A newly formed quartet of nasty bringers of primitive death emerged from the Vancouver underground on the very last day of 2018, as if to punctuate that cruel and merciless year. The band call themselves Grave Infestation and they hit harder and faster than a panicked man who’s just awakened to realized he’s buried alive hits and punches and kicks the ceiling of his coffin. Tomorrow night’s Grave Infestation’s first show, then they’re spreading through east Canada as soon as next month. In the few weeks between the interview for this article and its publishing, these unstoppable maniacs snuck out a four track rehearsal tape. So let’s get to know ‘em already before they drop an album on us.
Well, truth is we already know their drummer quite well. We’ve spoken with “AS” a few times in the past on this very column, most recently with Ceremonial Bloodbath, and before that when we covered Temple Of Abandonment. Along with AS, there’s, as almost always, “GC” on guitar/vocals, and “TS” on bass.
TS, AS, and GC already have other bands together, but, the band say, they “wanted to start a band that focused on primitive, grotesque riffs that referenced a style of death metal that we all appreciated and mostly listened to. We have played and do play well in other bands together and we shared some basic important concepts of being in a band for example that we do this for the music first and foremost to the end, and that we would not compromise or participate in anything that pushed us in a direction that we didn’t want. We didn’t want to be part of any fucking scene or to sway an audience, but rather just to create something that felt real to us and to hopefully find other people who appreciated this style of death metal.”
Concerning their visceral and shudder-inspiring band name, Grave Infestation collectively say: “We originally had come up with a huge list of names, which was a really good thing to do because now we have song titles to last us a few records’ worth of material, but ended up wanting to use INHUMATION. We quickly realized so many bands were using that name already, which was actually fine with us but we thought we should try to distinguish this band from those ones, so we settled on GRAVE INHUMATION. We were at a party and GC told us that he hated the name and wanted something else so we decided that if by the time we left the party he hadn’t pitched a better name, we would stick with GRAVE INHUMATION. It was literally as we were leaving the party that [GC] stopped and said I’ve got it, GRAVE INFESTATION and we were like fuck ya—that’s the one. The entire process of everything creative in this band has been automatic like that—it just comes to us at the right moments. Obviously we think it fits our sound well—otherwise we wouldn’t have chosen it—but specifically, it really gives a lot of room for the rotting, disgusting, vile elements that we put into our music; it refers to death which is crucial for us and reflects the lyrics very well; and it is primitive, basic, and obvious which were also musical goals. We wanted the music, name and art to be clear and transparent, no show here. Just primitive, disgusting, death metal.”
Regarding how Infesticide came together, the band write:
“We had been working on these songs for a few months before we recorded them. The writing process was, and continues to be, [GC] and [TS] each bringing a song ready-to-go pretty much to rehearsals and us learning them. They are both seasoned writers, each with multiple records from a bunch of bands under their belts that they have written entire albums for. This band is pretty much focusing on their strengths as writers and giving them space to write for one band but to have separate material. In the rehearsal space, we do minimal tweaking to what each person brings and we are all open to sharing thoughts and making changes, so long as the suggestions aren’t fucking garbage. For drums, this style of drumming is where [AS] is 100% most on point, so she writes her drum parts, but there are many times when the writers come in during a writing phase and ask for exactly this ___ drum riff from this ___ and this ____ band/song. We are huge fans of homage and emulation, so long as it is made her own, and so as long as the references are good and the drum parts are good, she is fine to adapt. So basically, the writing process is painless and everything came pretty naturally to us.
“It’s a pretty raw demo so no one ‘produced it,’ we did it all ourselves—but Jordan and NOISE FLOOR recorded and mixed it. We wrote the music, and decided how things should sound when we recorded, and we all worked on the samples, though [GC] is the one who actually made the samples under his moniker SEKTOR 8.”
The band explain that “NOISE FLOOR is our friend JORDAN KOOP’s studio on a small island in BC, and it’s a proper studio but his history is in recording underground bands so he was ideal for us. He did a killer job on this recording and listened to us even when our ideas were absurd or even if he wasn’t convinced entirely. We banged out tracking in one day and then did vocals and mixing the next day. The point of recording this demo was to record this point in time and not over-embellish unnecessarily.”
Before Grave Infestation recorded their demo, they say: “We wanted to make something that felt and was real and not full of ego or over-ambition. We wanted listeners to hear it and feel like they were getting exactly what it was, hence the emphasis on the art, name, etc. all staying basic and true to the original intended form. Mostly importantly we wanted to find like minded people and share this with them and to contribute something. But also to be authentic and not pose as anything more – we are just a bunch of fucking idiots who love playing death metal, some of us grew up on OSDM demos as they were being released, and making/doing cool shit. We’re pretty sure that most people who picked up this demo share this with us.”
“We composed it, SEKTOR 8 ([GC]) produced it and put it all together but it is actually based on a riff lifted from one of the tracks on the demo – i’m sure you can figure out which one. [TS] and [AS] both played it until it was played right. This first track was the first GRAVE INFESTATION track and when we were putting it together at our first rehearsal, we knew that this band was exactly what we all wanted and that we were on the same page.”
“MORTALITY RATE has lyrics that are about a delusional person who is on an axe murdering killing spree, a guy who has made sense out of reality by killing people, and his delusions of grandeur and control are his main motivation.”
“DEATH BAIT is about someone who has an intense fear that technology is controlling humanity, and then goes on a killing spree.”
“It’s really fucking cool and awesome that you chose ‘what elder gods were you channeling…’ to frame this question, and it’s interesting that you picked up on this with the indecipherable lyrics … SUDDEN DEATH is about the omnipresence of Death – the entity. So the Death is the elder god being channeled here, I suppose!”
[What can I say? Sometimes one feels the elder gods being channeled, doesn’t one? After all, doesn’t one?]
Still Birth . . .Still Life
“STILL BIRTH …STILL LIFE is from the narrator’s perspective, who is standing on top of a mountain of corpses that the narrator has slain.”
Infesticide was first released by Grave Infestation on tape. It sold out quickly, as you might imagine, but which will soon be reissued, mercifully.
“We released [the self-released version of Infestation] very low key and mostly die hards found it and bought the first print,” the band say. “The second and third presses are coming out on INVICTUS PRODUCTIONS, who have been killer to work with, and PARASITIC RECORDS, who is a good friend of ours. The INVICTUS release is out on cassette now, but a vinyl and CD version will follow soon. We will have copies of the INVICTUS pressing on our tour (May 31st-June 8th) and the PARASITIC pressing at our gigs in May. INVICTUS is an extremely solid label with a strong roster of bands that include good friends of ours, we trust them entirely to handle anything we do as it is clear that they act with genuine passion for extreme metal. PARASITIC is another label with really good taste and people involved, and them being close by in Seattle is ideal as we continue to build a strong Death Metal group of bands on the PNW.”
Looking forward, Grave Infestation say next is the “release of the demo on vinyl and CD,” and “an LP . . . is in the works.”
Grave Infestation will start their first tour on June 1st. Catch them tomorrow night (Saturday, May 11th) at the Astoria in Vancouver with fellow Demo:listeners Fetid. And make sure you get a copy of their new rehearsal tape Infestation of Rotting Death!
“The new tape is a promo tape with demo tracks for the full length LP,” according to the band. “It is also being released in advance of our upcoming East Canada Tour happening June 1st – June 9th.”