We’re excited to bring you the exclusive stream of Gravehill‘s new album Death Curse, out April 1st on Dark Descent Records. You can purchase the album here: CD | Digital. Also, read the Track-By-Track from the band below.
Death Curse features over 35 minutes of powerful death metal in the old-school vein, and includes guest appearances from some of the biggest legends of death metal. Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler of Autopsy and Kam Lee (Massacre, Death and Bone Gnawer) all made contributions to what threatens to be one of 2014’s most skin-grating albums. Death Curse features artwork by Christopher Moyen (Incantation, Blasphemy and more).
“Gates of Hell”
JT Corpse – This intro track reminds me of an interstellar gateway to Hell, similar to that movie Event Horizon. It’s the opposite of the fire and brimstone we usually picture in our heads or from medieval woodcuts. These Gates of Hell are cold, heartless, void of emotion, and nothing escapes from its formless abysmal depths and is a great intro into Death Curse. Many props to the noise-worshiping musician who cut it for us.
Mike – I had been wanting to work with Mitch/GASP again for years. He is THE MASTER at what he does as far as sound manipulation and making a noisy racket with his old 70s and 80s equipment in his apartment/studio of doom. He fucking KILLED it with this one. It’s hard to hear at times, but there are so many layers of sound going on. To me, it really does sound like being at the Gates of Hell. And the we as Gravehill welcome you there with the Death Curse title track.
Thorgrimm – Mike and I argued about an intro to this record for months, I really didn’t want to use a sample which we have done two times now as our album opener. I can think of two other ways to open a record that either involved a keyboard or an acoustic guitar. We’ve been pretty good about keeping synths off our records, it’s just not our thing. An acoustic guitar found it’s way on Rites of the Pentagram, but this time out I thought it was not a good idea to go there for album 3. The Planet of the Apes sample was Mike’s idea as an intro, which found it’s way into “The Ascending Fire,” that idea turned out to be probably one of the best moments of the album. Mike suggested an old bandmate Mitchell Brown (GASP) to put together an intro. Mitch has a living room studio filled with retro Moog’s, weird pedal boards, odds and ends of old synth tech that most art noise type people collect. His gear envolved floppy discs. No bullshit. Mitch is very much an “artist” in every sense of the word. So Mike and I ventured into Hollyweird to have strange time with Mitch and see what kind of stuff he could put together. After an hour and a half of watching him man the Starship Enterprise into the “Soundscapes of Professor Cantelope,” we pretty much picked out the different “sounds or patches” he located as well as all the “different loops” and “shifts” and “splingedee do dads” and “whatever the fuck you call it terminology.” A few weeks later Mitch gave us 35 minutes of “Intro;” he called it “Gates of Hell,” which we saw no reason to change. During mastering we added the part Mitch made for us that was a minute and a half long then took moments from the 35 minute master to place in a few spots throughout the record. We could of just wrote this little synth melody like some John Carpenter reject on a borrowed synth and dropped it in and be done with it. Using Mitch was outlandish, unusual, and not “a-typical” like many other album into’s I’ve heard.
JT Corpse – I think the opening riff of Death Curse was the first thing I contributed in regards to writing for this record. It was originally one of those straight up, down-picked, riffs that I love to come up with ala Bathory but Thorgrimm toyed with the idea of speeding it up. Sped up, the riff suddenly sounded like Repulsion or some grind riff and we were all happy with that. The only time you hear it played like how I imagined it is near the end of the song when it slows down. This is one of my favorite tunes on the album.
Mike: To me, this fucking song grabbed me and punched me in the face, over and over again . I like to name songs BANGERS. So this fucker was our “Repulsion Banger.” A classic example of Gravehill-izing songs to fit our way of attack. Jason intended the riff to be at another speed, but Grimm suggested to play it fast. The rest is history. Grimm and I will do that quite a bit. I know the rest of the guys get pissed at us at times. But we like our sound/formula. It works for Gravehill. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is such a ripper. GREAT live, high energy song.
Thorgrimm – I remember the 2nd half of this song having this riff CC was intensely proud of and after jamming a few times, I said something along the lines of “Can you write something a bit dumber and not so happy… so in 3 seconds he wrote this “Show No Mercy” type riff which we break out in with a kinda slower 1-2 fast beat to d-beat. It’s one of my favorite moments of the album, a real headbanger. We originally were calling this song “Death From Below,” which is the chorus but change it to the album title later.
“At Hell’s Command”
JT Corpse – “At Hell’s Command” is very much Bolt Thrower worship and CC’s solo on this one fucking RULES! When the solo section kicks in and then with the chorus afterward; it still gives me goosebumps every time we play it.
Mike – : An “EVIL” Bolt Thrower set of notes going on here. More like “Realm of Chaos”, just not as down tuned. But we fucking love those crusty English bastards, so the haunting influence of their majestic riffs/notes came through here. I have been wanting to use the word MAJESTIC in an interview for a while now, so mission accomplished!!!!!!!!!!
Thorgrimm – CC & Hell are secret swede’s in my opinion. CC will write these DISMEMBER/CARNAGE type riffs naturally while Hell Messiah writes nothing but DISSECTION riffs. I have no idea how the BOLT THROWER influence came out in this, it just did. Normally we change the riffs around to fit a “Gravehill” method, this one particular song was out the gate, as is. I’d admit this song is the least fucked with by me and Mike.
“Open Their Throats”
JT Corpse – This is another favorite tune of mine. I think it was written by Thorgrimm, CC, and Hell Messiah because I don’t remember being there for the writing process on it. Probably because I was too busy traveling the world tasting the finest cheeses in Kazakhstan. I don’t recommend the Irimzhik because it will give you the shits…much like the badass opening riff to this tune!
Mike – Kind of the “centerpiece” of the album. Slowwwwwwssssss shit down to a crawl. I was involved in the arrangements on this one. It was the second to last song we wrote for the album. Real fucking morbid stuff. Old ass Paradise Lost, Autopsy “Mental Funeral” type sludge. My favorite song on the album. Irimzhik bowel cleansing death doom ETERNAL!!!!!!!!!!!
Thorgrimm – CC & I wanted this Hell Hammer vibe song, which looking back this song reminds me alot of ASPHYX. I do these back beat kick drum moments in this song that is very HH/Celtic Frost. The whole d-beat section and dual guitar harmony outro is our tribute to Autopsy. I remember CC and I vibed this song rather quickly, we had it written and almost totally thought out in a few run throughs. This song hasn’t left our live set list since the day we wrote it.
“Fear the Reaper”
JT Corpse – “Fear the Reaper” is quickly becoming a favorite of a lot of people. We intentionally wanted to write a song that had a memorable chorus and interlude and it worked out great in my opinion. It’s one of my favorites to play live even though I still consistently fuck up the timing. Shit happens when you rock naked though! An idea that I pushed for this song for the longest time was to have CC play Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” main riff and then play it backwards (digitally, not in real time) as a short outro. No one listens to me though so I went and cried, ate ice cream, and sent them all nasty Facebook messages expressing my outrage for not including my idea.
Mike – As you can see by his comments on this, Corpsie is a total fucking creep. We try not to even get him out of his trailer on the edge of nowhere, let alone let him answer interview questions. Anyways, these fuckers banged this one out while I was away for a bit. They had told me they had a “Judas Priest Banger” to show me. We wanted to get a full on heavy metal rocker out of our system, so that’s how this fucker was born. We all love and grew up with traditional, old school heavy metal. So it was cool to mix that in with the death attack. I think it came out KILLER!!!!!!!!
Thorgrimm – This song is one of my dumb ideas that actually worked out. I’m more interested in traditional Heavy Metal than any other genre and I wanted to have a song where it opened with drums like “Overkill/Motrohead”. Originally Bodybag and I wrote this song before his departure but never recorded it. Our version was kinda like “Red Hot/Motley Crue” meets “Kill’Em All/Metallica”… I held onto the same idea and just jammed it with CC and he wrote the “Judas Priest” riff by the vibe alone. I introduced the drum break down in the middle with the harmony and chorus ringing out to help tie it together. This is my favorite track of the record. I’d like to continue writing songs like this on future records.
“Unending Lust for Evil”
JT Corpse – I think this is the tune that Hell Messiah and I always had to ask, “How does this start again?” That was at the beginning of the writing process and CC would always get annoyed at us, yell, his big bald head would turn a bright red and Hell and myself would chuckle like little school girls. Teehee! This is a cool raw fucking song and I think I was responsible for coming up with the awesome solo riffage. I’m currently bowing as I type this. You’re welcome, Gravelhill! Without my sexy riffs this record would have never been completed!
Mike – This was the second song we wrote with CC and Hell. Trying to go for an old Sodom vibe here. I hate to use the comparisons, but it gives everyone an idea of how the process went. It’s a full on fast banger that thrashes and bashes away. The middle vocal line is an actual poem that is used to conjure evil spirits. It continues into Kam Lee’s vocal pattern. Kam fucking killed it. Thanks Corpsie, without you we would have never had a band member actually say “TEE-HEE!” Good job fuck wad.
Thorgrimm – This song reminds me of our 2nd chance at that Australian Barbaric Death Metal Attack, a total Bestial Warlust, Abominator, Destroyer666 type vibe. Definately one of our more fierce tunes to play live, the middle Bathory part is one of my favorite moments also. Having a Kam Lee “HEEEEEEEYYYYYYY” on our record still astonishes me!!! Holy Shit!!!
“Black Blood Rising”
JT Corpse – Black Blood’s main verse riff is one that I wish I had come up with. That was the brain child of Hell Messiah and I was jealous he wrote it. This was one of our first songs that we wrote and that main verse riff always gives my neck whiplash when we play it live. I threw in that mean D-beat solo riff and I love how that section starts off. The one guitar raging with the rest of us sliding into it (I realize this sounds very sexual but Gravehill is a very sexual band like The Bullet Boys or Firehouse). Definitely a toe tapper.
Mike – This was the first song that we wrote in Jan of 2012 when CC and Nels joined the band. Definite Hellhammer/Frost influence here. A total mid paced banger. The way the main verse riff slides is fucking killer. Always wanted to have a riff like that. Fuck The Bullet Boys! We are the Duran Duran of death metal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SEX PERSONIFIED! WHAT’S WRONG WITH BEING SEXY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Thorgrimm – The bass drum count to drum roll into Celtic Frost D-beat moment in the solo riff is pretty much my crowning achievement in drumming.. I’ve been waiting to do that exact thing in a song for the past 25 years. I can retire now. Those seemingly inconsequential moments in songs are usual the moments I pay the most attention to.
JT Corpse – I remember the writing process pretty well for this one. Mike came into the rehearsal studio wearing one of his Wal-Mart bumper sticker shirts and a beat up acoustic guitar. I think he had a head band on as well like Flashdance but my memory is foggy. He immediately started jamming on the acoustic like one of those Appalachian hill folk straight out of Deliverance. He came in with the whole song pretty much written and wanted to call it “Crucified”. I tried to point out that a group called Army of Lovers wrote a similarly-titled song back in the 80s but he wasn’t hearing any of it. If we ever write another EP, I want to title the songs, “Africa”, “The Reflex”, “Cars”, and “Mr. Roboto”. People will buy it thinking they’re cover songs but they wouldn’t be. I so sneaky!
Mike – Hahahaha. Yeah, I brought in the Dirty Mike Guitar for this one. I wanted to show the guys my riff that I had. It didn’t fit for what I was doing with my other band, it had an evil Gravehill vibe to it. So we bashed it out. It’s better that I bring my trusty old acoustic rather than try and hum into a microphone or make weird buzzing sounds with my mouth (that shit always sounds better inside my head anyways). Oh, the intro crescendo is a tribute to Metallica “Hit the Lights.”
Thorgrimm – A traditional punk song on a Gravehill record here people, were you paying attention at all? So far, no one has… which is funny. Traditional punk song with a heavy metal double bass pre-chorus and a Celtic Frost “Visual Aggression” weird drum part. All of these ideas should not work in a song at all. Yet it did, we’re a pack of fucking Einsteins.
“The Ascending Fire”
JT Corpse – “The Ascending Fire” was another one that Hell Messiah and I would always have trouble remembering off hand. It would probably be pretty cult to add that he and I were in a restless haze of drugs, whoring, and drowning in hard liquor but the reality of it was that we all got together once a week and our memories suck. If it wasn’t for CC helping out with recording demos and remembering the songs, let’s face it, Death Curse would have been 10 years in the making! This song rules on a lot of levels with its obvious Slayer and Autopsy worship. We will never be accused of reinventing the wheel here; we’re just trying to make some killer old school, music-worship of bands we loved listening to growing up and throwing in a few random influences here and there. Chris Reifert’s outro vocals on this sends chills down my spine.
Mike – No we drugged, whored and drowned in booze, we just did it on Sunday mornings when everyone else was at church. IDIOTS! We always intended this song to close out the album. It just fit there like a bloody glove. And because of that Autopsy worship that Corpsie spoke of, it was 666% fitting that Chris Reifert be on the end of the song. He obviously killed it and is an album highlight.
Thorgrimm – Admittedly I wanted to do a song that was kinda what all these Incanta-clones want to hear, something that had this fast speed picked riff with slow drums. Didn’t really happen that way, but it was the intention. The break neck Eric Cutler guitar solo always draws me back to the first time I heard Autopsy, his solo’s are so unique, very few guitarists in this genre are able to achieve a signature sound/style. And of course Reiferts “NO FUCKING… LIFE… REMAAAAAAINS!!!” at the end just blows my mind. I’ve read reviews where people didn’t even mention them on this, which to me says how well they mesh into our music. It’s no secret how much of an Autopsy Worship band we are but to have both these guys apart of this is just an achievement that 16 year old me when never believe to be a reality.
Originally formed in 2001 as a three piece and within the same year recorded The Practitioners of Fell Sorcery demo and as quickly as it began, the original lineup disbanded soon after the demo. In 2006 Gravehill reformed with original drummer & founder Rhett “Thorgrimm” Davis and vocalist Mike Abominator. Over the course of 2007-2009 Gravehill released two CDs with Enucleation Records – the Metal of Death / The Advocation of Murder and Suicide CD/EP and the Rites of the Pentagram CD. Soon after the RofP CD release with Enucleation Records, the label folded, leaving both releases free. They were later given to Ibex Moon Records for a combined release of Metal of Death / Advocation, and Rites of the Pentagram CDs adding a live DVD to the package.
By summer of 2010 Gravehill toured the US, added guitarist Matt “Hellfiend” Harvey (Exhumed, Dekapitator, Repulsion) to the lineup and by 2011 played the 9th Annual Maryland Death Fest supporting their sophomore release When All Roads Lead To Hell with Dark Descent Records.
2012 began with a lineup change, by adding two new full-time guitarists known only as CC DeKill and Hell Messiah, to replace Matt Hellfiend and Bodybag Bob due to their momentous touring schedule for Exhumed.
2014 sees Gravehill deliver their most stripped down and powerful release to date. On April 1, 2014, Gravehill’s Death Curse will be unleashed on CD/Digital formats (vinyl soon after) through Dark Descent Records.