(We’ve been closely following the progress of the Boston-based death doom band Innumerable Forms for the last six years, straight up through a very enthusiastic review by Andy Synn of the band’s newest album, released by Profound Lore in September, and now Comrade Aleks adds to the attention with this interview of the band’s founder, vocalist, and guitarist, Justin DeTore.)
Honestly, I don’t remember where I learned about this death-doom (with heavy emphasis on its death aspect) band from Boston, but I just couldn’t get past a band with such a name. So when I found their second full-length Philosophical Collapse released on September 16th by Profound Lore Records, I added them to my list of “need-to-interview” bands.
To my surprise my request was answered by the band’s founder Justin DeTore, who played in the heavy/doom metal outfit Magic Circle, which I loved, and also took part in Phil Swanson’s heavy metal bands Sumerlands and Vestal Claret! And I need to tell you that Sumerlands’ debut blew my mind! So that was a pleasant surprise, which turned into pleasant conversation.
You see how it was hard, but I did my best to focus on Innumerable Forms, and we’re close to learning what this name means.
Hi Justin! How are you doing? What’s going on in Innumerable Forms’ camp?
Doing great. Innumerable Forms just got back from a weekend of shows in the Pacific Northwest of the US and we did a European tour in September with Faceless Burial. We released our second full-length entitled Philosophical Collapse in September on Profound Lore Records.
How did you manage to organize a tour in Europe with an Australian band? How many shows did you play there?
I think we played about 15 shows? The tour was built around Killtown Death Fest and Daniel booked a tour around it. Incredible fest. I have known the Faceless Burial guys for years so it was a great fit, despite playing different styles of death metal. I think we compliment each other well. Anyway, the plan is to tour Australia and perhaps Japan with them in the near future. Check out their new album if you haven’t already.
Is it your first European tour? How much does this experience differ from playing in the States?
It was the first time Innumerable Forms played Europe but I had toured there before with other bands. Europe is a different vibe but I really like it. The promoters treat you well, prepare you food, and put you up. The sets we play are a little longer too, which is fine by me. The people at the shows were very appreciative and certainly have a passion for metal, so overall I had a really good time.
Justin, you started the band as a solo project, and now it looks like a full-time band with two full-length albums in four years. How far did you go from the point where you were with Innumerable Forms 15 years ago?
I think I was so busy with other projects at the time that I didn’t make Forms a priority until around 2016. The band was started on a whim in 2007 when I shared some demos I had been working on with a few friends on the Old School Death Metal message board.
What was your original intention back then? What kind of music and lyrics did you aim to fit in it? Innumerable Forms is an intriguing title so I wonder if you had a concept behind it?
The original aim was to pay tribute to the death metal bands of old that I loved, mostly the Finnish stuff, some Swedish and some UK death/doom. The music and the lyrics reflected that, hence the title of the first EP, Dark Worship. As far as name goes, I wanted something that sounded esoteric and not overly silly or Satanic. Innumerable Forms refers to reincarnation, so I thought that sounded cool. Plus, it sounded like it could be the name of a Demigod song or something.
Innumerable Forms seemed to be almost inactive during its first years: the Dark Worship EP (2010) and then the split album with Blessed Offal (2013), and that means around six songs for six years. And you were involved in a few more bands at the same time. Did this slow down Innumerable Forms back then?
Absolutely. Innumerable Forms was never meant to be more than a side project, but it was at the urging of friends that I made it a more serious thing.
Justin do you have a “main” band?
Not really. I would say Forms is the most active at the moment but with all the bands I do release music and play sporadically.
Your next release was the Melbourne Worship DVD (2015). How did you get in Australia? Was it really just because of the Rival Mob tour there?
This is actually an unofficial release. Some cool people in Australia filmed the show and released it. The performance is actually from a 2013 tour that Forms did with Mammoth Grinder, not the Rival Mob.
So it was almost a ten-year-long journey and then Innumerable Forms got the stable lineup and the contract with Profound Lore. How did it happen?
We had played a show in Toronto in 2010 and Chris Bruni (owner of Profound Lore) was there. He liked the show and the Eternal Darkness shirt I was wearing and wanted to release something from us. We kept in touch somewhat and when the time came to make a full-length he was the first guy I asked.
There are/were nine bands with the Eternal Darkness title, which one do you mean?
Oh I meant the Swedish one. Check out their mini-album Twilight In The Wilderness, it’s a classic.
The first full-length album Punishment in Flesh was recorded at Side Two Studios. How long was this session? Did you have all the songs written when you entered it?
We recorded it in the winter of 2017. The studio was freezing when we tracked it, which added a nice dimension to the recording experience. We had all the songs written before that but were pleasantly surprised when the songs evolved while recording them. Ryan did a great job overall of engineering and mixing.
Did you support this release with touring? How often do you play outside Massachusetts?
We did a northeast weekend and a weekend on the west coast in California. We don’t play Massachusetts often. Only Doug and myself live in Massachusetts so it’s often easier for all of us to fly and meet up somewhere else to play shows.
What was your longest tour in the States?
Forms has never done a proper tour in the States — we have only done weekends here or there. That makes the most sense to us at this point.
You recorded Philosophical Collapse with Arthur Rizk, and you play with him in Eternal Champion, Summerlands, and a few other bands. How long have you known each other?
I have known Arthur since 2009 I believe. A great guy and a dear friend. I’m actually not in Eternal Champion but I play in Sumerlands with him.
Yes, I see. I was sure you played live with Eternal Champion, but honestly Summerlands is even better. I love the first album. How is it possible that you perform such different music – from old school heavy to doom and death metal? Don’t you have a black metal project too?
No black metal project haha. I’m not a huge black metal guy, other than the classics of course. I have a passion for death-doom and classic heavy metal and rock so it’s easy to focus in on those styles. I think I prefer singing death-doom but would rather drum when it comes to the traditional heavy metal stuff. I can’t do clean vocals anyway.
How did the recording session in Redwoods Studio differ from the one you had in Side Two Studios? Were there significant differences in result?
Well I think we were a little more seasoned and focused at this point. We had a more realized vision of what we wanted as far as sound and artistic direction and I think that’s obvious when you listen to the new record. Also, this album was way more of a collaborative effort than the previous one. Everyone contributed to song writing and arrangement this time around. Rich has a great and comfortable studio and Arthur is a dream to work with. We are very pleased with the results.
What was the most difficult part for you during the recording of new material? Do you have problems in a studio at all after recording so many albums?
We experienced two horrific tragedies during the recording of Philosophical Collapse, so that made things very difficult emotionally while tracking. We had some logistical issues too, as Jensen had to track his guitars remotely in Seattle. There were also some delays as Arthur (our engineer and producer) had some obligations he had to attend to, but we got through it. Arthur did an incredible job, as always.
Philosophical Collapse is a strong title. What did you put in it? What’s the philosophy behind this album? How is the lyrical message important for you?
Most of the songs on the album deal with loss, tragedy, and uncertainty. The lyrical content can be miserable and dark but there is also a tinge of hope to some of the tracks too. I think that I need hope in my life, I’m tired of being immersed in only negativity. The dark stuff makes for interesting subject matter but at the same time I need that release in order for me to stay sane.
Justin you played and play in a dozen bands, including Phil Swanson’s projects. How did it happen that you started to play bass in Magic Circle?
Magic Circle started in 2010 and we broke up in 2020. We had all known each other for years at that point and had all played music together in the past. I’m happy with our output, especially the Journey Blind album.
I met Phil through Arthur as he had worked with Hour of 13 previously. Phil and Arthur had started Sumerlands and asked me to join. Me and Phil hit it off and became good friends as we both have similar taste in music and share other interests as well. We’ve collaborated on a Vestal Claret album and I currently play in a band with him called Solemn Lament. He also appears on a track on the new Dream Unending album.
Dream Unending, Magic Circle, and Innumerable Forms are all doom bands but of different kinds. What are your main doom metal influences?
I would say classic US/UK doom like Sabbath, Trouble, and Candlemass as well as UK death-doom ala the Peaceville 3. Winter is also a big influence for Innumerable Forms. There are many more I could name but that’s the foundation.
What are your plans for the rest of 2022?
We tour Texas in December. That should be good. We may release a new promo tape at the beginning of the year, I’m not sure. The new Dream Unending record [Song of Salvation] comes out November 11th. That’s about it for now. We had a busy 2022, relatively speaking.
And I wish you a busy 2023! In a good sense of the word. Thanks for the interview Justin, would you like to tell a few more words for our readers?
Thank you so much for the interview and thank you for the support!