We could introduce “The Ascending Fire” but telling you how it is the closing track on Gravehill’s third full-length, Death Curse. We could chime in and offer our ten cents’ on how the track will give you a real taste for a vulgar doozy of an old-school death metal record that’s unafraid to augment its necro riff vocabulary with the esprit de corps traditional fist-in-the-air rock/metal a la Twisted Sister, KISS and Judas Priest. Not that “The Ascending Fire” sounds like anything off Destroyer or Stay Hungry because nothing on Death Curse does; but when you play all these records back to back there is a strange phenomenon where none sound totally out of whack with each other. We could even say that Gravehill approach old-school death metal via Venom and old Slayer instead of retro-appropriating existing DM archetypes from Sweden, Florida or Finland. The Deciblog could even go on record—and so help us should this corner of the internet ever become the forum for legally binding declarations concerning the merits of matters artistic—to say that, should metal ever become a grass roots political movement, Gravehill vocalist Mike Abominator would get our vote to lead it by dint of his performance on Death Curse and the evangelical zeal he talks about metal.
But why go to all that bother making introductions when we’ve got the main main, Mike Abominator himself, on hand with a few words on the track?
“I wanna say that was the third song we wrote with CC DeKill and Hell Messiah . . . Back in 2012 when they joined the band, they started immediately writing songs because they were so chockfull of ideas and we were hungry to get back on the horse. That was one of the early songs that we wrote, and it just kinda came together; we wanted to get a haunting Autopsy-ish vibe, kind of more of the Mental Funeral stuff. We hadn’t done that in a while.
“We have a lot of influences like that going on in the Metal of Death and the Rites of the Pentagram period, back in 2008/2009, and we wanted to have something that kinda went back to that because we love it so much. We’re not afraid to say that Autopsy is one of our biggest influences. Once we got that song going it was apparent that—we are friends with the guys in Autopsy—we should get them in the song. Not only were we able to get Eric Cutler to do a crazy guitar solo on it but we were able to get Chris Reifert to do the outro vocal patterns to it, too. It was pretty insane how it all came together. I mean, it’s still surreal that we’re hanging out with guys like that, because all of this years we’ve been looking up to them. I have been writing to Chris for years. He was one of my oldest penpals back the demo days, back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, back when during the old tape-trading days, so being able to finally get him on board was just insane.
“As far as that sample goes in the song, that’s from The Planet of the Apes. That’s the poem that is read on the beach, ‘Beware the beast man . . .’ Basically it’s just saying how humanity is fucked. Be afraid of man—man is the worst beast. He is going to kill everything that lives, and that’s the whole concept of that poem so we thought it was fitting for the Death Curse album concept. Throwing it on “The Ascending Fire” was perfect. It’s the last song, and the way it all came together was perfect placement. We were originally going to use that sample at the very beginning of the album as the intro, then once we had a friend, a former bandmate of mine create the intro music on his own, we just felt that it fitted better later on “The Ascending Fire”. And the guys through that into the studio mix late on. They just threw it on and it fitted perfectly. Everything came out great as far as that goes, and having Chris and Eric on board.”
And there you have it, folks. Here is Gravehill “The Ascending Fire”, taken from Death Curse, out on Apr 1st on Dark Descent records. Pre-order it here. Now don’t go disappointing Mr. Abominator; jack that volume up as far as it goes . . .
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