Formerly known as Shitshifter, German riffmongers Hvrt were one of my biggest, brightest – not to mention nastiest – new discoveries of last year.
Equal parts Grave, Grief and Goatwhore, the band’s signature brand of doom-laden blackened death sludge (patent pending) is both mercilessly heavy and monstrously groovy, and their debut album comes absolutely loaded for bear with an array of neck-wrecking rhythms and sickeningly, almost sadistically, catchy hooks.
The band definitely aren’t a one-note, one-hit wonder by any means, as their guitarist (and backing vocalist) Christian Braunschmidt explains:
“We’ve already made two videos for other songs (‘Moralists’ and ‘Zentrum’) and wanted to do a track that shows another side of us. The title song ‘The Grief That Feeds the Night Pt. 1’ is definitely more melodic and atmospheric than the others, and it’s important to us that people get to hear the full range of what we can do.”
As for the video in question, as you can imagine the current situation offered more than a few additional difficulties, but the band were more than willing (and able) to work around these restrictions.
“It was clear to us that we had to work within the contact restrictions. If someone got sick just because we had to shoot a video it would have felt like a disaster, and there was no way we were going to be that irresponsible. So we asked our friend Noel Auch – who we’ve worked with before when he took over the shoot of ‘Zentrum’ at the last second – if he had the time, and basically just gave him full rein to make the video without giving him a lot of direction.”
“Originally the idea was for the footage to be used as background material for a lyric video but when I saw the finished result I pestered my colleagues until we left out the lyrics. The imagery and colours Noel captured just fit the song perfectly. It would have been a shame to put the lyrics over it all the time. I have to say that I’m really happy with the result, especially considering how limited the options were due to the pandemic.”
Of course, some of you may be asking… what is the “grief that feeds the night”?
“It’s basically about all the things that keep us awake at night,” Braunschmidt continues, “the things that do not let us sleep and threaten to drive us into madness.”
“You could see the album as the course of such a night, where the lyrics – written by me and my brother Stefan – cover a selection of topics, things that really bother us, worry us, and keep us awake, all the topics that make us feel like we’re living in a world that often offers little reason for hope.”
“The title itself was something we decided on at a relatively early stage in the writing process, which is actually rather atypical for us, as normally we write an album and choose a title to fit it last. This time things were different though, and I found it exciting to give the album a title early on which would give it a certain framework in terms of content and theme, without having to limit ourselves musically.”