Interview with vocalist God Vomit
Interview conducted by Michel Renaud
Date online: June 27, 2001
Every now and then I come across a band that has extreme views and I get curious and eager to know more. Open Grave is one such band, playing anti-human Black Metal - not exactly the most common adjective associated with Black Metal. Their music is extremely raw, in the same vein as early Burzum and sounds as hateful as one can imagine when thinking of anti-human BM (see link to the demo review and the end of this interview.) Vocalist God Vomit answered those questions through e-mail... read on.
Hails God Vomit! To start, could you please introduce the band members and give a brief historic of the band?
Heils! OPEN GRAVE consists of myself on vocal duties, Decephalic on guitars, Deadson on bass, and Rosemary's Afterbirth taking up the drums. Open Grave started in mid-2000 as sort of a vision between Decephalic and myself to collaborate on a project that fit into our vision of what real black metal should be. No keyboards, no female vocals, no Norway worshipping crap, no politics, no Goth faggotry -- just minimal an depressing music with a strong anti-human and anti-judeo/Christian message. We both had our respective projects at the time (mine being Oak Coffin, his being Nocturnal Decay), but we felt that a new incarnation of a band was needed if the vision was to be fulfilled. Shortly afterwards we met two fucking maniacs, Rosemary's Afterbirth, and then Deadson, who wanted to fill in on drums and bass. This completed the horde's lineup, and we entered the studio to record our first demo in fall/winter of 2000.
This might sound like a weird question, but what is behind your "scene names"? How did you come up with those? "Rosemary's Afterbirth" is especially original, if not eye- catching!
I don't want to put words in the others' mouths, so I can only answer this question for myself. Way back in 1994 I was in a death metal band called Creeping Jesus. The first song I wrote for them was called "God's Vomit". It was about humanity being nothing more than the rancid byproduct of some divine nauseous episode -- figuratively of course. Shortly afterwards, in late 1995, I started the Oak Coffin project and took the name God Vomit to represent my feelings towards humanity.
Your demo The Heavens Cry Black Tears was originally released through mp3.com but will soon be properly released through a label. Can you give more information about this? What is the expected release date? Is it a limited release? Any additional tracks?
I don't know if I would consider mp3.com to be the first to "Release" the Open Grave demo. That company is capitalist scum and they rip off sincere bands by making money off their works with no payment to the bands of the supposed "profits" they have made. Money is not a reason why I do what I do, but I am fucking poor and it would be nice to be able to have $5 every month to help pay for the countless CD-r's I send people for free. I have made requests to have the CD ordering option removed from mp3.com since I have had problems doing it myself, and I have not received any help. Fuck them. I would say that the real first release was DIY, by myself -- Totally fucking underground.
The demo is getting a proper release this summer in a unique way on two labels. It's being released on CD by PROFANE PRODUCTIONS, a sub-label of Ma- kahru. This will be limited to 150 copies, with artwork by Josh Bowens (who also did the layout for the Kult ov Azazel full length and split with Krieg). Secondly, it will be released on Tape by BLACK VAULT REKORDS of France in 200 copies. This will have completely different artwork by ThyLord. There will be nothing extra in the form of tracks, but most people have not heard the demo yet anyway, so it doesn't matter.
By "released" I pretty much meant "easily available to the public". Things sure have changed at mp3.com over the past year - I don't know if all those lawsuits against them have anything to do with it, but a few months ago I decided I didn't want to deal with them anymore. Total lack of communication with the affiliates, and I also saw many reports of bands not getting paid their earnings, so I said fuck them. Anyway, back to the demo, was a vinyl release given consideration?
All those things about mp3.com are correct. They are a business, and as such, don't care for the little guy. We never really gave much consideration to a vinyl release for the demo -- I didn't think anyone would be interested. It's hard for a new band to gather enough support to even get a tape or CD-R release of a demo by a respectable label, so vinyl in my mind was always out of the question. In all honesty, I'd probably prefer a vinyl release of it over everything. If a label contacted me about a limited vinyl version of the demo, I'd jump on it.
I think you have some 7" vinyl splits coming soon? Care to give us more information?
We have a split 7" vinyl coming out with KRIEG in early Fall on CHRISTCRUSHER Productions, and a delayed (possibly indefinitely at this point) split 7" with ABHORRENT that was supposed to be on my own EXTINCTION Rekords. It's a fucking honor to be doing a split with Krieg, since in my opinion, they are one of the best bands in the US black metal scene today. I think, ideologically, our bands match one another very well. The Open Grave tracks to this split are already done, except for work on the dark-ambient intro that was composed by Outre Tombe of AKITSA as a guest musician. The song that is totally complete is entitled "Death Camp". This chronicles the extermination of whole families in concentration camps during and after World War II by the Nazis and the Russians alike. In the next week or so I will be meeting with Imperial of Krieg to decide on cover art, and then the wheels will be in motion for the release. The split with Abhorrent is on hold for personal reasons ! that I will not discuss at the moment. A split with Akitsa is a very good possibility in the future as well.
Sounds interesting. Coincidentally, I first heard of Akitsa a couple of weeks ago. They're a Canadian Black Metal band if I'm not mistaken? How did you guys come to cooperate on this? I don't know Akitsa's work at all, is their ideology pretty much similar to Open Grave's?
That's right, Akitsa are Quebec black metal. I was contacted a long time ago by O.T. of the band as it seemed he was a big fan of our work. He was one of the first supporters of Open Grave even. Anyway, both of our bands share similar militant ideologies, and from an aesthetic side we lean towards the minimal and raw side of black metal. Meanwhile, Open Grave was working on our side of the Krieg/Open Grave split 7" when I realized that we were a bit short on the time allowance. I was speaking with Outre Tomb of Akitsa shortly afterwards and I was admiring his work with dark ambient. So, I decided to ask him if he would do some guest musicianship for our release -- which he agreed to. Akitsa are some of the best minimal black metal I have heard in my life and it is an honor to collaborate with them.
I noticed that a lot of bands are releasing stuff on vinyl only nowadays, I must say I find that very surprising. Since Open Grave does that, do you have an explanation as to why this format is preferred over CDs? I don't have a turntable myself, but seeing all the good stuff being released only on vinyl I'm seriously considering the possibility of buying one!
People know what to expect with a 7" vinyl. They know it's short and to the point, and the price is very low for fans. When somebody only wants to release an extremely small amount of material on another medium, such as CD, the price is much higher and people get ripped off. We are against Capitalism in black metal. Another reason is that there is something about the sound of vinyl that can never be attained through CD or even tape. We feel that it represents our music and message better.
That makes a lot of sense... I got screwed big time a couple of times by buying CDs that ended up being about 11-12 minutes long - but were being sold at the price of a full length album! I heard that some labels are reluctant to release vinyl though. Did you have any difficulty finding labels that were willing to do that? I get the feeling that very small, underground labels are the way to go here...
Labels are reluctant to release vinyl because they're capitalist fags. They're too pussified to take, what they view as, a chance in the music industry. Vinyl is not as "popular" as CDs and tapes, so some labels view it as a potential loss in profit if they can't sell all the vinyl they have made up. Additionally, vinyl is expensive to have made, and they realize that to make a profit they'll have to charge a lot of money if they want to keep up with the margins they can make on CD releases, etc. With higher prices they'll have even lower sales. Underground labels DON'T charge a lot, so they usually break even or make very little money when doing vinyl releases. And that is why vinyl will continue to be a mainly underground format from now on and into the future in my opinion.
I don't recall exactly how I heard about your band, I think it was through a "true BM" station on mp3.com. Did you do any promotion for the demo? Do you know how many copies are circulating? What kind of comments did you get about your music? Any prospect of a record deal?
I don't know how most people have heard about the band. The popularity of the band so far is ridiculous considering we haven't even officially released the demo yet. People hear about a new "kult" black metal band and then the rest jump on the bandwagon. I believe you were one of the first to like us before the announcement of the Krieg split, so I respect you more than a lot of other so-called "fans" who are just out to inflate their own prowess in the scene by ass-kissing and buying obscure stuff. 99% of the black metal scene, much like the rest of society, are pure garbage. Aside from putting our demo on mp3.com for download, the only other promotion I did was by handing out fliers at a Grand Belial's Key show. I got a few responses to the fliers, and I was able to sell a couple demos to some true black metal fiends for the price of postage as a result. In all, my estimate would be that there are about 70 copies of the demo that I personally made for labels, zines, and a few fans. The reaction was incredible from most people. A couple labels contacted us about a deal for a full length, but everything fell through because of financial problems on their side of things both times. So we will keep on desecrating until we get another offer.
Well, I only learned about the Krieg split while researching for this interview, in fact I presently know them by name only. I first listened to some BM about a year ago actually, starting with bands that incorporate keyboards and other stuff. Some of them do it right, but there's a lot of crap out there. I then realized I like the raw stuff with no frills a lot more (keyboards are acceptable only if used well), so I went out looking and found out about Open Grave and a couple of other bands on mp3.com. I sure as hell am not into a "more evil than thou" contest, I just listen to what I like (hell, the next CD in rotation here can be cheesy power metal! - as long as it sounds good to me!), although I've seen some people who seem to think very highly of themselves for seeking out and listening to the "most evil" music out there. Personally I find that quite pathetic, I mean, how evil can you be sitting on your bed and listening to music? They're very scary (note sarcasm.) Give it a few more years and they'll probably listen only to pop music!! Anyway, enough babbling ;), what's your opinion, or maybe even your message to those very scary persons? (extreme sarcasm).
My message to them would be to just fucking die!! I don't want people like that breathing the same air as myself. I once knew this guy who thought he was fucking Satan incarnate for wearing a Darkthrone shirt every day. In reality he was a practicing Jew. He would dye his hair black, wear black nail polish, etc. He'd do anything for attention. He would always try to "bump into" me so he could impress me with all the new NSBM he'd found on eBay and shit. All this fag cared about was being "elite". He didn't understand the music nor the ideologies behind it. It was all about showing off. And the funniest thing about it all, is that I saw this Jew driving down the street once and his car had a big fucking Dimmu Borgir sticker on the back!! What the fuck!!
Who does the songwriting in Open Grave? The music is raw as hell, not many bands I know can both stick to what I call the "standard metal instruments" (guitars,bass,drums) and create an atmosphere like you do in Open Grave. Does this just come naturally to you guys? How does the creative process go?
All of the music is written by Decephalic, all lyrics are written by myself and, so far, all of our recordings have been made in Subterranean Studios of NY, which is run by Rosemary's Afterbirth and Deadson. We started this band with the intention of doing things the right fucking way, with the "Standard metal instruments". Everything is done minimally. NO GAY GOTHIC SYNTHS. The drums are done very minimally, in the same way Burzum's drumming was done. The guitar is written in a way that creates a difficult mood of evil and despair for the listener, intertwining with itself in abyssic proportions. The bass is there to compliment the guitar in every way with a sinister tune and a slight rumbling. And with the vocals I try to be emotive -- I try to make the listener uneasy. We want people to feel sickness and darkness when they listen to Open Grave.
What are your musical influences? What bands do you listen to nowadays? (whether they're an influence or not)
Some of my biggest musical influences throughout my life in metal have been Possessed, Morbid Angel, Burzum, Discharge, Amebix, Bethlehem, Mayhem, and Profanatica. These bands, and countless others, have inspired me more than I can express in words. My current playlist includes: Krieg, Arghoslent, Godless North, Akitsa, Fall of Empyrean, Disembowelment, Burzum, Graveland, Gontyna Kry, Abyssic Hate, Axis of Advance, Sacramentary Abolishment, Blasphemy, Havohej / Profanatica, Grand Belial's Key, Amebix, Venom, Sarcofago, Burning Winds, Symphony of Grief, Countess, etc. The list could go on forever.
Since we're getting to the actual music... Let's talk about the ideology behind it. I don't know many bands that categorize themselves as "anti-human Black Metal". Could you explain in details what this is all about?
Our music is our propaganda. We have no political agendas and no religious agendas. We are, in fact, against both of these things very much. I have recognized over the years that humanity is a failed species. There is much evidence for this -- in fact, it's just fucking common sense. Look at all the pollution, capitalism, filth, Christianity, slums, class war, greed, subhumans, drugs, crime. Humanity, as a species, is destroying its own environment -- like a fucking parasite. Jews and Christians impose their own moral standards on society, yet they are the ones subverting their own agendas by raping young children and enslaving the world through capitalism and greed. They stand behind their facade of idiocy, love, and life -- all the while sucking the Earth dry and destroying any dignity and honor humans once had. Nowadays, 99% of humanity is pure shit -- part of the "system". It is this hypocritical system of love and life that we want destroyed, along with its followers. Open Grave is, what I call, "the emotive soundtrack towards the end of all I see wrong with humanity". The final solution towards ridding the earth of the parasitic human race is total annihilation -- Nuclear holocaust. To us, humans are filthy garbage that do not deserve to live!!
That reminds me of someone who once said "The virus that will destroy humanity, is humanity itself". No one dared to contradict him - like you said, just take a look around. I guess it's just a matter of time, although most likely we won't see it in our lifetime. I have a problem with nuclear holocaust though, it destroys everything - nature, animals alike, would screw up the whole planet, not just humanity. And most likely those who will have started it will be hiding in underground bunkers! Agree or disagree?
"The means justifies the end." So what if animals get baked alive, So what if the Earth gets a little charred? If it DOES ever come to the point in which we face Nuclear Holocaust, I think the sacrifices made will be worth it. I'm not trying to put an "eviler than thou" spin on this whole thing -- It's just that in all honesty, I don't care very much anymore about this tamed and scarred planet. The Earth is a regenerative entity anyway, and I'm quite positive it would survive well beyond our years as human beings under any circumstances. I'm not sure how familiar you are with mass-nuclear warfare theories -- generally I don't think any humans could survive. You'd have nuclear winter, temperatures would drop, all vegetation would die, radiation would permeate ever orifice of the planet... And it doesn't matter who pushes the button, because in the end we all lose, and that is a glorious thing.
How were you inspired to go toward that ideology? Any specific events or groups etc. resulted in being so pissed as to become "anti-human"?
The biggest inspiration is that we look around us and see what is going on. I don't like what I see everywhere I go. We are at the point of no return in human history, and the advance in technology every year only makes things more cosmopolitan, more Jewish, more morally binding, more unbearable. I am disgusted when I see people who should be dead still living and breathing on this planet. Lyrically, so far most of our songs have been inspired by militant and terrorist activities against Christians. Other topics we have dealt with lyrically have been animal/human sacrifice, rape, arson, concentration camps, war, hate, etc. We are not war metal, but the lyrical approach to some of the upcoming songs deals with nuclear war and genocide. We've been mistaken for a Nazi band on many occasions -- but there is a very big difference -- OPEN GRAVE feels that ALL of humanity should be destroyed.
I can already hear people say either "are they out of their fucking mind!" or "hahaha posers!" or... well, you know what I mean, non-supportive, negative comments. Maybe you've already received that kind of comment? What's your answer to those people?
To those people I would just say FUCK OFF. I'm not interested in their petty truer-than-thou homosexual attitudes. So far, anyone of any importance has been very supportive of our true black metal philosophy and our music. We don't make music for other people, we make it for ourselves; if other people like it in the meantime, then good for them. We were once called "the downfall of black metal" by a member of a well known Danish band, however, I take that as a compliment. If we are the sword through the heart of the current moronic and trite black metal scene, then I am a proud man.
From the description on your website, I got the impression that you value today's USBM more than, say, Norwegian Black Metal. Not so long ago, and probably still for some, USBM is seen as a joke. You obviously disagree. Would you care to voice your opinion on this, and what makes today's USBM force versus the Norwegian (or others) one?
Yes. The scene in Norway and much of Europe nowadays is very commercial. There is a template that all bands seem to follow, and it's one that I regard as false garbage. There are still some great bands from Norway, such as Carpathian Forest, but overall the scene there has become the real joke -- not USBM. In the United States, black metal bands are not popular at all. This has been very good for creating a truly underground scene that sticks to its roots and doesn't sell itself out. It's all very exclusive, but if you really want an "in", it's not too hard. USBM has basically stayed raw, brutal, and militant in its messages. This ensures that USBM isn't opened up to the masses of losers and posers who worship trash like Dimmu Borgir, although there are always some exceptions. The US scene has a lot of shit, but bands like Krieg, Kult ov Azazel, Thornspawn, Noctuary, Profanatica, Black Witchery, Abazagorath, Grand Belial's Key, etc, are keeping the scene alive. And new! bands are popping up every day with something good to offer.
Are you planning on playing live eventually?
No, Open Grave is currently not a live band due to distance between members. If we had more time and money I would definitely be for it. I will be playing bass for Krieg at the Blood Fire Death fest on Oct. 6th in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, this year. That's the best I can do for playing out live.
I think you have a side project, and two members of the band are running a recording studio? Could you give more information about this?
Yes! I am very proud of my side project actually. It is called Humanicide, and it consists of myself on vocals and guitars, and on drums and guitars it features ex-Thursday guitarist, Jim Imhof. It is anarchist black metal / crust with extreme war-metal overtones. There was a 4-way Humanicide split that was just officially released on Christcrusher Productions with Kult ov Azazel (usa), Obitus (SWE), and ThyLord (FR) -- I highly recommend this release. Decephalic, Open Grave's guitarist, is in a depressive doom/death band called FALL OF EMPYREAN that I also recommend checking out. He plays some excellent fucking music. And as for the studio, as I mentioned earlier, it is run by Rosemary's Afterbirth and Deadson. It is a very underground place, and they charge very little money for recording and mixing so underground bands with not a lot of money can afford to use their services. Once again, a middle finger in the face of capitalist scum!!
You were also involved in a band named Oak Coffin before Open Grave. Was it also a true BM band? Was anything ever released under that name?
Oak Coffin no longer exists. It was a improvisational black metal project of mine in which I was attempting to capture the essence of my pure hatred and emotion on tape. This was very misunderstood by people, and quite frankly, I was sick of people telling me whether they liked it or not. I released 2 demos of it Oak Coffin material -- the first was limited to 30 copies, the second was limited to 5. It was personal material, and I don't want it circulating very much. I recently destroyed the remaining copies of the first demo, "Unholy Suicide", and took down the page on mp3.com as well. There's still some stuff floating around the Internet and a demo popped up on eBay this year, but that's about it.
I'm out of questions so I'd like to thank you for your time in answering this interview. Here comes the standard ending: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'd like to tell all the "scenesters" who think they're "true" because they bought all the Moonblood albums on eBay to fuck off. And our obsessive fans, get a fucking life you fags -- we're not here to be your friends just because you like one of our songs.
I'd like to thank you, Michel, for the interview and giving me the time and opportunity to explain what we are about.
Check out the Open Grave website at http://opengrave.cjb.net if you can. Total Human Genocide Under Tötenkopf!!!
Ok, I lied. I have a last question. You have obsessive fans? What the hell? Details please!
Some fucking losers have been writing letters, emails, instant messages, etc, to us on a regular basis. I don't want to get into too many details, but they really need to just get lives. I don't like being bothered with their mindless drivel and ass kissing. If they are reading this, they will know I'm addressing them. On the contrary, there are individuals I very much enjoy the contact with -- you know who you are. All others eat shit and die.
|Other information about Open Grave on this site|
|Review: The Heavens Cry Black Tears|
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