Interview: Rob Darken of Graveland

Rob Darken of Graveland and Lord Wind most graciously agreed to answer our staff’s questions:

What were your influences on the first Graveland album, Carpathian Wolves? How much were Oi, progressive rock, and traditional music or classical music in there?
My greatest inspiration were the early albums of Bathory! I simply found myself in that music. Before that I listened to a lot of different metal stuff like Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, Possessed, Venom and so on. But Bathory was ahead of that, it was simpler and with that gloom aura around it. Quorthon sang like being burnt on a stake, his voice echoed throughout the dark abyss. Starting with Drunemeton demo, Bathory was always very close to me and still is. I was reading every interview with Quorthon I managed to find. Inspirations he described there caught my interest as well. The thing with music is that many genres of it have an impact on your style, even the one you actually don’t listen to. You’ve heard something once and it hides somewhere in your mind. Then when you compose, you bring back everything your memory and subconscious bears. Thinking about what you are creating gives your music a proper shape, its own discipline. Your character, ideals, things you enjoy, spirit shapes melodies which are your own reflection. If you are honest with what you are doing and do not follow commercial requirements, you will achieve something original. If you want to earn a lot, your work will always be similar to current trendy stuff. A real musician always listen to some other genres of music as well, even a bit. He is able to appreciate someone’s else work without being biased. Whether it is progressive rock or classical music, you will always find something to admire.

How hard is it for you to get your albums into stores, spread news out, and play shows, etc. versus in the early 1990s?
It’s not that easy to obtain original Greaveland releases. I mean CDs, vinyls and merch here. Fans have a lot of problems to get them in their favourite shop. Of course it is easy to download mp3s or find Graveland on Youtube, it’s common thing. Lack of Graveland’s music in record stores has two main reasons. The first one is own fault as in the old days I was under the huge influence of black metal ideology so I strongly opposed its commercialisation, that is why I stayed in the underground for many years. The Second one is omnipresent censorship. You can say that officially it does not exist, as democracy “respects” people’s freedom, but in practice you can easily observe it under the name of political correctness. Many bands from all around the world have problems with it, and there are different reasons for that. It differs depending on region and its political situation. The most common acts of censorship take place in Russia. A perfect example is the situation where Behemoth gigs were canceled and the band themselves were imprisoned for one day. The thing is that this case is an example of censorship you can talk and write about. You won’t read anything about the one that happens in our democratic countries. Not long ago Facebook closed my Graveland page and blocked my own profile for several days. All those attempts at censoring Graveland that I still meet are pure paranoia!

I saw you made some new Lord Wind demos last year. When is there going to be a new Lord Wind album?
I have been composing stuff for Lord Wind’s album for two years already. It consists of some new compositions that I wrote and old well-known, folk songs such as “Herr Mannelig”. Things we are preparing for the new album are so different when compared to the previous stuff that I’ve decided to release it under a new name. We will try to gather some more members as well to be able to play concerts in the future. Finally we have a female vocalist with an unexceptional voice! Olga, as that’s her name, also writes lyrics for our stuff. In February we want to record another video in the same vein as the previous one, but with our own material. The new name of the band will be announced soon.

Will you ever do an ambient/soundscape project like Neptune Towers?
I was never into ambient really. Of course I was listening to a lot of electronic and keyboard music like Laibach, early Dead Can Dance, even I had a chance to listen to industrial, but I have never caught an interest in ambient, I quickly got bored listening to those sounds. I’m highly impressed by symphonic stuff, folk and simply early music. I value the harmonies that exist in this kind of art. They are part of some sort of musical spiritualism. I want Lord Wind to follow such path. Keyboards and electronic tracks will be replaced by traditional folk instruments.

Why did you release the 1050 Years of Pagan Cult rerecordings like Burzum tried on From the Depths of Darkness? Have you ever considered rerecording an entire album as Sorcier des Glaces successfully did on Snowland MMXII?
We decided to make the studio versions of our live set as I wanted to have them well-recorded. I mean they were never played so good before. Capricornus was never that good technically on drums and I was not a guitar virtuoso either. All of these stuff from 1050… was previously recorded with Capricornus and not in the best studios. That is why those compositions didn’t have a chance to break through like the ones of for example Emperor. Now I was able to present them in a way they should be presented. There is a great strength and spirit in it. It’s rather common that re-recording old stuff is not the beast idea as it is hard to create the same unique atmosphere. On this album we achieved even more than that. The people working on this album were really involved in what were doing; it was 100%. We were focused both on details and on adding something new to it; we have released the ancient darkness that penetrate souls like a cold, northern wind. The material was mixed by Michał from Mgła. His idea was to keep as much of the old Graveland as possible: those not exactly perfect things like too much reverb on vocals, not so clean guitar sound and raw drums. When it comes to me, I have composed new keyboard lines and intros that are set in that old style. All of that, with Mścisław on guitar and Sigrunar behind drums, gave that music back to the darkness that was born in black metal underground.

Do you feel there has been a substantial loss of quality control in the current metal scene filled with rehash bands distributed digitally?
The quality was never under control. I remember the demos that were spread throughout the underground. People were frequently copying them from each other. One of the advantages of it was some sort of selection because of being limited. You were not able to send hundreds of copies because of the costs, copying them was also time- consuming. That is why people were forced to make choices. Only the best albums and demos deserved attention. No one cared about crap. That is how there was only the best stuff around. Now, in the days of mp3 and internet you can do it in several clicks. You can send a lot of music in a very short time. The internet is flooded by thousands of bands that spread countless numbers of mp3 files. That is why the scene is overfilled with materials that no one controls. Even censors have problems with it. People think that the internet means freedom, so everyone can create and share the way he wants. And that’s good! All in all the internet is still young and it will need some time for people to learn to find things that are worth attention and how to avoid false authorities and pages offering high-budget crap.

What are the chances that the flood of excess disposable releases give way to a new underground similar to how black metal replaced death metal which replaced speed metal which replaced the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the spotlight? Is metal doomed to become like punk?
I can’t imagine what might be able to take over the form that black metal once had in the underground. Mostly it’s due to the fact that I’m no longer up to date with those things as I used to be like ten years ago. I’m interested in paganism, historical reenactment, and i still attend Slavic and Viking festivals from time to time. I think that black netal is slowly reaching its end, it’s burned out and common, even radical forms like NSBM are no longer able to keep their cult status. People seem to be tired of this genre. Commercial label will do anything to keep it up of course. The era of pagan and viking metal is just around the corner. It is connected to the cultural changes that will take place in our countries: the return to traditional, conservative values.

Do you have any idea why the Rotting Christ and Graveland influenced flowing Eastern European black metal bands are branching out to a more rock ‘n’ roll type sound now seemingly en masse?
That is a process that happens quite often. Bands change as they develop. At the beginning there are more extreme influences, heavier music and later it slowly changes. For example Tiamat, listen to the first album, and after it everything got different. Or black metal Satyricon, when they were starting look how radical they were, now they have no problem with playing at official fashion shows making background for the catwalk. Once there was a word “poser” in a frequent use, now it is no longer that popular I think. There is no longer sense in doing so. Everyone does what he wants, fans are judging. You simply like the stuff or not. In the eastern Europe many bands draws their inspirations from folk music and national traditions. Here we have an example of resigning from brutality in favor of presenting traditional values. Musicians are more aware of their own culture and tradition that mostly come from paganism. I think that this kind of music is becoming more and more valued and understood. Very nice work was done by a Polish band Percival that have prepared the music for the very well-known and admired video game The Witcher. That is how our traditional folk melodies accompany millions of players during their quest. It is one of the examples how people learn to listen to folk.

Why do you think these groups calling for censorship have only starting moving against metal in the last few years including Mayhem just now? Did they just watch Until the Light Takes Us? Hellhammer and Fenriz made statements in the early 90s that would cause these nu Tipper Gores to explode if they read books; Ritchie Blackmore has been spouting off since the 70s.
There are many subcultures that always hated metal. I think that private aversions of the people involved in them and acting against metal music may have caused that. In those groups that are censoring music there are people who don’t listen to metal at all. They add bands to their black list just because of one member playing a Nazi in the movie (I’m talking about Nergal from Behemoth). Those people start to behave more radical; it all turns to hatred and stimulates violence due to the changes in our region of the world. That is a sign of some sort of frustration because of the situation they are in. It’s even worse as they are being lied to and manipulated by their own leaders which are bound to the New World Order through different foundations and institutions. All that frustration has its end in hatred, so they attack metal musicians. Because of that musicians are afraid to talk about politics during concerts being afraid that someone will hear it and put it on the internet. Orwell’s world is doing well on the metal scene! That is the fault of the scene itself and the fans who became intimidated by antifa. I remind, each of us has a right to his own views and beliefs. If there is anyone who doesn’t like it, he is not forced to listen to it.

With Trump’s election and the right rising in Europe, do you think such anti-fascist and communist agitators will still be supported by the police and local authorities in countries with leftist governments like Canada and Germany? Could this embolden them temporarily?
The USA in a big country that has an influence on the whole world, on culture, philosophy and politics. What happened during the last elections shocked the whole world, especially the liberal left-winged part of it. There will be some protest against Trump in the western Europe but it will not change what is coming now. The most significant factor is the disgrace of liberal left-winged ideals that led to a huge cultural and social crisis. Personally, I was shocked that so many people voted for Trump despite the huge and expensive propaganda against him. I thought that people are the way propaganda let them be, how they are led by celebrities and politicians that are promoted by common media. Those elections proved that this sort of propaganda does not work anymore! I think that is the effect of an evolution of a human being that in this case becomes resilient towards unpleasant factors that limit our free will. People learned to believe everything that is being shown on TV, all of those false authorities, and the internet did not help here offering the possibility to speak your mind, of course in some spheres only, I guess that was enough. All in all people are more and more resilient towards propaganda and that is what makes me happy. This year there will be another chance for changes in Europe that I hope will help people by giving strength and opportunities for development and better life. I mean the elections in Germany and France. In Germany citizens are frightened being controlled by a liberal left-wing tyranny that uses every form of repression to keep their status. People will show what they think about it soon.

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58 thoughts on “Interview: Rob Darken of Graveland”

  1. His balls, your chin says:

    He is about 100 times smarter than Varg.

    1. Rob doesn’t swim in armor, still makes good music, and his wife has a chin. What Rob doesn’t make is blond kids, role playing games, and dank YouTube videos.

      1. Phil says:

        Who’s the better black metal has-been? Let’s find out!

      2. peewee says:

        Fantastic interview. Both these guys are my heroes :-)

        1. his balls, your chin says:

          You need to read more widely in that case fam

          1. Academic Fucktard says:

            No kidding.

    2. David Rosales says:

      What a stupid thing to say.

      1. his balls, your chin says:

        It’s ok: you can your semi-clad varg print out on the back of your door. I was just commenting on intellignce, not looks.

    3. Rainer Weikusat says:

      He’s certainly a lot more demonstratively eloquent, at least in English, and that’s easily confused.

      1. his balls, your chin says:

        Refer to comment 4.1 ftw

    4. nigstomper88 says:

      I think Varg is an above-average-intelligence guy who shuts his brain off and hides in his own world. He’ll tell you voting Trump is bad and a waste because America’s still occupied by Israeli lobbyists and won’t instantly turn into a Germanic pagan reich or whatever overnight. So he continues hiding in his cabin with his plastic swords waiting for “the collapse” and suggests we do the same. Darken sees the big picture and realize Trump winning is a step in the right direction for the West (embracing nationalism and isolationalism).

      1. his balls, your chin says:

        Refer to above ftw

      2. Jim Nelson says:

        good call if you can’t get excited about Trump you have no context awareness at all (sperg)

  2. Mael says:

    Fantastic interview!

  3. Rob says:

    Related to this. An article about the ill fated festival in Canada that Graveland was supposed to headline.

    https://blackivorytower.com/2017/01/29/messe-des-morts/

    1. Kvädare says:

      A good highlight:

      Antifa, RASH, and all the other chattel that took to the streets of Montréal this past weekend are the unknowing pawns of the so-called system. They are against war, yet they supported Hillary the war-hawk. They claim to fight the system, but their globalist, egalitarian ideology does nothing but push the agenda of global finance, the coalescence of diverse groups of people into a single market. They claim to fight capitalism, but the intended results of their actions would generate revenue for the corporate big-wigs that are outsourcing the working class jobs they claim to defend.

      1. Morbideathscream says:

        They are useful idiots for the new world order agenda and don’t realize it. You know what they say, you can’t fix stupid.

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      sorry mam
      not gonna be part of your street-fightin’ gang
      y’know your enemies are not my friends
      but neither are you

      1. Elijah Wood says:

        Talkative, short-sighted and a self-excusing coward.
        GTFO you “german” panzy.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          If your cart needs a horse, buy one. It’s not that you were short of money.

          1. LostInTheANUS says:

            My cart needs a 2JZ.

  4. Ryan Harvey says:

    I date this guy to come to Baltimore and play a show here. We will be out in full force stopping this fascist mess from coming here!

    1. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Cut him some slack. He’s just “an other-white guy”. That’s the nice, official designation the UK uses for “all these foreigners who are neither cute nor British”.

    2. his balls, your chin says:

      You will date him if he comes?

      1. Morbideathscream says:

        C’mon now, he meant to say dare. He only dates men with PC liberal views and not fascists like Darken or Varg, no, never, not in a thousand years.

      2. Mormon Meth Dream says:

        No, he will come if I date him…

        1. Morbideathscream says:

          Wow someone actually took the time and thought to create a username that mocks mine. How interesting.

    3. Morbideathscream says:

      How does Shawn Wright’s cock taste? You faggots only have balls when you have your opponents outnumbered 10 to 1.

  5. Ryan Harvey says:

    https://www.facebook.com/ryanharveymusic/?fref=ts Feek free to check out my music you racist dickheads!!!!!!!!

    1. Nabû-kudurri-uṣur says:

      @Ryan Harvey

      I saw your Facebook page and your comments here. I find it remarkable, really – you’re talking about fascism, threatening to “be out in full force” if Graveland play a show in Baltimore, and (on your Facebook page) glorifying the revolts in the Middle East.

      I am Assyrian – I’m not sure if you know what an Assyrian is, and soon enough, no one will know what an Assyrian is. Under Assad and Saddam Hussein, Assyrians had all the rights one could possibly want – employment, worship (if one chose), housing, universal health care, etc.

      You’re a psychotic, black-hearted human being – there is no goodness in you. You’ve followed a puerile, romantic, nonsensical path, presumably since you were very young. You have no respect for human life, dignity, or the right to preserve heritage. Your whole life, you’ve run with the “punk” culture trend of supporting certain buzzwords and phrases (i.e. revolution, regime, tyranny, freedom, killing-his-own-people etc etc).

      So here’s how it really was:

      The REGIME in Syria kept a balance in one of the most frequently invaded places on earth. These invasions date back 6000+ years. Last time the Middle East let their guard down, someone built a savage Zionist Jew state on top of Palestine. So we need a firm hand to rule the place, because we have the curse of oil, which invites invasion and death.

      The aforementioned Zionist Jew state got a big kick in the teeth in 2006 – Hezbollah warriors knocked them right off their perch. The Jews got scared, and needed a diversion tactic… Their dilemma – how can Israel/Saudi Arabia distract the growing power of Hezbollah/Iran/true nationalism in the region?

      The answer: use Jewish money and weapons from Israel and the USA and rebels from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other NATO lands. Push those people through via Turkey, and make a protest movement that will appeal to morons in the Western World. Make it look just like the “revolutions” that are glorified in Hollywood. Tell the world that a cruel DICTATOR and his cruel REGIME are cruelly KILLING HIS OWN PEOPLE.

      And thanks to the blind support of Vice-reading fuckwits like you, Assyrians were massacred in their thousands. Not only that – our monuments, our heritage, our cultural inheritance – blown to pieces by your “revolutionary” friends. That’s my heritage – what business do you have talking about Syria on your Facebook page, promoting terrorist rebels, when you have no idea how it actually is?

      But there are some great people in the Western World who really sympathised with us, and with Palestine, and Lebanon, against the destructive powers – the “fascists”, as you call them. Capricornus from Graveland was talking about Israeli terror 2 decades ago. He was talking about the value of Palestinian life. Hendrik Moebus from Absurd was doing the same, and also expressing his admiration for Iran’s culture. David Duke has hours of footage where he stresses the importance of not supporting the war-hawk puppets of the Jewish lobby. He even went to Syria, and made lots of friends. Rob Darken has expressed similar views.

      Many European bands have kept the Sumerian/Akkadian/Assyrian/Babylonian culture alive through references in their music, and they have also worked hard to keep their own respective cultures alive.

      So you see what’s happening here? These people you are constantly attacking (the right wing) are the only ones who have any respect for human life beyond their borders. They know what is happening in Syria. You don’t, but you have a loud voice. Your views result in massacres.

      When Assyrians are massacred, and our Pagan heritage sites are destroyed, I can trust the REAL European right wing to sympathise with our struggle and to make the truth known.

      Can we trust Antifa to do the same? No. Because you only care about making yourself look benevolent in the eyes of morons and ignorant people. You’re too self centred to give a shit about what is happening on the ground, because that research is hard to do. You’d rather watch an easily digestible piece of propaganda from Vice magazine (or similar edgy bullshit propaganda agency), and post it on your Facebook. That way, you look socially aware, but only to morons and other cowards.

      Polish people have the right to a land only for Poles. They are biologically suited to that – the climate, the soil, the history. On your Facebook, you talk about the land rights of native Americans – great. That is their land. And Poland is the land of Polish people. Why can’t you apply the same principle to them? They are not promoting a hatred of other people – only a love of their own people. And they support an Assyrian land for Assyrian people, where we can promote our Assyrian culture.

      We are biologically adapted to certain climatic conditions – there is a reason Mediterraneans look the way they do. There is a reason Nords look the way they do. Do you have any idea the health implications of mass migration and multiculturalism? Skin cancers, genetic mutations, new diseases.

      And think of the environment – when light skinned people move to dark skinned places, it’s too hot – they need air conditioners. This need creates heavy industry, which stresses the planet – and then the air conditioners themselves emit harmful fumes.

      You need to really grow up and stop with your pseudo-political posturing. Stop telling people what to do, and stop threatening people. If people want to go to a Graveland concert, why do you feel the need to shut it down?

      Do you think your ideology and modern mentality is superior to our desire for tradition?

      If you get off a plane in any major city in this world, you would never know where you are. That is globalisation and multiculturalism. I’d like to see the world one day, as a visitor – and I’d like to see DIFFERENCES in places. In Poland, I want to see Polish faces, eat Polish food, see Polish art, see Polish clothes, hear Polish music. Then, I travel to another place, and see what they have. Then, I GO HOME, to my climate, to Assyrian faces, and Assyrian art, and Assyrian music, and I sleep on Assyrian soil.

      1. this trip is turning into a bit letdown says:

        I like your last concept, but who determines who is Polish or Assyrian or Native American?

        1. LostInTheANUS says:

          Polacks, Assyrians and Native Americans.

          1. this trip is turning into a bit letdown says:

            What if you’re not “Assyrian’ enough for someone who claims such? Do they do a blood test? Is your “Assyrian-ness” put to a vote?

            1. LostInTheANUS says:

              Up to Assyrians to decide. Israel does blood test to determine if you’re a kike if I remember correctly.

      2. N. says:

        Your comment is great and I sincerely hope Assyrian nation and its culture as well as my nation and its culture will live on.

      3. Kvädare says:

        Is this a middle eastern pagan? I thought they were extinct.
        Damn.

        1. Kvädare says:

          Apparently there are still some Zoroastrians in the world. Interesting.

      4. Rectal Gratiturde says:

        Do Assyrians really say ‘fuckwits’?

        i.e.

        You might be a white nationalist trolling these niggas.

    2. Hey nice Smashmouth cover band you retarded pinko faggot.

  6. Ryan Harvey says:

    That’s a real cute way of putting things out there you fucking Nazi. Like I said I dare any of you to come that to me and my comrades here in Baltimore! Full force and we will not be silent! That goes for fuckface Snodgrass who runs this site! Oh and Baltimore Bloc says hi!

    1. The Baltimore Bloc is spreading its cheeks in preparation for cock. Don’t forget to use an enema, deeply inject silicone lube, and keep that that hole stretched​ out with a well-sized plug!

      1. Ryan Harvey says:

        Too bad there’s a ton of antifa here and we will have no problems with Tim Shitsingrass. Bring it on you nazi dipshits!

        1. Can you take it elbow deep?

    2. Come to the Imprecation show in Houston so we can sodomize you retarded nigger dick eating pinko fags. Also you’re a kike and your music sucks.

      1. Ryan Harvey says:

        My music is more talented than the shit you nazi assholes seem to enjoy. My girlfriend Casey McKeel could whip your asses.

  7. Bark says:

    Hi!
    Im a thickheaded brainwashed donkey but I have always wondered wouldn’t conservatives also want to censor Metal?
    So many Metalheads seems like they share conservative values, is metal more seen as a means to an end?
    That would not serve any purpose anymore when everyone is happy listening to classical and folk?
    Even if these are stupid questions I am sincerly interested.

    1. Rainer Weikusat says:

      Even an attempt to attend a ‘public’ even of Angela Merkel’s centre-right party as I’m presenty looking (hair uncut since 2015, black jeans, trainers, Vacivus t-shirt) would see me being forced out of the location with no questions asked and would result in serious violence and/ or an arrest if I dared to open my mouth about that. Moving more towards the political right, eg, the “gegen das versiffte Deutschland”[*] AfD or the actual neo-nazis wouldn’t improve this: They wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between me and a punk and wouldn’t even want to.

      But that’s obviously not a useful story for recruiting volunteers. Pecunia non olet!

      1. Varg Overreacts to Big Cat Cock says:

        We need more detail as to how you were looking. Please tell the color of your “trainers” (whatever the fuck those are), and were wearing what type of panties. Only that will really convey your point.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          It is – I think – sufficient to know that a German policeman would classify a person like this as “langhaarische Bombeleger” of the kind another CDU-politican once publically suggested to be clubbed to death with a plank. I’m abstractly sorry that your people obsession prevents you from understanding that, however, fixing your software is not my problem.

      2. fenrir says:

        Moving towards the right?

        It still astounds me that people associate the right with intolerance and violence and the left with peace and tolerance. More black and white propaganda by the Left. Don’t swallow that bullshit, Rainer.

        The real difference lies in that the right believes in hierarchical and perhaps even divinely appointed authority, while the Left believes in the rule of the demos, which sometimes sounds like tolerance and freedom for the people, but the overall mass psychological result is something very tyrannical all the same.

        The other term that often gets tossed around as the equivalent of “Right” is “Fascism”. It is perfectly obvious that most people do not really know what “Fascism” was. It shows even more clearly when even supposedly educated people equate Nazism with Fascism. Ignorance and stupidity everywhere.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          I don’t think these labels matter so much: A ‘left-wing political group’ will come up with different reasons for persecuting relative minorities than a ‘right-wing political group’ but will persecute them just the same (and vice-versa). I’m going to be part of ‘the undesirable minority’ in either case.

          In the end, people usually suck and people agglomerating into groups collectively suck to their power of the individual suckiness. Whether the group’s about spreading the gospel, killing infidels or learning elaborate embroidery patterns doesn’t change that.

  8. nigstomper88 says:

    I like how antifa pussies only front on bands like Graveland who have practically no racist lyrics whatsoever.

    You never see antifa cause trouble at an explicitly neonazi skinhead show. You know why? Because they know they’d get their soft upper-middle class heads bashed in there.

    1. Ryan Harvey says:

      I dare you all to come down to Barclay House or Ottobar and start your shut. We do the head bashing you racist assholes. Bash the fash!!!!

      1. Morbideathscream says:

        You beta faggots would get destroyed in a 1 on 1 fight. That’s why you antifa clowns operate in large groups. You all wouldn’t have the balls to confront someone like Tim Snodgrass unless you all had him cornered 20 on 1 like the cowards that you are.

        1. Ryan Harvey says:

          Tim Shitsinhisownass couldn’t fight me at all and nor would you!!!!

    2. Cornrose says:

      Exactly

  9. I like this guy’s ideas on the nation, but he’s a full on Pagan and rejects Christ and the Reptilian conspiracy entirely, so what use is he?

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