úterý 15. února 2022

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Interview - GRAVE MIASMA - Evil is the uncontrollable force of chaotic hostility that exists within nature and man.

Interview with black/death metal GRAVE MIASMA from United Kingdom.

Answered Y (Vocals, Guitars), thank you!

Translated Duzl, thank you!

Questions prepared Jakub Asphyx.

Recenze/review - GRAVE MIASMA - Abyss of Wrathful Deities (2021):

Ave GRAVE MIASMA! Greetings to the British underworld. About two months ago, I received your new "Abyss of Wrathful Deities" and I must say that it completely engulfed me. The recording has an incredibly captivating atmosphere. You come up with a full-length album after eight long years. Why did it take you so long? The novelty seems even darker and colder than the previous "Odori Sepulcrorum", was that the purpose?

Y: The ‘Endless Pilgrimage’ EP was released in 2016, therefore we were not dormant for eight years. As a band we do not operate by enforcing timelines on when we should record, as life circumstances and activities with other bands can often impede our efficiency in writing material. All of the tracks featured on ‘Abyss…’ were written from 2016 onwards. It is our most stylistically varied record, with each track conveying a particular atmosphere based on our influences of primitive mid-80s Death Metal (and our earliest recordings) to the slow and dark passages that were articulated on ‘Odori Sepulcrorum’ especially.

When I listen to "Abyss of Wrathful Deities", I feel like I'm in an old occult session. Once upon a time I experienced one here in the Czech Republic and I always remember it at while I am listening the record. I was a child and it left a mark on me for the rest of my life. Sound contributes a lot to the atmosphere. It is mysterious, dark, cold and at the same time glowing from the inside. Who is signed under the mix, mastering? How did you feel about going to the studio?

Y: Does this make you a Jilemnice Occultist, I wonder?! ‘Abyss…’ marks our third release recorded at Orgone Studios with Jaime Gomez Arellano (Paradise Lost, Angel Witch, Primordial etc), who we have known personally prior to GM was formed in 2002. We have become accustomed to the studio experience over time, particularly as a lot of preparation takes place beforehand via pre-production demos and numerous rehearsals. The benefit of the studio time is maximised during the mixing stage, where we are able to experiment more with additional instrumentation and synth layering.

GRAVE MIASMA music can be defined as a combination of black metal and death. Personally, I would add a little doom metal. You have a unique signature, riffs that no one else plays, or at least not in that way. You are very original to me. How does GRAVE MIASMA create new music? I would be interested in the process of creating a new song. Could you somehow define why you are different, recognizable?

Y: I take this as a very high compliment, particularly considering the abundance of bands that exist nowadays. I state this as a Death Metal maniac, and that is that a band requires some kind of distinguishing personality, character and conviction that can be discerned far above the stylistic influences that are usually simple to notice. Almost everything within the parameters of Death Metal has already been written, therefore it’s not a simple task to sound recognisable. However, we do not write material with originality in mind. The method is to focus on song structures, with tracks often undergoing several versions of arrangement until satisfaction is reached.

Additionally, we are not only influenced by Death Metal titans, but other genres of music. I think this is particularly evident when listening to some of our rhythmic tendencies which are incorporated without necessarily being aware of the theory behind them. To clarify this, we do not set out to write a riff in a particular time signature as, although we love Prog Rock classics, the way of writing is more intuitive than being knowledgeable of theory.

Both black and death metal are, by their nature, styles in which a lot of work is done with hatred, anger, darkness, madness, mystery. GRAVE MIASMA has long managed to portray these things through music. Where do you get inspiration from? Books, movies, the contemporary world? Do you have to be in a similar mood while creating this stuff?

Y: Sources of inspiration are numerous, with the list of books that have influenced me too long to list. Movies, or rather ‘scenes’ whether experienced with life or on screen, also provide abundant inspiration. The contemporary world too, in the sense that the mundanities and banalities of daily life are required as a polarity which increases the creative appetite when writing material. Ideas might come to mind when I am not near a guitar - always a frustrating occurrence - and nothing may develop when creating the most conducive settings for writing ugly riffs.

Death, life after life, darkness, occultism are also the subject of your lyrics. What are you talking about on "Abyss of Wrathful Deities"? Who is their author and how did they come about? Do you write them when music is finished or vice versa?

Y: Each track has a different theme. All lyrics were written by me apart from those to ‘Ancestral Waters’, which were predominantly written by R before departing the band. Tibetan dharma - that incredible synthesis between Tantric and Vajrayana doctrine and pre-Buddhist Bön influence - provides much of the inspiration. Usually lyrics take shape after the music is written, as rhythmic placement is of high importance. However, many themes and isolated lines of lyrics will have been formulated prior to any music being written.

The author of the coverart this time is Ars Moriendee. I admit that the only thing I know about him is that he comes from Brazil. Why him? The cover is really very good. Personally, I see there a demon watching me, but the interpretation may of course be completely different. What's yours? How did you get together with Ars and how does the cover relate to the music?

Y: Generally we opt to commission artists whose work is not so ubiquitous in the scene. We came across Pedro’s work and corresponded with him about visual references whilst providing him with the recorded material. As I am personally not artistically inclined, I would rather leave visual depictions of our music to hands with higher skill. There is not too much to interpret with the cover art, as it has some tantric themes laced with old-school 80s Metal characteristics. Whether it be votive Sumerian statues or the Boudhanath Stupa, I’ve always been interested in the importance and prominence that large, protruding eyes have had on religious and ritual art across the ages around the globe.

D. and Y. have been members of the band since 2006, it is from the very beginning of GRAVE MIASMA. But guitarist and bassist T. is a new member, am I right? Does that mean he is already a permanent member of the band? All I know about him is that he plays in the great MALTHUSIAN. Why him? Did he participate in the recording of the new album? And why did his predecessors leave?

Y: Both D. and myself have been in the band longer, if you count the formation of the band with the previous name, back in 2002. The third founding member, R., left at the end of 2019 having achieved everything he had intended to do so in active Metal, participating with Grave Miasma and Destroyer 666. T. joined the band in 2016, initially on bass and subsequently replacing R. on lead guitar in 2019 (although T recorded all bass instrumentation on ‘Abyss…’). He most certainly is therefore a permanent member of the band, as he is with Malthusian from Ireland, whom he joined at a similar time as being recruited by Grave Miasma.

In one interview, I read that you are influenced by mysticism, Kabbalah, cosmic energy. In the answer, you also mention Tibetan Buddhism, Lamaism. Lots of people hear black metal and they automaticaly connect it with Satanism. How do you perceive evil? Do you believe in the afterlife? Is Satan just a negation of everything for you? Or do you perceive everything more deeply? And how are your opinions reflected in the music? Do you have to be „upset“ if you want to create an "evil riff"?

Y: Evil is the uncontrollable force of chaotic hostility that exists within nature and man. Whilst not a theistic Satanist, I do not necessarily believe that Satanism is the negation of everything; but more akin to facilitating the power of adversarial energy to one’s advantage through the relinquishment of conventions, morality and sanity, in compliance with darker forces that must be understood in alliance. As I’ve attempted to articulate with the lyrical themes found on ‘Abyss of Wrathful Deities’, the principle of traversing to the next stage of afterlife by making fearsome deities as allies during the process of death can be seen as analogous to this same principle.

I usually find that ideas for dark and ugly riffs can come about through numerous sources of inspiration and mood. However, enhancing surroundings with some strong incense, candlelight and some form of inebriation can focus the intuition on expediting calls from the netherworld; which is how I imagine many classic 90s records were written!

I think the best feedback for any band is a live concert. I like a small club, which is really only available to fans of the band. I will enjoy music the most. How often does GRAVE MIASMA play gigs and how do you feel about the live presentation of your music? I see a black mass in front of me, an old abandoned church - and you play, it could be a great ceremony. Will there be a tour to support the new album?

Y: At the time of writing, the tour in March-April 2022 with The Ruins of Beverast and Fuoco Fatuo is still scheduled to take place. We did perform live three times in 2021, which was an incredible feeling considering how the global situation has deprived musicians and bands of this intrinsic practice.

A Grave Miasma performance tends to be a more primal and barbaric experience than the records. Material is usually played faster, shrouded in blood, smoke and leather.

We have been fortunate enough to have played live in a number of countries, however Czechia (and neighbouring Slovakia) has eluded us until now. It would be an honour to perform a ‘Death Metal Session’ in the land of some of our favourite bands.

Time is up. What are your plans for the future with GRAVE MIASMA? Where do you want to move the band? Is the goal to play alongside some famous bands, for example? Or at a famous festival? What are GRAVE MIASMA's dreams?

Y: Ever since the age of 6 and in awe of videos for Queen songs, I wanted to be in a band. Whilst we are very much an underground band with an underground mentality, we have taken the band far beyond what we anticipated when forming in 2002. On this journey we have shared the stage with a number of great bands who we have built strong and respectful personal relationships towards, and this is more significant than performing at a specific festival or with perhaps ‘bigger’ bands. As for our dreams, the thought is always on the song-writing process and the next recording.

Thank you so much for the interview. It's foggy and dark outside. I'll have to go to work in a moment. You probably know what I'm going to listen to along the way. Yes, your new album "Abyss of Wrathful Deities". When I walk around the cemetery, I think everything will combine into one great experience. I wish you all the best!

Recenze/review - GRAVE MIASMA - Abyss of Wrathful Deities (2021):


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