Published on September 1st, 2015 | by The Beige Baron0
Obscure even by black metal standards, Danish group Grudom have a totally unique (and perhaps among some black metal lovers, polarising) record on their hands with Dødens Likvid, the band’s latest full-length album issued on vinyl this year by Ancient Records / Mysticism Productions (CD via Darker Than Black).
Described by some as “dissonant psychedelic black metal”, the band’s slow-to-mid-tempo music is genuinely creepy, foregoing heavily distorted sound for jerky, clanking bass, dissonant guitar melodies, guttural growls, and unsettling percussion.
Broken up by interludes of dark, almost claustrophobic ambient sounds, there’s a sense that Dødens Likvid is possessed — some kind of demonic ritual or vocabulary.
We felt that an attempt to investigate how the music provokes such a strong reaction was worthwhile, so BNU reached out to Grudom (who remain anonymous — no photographs of the musicians have been released and scant information exists on the Internet) and got a glimpse into the dark world of Danish black metal.
… Not only things that can be heard, felt, or seen have influenced the hands that have played the melodies
BNU: How did Grudom come together? How many of you are there? What instruments were used to record Dødens Likvid?
The band Grudom was spawned one night in November 2012. An unknown presence was summoned and gave birth to the vision of Grudom. During the next couple of days, the demo [Demo 12] was recorded.
The translation of Grudom is Gru-dom, Gru is derived from the word grusom like the English word gruesome, and dom is like a time period used in the phrases barndom or alderdom. These kinds of phrases are also used in English like in “adulthood” or “childhood”. It is the “hood”… enough with the grammar.
The instruments used in Grudom are primary: guitar, drums, bass, organ, and many different types of vocals.
On Dødens Likvid no other instruments were used, though Swartdauthus from Ancient Records helped with the interludes.
Your latest album was my entry point to your catalogue, and listening back to some of your previous work, I think it is the most encapsulating expression so far. It is a very surprising and darkly beautiful album. What led you to start experimenting with tunings? Any bands that helped inspire your sound?
Until now, Grudom has only made two or three tracks with alternative tunings and these songs have not been released yet. Sometimes items like lodges, bones, or pieces of metal are used in different ways. On some interludes harmonica and mouth organ have been featured; I forgot to mention that earlier.
Grudom has only made two or three tracks with alternative tunings…
A lot of musicians have inspired the making of the music in Grudom. It has taken many years of listening to music that, combined, has opened a window for creating the music of the band.
But alone it will never stand, for not only things that can be heard, felt, or seen have influenced the hands that have played the melodies.
Did you record it slowly over a long period of time at a home studio or did you rehearse and book time in a larger studio and record it quickly? Compared to your other albums, was it difficult or challenging to get what was in your head onto tape?
As mentioned earlier, the first album Skænk Mig Dit Liv was finished in December 2012. Right after that, the writing of Dødens Likvid began and in February the album was done. The recordings took place in the same studio as the previous and following releases.
It is always difficult to transfer what one sees in their mind into this form of art. Music in this case. Dødens Likvid was no exception—a lot was thrown away and rejected, but the project turned out to be satisfying.
But again, the album turned out almost as it was intended. Nothing can turn out perfect when you have the hands of humans to play it.
Actually, this album was possibly the hardest to get right. The songs were some of the longest that had been written so far. Combined with long musical passages that had the need for extra attention to create more atmosphere. This turned out to be a challenge because the sound of the drums had turned out so bombastic.
If we understood “heavy music” to mean “having a powerful emotional impact” as opposed to “loud guitar and screaming”, do you think Dødens Likvid is your “heaviest” work so far?
All [our] albums have had a powerful emotional impact. They have all worked out in different ways and each of them have brought with them a brick of evil. It does not make any difference which one of them has marked its puppet the most.
I understand that black metal is a very insular scene that despises society at large, but Grudom seems underground even by black metal standards. I am wondering why you choose to remain essentially anonymous and choose not to promote your work in the usual ways? Does your personal philosophy conflict at all with a desire as an artist to form bonds of communication with a wider audience? Do you think artists should be divorced entirely from the promotion and sale of their own art to preserve its integrity?
People don’t belong in music!
Grudom was only made for personal reasons. Why the music was released was because of financial reasons. Many months away from society and the eternal treadmill take a toll on the wallet, so that was the only way to make it work. All the release contracts were made so that when people buy Grudom releases, a small amount of the money goes directly to the band, depending on where you buy the albums. So, thanks to those who support Grudom by purchasing the albums.
A lot of critics spill a lot of ink deciding what category unique music should fit into, and when it doesn’t fit, they create something new. Is it frustrating for you to have people wanting to categorize your music rather than just enjoy it? What has been the response from the black metal community to your work? Do you identify with the stereotype of that subculture or are you an outsider even within black metal? Do you consider your music to be “black metal” in the traditional sense?
Many different genres, but of course black metal has taken a large piece of space between the types of music that inspires what has been recorded. So if that makes it black metal, let it be so.
In the black metal scene, people seems to like what they hear, but this does not really count, because there is no reason to contact the band and tell them that their music sucks. So you can never be sure how many people actually enjoy a band.
Outside the black metal scene, a lot of good response has been given. About categorizing the music—people should call their music whatever they feel like. This is not a question that can be answered satisfyingly.
I thought a really great recent “concept” work in the world of metal was Botanist, I don’t know if you have heard of him, but he uses hammered dulcimer and his work revolves around nature taking revenge on mankind. I am wondering if there is a philosophy behind your music, and when you approach making an album, how much is motivated by the expression of a theme or philosophy and how much is the articulation of an idea or sound musically?
Grudom is not a band based on the people that play in it. Only the translated spirit within the music
No, never heard of this person. But he can expect a pretty hard time, when he realizes that his symbolic act doesn’t make any difference to anything but his own complacency.
As mentioned earlier, Grudom is a project created by numerous visions that took place during the years that the albums were made. A being [I’m] unable to describe with this primitive language opened its gates of enlightenment and gave a small bit of its terrifying essence.
Grudom is not a band based on the people that play in it. Only the translated spirit within the music is to be honored by that which has been accomplished.
Why did you choose to release Dødens Likvid through Darker Than Black?
Grudom did not choose to release on Darker Than Black. Mysticism Productions and Ancient Records had begun to work with DTB. About a year before, Grudom had been asked to release its albums through Mysticism Productions. Since then there had been contact, so when the Ancient Records albums were released on DTB, Grudom also got the opportunity.
It would not make any sense to play Grudom live. You could never create the atmosphere right.
DTB is an old label that has behind it many good albums through the years. So it was safe to let them release the CD version of the Grudom releases.
How much of your environment feeds into your music? Your cover art seems to feature natural imagery rather than ghosts or skeletons or whatever, but it’s still quite creepy…
It is pictures of trees and roots—from their best angle. Sometimes you just get lucky to be at the right spot in the right weather to see trees from their most mysterious side.
Do you have any plans to tour or play live coming up? Who do you generally play with locally? Who would you like to tour with?
It would not make any sense to play Grudom live. You could never create the atmosphere right. It is not about getting the music attention, it is not about getting attention to the people who plays and helps with the albums. The recordings are all that are needed to satisfy the visions that were given.
Where is the best place for listeners abroad to purchase your music?