The Johnstown, Pennsylvania four-piece Incantation has just put out its eight full-length Vanquish in Vengeance. It's an effort that is among the bands strongest and most diverse so far. A couple of days ago I had the chance to ask guitarist Alex Bouks about this and that. It wasn't the most elaborate talk, but in spite of that I did get most of the answers I was looking for.

Alex Bouks interviewed by PSL

Usually there's been about two years between each Incantation album. Why the long down time between Primordial Domination and Vanquish in Vengeance?
Because we were not inspired to do so. We do not want to do a record just for the sake of putting something out. It must come natural. And about a year ago it was time. Now we are so inspired we are working on another one.

How would you describe Vanquish in Vengeance in comparison to Primordial Domination?
I think it is a much darker and more diverse record then the last. I think the song writing is even stronger on Vanquish in Vengeance.

Do you solely find inspiration in death metal and metal in general or do different kinds of music interest you as well?
No not just metal, but classical and much rock music. I find myself more influenced by just life in general or art and experience.

How do you go about writing music? Do all four you contribute?
Yes we all now work together and collaborate together.

Have you tried to do things differently this time around in terms of song-writing?
Well, it was written as a band adverse to John doing all the writing with Kyle in the past.

You've recorded the album at the Mars Recording Compound with engineer Bill Korecky. Bill has more or less been handling the production on every album since The Forsaken Mourning of Angelic Anguish EP, but on the new CD you've had Dan Swan mix and master the effort. What made you go for that minor change?
We wanted a change and to bring fresh ears into our world. And I think Dan has done a great job in making the band sound sonically better.

Did you get the kind of production you were looking for or are there things you would go and change if you could?
There is always things you want to change that is why you continue to do better and better as you go along. But I am pretty satisfied with this one. And the next will be even better.

The guitars sound massive. Could you tell a bit about what gear you're using to get that sound?
I use Marshall JCM 2000 heads with Vader Cabinets and Jackson guitars. John uses Mesa Boogie with Vader Cabinets and BC Rich guitars.

Do you all contribute to the lyrics or is it just John who writes them?
No we all write the lyrics now. Chuck wrote most on this record.

Marin Kim's artwork has been a big part of the Incantation vibe. Why are you not using her anymore?
We needed something different this time to express the music and I think the artwork reflects perfectly the music and lyrics to the record.

Who did the artwork for Vanquish in Vengeance? It fits the feel of the music well I think.
The artwork was done by my long time friend Worthless. I am a huge fan of his work. And he did an amazing job. I was truly honoured to work with him.

Line-up changes is a big part of Incantation's 23 year history, but the current line-up consisting of you, John, Kyle and Chuck seem to be the most stable so far. Why do you think that is?
Because we are all great friends and all share a similar vision. There is chemistry and common goals that we all share together. It is the best group of people I have ever worked with.

Besides John and Kyle are you and Chuck involved in other bands as well?
Well my long time band is Goreaphobia and I have a new project that I am working on. I have worked with Master and Funebrarum in the past as well. And Chuck worked with Bloodstorm for a long time. Kyle plays drums with Acheron for many years now.

What's your view on the current death metal scene? Is it good, bad and are there bands that you in particular like?
Well things are a lot different then the early days. But I think things are very good especially for all the older bands like us. There is a younger audience now that seems to want to find the roots of everything, and wants to hear the real stuff. There are some newer bands like Obliteration that I like a lot. Those guys kick ass.

You were said to headline the 2012 edition of the Kill-Town Death Fest in Denmark, but that didn't happen. What went wrong?
Well things just did not fall in place so we could not do it. Maybe we will do next year.

Are you going to tour Europe in support of Vanquish in Vengeance?
I am sure we will but do not know when at this time.

Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Thank you for the support and cheers to all the fans.

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