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Monday, May 11, 2020

Grave Circles Interview

 1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album? In the beginning of the year we prepared for scheduled live shows, but all festivals were cancelled due to the quarantine. We are currently working on the 7’’ EP “The Burning Chariots” which consists of two new songs and a cover song of Katharsis (Ger.). After that, our second full length containing 9 rearranged songs from Tome I and pre Tome I era will be released. It is shaping up to be a more simplistic album with raw production much more reminiscent of the classic black metal sound. There will however be acoustic guitar parts and brass instruments. The work wouldn’t be complete without a bit of experimentation. In general, it will be recognizable Grave Circles stuff but at the same time a bit different. 

2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from your previous ep? Tome I and Tome II are factually one album. The tracks Thy Light Returneth and Predominance were actually written before Tome I. The plan was to include them and When Birthgivers Recognize the Atrocity with the three tracks that ended up on the Tome I EP and release a full length consisting of 6 tracks. We simply did not have the funding to pay for the studio and the recording of drums. We recorded three songs because that is all we could afford at the time. This came out as our Tome I EP. So nothing changed i think. 

 3.How would you describe your progress as songwriters from the first ep to the newer album? Everything with the exception of “Unspoken Curse” which is by our new guitarist Exile was written by myself and Virus during the same period of time. Even the upcoming EP and second full length will feature some old and unreleased songs. While I have something to say we will continue to create music. On the other hand if I do not, Grave Circles will end. Everything is done intuitively and often small fragments come together and form a cohesive whole in a day. On the other hand there are months where nothing new is created. 

 4.On the ep you also covered some satanic and occult topics, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in those subjects? I am interested in the individual and cultural knowledge of the divine. I am fascinated by the relationship of “God” and followers. I neither accept blind worship nor liberal satanism which begins and ends with self abasement to supposedly put one self in opposition to the world. In modern times many so called cargo-cults have emerged and many black metal bands are at least somewhat involved in these movements. When these fledgling occult groups which are a mish-mash of “men, horses and chariots” so to speak are created bereft of tradition and organic historic development it is simply syncretism. * For example the worship of Pan God, Baphomet or Anti-cosmic movement. An example of anti-syncretism may be something like a solar cult which is found in many ancient cultures, or more traditional heathenism where the forefathers believing in the principles of dualism of light and darkness tried their best to appease both sides. *I am talking about “cherry picking” and mixing of the elements of different philosophies and religions. 

 5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Grave Circles'? The name was inspired by the song Circle of the Graves by Asymmetry so there is no secret there. We wanted to avoid something pathetic, pretentious or overly loud which is what many go for. We came up with a simple name and stuck with it. Kind of like many Death and Thrash metal bands in the late 80s and early 90s. 

6.On the new album cover you can see some Gnostic, Esoteric and Alchemy themes in the artwork can you tell us a little bit more about adding these concepts onto the album artwork? Light and darkness. Man and woman. Good and evil. The piece depicts the ever present principle of dualism. The two opposites form a whole and one flows from the other. The one gives significance/faith to the other (key). See The Delivery of the Keys, or Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter a fresco by the Italian Renaissance painter Pietro Perugino. There are also undertones of violence, imposing of one's will/belief system on another. The hands that are transferring the key are covered in symbols: the sign of mercury - reference to the gnostics, whip - reference to the Khlysts (an underground sect which splist from the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 17th century), Ouroboros (an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail), the grail and the all seeing eye. 

 7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance? We have performed live only once simply due to the fact that live shows were not initially our goal. I think our best performances in top form are still in the future.

 8.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your newer music by fans of black metal? The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, at least from what I have heard so far. Of course it would be great to hear more constructive feedback and opinions regarding every song as well as our lyrics. Perhaps that will happen when the physical releases come out. Nowadays it is the norm to consume tons of new music on streaming services so people don't pay attention to every release. 

 9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of? Our live bassist KGD and myself are the only members of the band who participate in other projects besides Grave Circles. KGD has a really promising death metal project called Temple of Torment. Their new release will drop soon. He is also a member of a fairly well known Ukrainian project - Kroda. I am preparing for recording the drums for two french projects. Unfortunately I can’t elaborate on that. 

 10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future? It is hard to say. As of now all of our efforts are directed towards the upcoming EP and full length. 

 11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays? Mainly my inspiration comes from Sol (Denmark) and Circle of Ouroborus (Finland). As of the black metal in my playlist? Currently it is Black CIlice, Moondblood, Arkha sva, Clandestine Blaze, Ascension. There are also post punk bands I enjoy as well.  

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts? Modern black metal is going down the drains and straight to hell, and not in a good way. So called “black metal models”, transvestites, black metal boy bands, constant apologizing and disavowals coming from certain artists. Sometimes it seems that the black fire has morphed into some kind of hellish corporation kind of like Netflix where all the participants are suffering from severe mental derangement in a psychotic attempt to please the modern liberal world.


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