domingo, 25 de octubre de 2020


1. Grave Circles was born in 2016, why did you decide to create the band and why did you choose the name Grave Circles for the band?
Hello!In all actuality a portion of the songs was written before 2016. 2016 was the year when the name of the band as well as the songs for the first release were chosen.
In terms of forming a new band - the new material didn’t really fit in the framework of the primitive and straight-forward style of Goatlfesh. Take the song De Laude Flagellorum for example. It is vastly different from the other songs on the Goatflesh EP. In the end of the day everything happened organically without a lot of planning or setting certain goals. The name was chosen in an old school way. No mysticism or pretentious names or any of the nonsense that has become popular this day and age. Simple and to the point, kind of like Grave, Entombed, Katharsis. 

2. How representative musicians of the band is Baal belonging to Peste Noire and KGD from Kroda and Stryvigor, at what moment do you decide to join to be part of Grave Circles? How does this Franco-Ukrainian union work?
Personalities do not matter. The music is what is truly important. KGD helped with recording of bass as well as guitar tracks on certain songs. The creation of the project as well as the writing process for all of the material on the EP and the Full Length was completed by Virus and myself. The only exception from this is Unspoken Curse which was written by the new guitarist - Exile.

3. After the release in 2017 of your first EP “Tome I” (, at the end of 2019 they have released their first full-length that gives continuity to “Tome II”, how was the process of composing and recording the album? What brands of instruments have you used for the recording, and how has the sound evolved between “Tome I” and “Tome II”?
Tome I and Tome II are factually one album. The tracks Thy Light Returneth and Predominance were actually written before Tome I. The plan was to include them and When Birthgivers Recognize the Atrocity with the three tracks that ended up on the Tome I EP and release a full length consisting of 6 tracks. We simply did not have the funding to pay for the studio and the recording of drums. We recorded three songs because that is all we could afford at the time. This came out as our Tome I EP. 
In terms of mastering Tome II we worked with Engwar who produced several Peste Noire albums -L'ordure à l'état and La Chaise-Dyable if memory serves right. For Grave Circles every new release is an experiment. We try looking for our own sound which not only fits the material but allows it to develop. For example our next album which consists of some older material is shaping up to be more raw, straight forward and dirty. It will be a total DIY project in every sense, including production.

4. Ukraine has been characterized by a black sound that in one way or another always manages to incorporate pagan elements such as the band Drudkh or the same Kroda, Precambrian, etc. How would you define the sound of Grave Circles and their latest “Tome II "? Do you feel that Grave Circles fits into the reference sound of Ukrainian black metal or is it totally different due to those experimental influences that we find in their sound? Which bands are for you a reference when taking influences to compose songs by Grave Circles?
We do not really think that the Ukrainian black metal scene actually exists. The Ukrainian stage has its style, but it has very little to do with black metal. Take any popular Ukrainian project in the scene and compare it to such unholy acts as Clandestine Blaze, Katharsis or Moonblood. The difference is immense. I would say that the Ukrainian stage is more folk/pagan than black. There are interesting projects like Kaosophia, Do Skonu, Nahemoth and Nocturnal Amentia which is not currently active. It is possible that I left someone out, but considering the size of the territory of our country it is only a tiny minority of bands. The real history of our land is in my opinion Hate Forest, Lutomysl and early Lucifugum.

5. Among the themes that are dealt with in the lyrics of their songs is the decline of the human being, what do you think this decline is due to, a spiritual, economic or social issue? In some way, the history of suffering of the Ukrainian people is reflected in your lyrics and in your music? What opinion do you have about Satanism, which is somehow also present in your texts? And why do you consider it interesting to discuss these issues?
I have a positive view of religion and spirituality. I make it a point to visit historical temples and churches in my travels. While there are many black metal fans who greatly admire the aesthetics of medieval European architecture, they often forget that the majority of these magnificent structures were built by the hands of Christians who are so thoroughly despised by many metal bands. The further one goes into the study of theosophy the more one goes to the well of christianity for answers and I find this to be an interesting endeavour. That doesn’t mean that the principles of Christianity are close to me or represent my own views. This isn’t the case. Having said that, talking to a thinking christian who is willing to have an intellectual discussion or debate is a much more interesting conversation than one with say a habitually drunk metal festival goer the extent of whose “intellectual” rhetoric begins and ends with “Hail Satan”. As it pertains to my personal faith - some things I have already found for myself, others I am still searching for. Perhaps eventually I will be able to answer that question more fully. I think the thing that unites the 90s and 2000s generations of black metal artists is the fact that they are simple headbangers at heart and their lyrics generally do not leave the accepted norms of the genre. There are of course exceptions from the rule. There are bands like Deathspell Omega, Acherontas, Ofermod and others whose lyrics are the fruit of contemplation and experience drawn from many sources and woven into their music.
I neither accept blind worship nor liberal satanism which begins and ends with self abasement to supposedly put oneself in opposition to the world. In modern times many so called cargo-cults have emerged and many black metal bands are at least somewhat involved in these movements. When these fledgling occult groups which are a mish-mash of “men, horses and chariots” so to speak are created bereft of tradition and organic historic development it is simply syncretism. (*). For example the worship of Pan God, Baphomet or Anti-cosmic movement. An example of anti-syncretism may be something like a solar cult which is found in many ancient cultures, or more traditional heathenism where the forefathers believing in the principles of dualism of light and darkness tried their best to appease both sides. *I am talking about “cherry picking” and mixing of the elements of different philosophies and religions. 

6. The album features the contributions of Lazareth, S.S. , Engwar and Pavel Vit, how did the possibility of these collaborations come about and what have they contributed to the final result of the album?
Lazareth is a french musician and a good friend of the band. He is responsible for all the brass instruments in Peste Noire. Some of the brass parts for our album were created during the initial writing process and some were added later. These experiments will continue in the upcoming album. Engwar also did the mastering work on Tome II.
Pavel Vit is also a friend and helped with the ambient part in the track Abstract Life, Abstract Death. We previously worked with him on a track found on the Goatflesh album - Pilgrimage to Icon of Sin. In short, without their contributions the album would not be what it is today.

7. The cover of the album "Tome II" stands out for its simplicity at the same time that it hides a duality, who was in charge of the design of the cover? What does the cover mean and how does it relate to the music of the album?
The combination of living human form and a statue was exactly what was intended, so I am very happy our intent was realized. Cover art was made by Alexander Held (Ubertragic Art). He is a great artist and black metal fan from Russia. Light and darkness. Man and woman. Good and evil. The piece depicts the ever present principle of dualism. The two opposites form a whole and one flows from the other. The one gives significance/faith to the other (key). See The Delivery of the Keys, or Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter a fresco by the Italian Renaissance painter Pietro Perugino.There are also undertones of violence, imposing one's will/belief system on another. The hands that are transferring the key are covered in symbols: the sign of mercury - reference to the gnostics, whip - reference to the Khlysts (an underground sect which splist from the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 17th century), Ouroboros (an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail), the grail and the all seeing eye.

8. For the vast majority of bands, the appearance of Covid-19 has led to the cancellation of concerts, how has this affected you? Do you see a short-term solution that allows you to return to the stage?
At this time Grave Circles is not performing live. The reason isn’t even Covid 19 but the lack of desire to play live and the logistics of the band being comprised of live and session musicians who live in different cities. This certainly complicates things in that regard. In addition to that there is the financial aspect which is a hurdle. Touring and performing live is a different sort of work, it is more of a routine and less of a creative process. Also to tell you the truth, I don’t really want to spend too much time thinking about our image or long preparations for touring. I’m not out to surprise or shock anyone, let the music speak for itself. 

9. For the publication of the new album in CD and vinyl format you have had the label "Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions", how did the possibility of editing the album with them come about? Are you satisfied with the promotion and editing work accomplished?
Yes, Ladlo are great people who follow through on their promises. Great group to work with. The album was ready when the contract was signed and to tell the truth I am very far from promotion so it’s hard for me to be the judge of that aspect of the business. 

10. Centuries of Human Rot is Baal's label, which has dealt with the cassette edition of “Tome I” and “Tome II”, why did you decide to create the record label? Will there be future editions on the label of other bands? What is your opinion of a format like cassette?
I really love cassette tape releases and there is an idea of releasing a small numbered edition. For now we are talking about releasing small editions of releases of Grave Circles and Goatflesh on tape. We will see what comes next. I doubt that this will become a big thing, but time will tell.

11. You come from the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, how would you describe the black metal scene in your area?
In all of our cities history we haven’t had a single black metal band. The city is 500,000 people but there are very few musicians and not many fans either. As of now there are a couple of poser heavy and power metal bands but other than that nothing. In our Post-Soviet world being a metal fan or musician isn’t really trendy. If you like heavy music, you must be some kind of freak. There aren’t many new people coming to the scene and as folks in the scene get older they leave to dedicate more time to family or work. So the older generation retires and the younger generation isn’t in a hurry to replace the old timers. That translates into lack of resources for even a regular rock/metal scene, nevermind black metal.

12. How were your beginnings in music: the first CDs you bought, the first concerts you attended? What did you do in your lives that influenced you to want to be musicians?
My first CD was a bootleg mp3 collection which was so popular at that time. Pirates got regular CD-r’s and burned mp3’s in 128-192 kbps format. They used regular printers to print cover art. Oftentimes the names of bands and band members were wrong. These went for about 4 dollars a piece. A real genuine CD was all but impossible to find. If I had to guess I’d say my first CD was the Moonspell Discography. My first real, genuine CD was Sepultura - Nation. It was their newest album at the time.
The first concert I went to was at a local metal session called Terroraiser. The band playing there was Smashed Face from Czhech Republic and a local band called Reactor. In 2006 it was pretty awesome. The sound was terrible but the atmosphere was incredible! 
My musical journey started in 2011 when I started to play drums in a post rock band which is now long gone. I was really inspired by Sepultura’s DVD - Under Siege. I am a big fan of their early material. As a kid I used to play air drums, kind of like other kids play air guitar, but for one or another reason I only got into music seriously in 2010 when I got behind a real drum set for the first time.

13. What is the last album you have bought? Which album defines for you the essence of black metal? yWhich album doesn't stop playing on your player?
RIGOR SARDONICOUS - Ego Diligio Vos + ENSHADOWED - Intensity
Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice by Deathspell Omega is the black metal masterpiece for all times. 
Regarding the album, to which I return from time to time.. All Katharsis albums. Never get bored listening to it. 

14. What immediate future plans do you have for the band? Are you already working on new songs with a view to an upcoming album?
At this time I am working on 8 tracks which were written together with my old guitarist Virus and Nocturnal who was a member of Goatflesh in 2014-16. I have 8 demos recorded and after processing they will hopefully become full blown songs for our next album which as I stated above will be a DIY effort. 

15. Thank you very much for taking the time to Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for the followers of Grave Circles this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.
Thank you for the interview!
Listen to the right music and support the underground. You, the listener are its foundation.


Black vinyl, limited to 300 copies, 12", EP, Limited Edition, Stereo

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