Gravehill Drummer Thorgrimm Interviewed!
Southern California death metal veterans Gravehill are set to return with their fourth album (first since 2014’s Death Curse) The Unchaste, the Wicked, & the Profane.
The album sees Corpse relinquishing the bass to take over on vocals, replacing long-time Gravehill growler Abominator. In addition to the switch on vocals, the band welcomes back former guitarist Bodybag Bob (ex-Exhumed) into the fold but this time he’s on bass with Eldehelm taking over on guitar. The changes result in the band’s best and most focused album to date. On The Unchaste, the Wicked, & the Profane Gravehill continues with their “no gimmicks” brand of death metal with promises only to lay waste to your speakers. Album artwork by Mark Riddick.
How did you first get in to music? Who turned you onto rock/metal?
THORGRIMM – I’d have both my older Sister and her former Husband to thank for that. Dave (ex-bro in-law) is a Hard Rock/Metal Fan and he has had a huge admiration for Black Sabbath, Van Halen, AC/DC, Rush and Led Zeppelin to name a few. Especially drummers and especially Peart and Bonham. His taste made a lasting impression on me.
Were you forced to go to church as a youth, if so, did you sing in the choir or participate in some other ways?
THORGRIMM – My family was never religious or religious minded. My Mother has always had a need for theology but didn’t find her brand of choice till I was a teenager. At that point I was a “devout” Atheist. In fact I remember questioning theology when I was 6, and learning what Atheism was from childhood friends and their family not long after.
What was the local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
THORGRIMM – Growing up in SoCal, most gigs were in Los Angeles. Orange County and The Inland Empire (where I grew up) sucked. I always look back at that time with so much awe. Everything was new, had a future, was so small yet growing. In the mid to late 80s was my high school era, so locally my favorites were HELLRAZOR, DISASTER AREA, SADISTIC INTENT, RECIPIENTS OF DEATH, BLIND ASSASSIN, DEAD & BLOATED, and SINISTER FIEND. By the time the 90s rolled around and I myself had a band (MORGION) their were so so many great bands… MINDROT, PHOBIA, CARCINOGEN, EXCRUCIATING TERROR, NAUSEA, DYSTOPIA, CATALEPSY, ENTETY, RISE, etc…
The new album “The Unchaste, The Profane & The Wicked” comes out on Dark Descent Records in March, can you describe the album title, the relationship with Dark Descent Records and their input into Gravehill music and product? Were any bonus track recorded for other markets?
THORGRIMM – The title and the cover are self explanatory. We wanted to highlight the base of human debauchery. In my opinion, it’s as vile as we could think of. Mark Riddick of course is a genius artist worth noting. DARK DESCENT provides no input, we provide them with our vision and they spread it to the masses. We provided no additional music this time. Just what is released in this outing.
How has the songwriting and recording process changed from Deathcurse? Does everyone write their own parts? Where did you record the new album? Do you write specifically for an album within a time frame or collect riffs and ideas over time?
THORGRIMM – A lot changed on this album for us. We had a major line-up change. 2 major players on the last album left. CC & Abominator. I took the reigns and had a specific set of ideas on structure and riffs. Both Eldehelm (guitars) and Hell Messiah (guitars) churned out riffs until I got what I was looking for structure wise. We also had input from Bodybag (bass) as well as a song he and I wrote together in 2012′ “The Unchaste”. Corpse handled the majority of the lyrics. An old friend of mine had pro-tools and he also wrote some riffs for “The Wicked” which he and I wrote together. We used his pro-tools set up to demo and work/rework the songs till the band was happy with them. This actually cut the writing time in half, we had 90% of the album conceived in 6 months.
What brought about the split with long time vocalist Mike Abominator? You have another Exhumed member Bodybag Bob returning to Gravehill, how did this come about? Have you heard Death Revenge yet, do you think it’s Exhumed’s best work yet?
THORGRIMM – Abominator wanted to pursue what became the band RUIN. In my opinion, I think both our visions changed as well as our priorities. I really feel we are both happier in our current pursuits, but we’ll always be friends and support each others music. There was no animosity or ill-will. As far as Bodybag, he was a free agent, we wanted him back on guitar but he wanted to play bass, so Jason relinquished bass to him to concentrate on just vocals. It really wasn’t a thought out or planned option. Square Peg – Square Hole. I have heard EXHUMED’s “DEATH REVENGE”. It sounds more focused than their past albums, a very strong album imo. It’s great to hear Ross again and point in fact, I like having Bob back in GRAVEHILL. So yeah, thanks Harv!
Which song or songs on the new album are your favorites? Was the amazing artwork created specifically for the title of the new album?
THORGRIMM – My favorite track(s) are THE PROFANE and SABBATIC WHORE. Yes, the cover was specifically designed with the title, absolutely.
How familiar are you with Impiety and Divine Eve who you will be touring with in April? What can expect from Gravehill on this upcoming tour?
THORGRIMM – We toured with IMPIETY in 2011′, so am very familiar with them. In my opinion they are very pro, very easy to get along with, great band. My history with DIVINE EVE goes back to the early 90’s. I’ve been a fan/friend since I heard the “THE LAST OF THE SUNSET FADED” demo. In fact, in 1995 I played drums on what would of been the DE debut album. The band had a falling out, so Xan (guitars/vocals) enlisted me and we recorded the CRIMSON RELIC – PURGATORY’S REIGN album for Radiation Records (Nuclear Blast). All these years later DARK DESCENT is re-releasing this album and as fate would have it, DIVINE EVE recruited me to be their live drummer, so I will be playing drums for both GRAVEHILL & DIVINE EVE. So a reunion of sorts? You can expect all three bands to deliver the goods, quite literally.
If you were to do a covers album, which artists and songs would you cover?
THORGRIMM – (Forced upon GRAVEHILL to play list…)
VENOM – Cry Wolf
JUDAS PRIEST – Jawbreaker
ROSE TATTOO – All the Lessons
RAINBOW – Stargazer
SLAYER – Die By The sword
WHITESNAKE – Love Ain’t No Stranger
FASTWAY – Trick or Treat
SCORPIONS – Animal Magnetism
CELTIC FROST – Cherry Orchards
MOTORHEAD – No Class
Song to be played at your funeral and 3 albums to take to your grave?
THORGRIMM – Funeral Song – “Death Will Be My Bride” by BRENDAN PERRY – Album “Eye of the Hunter”
3 Albums –
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM – The Nephilim
VENOM – Black Metal
LED ZEPPELIN – III