U.K. death-metal upstarts Venom Prison are set to reissue 2016's excellent debut full-length, Animus, on February 23rd via Prosthetic. Ahead of this well-deserved victory lap, the band have teamed up with Revolver to premiere a grisly new video for "Immanetize Eschaton," the album's haunting rumination on mental illness, suicide and personal truth. Directed by Tom Cronin, it finds frontwoman Larissa Stupar and Co. delivering a fiery performance beneath blinding strobes and hanging corpses.
"The song — and the video — are about finding yourself, and eradicating the weakness in your head," Stupar says of the intense visual, "It's about creating your own heaven on earth." Check it out below (note that, given the disturbing imagery, viewer discretion is advised), and read on for our discussion with the vocalist on what the fantastical fever dream (or is it a beautiful nightmare?) of "Immanetize Eschaton" all means.
WHAT THEME OR MESSAGE WERE YOU TRYING TO CONVEY WITH THE "IMMANETIZE ESCHATON" VIDEO?
LARISSA STUPAR The video is basically representing what I thought when I was writing the lyrics for the song. It's not about displaying self-harm and committing suicide. It's about the images you have in your head. When you suffer from depression, you often simply don't want to live anymore, you want to end the suffering, but then, you are also afraid to die — so there's still something that keeps you in the world. The concept of the video and the song is, basically, fighting the weakness within your head that wants you to stop living.
BETWEEN THE STROBES AND THE FRENZIED CAMERA ANGLES, IT CAN BE QUITE HARD TO MAKE OUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE VIDEO. WAS THAT AN INTENTIONAL CHOICE GOING IN?
That was definitely intentional. Like I said, the video's about the things you have in your head, which you dream about, maybe, as well. It's also part of our live performance. When we play, it's quite intense and very flickery. We've played shows with Suicide Silence where the kids just put their hats over their eyes because they couldn't see anything. We tried to link how we are live with how we want the people to see the images in the video.
JUST LIKE YOUR VIDEOS FOR "DEVOID" AND "CORRODE THE BLACK SUN," "IMMANENTIZE ESCHATON" HAS A PROMINENT COLOR TINT: IN THIS CASE, RED. IS THERE A SYMBOLIC COMPONENT TO THAT AS WELL?
Red is for blood, for death, for dark. And it's a link to Satanism. You can find yourself in Satanism, because Satanism — for me — is like atheism. It's not like what Christian people tell you it is: It's about believing in yourself, and believing that you have the power and you don't need any gods or anything that stands upon you. You have the power to be yourself, and you can decide what happens to yourself.
THE PHRASE "IMMANENTIZING THE ESCHATON" REFERS TO A CONSCIOUS ATTEMPT TO SPEED UP THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK, OFTEN THROUGH DEATH AND SUFFERING. WHETHER THE YOUNG WOMAN AT THE CENTER OF THE VIDEO IS CAUSING THAT PAIN OR EXPERIENCING IT IS LEFT UNCLEAR. WHAT'S HER ROLE IN THE STORY?
The fact that you don't know [what side she's on] is one of the main reasons you don't really know who she is, but you're meant to identify with her: not so much fear her, I don't think, but the fact that you don't know what part she plays in the whole situation is something that I would like people to think about, and maybe place themselves in her position.
WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO SPEAK ALMOST SOLELY IN EUPHEMISMS WHEN TALKING ABOUT DEATH, ESPECIALLY IN THE CONTEXT OF SUICIDE — PHRASES LIKE "PASSED AWAY," "LOST THEIR LIFE" AND "DEAD BY THEIR OWN HAND" GET THROWN AROUND A LOT, AND THE USE OF TRIGGER WARNINGS IS ON THE RISE. "IMMANETIZE ESCHATON" CONTAINS NONE OF THAT. HOW COME?
The first hard step in your journey is opening up. You need to open up to people and tell them how you feel. This may involve having these dark thoughts, and I think it's important to share that this part of you is in you — because I think most people aren't aware of that — if you're depressed or have suicidal thoughts. The way you imagine your path to finding your true and better self might not be the beauty in the light, but in the darkness. You need to embrace the darkness to find the light. That's kind of what I'd like to tell people with this video — but you're right, it does deserve a trigger warning.
ON A MORE LIGHT-HEARTED NOTE — GOT ANY GOOD BEHIND-THE-SCENES STORIES FROM THE VIDEO SHOOT?
We made the bodies at home. When we were setting off to go to the location where the video was filmed, we had to put the bodies into the van, and all of the neighbors were outside walking around. It was pretty weird, just carrying three bodies into a van.
... WHERE'D YOU FIND THE BODIES?
We just asked some people around who were working in film. They helped me sketch out how to make them, so I just went and made them. You just need a few weights so they hang about like real bodies. They need tension to hold them down, so they don't fly around.
After the video shoot, we burned the bodies by a river bank. It's definitely illegal, so we were looking around constantly to make sure people weren't coming past. Suddenly, the bodies were burning a lot faster than we thought they were going to burn, and we had to push them into the river to keep the flames from spreading. They continued to burn in the river, as well, so we had to push them in. We nearly fell into the river with the bodies.
The funniest bit was when the bodies were hanging in the room where we were filming, in a practice-space complex. We rented the room to film in there, and somebody was looking for someone ... They just opened the door, came in, and saw the bodies hanging there. Their face went completely blank. They just didn't know what was going on. [Laughs]