Iron Grave: Band Of The Day

By on 10 February 2016

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Iron Grave are relative newcomers to the UK extreme music scene having just unleashed their debut recording, a 5 song EP titled ‘Conquering Of The Draconthrope’ which is full of crushing doomed riffs and caustic death growls, a very powerful debut release that is topped off with a raw, grimy, dirty production. I caught up with guitarist and vocalist Simon Thom to find out more about this very promising new band.

Words: Kat Gillham

WHO ARE THEY: Iron Grave
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Northampton, England
FOR FANS OF: Crypt Lurker, Coltsblood, Conan, Celtic Frost, Ilsa, 13, Grief
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Conquering Of The Draconthrope’ (self released, 2015)
WEBSITE: Facebook & Bandcamp

Please give us a brief history of the band…
“Like a lot of bands this all started in a pub, after a friend of mine got drunk and started talking about that they wanted to start something that was simple to play as she was just starting out, this worked out for me  as I wanted to start a doom band. After a bit she had to drop out, but I decided to keep it going as a drum machine two piece with just me and Mav [bass], but luckily a local punk band split up and we managed to nick Amy on drums and Jim on guitar. It’s been a full solid line from then, I somehow managed to get 3 punks to play blackened/death doom songs about wizards and dragons, I have no clue how I did it.”

What are the inspirations/influences behind the music of Iron Grave? What do you want to conjure up in peoples minds with your music?
“Our musical style takes its roots a lot from early black and death metal but just slowed right down. I remember the way old black metal used to make the hairs on your neck stand up, you feel a surge of madness pulled you in. I missed that, so even though this is slower I wanted to try and get that moment, when it all builds up and drives you mad. I wanted doom but with teeth, when people say our sound is old school I feel they hit the nail on the head.”

You have recently unleashed a demo recording – please tell the readers what they can expect from it in your own words. What formats is it currently available on?
‘Conquering Of The Draconthrope’ is our first proper release, in my opinion it totally crushes. It’s everything we wanted, massive, bleak, crippling, triumphant, overwhelming, ancient, mystical… we want you to feel like you have been dropped in the middle of an ironclad surging battlefield swarmed by a low end assault that smashes you down and drags you back up. We pressed this on 100 CDs, Amy stepped up on the artwork and got it exactly right. W also have this for digital download, you can buy both off our Bandcamp or any of our gigs.

Where did you record at? Are you satisfied with how your debut recording turned out?
“We recorded it at Stuck On A Name studios in Nottingham. Ian Boult did an amazing job, he knew exactly what we wanted and the approach that was needed. We went for a dark and colossal, raw and powerful sound but without losing the riffs. The whole thing was done in one day and finished two hours early, some tracks we did in one take. It was so loud in there we had to remove the light cases on the walls to stop them from rattling around, but we are well chuffed with how it turned out.”

Lyrically what inspires you to put pen to paper? Please tell us about the title of your CD?
“At the time when we started I was obsessed with sword and sorcery films, Frank Frazetta artwork, David Gemmell and Ursula K. Le Guin books, it just went hand in hand with the atmosphere of the music. I wanted to bring it all together and go deeper into the feeling of being in a mythical past life,  so  I started visiting stone circles and ancient places away from everything, even going to heathen ceremonies, things like that. I decided to embrace all this when I started writing the lyrics and create a world with them, this imagery is a big part of what I wanted get across. It was like I was writing a story, each song like a chapter a glimpse into that world. We got into this so much we joked about doing a choose your own adventure book to go with the EP. There is a odd mood to what we do I guess, its like a triumph through misery – no ‘shining armour rescuing a fair maiden’, this is battling through blood and guts, bleeding half to death crawling through dirt to beg a witch to keep you alive. Normally the whole point of this elaborate escapism is meant to get away from the suffocation of modern life, which this completely is, but behind the main story is almost a vent of political frustration that everyone feels these days of oppression of one way or another. Without giving it all away (but I guess the title does, ‘Conquering Of The Draconthrope’) it’s a story of someone losing everything by the hands of a tyrant king and when he turns his back on the kingdom he finds the freedom and wages a war to expose the betrayal of the king to the people (who are literally sacrificing themselves for him) and fight back against the monster he has become, the Draconthrope. “

You describe your music as battle doom, what exactly is battle doom?!
“Well, we can’t take full credit as it Conan (the band) was the first to use it to describe their sound but it resonates with what we do, Hyborian Age tales of myth and war with the crushing sounds of doom… battle doom.”

Why this band name?
“This was one of the first things that painted the way with our imagery. Its something I came up with, it means to die in your armour. I just had a picture of a decomposed skeleton in heavy iron armour, with arrows and broken swords sticking out of it, it’s a tragic end to a hero’s death, fighting a fierce savage battle and crawling to your agonising death with no one left to even bury you, defeated and trapped in an iron grave.”

Are you active much as a live band? What can people expect from an Iron Grave live show?
“We have just started to play out of Northampton, starting at the deep end in London and Birmingham. The response has been incredible, we liked it so definitely more to follow. As for what to expect, when we play, even if you don’t know about the lyrics or what we are about you still get drawn into it, full of surprise hooks that hit you in the guts, the whole thing intensifies  like overwhelming vortex of rumbling aggression. No escaping the total crush.”

Any other current UK bands you feel a musical “affinity” with? If so why?
“There is only a handful of bands that I’ve found that I would say sound familiar to us, one of the best being Slow Plague, I saw this band live a few years back and loved it from then, Grave Miasma are another one, amazing band and seem to be getting the recognition they deserve. Crypt Lurker  from Liverpool are totally grim, I guess its just mostly the long reverb on the vocals and the slow black/death metal feel they all have that we can relate to but lyrically we are different.”

About Kez Whelan

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