger business of music. Going DIY and opting out the traditional record label model, Imminence prioritized complete autonomy by choosing to release their own music. The decision seemingly nurtured a working environment that minimized expectation and encouraged creative freedom in way that allowed the band to achieve a new level of artistic accomplishment. 

Heartened by their resolve and self-determination, Imminence now stand on the brink of what has the potential to be a pivotal year for the band. Armed with a collection of songs that are among their most cohesive and complete in their career, The Black serves as testament to those that fiercely value artistic independence. Encompassed in 12 tracks, The Black doubles as a creative manifesto that underscores the band's well-earned acclaim as non-conformists in conviction and creativity. 

Further elaborating on the magnitude of the album and the conceptual breadth of such an important record, vocalist Eddie Berg and lead guitarist Harald Barrett offered a track-by-track analysis of the album. Dissecting each entry, the duo confide the headspace that nurtured such a remarkable record and detailed the process that resulted in what is the consensus thus far believes is the band's best work to date. 



Barrett - This was the first song written for the new album. After a very busy time of catching up on the touring cycle of our previous album Heaven in Hiding, released during the pandemic, we took some time away from writing new music. Our first session going back into writing again went sort of how you could expect. You try some ideas, try to not keep your expectations too high and let the process take its time. I left the session and remember coming home with a brand new demo in my inbox. Eddie sent his ideas for ‘Come Hell or High Water’ and wanted my opinion, letting me know that “this might not be how I want the new album to sound, but it brings out the right emotions”. I instantly understood where we were heading next, the next chapter had opened and I could already hear the direct continuation of this track.

Berg - It’s always difficult to know how to start an album writing process and knowing in which direction you’re headed. When I started working on the song, there was a darkness and feeling like something was pulling you in. I had the song title written down and was obsessing over the phrase like a mantra in my head. It’s a really unique song for Imminence that has a hypnotizing feel about it. This track really set the tone in terms of the cinematic soundscape and dramatic scoring of what would come.




Barrett - Since 'Come Hell or High Water' was clearly the opening of a new chapter, ending in a huge crescendo that to me instantly felt like the beginning of a new song. The two songs are written in the same tempo and key, but working with completely different nuances, still related to the core but acting as each other's polar opposites. For my own part, I was very excited to bring forth elements that were not present on our previous releases. There’s a different kind of intensity, riff styles, discovering new ground with other tempos, and some “new but old” additions such as blast beats and more. I felt like I was just unbuckling the seat belt and hit the gas pedal, not afraid to see where any of this madness would end up, throwing in a good bunch of my early influences. It was an incredibly refreshing song to write, and I had personally been missing this in our writing for a long time.

Berg - I was over the moon when Harald presented the instrumental idea for Desolation after hearing Come Hell or High Water. This was exactly what I hoped for in terms of direction of the new album. A darker and heavier trajectory that would unleash something unexpected of ourselves. In the same way that it was fun to bring in earlier influences, I had wanted to make more intense, dramatic string arrangements to our songs. It was a perfect marriage in Desolation and felt like an instant Imminence classic.




Barrett - This song was a perfect example of how me & Eddie can complete each other’s song writing. The basic main riff is a good foundation, but I could hear strings working quite well over it. After hearing the first instrumental ideas, Eddie sent over the string arrangements, and it just perfectly hit the spot. Filled with enthusiasm from Desolation, I discovered that I could put in another gear. This is one of the most extreme songs we’ve ever written, and definitely brings out the “metal” in Imminence. We come from Scandinavian death metal, and I believe that our background is somewhat different from a lot of contemporary acts, which in turn is also affecting our sound and approach to songwriting. It’s the closest we’ve ever been to flirting with even black metal influences, still managing to find the connection with ourselves and the essential aspects for making a song feel not just like a good track, but a good Imminence track.

Berg - Desolation awoke something in both me and Harald that really opened the door for going all in with Heaven Shall Burn in terms of instrumentation and string arrangement. It felt like we were able to bring back the metal into metalcore. If you listen to the intro and bridge of this track, this is where the cinematic backdrop of ambience started to set the tone for the album.




BarrettBeyond The Pale came about quite early in the writing process, and were both in and out of the tracklist until reaching its final form. The song definitely had something, probably speaking volumes to us as Beyond the Pale is a great homage to our teenage heroes In Flames, but there was just simply something missing. The entire writing process of “The Black” was incredibly unhinged and free. We brought our process with us to wherever we went, and this song was actually finalized on a cruising ship a few hours before stepping on stage. I found that the guitar and rhythm sections in Beyond the Pale had to become very straight to the point, clear motives that lead a clear path for the other arrangements completing the song.




Barrett - As Imminence aren’t afraid of going into extremes, we can choose to do so in any direction. This song is showing different qualities in our ability to write different kinds of music. Death by a Thousand Cuts represents that jacket you have in your wardrobe and take out once in a while just to notice that it still fits you. Vocals and melodies play a huge part in this song, and offer something new in contrast to the rest of the album. I remember being in the studio and recording guitar for Heaven Shall Burn, while Eddie was working on what later became Death by a Thousand Cuts in the other room. The intro beat instantly spoke to me and opened something new and interesting, especially after working on two very brutal songs. Intro, verse, bridge was all there, but the chorus just didn’t fall into place. However, the vocal idea was definitely worth paying attention to, so I took the song home and rewrote the basic instruments (guitar, bass and drums) to back up the main vocals - and there it was. It’s quite a heavy arranged song, but interestingly enough, the chorus is really just all that: vocals, guitars, bass, drums. Sometimes less is more.

Berg - I had wanted to start a song with an electronic drum beat for a while, and every time I tried something it just didn’t fall into place. But I finally got the point of starting Death by a Thousand Cuts and it instantly hit that nerve. After writing some of our heaviest tracks in Imminence history, I felt like doing something completely different. The song really came together, but I just couldn’t figure out how to approach the chorus. Harald presented his idea for the chorus and leading up to that, and I thought ”this feels huge”. This is where Harald and I complement each other perfectly, where we’re able to help each other figure out how to let the song reach its full potential.




Barrett - Sometimes you start off by writing a song and know instantly where to go. In this case, we didn’t. I had the idea of the intro for quite some time, but were never really able to apply it anywhere. We started writing Come What May during a few days off on the road, where we had just finished writing Continuum, and figured that we still had time to start working on new material. My thoughts were “Well, at least I’ve got this idea”, and this instantly sparked a lot of excitement. In contrast to some of the other songs, the “theme” wasn’t very clear from the start. It definitely took some time to figure out how the song would develop, and it was obvious that a classic song structure wasn’t the recipe for success. Come What May has a lot to offer, it showcases a great variety of our influences and capabilities and challenges the listeners expectations after hearing the previous songs on the album. 

Berg - Come What May is one of my favorite tracks from the album. Writing the song felt like telling a story, each part offering something new. It’s like going on a musical journey. It’s just one of those tracks that required to be different and wouldn’t let itself conform to a standard song structure format.




BergCul-de-Sac came to life while I was working on arranging ambience for another song. I was engulfed in the feeling and wanted to see where it would take me. As a fan of post metal and post rock, This Will Destroy You was a big influence for me, it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. This album is about the engrossing feeling of darkness, how it pulls you deeper into The Black. I believe that this track gives you pause for reflection and shows a different side of what The Black can be.




Barrett - On every album so far, there has always been that one track that brings us back to the roots. The Call of the Void is probably the song that’s the most coherent with early releases such as The Sickness or even Wine & Water. It’s metalcore in our own original format, but here with a twist of Gothenburg sounding melo-death influence. The lyrical theme revolves around the temptation of giving in to the dark, looking down from the edge of a cliff and wondering “What if I jump?”. You can definitely hear a lot of the old Imminence in this song. The intensity and fierceness brought me right back to our debut album, but having grown into another person and songwriter ever since the composition of “I”, The Call of the Void is a more mature and well written song in comparison, at least to my own opinion. 




Barrett - Sometimes you come across a track that is standing out a bit more than the others and, in lack of better words, sums up an era. A song that is marking the start of something new, that surprises you and brings things to the next level. This time, it was Continuum. There are a lot of new elements and approaches to songwriting for us, but I believe we still managed to have the song sound and feel like a spot on Imminence track. Continuum shows the perfect balance between the brutal forcefulness and emotional serenity that is Imminence. Right in the middle of where these two meet, is where we are, and this is what it sounds like. The building blocks of the song is quite different from how we would normally start out, which is why some leading features such as vocal melodies and guitar leads took a very different development than might have been expected from an Imminence release.

Berg - As soon as Harald presented the instrumental idea for Continuum, I was completely sold. I loved the different approach and instantly felt this was going to be a big track for us. Sometimes you have an instrumental that is so huge that you barely need to complement it. I remember coming to the chorus and wondering how to approach it, and Harald pointed out a line that I had written down, ”Chasing time”, and that I could perhaps try to sing it in a softer manner. It just clicked and the whole melody came instinctively. Writing lyrics and strings for the rest of the song came so naturally.




Barrett - L’appel du Vide builds on the atmospheric aspects of the new album, but differs in the key elements. The track is guitar driven, and while we would normally turn to strings or ambient keys for that cinematic soundscape, we felt that a guitar arrangement was the right direction (even if strings and keys are still an important part of the song). I’m very glad to be able to show that there are many purposes for the different foundational instruments in Imminence’s music, and that some of our more post rock/ambient influences, such as Sigur Ros were able to take place on the album.




Barrett - “The Black” was a theme that manifested itself right upon writing the first song. It chose to make its appearance during several different occasions through the writing process, and came to its fullest form with this song. This is the sound of The Black, and brings out so many strengths in our sound. If there would be a song to summarize what Imminence new album is all about, this would be a great example. There are beautiful vocal melodies and black metal screams, grand choruses and scaled down verses, heavy guitar riffs and clean picking, easy groove and blast beats, all blended with vast string arrangements. We had no other choice than to make this the title track.

Berg - When we started writing for the album, we kind of flipped the concept of how we’d usually write an album. We decided to start writing songs and releasing them when we felt like we had a single on our hands, before the full album was done. After writing the first song, Come Hell or High Water, I felt there was this pull towards the darkness. There was something beautiful and disturbing about it. Even though we didn’t know at the time, it makes so much sense that this was the concept for the album.

I wanted to use lyrical references between the songs on the new record, and one of those phrases ended up being The Black. Looking back, I think it was just meant to be. 




Berg - Another type of track that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, as a fan of composers like Max Richter and Ólafur Arnalds. Originally it was meant to be an intro to Come Hell or High Water, but after writing The Black, I decided to use the lead melody from Le Noir at the end of The Black. I think it’s a beautiful way to end the album, leaving the listener with a somber arrangement for contemplation.


The Black, the latest full length album from Imminence is now available. Get the album - HERE

Imminence begins their From Sweden with Love tour later this month. The run will include appearances at major festivals including Sonic Temple and Welcome to Rockville. See the dates and cities below.
Get tickets - HERE
4/23 — Dallas, TX — The Studio At The Factory
4/24 — Austin, TX — Empire Garage
4/26 — Albuquerque, NM — Sister Bar
4/27 — Phoenix, AZ — The Nile
4/28 — Anaheim, CA — House of Blues
4/29 — Sacramento, CA — Ace of Spades
4/30 — Portland, OR — Revolution Hall
5/1 — Seattle, WA — The Neptune
5/3 — Salt Lake City, UT — The Grand At The Complex
5/4 — Denver, CO — Marquis Theater
5/6 — Madison, WI — Majestic Theatre
5/7 — St. Louis, MO — Hawthorn
5/8 — Nashville, TN — Eastside Bowl
5/10 — Daytona Beach, FL — Welcome To Rockville*
5/12 — Atlanta, GA — Terminal West
5/13 — Charlotte, NC — Neighborhood Theatre
5/14 — Richmond, VA — Broadberry
5/15 — Baltimore, MD — Baltimore Soundstage
5/16 — Philadelphia, PA — Theatre of Living Arts
5/17 — Harrisburg, PA — HMAC
5/18 — Columbus, OH — Sonic Temple*
*Festival Appearance
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