VORE released their new album “Gravehammer” any weeks ago. It´s a merciless mid - paced (almost) Death Metal monster … again, and it´s self financed … again. Maybe it´s time to leave the underdog – status. After all this years they have deserved more than nice underground – applause, I think. I have talked with Page about the “again” and more.
Hi Page, how are you. Give me some details about the new album!
I am very well, thank you! The new Vore album is called Gravehammer, and it’s our fourth self financed release. It’s a full length album with eight full songs plus a short acoustic interlude. Gravehammer has a dense, organic production…no digitized guitars,thin sounding drums,or any shit like that. It’s the closest we’ve ever come to making Vore come across on a recording like it should.
Musically, it still very much follows the Vore style of ominous crushing riffs and a foreboding atmosphere. There has been some evolution and refinement to our songs and musicianship. We’ve incorporated a few different things, but it is every bit a Vore record.We are very proud of it!
6 years since your last album is a damned long time, what do you actually expect from fans, the scene and your music after all the time? Whereto shall the new one lead you?
One of the great things about metal music is that the people that get into metal usually stay into it for life. The fans that liked Vore before are still out there supporting us, and we’re earning new fans every day on the heels of our new album. Vore has been playing an unpopular form of music for most of our lives.We have followed our own path. This band has seen a lot of trends come and go, and we’ve outlived them all. I think most people can see through bullshit music and shallow fads. If people like Vore, that’s great, welcome to the horde! If not, that’s ok too, it’s their loss. As long as people are getting into what Vore is doing, thatis all that matters to us.
As to where Gravehammer will lead us, we shall see. We’re beginning to see the seeds we’ve sown over the years come to fruition. We have been contacted by some record labels, so we may have a big announcement to make in the near future! We hope this will take Vore to the next level, and we’ll be able to recruit more fans and tour overseas.
And why have you needed such a fucking long time to come up with it?
We had every intention to get a new album out much sooner after Maleficus. We always plan to have our albums out within two or three years of each other, but it has never worked out that way. There is no single reason. There always seems to be financial, personal, or situational issues getting in the way, and something always seems to go wrong during the recording. I mean, every fucking time, there’s a malfunction or some kind of problem or delay that is beyond our control. Every recording since Dead Kings Eyes has been like that. I think it’s a curse of some kind. We almost named the new album “Curse Of The Gravehammer.”
Were you looking to do a sequel to “Maleficus” or have you looked for a different approach this time?
We weren’t trying to make a Maleficus Part 2. We just wrote songs, but the situation within the band had changed after Maleficus. Just prior to recordingMaleficus, we had replaced our original bass player and drummer, so after recording that album we went through a process of melding and coming together with different styles and viewpoints from the newer members. In 2007 we lost our other guitar player, John Voelker, who was the only other founding member left at the time besides myself, and that changed things as well.
The running time of “Gravehammer” is unusually long for an Death Metal Album. Is it important for you, or just happened? Or maybe it´s about your never ending constructiveness in the rehearsal room, or the inability to find a satisfying end for each song, ha ha.
It wasn’t a conscious decision to write longer songs on Gravehammer, they just turned out that way. We never write long songs for their own sake. When we write, we follow our gut, and the songs will show us where they want to go! Depending on how the riffs feel together and what kind of vibe they possess is our guide. Sometimes they feel like they have more to say, sometimes we know when to wrap them up. Often we’ll add something that opens up new options to explore. We indulged ourselves a bit in places, but there’s no wasted space. There’s no filler on Gravehammer.
“The Claw Is The Law”, I always thought Metal is the law! Tell me about this song!
Metal is definitely the law! “The Claw Is The Law” is an epic track and there are a lot of different parts to it. It’s longer song, but it doesn’t feel like it because there are so many different moods to it. It has as a huge chorus on it where we got a group of our friends together and did a death metal choir. Lyrically, it’s based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. It’s about the Old Ones reclaiming our world for whatever inconceivable agenda these timeless, cosmic beings have. The melodic interlude in the middle is the Cthulhu dream sequence – “In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming“.
“Sacredotum Tyrannis” is the “get out dance” on “Gravehammer”. Is it something special? I mean it kills faster than the rest of your songs for long periods. Is this a sort of tactic?
Sacerdotum Tyrannis means “tyranny of the priests” in Latin. It is different from any other track on the new album due to its urgent pace. There aren’t any slow chugging parts in it. We didn’t intentionally set out to write something more upbeat, the song just turned out that way. We hoped it would surprise people. We think it makes a great album closer.
Have you never thought about getting more progressive or to put the blast shit in your music? Are you not afraid to confine oneself with your style?
Gravehammer is a progression for us musically and technically from our other releases. There are a several new elements we’ve included on Gravehammer that are not in any previous Vore compositions.We have a strong vision of what Vore is musically, and we don’t change for the sake of change. If we ever want to use more blast beats we will, but only if it serves the song. We don’t find blast beats very musical or interesting, which is why we don’t use them much. When we write songs, I come up with guitar riffs that have a certain vibe to them. When Remy adds the drum parts, he tries to match or embellish that feeling. We’ll try blast beats against riffs sometimes and they usually destroy the feeling and intent of the riff.
To which extent are you influenced from classic Metal and how do you use it?
I got first into metal in the early 1980s with bands like Iron Maiden, Accept, Dio era Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and a little later stuff like Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Hellhammer. All of those bands were a big influence on me, and they make up the foundation that all my other metal experiences are built upon. If any of that influence comes through in Vore’s music, it’s subconscious. I think you can hear some classic metal influence come though on tracks like “The Claw Is The Law” and “Gravehammer”. Additionally, Vore often uses classic metal song structures and not just a bunch of random riffs slapped together. One of our core beliefs is that making a good song is of primary importance.
Had it any affect on your music and the writing process that John Voelker left the band after the last album?
It didn’t have much impact to be honest. John had been contributing less and less to the songwriting process over the years before he left. I’ve always written the majority of the riffs, lyrics, and arrangements. On the new album, one place his absence had an impact was on the guitar solo composition. In the past with John, he’d be playing a rhythm and I’d write the solos over that. This time I wrote the solos and then had to come up with the rhythms afterward. My solos turned out more melodic and with more tonal variation to them.
What do you think about when you write your songs? Do you have any pictures in your head or is it just a pedestrian process?
There is always imagery in our heads. We’re creating an epic film or writing scenes to a movie soundtrack. We listen to a lot of film scores. Lyrically, we draw inspiration from books. Some of our favorite authors are Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, Brian Lumley, H.P. Lovecraft & Gene Wolfe. We’re also into mythology and history, so there’s always a lot of that swirling around in our minds as well.
Why have you never looked for a strong label support? I mean it can´t be a matter of music. Do you like it to hold all aces in your hands?
Oh we’ve looked for label support, you better believe it! We’ve just not had any takers apart from some very tiny labels. We’ve never let not being signed prevent us from moving forward. We’ve recorded and released our own albums and hired PR firms to do our promotion. There are limitations to what we can do on our own, obviously, such as distribution. But if we never get signed we’ll remain on this same path. Since we’ve released Gravehammer we’ve been contacted by a couple of labels, and one of them is significant, so our situation may be changing very soon!
What about financing and promoting? I mean, it costs money. And the internet – piracy punches a hole in the purse of a lot of musicians
With Vore, the more we want to do, the more expensive it gets.We’ve invested thousands of dollars of our own money into Vore, and everything the band earns goes back into the band. It’s not cheap.
Illegal downloading is a double edged sword. On one side, your music is getting out there to people, but on the other side, you’re not getting the return on your investment so you can continue to do more. We need people to purchase cd´s and merchandise from us so we can invest in Vore’s future. It’s not like we’re buying expensive sports cars, we’re all poor bastards! Death metal does not pay the bills!
We are appreciative of all our fans, but more so of those that will actually buy a cd from us. We strive to provide a quality product, and we don’t rip anyone off with our prices. We try to keep our merchandise as low cost as we can.
What is so hellishly appealing about the war machine – sound and heavy battlefield music?
It’s the crushing power, like a tank rolling over you, though we’ve never considered Vore’s music “war metal” per se. We don’t exclusively write about war, battlefields, and tanks. Those subjects have never been our lyrical focus, though we get compared to Bolt Thrower on occasion because of our pace.
Our goal has always been to forge well crafted death metal music. We strive to make our music dark and heavy with an emphasis on writing solid, heavy guitar riffs, which for us, create the most power. We delight in menacing, epic, death metal riffs that you can sink your teeth into and get stuck in your head. We work hard for our songs to convey an atmosphere of foreboding and menace. Modern death metal is blast beating itself into oblivion. Vore is the antidote to that.
What keeps the band together (since 94)? How do you survive ups and downs? Propel ourselves forward.
We are either tenacious and thrive on adversity, or we’re stupid! We remain driven to do what we do and are still fulfilled by it. I think the most important thing is that we enjoy it and have fun. Right now, Vore is firing on all cylinders and is the strongest it’s ever been. We still have a lot left to say as a band. I think if we dry up creatively and it’s no longer enjoyable, it’ll be time to stop.
Do you think VORE stands in the shadow of the big named bands? Do you think you have deserved more?
We don’t think about those things. We do our own thing and focus on that. We’ve been doing what we’ve wanted to do on our own for almost 18 years for the love of it. We are proud of what we have accomplished as an independent band. Thinking we somehow deserve more than what we have earned is weak.
Are “Independent” and “Undergound” more than a smattering of empty phrases for you?
As descriptions they’re both still relevant. Vore is defined by both. The underground is much more accessible these days than say, 20 years ago, due to the internet. But death metal is still underground and vibrant.
Do you think the spirit of the old Death Metal day still exists? Can the kiddies of today actually realize what made us going these days?
The younger metal generations will never share the same perspective with those of us that grew up in the 80s, but I think a lot of them can and do understand. People that really get into metal and music in general usually look backwards to the roots to see how it all evolved. Music always recycles itself, and what was old becomes new again. The blood is still pumping in its veins and the dark spirit of death lives on!
Last spot is yours!
We’d like to thank you for the opportunity to expose Vore to the readers of Fatal Grind! We invite everyone to visit us online at www.vore.org . We have links to all our social media sites there like Facebook, Youtube and MySpace. Thanks again for your time and support! HAIL METAL!