My interview with Koraxid for Blessed Altar Zine, originally published on 2 April 2018 here:
Grievance is a black metal band coming from the haunted lands of Caldas de Rainha, Portugal. Their music is soaked with mournful sorrow, melancholy, dark journeys to ancient obscure worlds and landscapes, and of course blasting passages. “Pilar, Pedra e Faca” album has just been released on CD (and reviewed for Blessed Altar Zine), offering amazing musical diversity to reach the majestic infinite dark. I invited Koraxid, the mastermind of the band, to tell us more about his night chants and his bequests to eternity
Hello, Koraxid! Great to have you on the Zine! Thank you for your time. You have been the mastermind of Grievance for more than 20 years now, performing everything in the band. How would you describe this voyage into darkness and what are its roots actually?
I am a Black Metal fan since about 1994, when i knew the style i was immediately mesmerized by it, soon i started learning to play drums and founded my first band, called Tenebrous Dominacy. Some months after Grievance was founded as a side project by me and Azarath, who was the bass player in Tenebrous Dominancy, in May 1997.
You have been in a lot of bands during this period and Grievance always stayed alive. Tell us more about it. How important is this project for you?
Nowadays Grievance is my main band and I am fully committed to progress it and dedicate myself into crafting more and more music, of course it was not always like this, I was involved in a immense array of projects through the years, and I concluded that it is best to focus my energy in developing my personal musical views, I have become in some way more misanthropic with time.
Where does the name of the band come from?
The word Grievance actually has a lot of different meanings, being the main one a real or imagined cause for complaint, especially unfair treatment. I know the first thing someone thinks is that grievance derives directly from the word grief, but that is not true, although it is also related, I appreciated the name because of the varius meanings, giving a more open source of themes and images to reflect the band’s future works. The name of the band was taken from the lyrics of the music “The burning shadows of silence” from the album “In The Nightsid Eclipse”, Emperor’s first album.
Why did you decide to go solo?
Grievance actually went solo by physical distance between the founders (I live in Western Portugal and Azarath Lives in Southern Spain) and incapability of rehearsing and composing new music. The decision was made by a mutual and friendly agreement, back in 2011.
Your first album “Retorno” was released in 2013? Why did it take you so long since the very beginning?
The reasons are, again, the distance between the members of the band, which were solved when the band became a solo project. The first album was crafted in the winter 2011/2012 and was released some time after by Nyarlathotep Records label, from Brazil. At the time I was also occupied by other projects, but still I had the advantage of working solo to craft new music for Grievance.
“Pilar Pedra e Faca” basically came in 2016 after two years of recording sessions. Let us know more about this awesome record.
The album was composed in 3 phases: First I composed the drum parts and recorded the guitar lines and arrangements, from September 2013 to March 2014. Then, for personal reasons, I had to stop the process. The bass lines were recorded somewhere in 2015 and finally the lyrics and voices were added in September – October 2016. The Portuguese guitar was added in part by me in 2014-2015 and by a guest musician – Tiago Da Neta, a great musician and music teacher, added the more elaborated lines. Two of the bass lines were also recorded by the guest musician Joaquim “Vulture” Moreira, an old friend who played in Vanadyum, one of my past bands. It was recorded, mixed and mastered in my home studio, Axe Farm Studios.
How do you see it now, just freshly released by War Productions? Would you change anything?
I think it was the best i could do in the moment, and the moment was captured in this recording. I would not change anything in the songs, probably the sound production could be better, but at the same time I think this production gives personality and originality to the album.
There is a great diversity in the songs structures. On top you use Portuguese guitars on the record to achieve tranquil mesmerizing and yet so tense moods...What are your main influences to write so atmospheric, grieving and in the same time aggressive music?
My main influences are nature, history and occultism, Portugal is a very old country with a great history, including the musical history also. The most original sound from Portugal is the Portuguese Guitar, a instrument I personally love because it has a very unique sound, sio I tried to put a more “Portuguese” feeling in my compositions by adding this instrument. I want to forge a “Portuguese” sound in my music, and this album was another step towards that.
You write your poetry for the songs in Portuguese too. What are the suggestions behind?
It was a natural thing, i can also like to write lyrics in English but to me sounded more natural to write the lyrics of this album in my mother tongue.
Which are your favourite bands? Are there any other musical influences for you besides metal music? Maybe art, history, beliefs, another musical styles etc...?
I do not have any “favourite” bands, i love so much different styles of music and artists that is almost impossible to say that my favourite is this or that... Of course there are some that I have in more consideration, such as the classics of the genre, the first and second generation Black Metal bands that marked me more were Bathory from the first wave and from the second wave the first releases from Immortal, Emperor, Enslaved, Absu, Abigor, Mayhem, Burzum, Setherial, Ved Buens Ende, Dissection, Isvind, etc…
If you can pick up just one band to share a stage with, which one will it be?
I would love to share the stage with Inquisition, to me one of the best Black Metal acts active today and with a better live performance.
You went into 200 years old mansion to find an inspiration for your new record? Tell us about this experience!
I have the advantage of living in a very desolate countryside area, with lots of ruins, haunted places, forests and ancient places. Since I was a kid I prowl this places in search of the inspiration, sometimes in the day, other times in the night. To me it is very important to have a certain mood to write music and lyrics for Grievance.
The next record will be much more varied and aggressive and at the same time with a more vast array of musical ambients, the lyrics will focus in power rituals, poetry and occultism, all sang again in Portuguese.
Who are the musicians to support you on your live shows?
The live line-up consists of also very different musicians, some of them more experienced, others less, but all of them with a very similar view of my music. The live line-up is improving in each rehearsal and in next summer Grievance will start playing live, finally. The array of ages is also vast going from 23 Years old to 40 Years old. A lot of different generations of Black Metal fans are present in this 4 members.
How do you see the current black metal scene worldwide and in Portugal?
The Black Metal scene is strong, and lately with a lot of good bands appearing, which is great, that also applies to Portugal, where the scene is getting a better worldwide reputation, growing each year.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us and our troops of readers?
Yes, first and foremost, keep supporting the underground, never stop the search for new music and new bands, keep the Black Metal Flame alive in your soul!
I would like really to thank you for this interview. We’ll be looking forward to hearing news from you. Wishing you strength and inspiration!
Thanks for the interview, all the best for the zine!