During the last 5-10 years, many new extreme bands showed a deep interest in occultism. While most of them use occult symbols and Thelema-related elements on their artworks, just a few of them have a deep knowledge about this subject. Grave Miasma is not just one of the best death metal bands around (musically speaking), but they always had a unique philosophical approach to their lyrics. Their last ep, Endless Pilgrimage, is one of the most interesting material that came out in the death metal scene in 2016. They’re about to come to Rome to play in two weeks and I decided to send to their singer/guitar player Y some questions for this interview.
Your last release, Endless Pilgrimage, Is the best example of death metal I’ve heard in many years. Is there a meaning behind this title?
The theme of pilgrimage really cemented itself in my thoughts when visiting Mount Athos in Greece earlier this decade. It is an autonomous region under the jurisdiction of Orthodox Monks, established in 963. The trappings of modern life there have not touched the region; many temptations of life, particularly women, are not permitted to enter the area. Amidst the surroundings of some of the nineteen monasteries that operate, hermits live in any dwelling that can be erected, and lead lives of solitude. Whilst I have no affinity towards Orthodox Christianity, I could not help be in astonishment of the reverence and devotion shown by these pilgrims who felt compelled dwell in contemplation.
Despite not living this type of existence, I consider the life of a seeker of mystic truth to be an endless exercise, without finality or end, as a pilgrimage towards the absolute.
On “Utterance Of The Foulest Spirit” and “Purgative Circumvolution” you mentioned Kali, Shiva, Ratri and Kalatri. What aspects of Hinduism have inspired you to write these lyrics?
When delving into texts, who cannot be struck with complete awe of Shiva and Kali? I claim no lineage towards these deities, aside from fleeing visions in altered states and the willingness to behold such power. There is no masking Mahakala, and the realities of death. And that reality is one of form-formlessness, the one without the beginning but resulting in the end.
On Endless Pilgrimage and Odori Sepulcrorum you also play Sitar and Oud. I suppose you like traditional Indian and Mediterranean/Arabian music. When did you start listening to this music?
Due to my roots I was exposed to the Oud from an early age. My interest in Indian music developed much later, however I have put those pursuits to one side for the time being as Indian Music is a science in itself that demands far too much devotion that I can currently exercise.
Grave Miasma has released 4 eps and just one full length. Was it something you planned, or simply the circumstances lead you to write songs that fit better on a shorter length release?
Each was planned, however our EPs are fairly extensive in length for what is ordinarily considered as such. We are however in the process of writing material for a second full length LP.
How was the occult concept been developed in your music throughout the years? Is Qabbalah still important to you?
Concepts are separate to what we have experienced as individuals. What permeates musically and lyrically are attempts to tangibly create from forays into distant realms. Qabbalah was at one stage highly important, however my interests have been guided elsewhere over the past years. Despite this, exploring the Sitra Ahra is an endless pursuit.
Desecrating Netherlands Deathfest in 2017
Are there some books your fans could read to know more about the occult/esoteric meaning of your lyrics
I take very little direct influence from books these days; as indicated above, personal relations to lyrical content instead of utilizing abstract concepts is preferable. As much as Jung, Svoboda, Castaneda, Mathers, Jodorowsky and so on are able to frame concepts in a discernible sense, the mind and psychedelics have acted as the torch to the flame.
Are you writing/recording some new material?
New material is being written and the track ‘Erudite Decomposition’ will be played in Rome.
On December 8th you’ll be in Rome for the first time. Are there some aspects of this city that fascinates you?
I have personally not visited Rome before, and what fascinates me is the place of the city throughout historic upheavals of conquest, empires and papacy. Whilst historically the inhabitants have expanded power far and wide, the power of the city has captivated for longer through its preserved character.
Flyer for the Rome gig, with great bands like Demonomancy, Profanal, Necromorbid and Serpent Ritual (first show ever!)
Back in the early nineties England was full of excellent death metal bands. Are there some new English acts you would like to recommend?
My finger is not so on the pulse these days, but a completely overlooked album I can recommend is ‘Acts of War’ by Throne of Nails, released in the early 2000s.
Have you ever played some Goat Molestor songs (that you didn’t use for Grave Miasma) in your live performances?
We frequently play ‘This Tomb is my Altar’, ‘Ritual Lair’, ‘Apocalyptic Ruins of Unlight’ and of course ‘Glorification of the Impure’ which was re-worked and recorded on Endless Pilgrimage.
Goat Molestor, the first Grave Miasma incarnation