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Monday, October 3, 2016
interview with black metal band GRAVESPAWN
This is an interview with Gravespawn. Before the interview you will find a brief article by this publication about the latest recording by the band. At the end of the interview you will find the relevant links for the band. Gravespawn is an occult black metal band playing their music in the traditional way and spirit.
Here’s the previous feature from this publication:
Inexorable Grimness (EP)
release date: August 3rd, 2016
Metal supporters who are searching for some quality metal, possibly new metal, in the realm of raw extreme, and more specifically, traditional and grim symphonic black metal might want to take note of this band. Even though they are completely new to me, and they might be totally new to most readers, there is something about Gravespawn that deserves more than a casual listen. The sharp black thrashing and tremolo guitar works well for making the spirit of the music stand out, which is enhanced with the symphonic elements that fill out the atmosphere. The sense and timing of the melodies give the songs their own aura. The recording information says that this has session drums, but that does not mean that the job sounds halfhearted. In fact, the cymbal work is a highlight; the sound is blasting, fast, chaotic, but with creativity and some slow bits as necessary for the song. The vocals are traditional black metal, with force and rage. The tone of the vocals shows experience and effort in acquiring the right sound for this music; it's not just average growling or shrieking. If you would like to hear this recording, see the link below, where you will find some official information, the list of tracks for this EP and the discography of the band, as found in Metal Archives.
OFFICIAL: Gravespawn was founded in 2004 by Rellik Sephiroth while serving his last year in the US Army in Korea. Two early demos, Thus Reigns the Imperial Order of Tartaros and Forged in the Malice of Stygian Fire, were released between 2004 and 2005. The band was relocated to Los Angeles and other members were recruited. Between 2009 and 2015, Praetorian Maleficus and Woe to the Conquered were released. Since then, Rellik has re-established Gravespawn as his solo work.
1.Old Dragon's Domain 07:55
2.Oath of the Annihilator 05:18
3.Thy Gates Ablaze 06:24
4.Between the Devouring Monstrosities 06:47
5.Scribes of Forsaken Lore 06:31
total time 32:55
Thus Reigns the Imperial Order of Tartaros Demo 2004
Forged in the Malice of Stygian Fire Demo 2005
Praetorian Maleficus Demo 2009
Woe to the Conquered Full-length 2012
Abysmal Storm Split 2015
Infirmos Vocat Deus Fidei Split 2016
Inexorable Grimness EP 2016
Salutations, Reaver! Gravespawn has a new recording called Inexorable Grimness. What does it feel like for you to finally get the recording out?! I really like the recording, it’s a good balance of raw and melodic black metal.
This release is the basically everything I've been wanting to do for years now, but couldn't because of differences in opinion as far as what direction to go in. After the departure of several members for reasons I won't go in to, creative control of Gravespawn finally returned to its creator. I'm extremely excited to continue writing more.
What is the history of your band and who are the members of the band? You, Reaver, are in California. Does your band perform shows there? What is the current status of the band?
I started Gravespawn when I was in the Army. At the time I was playing keys and vocals for a symphonic black metal band back in my hometown, which was only a 5-hour drive away. I recorded my first demo while I was in Korea. I wanted to expand my horizons and play something more raw. My main band broke up shortly after so I decided to incorporate epic keyboard elements into Gravespawn because, at the time, I was more of a keyboard player than a guitar player and epic black metal was my main passion. I brought some of my former bandmates back together to record Forged in the Malice of Stygian Fire which laid the early foundations of the raw and brutal style meeting the epic and atmospheric style that I recently returned to with the new EP. After going to recording school, I moved to LA and recruited a full line up. The style changed back to a more raw black metal sound because I ended up selling my keyboards to pay for the recording and mixing of Praetorian Maleficus.
A few years later, Woe to the Conquered was recorded and released, then re-recorded and re-released, then re-recorded and re-released again. The time between Praetorian Maleficus up until 2015 was a rough time for the band. A lot of drama and conflict was always going on. Needless to say, things are back in my hands. After that, we released Infirmos Vocat Deus Fidei which was a 4-way split with Wormreich, Diabolus Amator, and our current rhythm guitarist Verigo's band Vesterian. Not long after that, the Inexorable Grimness EP was released.
Our current line-up is myself on vocals, lead guitar, keys as well as being the main songwriter and lyricist, Advorsus on bass, and Verigo on rhythm guitar.
I have been listening to your new music a lot. What can you tell us about where you recorded it? How much recording experience do you have? What the listener can expect, in your opinion?
I went to recording school before moving out to LA. I have about 10+ years experience recording and mixing my own stuff as well as mixing for other bands. I'm trying to make mixing sort of a part time hobby/job, so if anyone reading this wants help mixing their album hit me up. As far as what to expect, if you're a fan of mid 90's epic/melodic black metal with a grim medieval atmosphere then maybe you'll like Gravespawn.
Now, what about your previous recordings; how would you describe your previous music in relation to your new album? Are the 2004 and 2005 demos the same genre?
Well, according to a few people I've talked to who have been supporting me since '05 when we recorded Forged in the Malice of Stygian Fire, they're happy Gravespawn sounds like Gravespawn again. So I guess the new stuff has a lot more in common with that album, but I think that it’s also very lead guitar and melody driven like Woe to the Conquered was. I think Praetorian Maleficus and Woe to the Conquered could more or less be considered continuing along the path of the '04 demo, Thus Reigns the Imperial Order of Tartaros which was all out raw black metal. I think I've definitely grown as a musician and songwriter. The new EP is definitely a testament to that I think.
Is it correct that you started out with the black metal band Lythos from Kansas in 2002, U.S.? How was Kansas in your experience back then?
Yes, doing Lythos with Advorsus was really the first serious thing I did as a musician. Around that time, Advorsus, myself, and a few regulars at our apartment were really the only metal scene that we knew. This was back when the internet was still relatively new before social media so we had no idea if there were other metalheads around at the time. The Kansas City extreme metal scene has grown a lot since then though.
I assume that you do not make much money playing underground occult black metal. What would you say are the reasons that you make music? What do you get out of it, if you will?
Haha!! Making money is what a day job is for. I devote most of my off time to my music though because without it, life would be pointless. I continue making music because it’s who I am. I can get all the shit in the world for not devoting all my time to getting a fancy job that makes me work all day and night or stressing out over piles of homework to get a degree, but in the end its my music that gives my existence meaning and purpose. Metal is life.
In your opinion, why does a band like Gravespawn not get much coverage? Occult black metal in the U.S. metal press simply does not get much coverage. Is it the environment of politically correct culture and the de facto banning of occult black metal, especially if the bands are serious about their art? But if your black metal has lyrics about protecting the trees, somehow that’s ok, that gets coverage, because saving the environment is politically correct, right?
Some US black metal bands get press, most don't. But I think the same could be said of most black metal bands anywhere. Whatever coverage I get is from going after it myself. There are definitely current trends going on in black metal though that get recognized more than others today. If I wanted any fame, my music is about 10 years too late I think. The new wave of PC hipster black metal gets a hell of a lot of press but just as much negativity from people who are into actual black metal. Most people in the underground don't really care about the whole "US black metal sucks" bullshit. That's mostly a scenester mentality but it certainly keeps a lot of underground American bands from getting a lot of mainstream press. I talk to plenty of people in Europe who like Gravespawn as well as other US black metal bands. Good black metal will always remain an underground thing, regardless of location.
Is there a message in Gravespawn's music and lyrics? Do your personal beliefs about the world/life/politics/religion affect your lyrics and controversial topics?
Black Metal is an expression of darkness. Dark opinions, dark beliefs, dark interests, whatever. Gravespawn's lyrics, the newer material anyways, focus on the dark aspect of ancient/medieval history and mythology. That's just my music, though. I don't intentionally confront or avoid controversial topics because I don't really care. I write about my own personal interests regardless of whatever society's opinion of it is. If some whiny SJW fag is triggered by it, that's its own problem. 2016 blows hard.
Has Gravespawn had any problems with groups like Antifa that target black metal bands and try to get them banned and get their shows canceled?
Not yet but who knows, maybe I'll get lucky. Antifa attacking your band or that dipshit at metalsucks writing a lengthy pussy whipped PC police article on your band is good publicity that you don't have to pay for.
To achieve the Gravespawn sound, do you use any interesting musical equipment? What are you favorite guitars and its accompanying equipment?
Well, I don't want to give up too much of my trade secrets, but I will tell you that I play Ibanez guitars as well as record and mix everything myself at home, except for the bass which Advorsus recorded in his own studio in Topeka, KS. All of the keys are recorded with MIDI and VSTs. Inexorable Grimness was mastered by none other than Xaphan of Kult ov Azazel who I would highly recommend for mastering.
What other news do you have?
I am currently working on writing new material as well as getting ready to re-record 2005's Forged in the Malice of Stygian Fire album. More news as it comes so stay tuned.