Metal hails Funeral Grave! Thanks for taking
the time to do this interview, please introduce yourself to the readers.
Greetings Patrick and to the readers of
Canadian Assault zine! GRAVEWURM has been steadily active for 23 years with
35 official releases. Our history of live shows has been sporadic due to
many line-up changes, but we tour when we can. The Metal Archives website
has our complete discography listed.
Gravewurm just released their ninth release
"Infernal Minions" through the great Hells Headbangers Records. How long did
it take the band to write and record the songs for this release?
‘Infernal Minions’ is our 9th full-length
album, our third output for Hells Headbangers. It was recorded in true D.I.Y.
fashion. 6 of the 8 songs were written and recorded specifically for this
release in about three months from start to finish. The other 2 songs were
written in 2005 but only ever appeared as bonus tracks from a live show in
Florida on the Funeral Empire album.
How has the response been from the press and
It is still early...the international
release date is not until May 14th so I’m sure once it is officially
released worldwide, there will be more reviews, commentary and hate-mail ha!
So far, just like all our other releases, the reviews are mixed.
Essentially, the old school minded metalheads dig it while the newer
generation of studio-born bands and Pro-Tool worshipping metal fans, hate
it. Very seldom have thoughts on Gravewurm been any different. Our music has
always been a “love it or hate it” kind of thing.
Infernal Minions is Gravewurm's ninth
release so I was wondering how do you feel the bands sound/music has changed
over the years?
There has been some change over the years,
but those are few and far between. Gravewurm, the concept, has always been
primitive underground metal. We started out with more of a doom/death
approach under the name Dominion, but by 1993 we were developing more of a
black/thrash/doom feel, hence the name change to a more fitting title. A
notable change was going from 4 track recording to 8 track recording. That
made room for “expanding” the sound with some black metal keyboard passages
and the occasional lead guitar tracks. I don’t feel we’ve sacrificed
anything though as each release is like a time-capsule or snap-shot view of
the band in a specific period. It’s hard to imagine those older albums with
a digital sound just as it is hard to imagine the newer albums with an
analog sound. But no matter which period in the history of the band, I felt
the music must maintain the primitive (black) metal elements of the “first
wave” first and foremost. To have Gravewurm any other way, it would just
become a different band. We incorporate several sub-genres of heavy metal to
achieve the overall Gravewurm sound...always have...always will.
Does the band have any upcoming shows/tours
in support of "Infernal Minions"? If yes where are some places the band will
We have just started playing shows in
support of our latest offering. The shows in Conneticut and Maryland this
past weekend were very good. True underground fiends attended while the
poseurs steered clear of the carnage brought forth by all the bands. There
are not a lot of shows we can play due to our current line-up being involved
with other bands, but we do what we can. Next shows are June 8th at The
Foundry in Lakewood, Ohio and then July
27th at Dusk in Providence, Rhode Island. We hope to return
to Europe this year, but just need the right promoter or combination of
promoters to work together to make it happen.
the years who are some bands that Gravewurm has shared the stage with? Any
particular country you would love to tour if given the chance?
We have shared the stage with somewhat newer
bands like Arduous Task and Negative Plane, well known masters of death like
Watain and Angelcorpse, legendary icons of underground metal like Hellwitch
and Grand Belial’s Key... and all levels in between. We are still hoping to
one day play a show with Nunslaughter and Sathanas. It was great playing in
Finland and Italy in 2009. The logistics for the show in
France was kind of fucked up so we didn’t
play there on that tour and the Belgium date was cancelled on us last minute. We’d like to play any country in
Europe and the Baltic States as well. If
I had to pick just one though, it would probably be
The artwork for the new release was done by
the legendary Kam Lee. When did you guys meet Kam Lee? How did you all come
up the concept for the cover?
Kam Lee of course needs no introduction.
Massacre was one of the best death metal bands of the late 80s / early 90s.
I actually didn’t meet him until just a few years ago while at a Druid Lord
show in Florida. His artwork endeavors came up in conversation when
discussing the Virginia scene and Mark Riddick who is also extremely well
known in the underground metal communities worldwide. Kam started to post
some of his horror themed artwork on facebook and I just decided to ask if
he was available for hire to draw a 3 piece theme artwork for our next
album. So I told him my concept and he began. He was totally professional
about the deal (keeping the lines of communication open, showing me rough
sketches while developing what would become the end product) while
unleashing his horror envisioned artistry on the sketch pad. All three
pieces were completed in the matter of a few months which was even ahead of
schedule. I only had to ask for a few minor changes before the final product
was ready. Kam really understands what Gravewurm is all about and his art, I
believe, reflects visually what we represent in the music and lyrics.
Yourself and the other members have been a
part of the underground scene for over twenty years. So I wanted your
opinion how do you feel the underground has changed over the years?
Ah the classic question...well I could get
into a lot of specifics and turn this into a 5 page essay, but essentially,
bands of all quality come and go. There seems to be a lot more “bands” now
than 20 yrs ago due to high quality home recording gear and (ugg) software.
It is much easier to be a “band” now with technology. One doesn’t even have
to part of any scene to be a member in a band. There are pros and cons to
the subject...all thoughts are subjective and pure commentary, full of likes
and dislikes, favorites and most hated works. Some great bands record a demo
/ album and then fade into obscurity while boring “cookie-cutter” bands spew
forth album after album of the same crap. Sure, Gravewurm could have decided
to use the same gear as everyone else, record the same way as everyone else,
write structured songs like everyone else...but why? Why be in a band if
it’s gonna sound like everything else? We strive to be different, but yet
retain what we want to hear in underground metal. We started this band to
make music we want to hear, as I’m sure many other demo bands had similar
vision. If along the way, other people like what we’re doing, then that’s
I know some people say the underground is
dead or dying do you agree with this statement or just changing with the
times and technology?
It’s changing with the times. It definitely
doesn’t have the feel it did 20 yrs ago in many aspects...going to shows,
band practice, recording, writing...it’s all different now. But it’s hard to
say it’s “good” or “bad”...If I still wrote the same riffs, same structures,
same lyrics as 20 yrs ago, I think it’d be boring. Things have room to
expand and develop, but the underground essence of the late 80s / early 90s
I think has mostly been lost.
Speaking of technology what do you think
about social-sites like myspace, facebook etc..? Do you think they help
bands, labels etc. or just bring in the unwanted posers who really don't
understand what metal stands for?
It’s the wave of modern times...good or bad,
it’s not going away. Without some kind of usage by the internet, I think it
would be much more difficult to advertise, promote and discover bands in
today’s world. The way of YouTube is probably the simplest and yet one of
the most effective ways to promote and discover music and videos. Things
like MTV and VH1 I think are around purely for nostalgia now. Where there
used to be several major record store chains, all but have faded away. There
is more mail order now brought on by the internet...but unfortunately, more
bootlegging with the file-sharing sites.
In your opinion what does the term
"underground metal" mean to you?
Uncompromising and being true to your
vision. There are many ways to be “extreme”.
Coming back to Gravewurm you handle the
guitars for the band, when did you first start playing the guitars? Are you
self taught or did you take lessons?
I started playing guitar in 1990. Started
writing songs and recording in ‘91. The interest for playing was within me
since hearing Venom in ’85, but the act of learning to play with the intent
to form a band didn’t happen until 5 yrs later. All self taught.
Who are some of your influences/favorite
Biggest influence would have to be Tom G.
Warrior. The riffs of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost just dominated everything
else I was listening to at the time. And with the dark, brooding and vicious
vocal delivery to accompany those riffs...fuck...that’s METAL!!! Some other
influences / inspirations in playing and song writting would include Jeff
Hanneman, John Christ, Mark Impetigo, Trevor Peres, Rick Rancid, Mantas and
You also handle the vocal duties for the
band when did you start singing? Who are some of your favorite vocalists?
I started doing vocals in ’91 for some
Dominion songs, Blood did some then also before Tyrant joined the band in
’92 as our vocalist. I then performed all the vocals on the recordings from
’97 to current except for the split 7” with Throneum, Carnivorous in Boston
live Mcd and the split cd with Hekseri, which were done by our then live
vocalist/bassist Zyklon. His vocals are also on the live bonus tracks
featured on several of our albums. I started performing vocals (with guitar)
live in 2011. Some vocal favorites are Tom G. Warrior, Tom Angelripper,
Nocturno Culto, Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance, Leather Leone, Wagner
Antichrist, Lori Bravo, Johan Langquist, Don of the Dead and Lemmy.
Do you do anything special to keep your
throat healthy when recording a new release or preparing for a show/tour?
Not really...just keep some grape juice
handy during the recording process and for shows, usually just no excessive
alcohol before we play.
We have reached the end of the interview
thanks for taking the time to fill this out.Do you have any final comments
for the readers?
Thanks for the support Patrick. All fiends
of FIRST WAVE black metal and old school death metal can check out 2
complete songs from our official band page
Support the bands and labels! Buy underground
cds, tapes and vinyl...download official mp3s only when releases are out of