Well now, Gravehill’s not exactly a new name in the scene, are they? Having belted out three albums since they reformed in 2006, they’ve made a name for themselves as masterful purveyors of metal that vigorously swings between death, black and thrash metal. Now it’s all culminating in their massive upcoming fourth album “The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked,” which shows Gravehill stepping up their game to violent new levels of old school headbangery.
In anticipation of this fresh new rampage, Gravehill founder and drummer Rhett “Thorgrimm” Davis engaged in the ol’ Q & A with us. So put on some Gravehill, sit back and enjoy the chat.
“The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked” is out on March 16, 2018, via Dark Descent Records, so go drop some green on it here: https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-unchaste-the-profane-the-wicked
DIAG: Greetings Thorgrimm, welcome to Drunk in a Graveyard. Let’s get straight to the good stuff: congratulations on the imminent release of the new album, “The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked.” It gives us our most focused and morbid vision of Gravehill to date with tracks like the doom-filled ‘D.I.E.’ and the Celtic Frost-esque ‘Iron & Sulphur.’ Tell us about the album and the road that led up to it.
THORGRIMM: As most albums by us begin, we had another line up change. Although this time was pretty rough seeing ABOMINATOR (vocals) and CC (guitar) go. With the new line-up we wrote the SKULLBEARER EP. Had no game plan, just wrote off the cuff. But for this record we had a specific agenda. Eldehelm & Hell Messiah provided the majority of riffs, Bob had a song he and I wrote years before “The Unchaste”, plus his input of song structure when my ideas werent translating. Jason handled most of the lyrics. An old friend of mine offered his pro-tools to demo and he and I wrote the song “The Wicked” as well. The overall experience was more focused and the pro-tools set up was a huge help on writing/rewriting.
DIAG: Bodybag Bob returned to Gravehill a few years ago after a stint in Exhumed, which led to him not being on the last album. How was his absence felt on “Death Curse,” and how was it having him back for the new album?
THORGRIMM: Death Curse was just different, we lost 2 guitarists and gained 2 new ones. The dynamic adjusted but the vision was the same. In fairness, we got Bob back (but on bass) but gained Eldehelm… also Corpse moved to vocals… another dynamic change.
DIAG: On the flip side, “The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked” is the first Gravehill album without longtime spewer Mike Abominator. Corpse is an excellent vocalist and a perfect fit for Gravehill, while still having its own identity. Was he always the obvious choice to take over vocals after Mike’s departure?
THORGRIMM: He was my first choice. He has a big personality like Abominator. He is also a showman like Abominator. He knows the material and a great lyric writer. I really didn’t want to try to fit an outside person in that spot, nor a clone.
DIAG: This might change as I spend more time with the new album, if I had to pick a song that I felt best represented Gravehill, it would be ‘Devil Worshipper’ from “When All Roads Lead to Hell.” The lyrics are perfect and that raging opening makes me want to headbang myself into a full-body seizure. What one Gravehill song would you say encapsulates everything the band is about?
THORGRIMM: I always refer to songs like that as Anthem songs. All the big heavies do that, it’s just my nod to that. I just can’t pick one, but from each album… Decibel Ritual, Devil Worshiper, Fear the Reaper, and Sabbatic Whore.
DIAG: “The Unchaste, the Profane, & the Wicked”” is the third album that Gravehill has released with Dark Descent Records, and they also released the Morgion demo/EP compilation, so this must be a strong partnership. How did it come about, and what keeps it going?
THORGRIMM: Abominator mentioned DD to me. So I just called Matt and talked to him over the phone. He liked the band and wanted to work with us. Over the years we just keep working together. I consider Matt a friend over just being a label. He’s also releasing the CRIMSON RELIC album “PURGATORY’S REIGN”.
DIAG: It’s obvious that Gravehill worships the old school, so how do you feel about the digitization of music? Gravehill has a bandcamp page, but does the true love lie with physical media?
THORGRIMM: It does for me. But everyone has their preference. I own an iPOD which is easy to transport, plus my car has blue-tooth. I buy CDs and Vinyl still, always have. I don’t download or use or listen to any free-sites like bandcamp, etc…
DIAG: Let’s get creative. You have to describe Gravehill to someone by having them watch a movie. What movie would it be?
THORGRIMM: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS – Just minus anyone named Edward, Scissors or Anthony Michael Hall. Add Satan, cheap beer and the over use of the word FUCK. Winona’s Welcome.
DIAG: You have an upcoming US tour in April supporting Impiety with Divine Eve that you, and a lot of fans, must be looking forward to. Tell us a bit about that.
THORGRIMM: Full U.S. Tour covering both coasts. 11 Guys in a Van for 24 gigs… it’ll be both loud and will smell loud depending how close you stand to us.
DIAG: Beyond the upcoming tour, what’s in the future for Gravehill?
THORGRIMM: The U.S Tour is all we got on the books at the moment.
DIAG: Am I right in assuming that “Gravehill” is a reference to the pre-Hellhammer band, or is it just a happy and altogether appropriate coincidence?
THORGRIMM: In 1997 Xan of DIVINE EVE met a childhood friend of Tom G Warrior at The Rainbow Room in Hollywood. Xan and I are very old friends (besides me playing in CRIMSON RELIC) and when he moved here to LA in 96′ we shared a flat together. Anyway, this childhood friend told Xan about the early days of HELLHAMMER and divulged the first moniker. When he told me, I immediately wanted to use it. I told Mike Apocalypse about it and he and I formed GRAVEHILL in 2001′. That version ended soon after. When I reformed the band in 2006 with Abominator, my current sister-in-law is best friends with Tom (coincidentally I might add). So through her, I asked if he would give us his blessing to use it. Tom was very great about it and granted it. He also contacted us later about his intention to novel his C.F. / H.H. experiences, he was kind enough to tell me he will be “letting the cat out of the bag” about the name. So, nobody knew about it at all till his autobiographies came out. In my opinion it’s hilarious how we’ve gotten to album 4 and it’s brought up now? HAHA!
DIAG: Alright, let’s wrap things up. Again, congratulations on the new album, it fucking slays. As most interviewers love doing to torment their subjects, I’m leaving the final words to you. No pressure.
THORGRIMM: Thanks for the interview!
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