1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Marcus Lawrence [Vocals]: Just getting this stuff out. That's the primary focus.
Brian Frost [Lead Guitar]: Recording had been going on for a while. I moved to Chicago last year while we were hashing out demos.
2.You have a new album coming out in January, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Anthony Rouse [Drums]: Damnatio Memoriae is the result of us building on our sound we had established on our last EP with some new elements thrown in there. I would describe as what you get when you mix black metal, death metal, and grindcore into a sludgy stew and sprinkle it with melody, groove, and doom.
Frost: The previous release was very much a blackened death metal album. This time there was a lot more collaboration, which brought new elements to the band’s sound.
3.In the beginning the band played more of a raw black metal style but over the years have evolved into more of a blackened death metal band, what was the decision behind going into this musical direction?
Marcus could probably answer this best, but there has been a constant flux of band members since it started. Different songwriters and change in musical preferences over the years have led us to what we have today.
Lawrence: When people join your band, they bring their own styles of playing and writing which will always have a big impact on songwriting.
4.Over the years your lyrics have covered some fantasy, existentialism and some of the writings of Robert W. Chambers, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
Lawrence: In the beginning I wrote as if I were writing a Hammer Film or something, the lyrics at that time were about things that provoked the fear of the unknown...it was all very tongue in cheek to me. As the band came more into focus as my primary project, I wrote more seriously about things that I believed affected the human condition. Humans have always invented various social structures based on wealth or caste. They are illusions. We are outgrowing those castes. We no longer need shamans to make sense of the world.
5.I know that the band name means hell in the Klingon language from Star Trek, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
Lawrence: Gre'Thor is the Klingon Underworld. It is like Niflheim, a place of the dishonored to suffer. I think foreboding is a great start in describing it this time around.
6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Lawrence: Loud. I enjoy playing shows. It's hard to say which ones are my favorites. The band's first show was a mess, the monitors weren't working and we couldn't hear each other...it was a lot of fun, I thought. I laughed my ass off afterward. I also have enjoyed playing the VFW hall in Hagerstown, or that old church back in 2013. I don't know that I have ever NOT had fun doing it,
Rouse: We played a show with a band called Heron at The Golden Pony in Harrisonburg, VA. That was a really cool show, and a very nice place to gig at for sure. Another favorite of mine was playing with Gloom, Cab Ride Home, and Venomspitter at Raw Ink back in 2016
Frost: Can’t say I have a favorite, all the shows I have played have been pretty great! I like to have a lot of energy on stage, it pumps people up and gives them something to remember. Playing out has always been a lot of fun for me, especially with this group.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
Lawrence: No. Most of the band will be moving on, and there will have to be more retooling. This is just how it goes, how it's always been, and I know that, as I am the only original member left. It's hard to say what will happen beyond that, or what the music will be like, etc.
8.The new album is coming out on 'Edgewood Arsenal Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Tony Petrocelly [Guitar]: Edgewood Arsenal is a label I created to release albums by bands I'm in. Damnatio Memoriae will be the label's 4th release, with a couple more lined up as we speak.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black and death metal?
Rouse: It's been incredible for us. Cloaked in Decay was a big release for us because we started reaching out to listeners in South America and Europe, and that was an awesome feeling for all of us. We received a lot of positive reviews for our last release, so I feel like we are on the right track.
Lawrence: Pretty good! I can't wait until they hear this one.
Frost: I’ve heard nothing but good things on our last release. I think this will be received well, and provide plenty of material for people to digest.
10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Petrocelly: In addition to Grethor, I play guitar and bass in Construct of Lethe; we're in the middle of recording our upcoming album as we speak. I also play drums in LORD, which is on the doomier side of things, and a grind band called Pain Tank. I also run a small recording studio (Trepan Studios), so I tend to wind up playing session for bands...just recently I played drums on the upcoming EP's for Affasia (melodic doom) and Capricorn (old school doom/rock).
I’m working on material for my grind band Angry Hate Infestation, we are long overdue for a release. I have a group of guys I jam with where we play jazz/latin/blues rock, which has been fun, I like getting out of my comfort zone. Hoping to have some other new projects on the horizon.
Lawrence: I actually have a Black Metal project called Nox Summos that I have to finish recording.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Lawrence: Hard to say. We'll have to see what happens when we decide who will be in the lineup.
Frost: I think we will have to see what the response of this release is.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Lawrence: Emperor, Immortal, Mayhem, Dissection, Morbid Angel, and Meshuggah are all bands that made me get into Extreme Metal. I am constantly checking out YouTube for different stuff. Lately it's been Nightbringer, Akhlys, Aviichi, Hour Of Penance and such. I've also been revisiting Cypress Hill, especially their early 90's stuff, before they just talked about weed all the time.
Rouse: Bands that influenced me include but are not limited to Immolation, Gorguts, Morbid Angel, Dissection, and early 90's Gothenburg melodic death metal. I'm currently listening to Baring Teeth's Atrophy EP, Cyhra's Letters to Myself, and Insomnium's Above the Weeping World.
Petrocelly: Almost all music has had an influence on me in some fashion or another. Death metal is my favorite genre, and I make no bones about Morbid Angel and Hypocrisy being my favorite bands in that genre, but more often than not I'm inspired and motivated by musical elements I hear in disco or jazz or pop or classical music. Those things don't really find a 1:1 translation in the music I write, but something about them inspires me to pick up the guitar and play, or start practicing new drum techniques.
I had a lot of non-metal influences when writing. Notably Steely Dan gave me some ideas to use some big piano chords in this album. I pretty much copied Robin Trower’s entire guitar rig setup, with some additional guitar pedals.
I’ve been listening to the new releases from River Black, Incantation, Marty Friedman, Droid, Ende, Artificial Brain. I listen to everything from brutal death metal to the classic death metal. Other than that, I listen to mostly classic rock and some newer indie stuff.
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
Lawrence: Movies, books, and comic books. Right now, there's just so many good TV series; I just watched the latest episode of Mr. Robot, which I highly recommend, and Westworld. There's more than that, really, and it keeps me from sleeping. It's great.
Rouse: I work as a real estate agent in Northern VA.
Petrocelly: I'm an illustrator from time to time, and I'm slowly learning how to make sushi and Thai food.
Frost: I’m a gearhead, won’t be unusual to find me under the hood of a car. I also enjoy cooking and making cocktails, which I didn’t know I was good at until recently.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Lawrence: Definitely listen to the album when it comes out. Discuss it in a civil manner amongst friends, debate lyrical meanings amongst each other. If you want to discuss it with me, that is perfectly fine. If it influences you to create your own music, to further the genre, that's great. Enjoy it either way. Be engaged.
Rouse: Thanks for having us, and big thanks to all of our supporters and first time listeners!
Frost: Change is an essential process of all existence.