Pestilent Grave interview with mastermind Vith

To start off, how are you doing?


I'm not too bad, thank you

For those unfamiliar with the music of Pestilent Grave, would you care to briefly state your band’s history? How would you describe the sound of your music?

I started the project in July of 2008. I had been writing bits and pieces of lyrics and music since the end of 2007, with the intention of starting a solo project of some sort, but Pestilent Grave itself didn't emerge until around May - June '08 when I finally sorted out all the rough bits and pieces of ideas into a fully-formed, precise concept. Then in July I recorded the "Black Majesty Invoked" demo tape. The music is extremely raw, harsh Black Metal which has been compared to the likes of early Burzum.

Why is black metal an appropriate outlet for your inner aphotic dreams?

It provides the tools and the means for me to express my ideas without being constrained. Not only musically, but in the aesthetics and mindset of most other people involved in the genre... if I can connect with a horde of like-minded people longing after the same thing as I..then that's just fucking beautiful. As well as this, Black Metal appears to be the only form of music I can compose easily, it just seems to come naturally to me. For instance, I composed the guitars for the track "Black Majesty Invoked" in about 30 minutes, and the same goes for most of the other tracks. But if I try and compose music outside of Black Metal..I get fucking nowhere.

Where do you normally draw inspiration from to create music for Pestilent Grave?

Myself, and subjects that I have a first-hand experience of. I'm not going to write about subjects that I have only a vague knowledge of just to be "cult", fuck that. My innermost fantasies, desires and demons give me more than enough fuel to keep the black flame of hatred burning

Now, onto your releases. How has the response been so far with “Esoteric Blasphemy?”

So far the response to "Esoteric Blasphemy" has been overwhelmingly good.  All of the reviews so far have been very positive.  At this time, it has only been out for 9 days and I have already been swamped with emails from bands and zines, both new and established, wanting copies and pledging support...it has all taken me by surprise actually, the whole thing appears to have just exploded overnight.

Though they were both released in 2008, how does “Esoteric Blasphemy” differ from your demo, “Black Majesty Invoked?”

"Black Majesty Invoked" was essentially just an experiment. I'm an awful perfectionist, so I wasn't prepared to put out material that was sub-standard or just plain shit.  So I quickly recorded 2 tracks onto a tape (the recording was completed within a day) to pass around friends and bands I knew in the underground in order to get their reactions.  The response to that tape was very positive, so I then started working on a longer, more thought-out release.  Thus, "Esoteric Blasphemy" was recorded, although it wasn't released during 2008, I just handed it out to a select group of people.  A lot more thought and preparation went into that recording, but I also regard it now as the "experimental" release due to the doomy / depressive influences, instead of it being just straight, raw BM like the tape before it.  Due to my experimenting with various influences on "Esoteric Blasphemy", I now have an exceptionally clear vision for future releases..

How did you come into contact with Svartgalgh Records? What do you think of bands that refuse to work with any labels?

I came into contact with Svartgalgh quite by chance. Just after i'd sent out "Black Majesty Invoked" I was looking around for labels that would suit Pestilent Grave, not only in the style of the music but also its ideology, and I stumbled across Svartgalgh Records on the internet. I checked it out and was intrigued so I sent a mail to them with the tape, and luckily enough they approved.  As for bands who refuse to work with labels, to each their own. I can definitely appreciate why some bands choose to release material themselves, and it's not like the thought hasn't crossed my mind..it's definitely an option for my plans in the future sometime..

Back to the music, how do you think raw black metal more aptly expresses what you want your music to say than a more “studio enhanced” version of the genre?

The rawness and harshness of Pestilent Grave is all part of the project's general aesthetic.  The hostile, cold, chaotic atmosphere produced works well in combination with the subject matter of the lyrics.  I find that all the imperfections actually work in my favour, and if they weren't there I don't think Pestilent Grave would have even half the impact I intend it to have.  Personally, when I listen to black metal, I don't want to be constantly reminded that it's just a bunch of people in a studio somewhere..I want it to fucking get in my head, fuck with my mind and enable me to go places I can't "normally" go, and I apply this to my own music..

A lot of black metal bands say they are "misanthropic" and people know the definition of the word, but what exactly does "being misanthropic" or having "misanthropic influences... etc." really mean to you? How is this shown through the sounds of Pestilent Grave?

That word has been fucking used to death, especially by shitty poser bands in vain attempts to look "grim" to try and obtain automatic acceptance. Thus I am reluctant to use the term in reference to myself, or to Pestilent Grave. The only reason I sometimes describe Pestilent Grave as "misanthropic" or "anti-human" is one of sheer convenience.  Since I was very young I have had a certain intolerance and distrust for other humans, whom I generally regard as being inferior and worthless to myself and my "peers".  As i've grown older that intolerance has also grown, and now i'm at a point where I dread having to leave the house even to do something as mundane as get supplies from the local store, purely because I know i'm going to have to put up with fucking morons who aren't worth even a second of my time constantly getting in the way, and when I do go out I always get my shit done as quick as possible and get back to isolating myself in the house.  This part of my nature is expressed through Pestilent Grave in tracks like "Gut Rot", "Homicidal Vice" and "Virtuous Selfmutilation". The subject matter of the two former tracks is derived straight from my fantasies about torture, dismemberment and murder, and the latter track can be summed up just in the first two lines: "drive knives into your wrists/pathetic pieces of shit". Enough said, I think.

Why is it preferable that Pestilent Grave be a one-man band? 

Putting it bluntly, mainly because i'm really fucking impatient and intolerant of other people and it would piss me off if I had to run every little idea I had past others for approval before I could execute it.  Keeping it a one-man project also gives me the freedom to explore any avenues that might arose my curiosity and I have also found that I can get stuff done a hell of a lot quicker by myself than I could in bands with "full" line-ups.

What are your thoughts on religion in general? Particularly, how do you view Satanism versus Christianity?

I hate all organised religion with a fucking passion. Fucking hate that sort of group-mentality.  Even regarding Satanism, I refuse to join or work with any groups..I much prefer working alone.  Anyone who can't think for themselves and needs someone else to dictate to them how they should live..worthless. Even worse are the zealots who are so fucking brainwashed that they either can't, or refuse to, consider any other point of view that differs from their own, even if their beliefs have been proven to be wrong. For example those fucking idiotic Christian morons who still believe the bible to be the actual "words of god himself" and will defend that belief to the death even when confronted by actual fucking historical evidence that suggests otherwise. Just fuck off.

I always get fucking pissed when I see people disregarding Satanic Black Metal as "Christian bullshit" or whatever.  Save that shit for the little LaVeyan faggots rebelling against their parents. My path of Satanism is one of knowledge, strength (within and without) and self-improvement in the pursuit of escaping and transcending the shackles of humanity. I detest the whole Christian doctrine of loving your neighbour, turning the other cheek and so on. To me that just sounds like a formula for letting people treat you like a fucking doormat.

What do you think it is about tapes that make them better for black metal than CDs?

I don't have a preference between the two mediums..it's the recording that matters, not what format it is on. And these days, with technology like CD-writers, and the cheapness of CD's it is just as easy to deal with CD than tape, unlike the situation 15 years or so ago. Of course, for my music I prefer to record on tape because of the murky, dull quality it produces..but that's a purely personal thing, in general I don't think it matters..

How have you (ab)used the internet for Pestilent Grave or how has the internet pissed you off be it from seeing your music for free download...etc?

The internet allows me to be a complete media-whore! It just makes it easier to find and get in touch with labels, zines and so on..and I take full advantage of it heh. So far, the internet hasn't pissed me off at all in terms of Pestilent Grave..and it's always interesting to see where you pop up.

What do you think of black metal overall? Are you someone who thinks it was better when it first started or are you somewhat content with its current direction?

Speaking in purely personal terms, I really have no preference between the old and the new...most of the stuff I listen to sounds like it could've been recorded in a shed in 1991 even if it's a brand new release.  But speaking generally (underground) black metal seems to be doing well for itself, there are a lot of good bands, labels, zines etc..and also a lot of shit, but that's always been the case and always will be.

Where do you see Pestilent Grave in the future?

Only time will tell

Thank you for the interview… Is there anything else you’d like to add?

It was a pleasure, thanks for the opportunity.

"Esoteric Blasphemy" is available on 3" mini-cd, limited to 50 hand-numbered copies and can be obtained from Svartgalgh Records: http://www.svartgalgh.nl/catalogue.php

Official Pestilent Grave site: http://www.myspace.com/pestilantgrave




------- Interview by Suiisolation