Interview: Miles McIntosh of Apparition Talks ‘Disgraced Emanations from a Tranquil State’

The idea that death metal is stagnant has never been true, but it’s in great hands right now with bands who continue to find ways to individualize and elevate the tried and true. Whether it’s the thrash-y end of the spectrum with Revocation, neo-classical tech death from Archspire, or psychedelic prog that wafted out of the catacombs from Tomb Mold, there are a wealth of new avenues explored from extremely talented musicians. But what if a band comprised of musicians trained in jazz created an entire excellent debut based on the single source of truth in jazz (2021’s Feel) and then got bored of it and rapidly evolved? That would be killer. Enter California’s Apparition and their astounding leveling up put to record, Disgraced Emanations from a Tranquil State, out March 22 via Profound Lore. There ain’t no filler here.

There’s still that classic love of old, filthy death metal here at its base, but Apparitions are not content with treading familiar caverns; no their sophomore release feels like the result of a band wanting two typically competing things at the same time: wanting to challenge themselves and needing to have a damn good time doing so. Disgraced Emanations takes a similar leap that Tomb Mold did on last year’s surprise release, where the seeds of a more progressive and expressive band were there all along, but they blossomed into something wholly unexpected that seems inevitable when listening back to past records. If any idea of progressive death metal (but not tech death) appeals to you (smart, sexy thing that you are), then you may have a new favorite record.

It’s clear that having formal jazz training is Apparition’s superpower, as the members’ ability to riff off of each other and elevate individual performances is on full display throughout. Has that education impacted the band in any way?

“Having some formal music education has definitely positively influenced the progression of our music,” guitarist Miles McIntosh says, “in that we’ve been able to really step it up with the quality of each release in a relatively short amount of time. To be fair though, I think we were already people that gravitated towards more exploratory music long before we ever stepped into a music class. It’s also been a challenge to learn to write music intentionally and to solely rely on my ear and taste without trying to force anything. But yes, it has definitely become more comfortable over time!”

It’s clear that the drive to be authentic is really the secret sauce for Apparition; that their collective choice to create comes from what they specifically want, not some external stimuli. There seems to be a greater vibrance to their sophomore record, with more of a jazz and prog influence as well. So what caused this album to feel different?

“We never set out to sound like anything too specific when we started the band, so I think as we have released more music, we naturally have just tried to keep things interesting.  The jazz background really helps with that in particular. We got bored playing the songs off of Feel, so we wanted to challenge ourselves to write something that we maybe wouldn’t get bored of so quickly.”
Feel felt like a more internalized record, while Disgraced Emanations feels livelier and more aware of your surroundings; was that intentional?

“I’d like to think of our music as a snapshot of our lives,” McIntosh answers, “so your observation makes sense considering we wrote Feel in the midst of the lockdowns! The main thing we wanted to do with Disgraced Emanations was to make it a bit more dynamic, and a bit more extreme. We also really wanted to have our friend Michael Mull on it in some capacity, and he ended up playing the bass clarinet on the interludes throughout the album.”

“For me personally,” he adds, “this record was definitely a response to Feel. That was the first full length album I had been a part of that I also had a huge part in writing, and as someone who’s insanely hard on themselves about everything I do, I felt like I needed to ‘redeem myself’ a bit afterwards [laughs]. That being said, Disgraced Emanations feels like a totally different band to me in terms of how mature it is compared to the previous material. That’s also paralleled with us being all in very different places in our lives now too.”

Disgraced Emanations from a Tranquil State comes out Friday and is available for pre-order from Profound Lore Records.

Photo courtesy of Charles Doan

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