Incarnis interview

Incarnis logo and artwork

Originally published in ‘zine issue #8, 1993

Ryan Muldoon plays guitar in the godly death metal band Incarnis from Virginia Beach. He has been in the scene for years and has some good things to say. The group has released two demos, and is a superb, heavy act live. If you’d like to contact Ryan about his band or his ‘zine, write to him. Below is an interview with Ryan, the Charles Kuralt of death metal!

D.U.: First off, how do you describe your music and lyrical approach to those who haven’t heard them before?

Ryan: Musically I would describe Incarnis as a dark and aggressive undevout death metal band. Usually people need to compare the sound to other bands, but there is just so much room for disagreement. I would say we are definitely influenced (a word used very loosely) by such bands as Fatal, Entombed/Nihilist, Rotting Christ, Eucharist, Crematory, Samael, Absu, Master’s Hammer, Amorphis, old Autopsy, old Paradise Lost, old Celtic Frost, Carbonized, Incantation, Possessed, Plutocracy, Massacra, Dissection, Deceased, bla bla bla. The list could go on all day.

Lyrics are not quite as easy to explain, I think. Our drummer Brian and I write all of the lyrics, and at times they are a bit strange. They are always very dark, yet I can see how someone might not really understand them, but that’s fine. I like lyrics that are chilling, strange, interesting, somber, etc. Some of my favorite lyrics come from bands like Dark Tranquility, Tiamat, Celtic Frost, Disembowelment, Sabbat/Skyclad, My Dying Bride (incredible), and plenty of others. It’s really just inspirations from other bands, thoughts, dreams, comics, movies, Anne Rice novels, onion rings …

You’ve said that all the bandmembers are basically drug/alcohol free (does this include cigarettes?), but don’t consider yourselves “straight edge” per se. Why do you guys as a whole abstain from these things?

For lack of a better term, we are 99 percent of the time straight edge, though I wouldn’t describe us as such. Really, I’d just say we don’t smoke pot (or cigarettes) and only drink once in a blue moon. It was never a conscious decision that no one in the band would do drugs. It just kind of happened that way. With the old lineup, two of the guys smoked weed all the time (but then again, maybe that’s why they are ex-members!). [laughs]

The reason I abstain from drugs is not very deep. Basically, I wasn’t around it when I was growing up, and I never had the urge to start. When I was of the age most guys or girls start (say 14-16), I was more interested in buying albums and tapes, watching pro wrestling, and reading comics. I never really was enticed by the appeal. I don’t mind if people do. I have plenty of pals who get high/drunk regularly. It’s no big deal either way. Just be responsible for your actions!

And how do you feel about the straight edge scene as a whole, apart from the fact that you disassociate yourselves from it?

As far as the straight edge scene, I really don’t understand it. Though I’m not part of that scene at all, from what I’ve seen locally, it’s really a bunch of self-righteous pissants who think they are superior to others, which is a really lame attitude to hold. Most of these guys are just following blind (i.e., uprise of Krishna religion within this scene), ‘cause they are too pathetic to think for themselves. If you’re gonna decide to be straight, do it for yourself, not because Judge or Youth Of Today or whoever say you should.

In what format will you release the next batch of songs you’ll record?

Probably in a variety of formats. We are planning to record next month (cross your fingers) with five new songs. We’re finishing the fifth one now. So let’s see: one will be on a split 7” planned with U.K.’s Malediction (label still unknown). Then there may be another 7” with Adipocere Records from France (the label of Beyond Dawn, Crypt Of Kerberos, etc.), and lately some talk with Slaughter Records from Germany about a CD EP, which would be pretty cool. So things are still a bit up in the air. Whatever format, anyone will still be able to get them on tape/demo, I’m sure, ‘cause that’s still the most accessible format.

What is currently available from the band?

Currently, I still have the Castigation demo available for a blank tape and postage or three dollars through the mail (four overseas). Soon we should have some new t-shirts, and every now and then I have a rehearsal or something that usually gets lost under a pile of socks.

It has been said in these very pages that death metal is dead. What is your stance on this statement, and have you heard it often before?

Yeah, you hear it all the time. It’s a bit paradoxical to hear a death metal band say this while they continue to play death metal. I mean, what’s the point of Napalm Death continuing to try to play intense, when all they want to listen to is Smashing Pumpkins and Skinny Puppy and Alice In Chains or whatever? I think people who think like that should just leave the death metal scene alone. I mean, it’s been about 25 years since Black Sabbath’s first LP and about 10 years since Hellhammer and 7 since Repulsion and Nihilist, so heavy music will always exist.

Death metal, in the last year and a half, went through its explosion period, and now it’s getting back to normal and there are some changes. Not that many new bands are coming up, and even less are worthwhile, but those that are worthwhile are amazing. Bands like Eucharist, Beyond Dawn, etc., even stuff like My Dying Bride and The Gathering is relatively recent and really impressive and original. The bands that have always been intense, like Deceased, Dismember, Afflicted, Rotting Christ, etc., are still intense and still improving. So death metal is dead only if you want it to be dead. I mean, check out the new Solemn demo!

Photo of Ryan Muldoon of Incarnis

Is the Black Metal Mafia giving black metal/death metal a bad name, regardless of whether it’s justified?

Yes, the Black Metal Mafia or Inner Circle is definitely giving black metal a bad name. Now you have a ton of bands that used to play crappy Cannibal Corpse music putting on face paint and claiming to be the most evil thing ever to stand on two legs. To me, you can see through the phony stuff pretty easily. I still love black metal, bands like Samael, Tiamat/Treblinka, Rotting Christ, Master’s Hammer, and still more recent bands like Impaled Nazarene, Marduk, Dissection, Grand Belial’s Key, Crucifier, Absu, etc., are very good. Creative, dark, and intense. Black metal is more in the mind/lyrics than the face paint to me. At The Gates lyrics are eons blacker than anything Darkthrone could come up with, if you ask me.

The guy from Darkthrone said that the Mafia has nothing to do with music and everything to do with religion/free thought. Is he right, or is the fact that bands are involved make the lines between the two blurred?

I don’t think I can answer whether or not the Inner Circle is correct about anything, because they are so full of hypocrisy, contradiction, half-truths, and bullshit that I really can’t tell what they are trying to get across. They say stuff like they believe in Communism, yet they want to make a lot of money. True meaning of the word “oxymoron.” I don’t know. Burst command till war!

What’s the latest on Korgull ‘zine? Are you bringing out a new issue?

Yeah, I’m working on the new issue, and it’ll be better than the last one, I believe. Interviews with Deceased, Doomstone, The Gathering, Morbid Symphony, Eucharist, Sentenced, Demigod, Dark Tranquility, Corpse Molestation, Afflicted, 13, and some other surprises. Talks with Mikko Mattila and Metalion too. Better layout, weirder stuff, and maybe a pro printing job, but don’t hold your breath.

What is the purpose for you doing the ‘zine on a personal level?

I’ve been doing a ‘zine for about four years now. It’s fun, a neat way to make pals in the underground, stay in touch with the most recent bands, and I actually like laying things out for the pages.

Last words of wisdom?

Remove your wings … ■

Photo: Ryan Muldoon in the pit at some show he probably drove for hours to get to


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