New York death metal legends, Immolation, may not have released an album since 2017, but their rhythm guitarist, Alex Bouks, is busier than ever. This year saw him unleash the debut record of his new band, Shadows, with his old band mates from Goreaphobia contributing.
The idea with Shadows was to explore a more avant-garde approach to metal, but they had no defined musical objectives in mind when they got together in the studio. “There was no conscious effort or goal,” explains the former Incantation guitarist. “The songs just came out for me with the joint effort of Jake, Henny and Lance. Put the four of us together and you have the Shadows sound.”
Bouks is a disciple of the hard rock of his youth and the gothic and post-punk artists that influenced him and his idols in Celtic Frost and Voivod. You will hear Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division on his latest record intertwined with Black Sabbath. “Heavy rock is what I grew up with,” says Alex. “So, I would say it’s just my take on how I play rock music. Immolation is extreme death metal. Shadows is coming from a more rock approach, but still both bands are very dark, so there are still the similarities in that way. But I have needed a different outlet in music because I have been playing fast extreme music for over thirty-nine years.”
Alex Bouks is the proudest man in the world following the recent birth of his daughter, but he’s also determined to continue writing and recording the music he loves. “Right now, we’re getting ready to record the new Immolation record. So that’s very exciting at the moment. Also, we’re finishing up the final stages of the Shadows full length. In my opinion, there are some major leaps in the progression from the EP.”
As if that wasn’t enough, he has yet another new band on the horizon called Plague of Tyranny. “It includes myself, Paul Speckmann from Master, Chuck Sherwood from Incantation, and Jim Roe [ex-Incantation/Goreaphobia],” explains Alex. “The whole record is written, so I plan on recording that after the Immolation record is done.”
We asked Alex to choose the three albums that changes his life. Here are his choices…
3. Judas Priest – Unleased in the East (1979)
My first Priest record, and the record that really inspired me to be a heavy metal guitar player. The best collection of songs from their 70s era that I feel is the best. The image of the band on the cover matched the sound. This was 100 percent heavy metal purity. This just might be one of the most played records in my life.
2. Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)
This is my favourite Sabbath record. This was when I think they really reached out as a band. It’s the diversity between ultra-heaviness and folky psychedelia. I even hear some of Iommi’s Moody Blues influence on this record. Being on the heavy side of music, this inspired me to try and marry the mellow atmosphere with the ultra-heavy. Absolute monster of a record.
1. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
The Floyd would be my favourite band of all time, and this record represented a darkness and an emotional sound that I could relate to in many ways in my younger years. They were not a heavy band, but, as a kid, they were the darkest music I ever heard. And the atmosphere was something otherworldly. It’s absolute perfection.
*** Shadows released their self-titled EP on 26 February 2021 via Agonia Records. You can read the original SBR review here.