Grima – To Wander the Solitary PathMonday, 21st August 2017
Let us never underestimate the influence of nature on black metal, which has long been the style most favorable to Mother Earth and her endless beauty. Often floated as “pagan” black metal, this angle has spawned a range of bands who share atmospheric characteristics built upon reflecting their natural sur-roundings. From the icy terrain of true Norwegian black metal, to the mountainous Cascadian outfits, and now over to the farthest reaches of Russian’s Siberian region with Grima, black metal’s continued dedica-tion to earth knows no bounds.
Now two albums into their career, Grima’s devotion to the deep forests in which they inhabit is brought to life on Tales of the Enchanted Woods. With all of the fundamental elements of truly captivating atmos-pheric black metal working in their favor like worldly melodic interplay, strokes of keyboards and even an accordion bit, Grima have emerged with an album that tells the story of how earth is dying a slow death while man does nothing to prevent its eventual downfall. Guitarist/bassist Morbius takes it from here…
Dead Rhetoric: Nature and one’s surroundings are often very important elements in black metal. But, considering where you are from, it seems like it makes more of a difference. How do your surroundings impact the band?
Morbius: We’re located in the very middle of our big country, and endless forests of taiga with its magnificent landscapes surround our city everywhere. Sadly, the environmental issues are becoming more and more severe in our town: the skies are clouded with pollutions. This creates the whole difference in perception of the nature for us. The virgin nature inspires us and does not let us forget about the eternal, which allows us to be sincere in our creativity.
Dead Rhetoric: Is it hard to find like-minded musicians in your part of Russia? And, how did the two of you come together?
Morbius: There are promising musicians in Siberia, and there are several really high-quality bands, but the goals and approach to creativity are different for everyone. We clearly understand what we are doing, we have a plan. But looking at many domestic underground bands it becomes clear that they do not know what to do, it’s about the quality of music and its promotion. Me and Velhelm are not just friends but twin brothers, we never needed to look for anybody, thus our way is common. That’s why we are stronger than all the others.
Dead Rhetoric: So far, both of your albums have been well-received. Did you ever expect Grima to get such recognition?
Morbius: We created Grima because of the need to release our creative potential, we have a lot of ideas and a great love for forest black metal. Also, we really wanted to cooperate with a foreign publisher and it is very important to us that we work with Naturmacht Production. Precisely, thanks to our label we were heard by connoisseurs of such music. We received a lot of good reviews and recognition from some well-known musicians, whose opinion matters for us.
Dead Rhetoric: Is it a far-fetched idea for Grima to ever play live?
Morbius: At the moment we are exclusively a studio band. We have a problem that does not allow us to go to Europe and other countries (visa issues). Nevertheless, in the future, we will definitely make a live band. We have true friends who are ready to go with us till the end. As soon as decent proposals appear, we will not hesitate to tour.
Dead Rhetoric: This may or may be exaggerated, but it has been said it used to be difficult to find western music in Russia. In your case, was that true? When were you exposed to metal?
Morbius: It was like that in the USSR, but we were born a while after its collapse, hence we have not been touched by any informational isolation from western culture. At the age of 10, we were listening to western bands on cassettes, like Metallica and Paradise Lost. At the age of 12 we have discovered Cradle of Filth, and it was our first acquaintance with black metal, a little later we got to know the Norwegian, Finnish and some other European metal scenes as well.
Dead Rhetoric: As for Tales of the Enchanted Woods, it’s simply a breathtaking album. What was the goal when putting the songs together?
Morbius: The album sounds exactly like it sounds because the songs are of an individual character, but having made the right order of the songs we have achieved a musical narrative. This is a single organism, which is able to function in the form it exists.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the theme for the album? Nature and its impact on man? Or, something else?
Morbius: Our goal is to create a work of art that can influence the listener so brightly that it can serve as an instrument of translation and communication with nature, like a touch of something original and beautiful. We are doing a kind of portal through which people can feel the connection with nature and become richer spiritually. We do not have any saints, there is only Grima and its forest, the oldest temple in the world.
Dead Rhetoric: What brought about the use of an accordion in “The Moon and its Shadows?”
Morbius: This was planned a while ago. The performance of the accordion was necessary to convey the mood of the composition. We have a friend who works in the city Philharmonic Hall, and he was interested in taking part in the recording, for him it was a unique experience.
Dead Rhetoric: Your band is named after a supreme God who protects those who live in forests. Are you disappointed in how mankind has destroyed nature?
Morbius: Nature is the main source of inspiration for us, as for many other artists and musicians. People have distorted the real values very much, they take so much care of their possessions, their cars, and goods, not paying attention to the fact that nature around us is alive, it needs to be protected, it talks to us, teaches, warns.
Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s next for the band?
Morbius: We responded to this interview with a big delay, because we left for the taiga. We started recording a new album. In addition, we are working in the same place where we started work on Tales of the Enchanted Woods. We would like to appeal to the fans of heavy music: Support artists who create real art, do not feed a commercial machine. True creators deserve real support and they sincerely do their work. We hope that we will win a sincere listener.