Griftegård - Biography



Griftegård is the Swedish name for a grave yard sans a church. The name holds a symbolism that is echoed in the musical and textual themes expressed by Griftegård - the aesthetic is clearly spiritual, although non-confessional, just like the atmosphere of a burial ground generally is perceived as solemn, sacred and severe, regardless of whether or not the visitor is aware of which religious current it is a part of. Griftegård, in an artistic context, is the burial ground for finite and worldly thoughts and the birth place for ponderings of an infinite and spiritual nature - the superficial, the shallow, the empty has no place in Griftegård's universe. The core and soul of all is all. To some this may seem as bold, even pretentious, statements for a band to make and to them we say; dare to drop your armor of cynicism and irony, care to open your dormant minds eye, gaze inwards, and challenge your self!

The Doom Metal band Griftegård was formed in Norrköping, Sweden in early 2005 by guitarist and lyricist Ola Blomkvist and guitarist Per Broddesson. Bass player Dennis Olsson soon joined the two and a year long search for the right drummer ended in the discovery of the talents of Jens Gustafsson. With Jens singer Thomas Eriksson came into context and the line up was complete, for the time being. Griftegård's first composition came to be Pagan Altar Cometh, a (paradoxically) short and mid paced number that was included on German under ground label Metal Coven's Knock ém Down To Size 7" vinyl compilation (2007). The relatively high pace of the song as well as its short playing time was a result of necessity - to have six Doom bands sharing a 7" calls for discipline. Pagan Altar Cometh, recorded in Norrköping at Grammofon Studios, is (obviously) a tribute to the legendary U.K. Doom band Pagan Altar. Other contributors to the Knock ém Down To Size compilation are luminaries such as Solstice, Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis, Tortured Spirit and Upwards of Endtime. Charles Taze Russel and Paul Gustave Doré was to come next, and by the creation of these gospels Griftegård's true formula was found, both songs being slow, brooding and dark and emanating a solemn, sacred and severe aura. The songs were once again recorded at Grammofon Studios (in 2006) and became the self released CD-R demo Psalmbok. The demo was released in a hand crafted card board sleeve with leather spine in 81 copies and sold at Doom Shall Rise in 2007. A major part of the edition was sold during the festival while the remaining copies were given away to friends of the band. One of the DSR pilgrims who bought the Psalmbok CD-R at the festival was a certain Vigridr from German Black Metal label Nachtgnosis. Upon absorbing the two tracks Vigridr offered to release the Psalmbok CD-R on noble black vinyl - Griftegård willingly accepted. Late 2007 saw the release of the Psalmbok vinyl EP in 500 copies. The Psalmbok EP did good sales wise and the critics were very favorable, German Rock Hard's web issue branding it (wrongfully) "demo of the month" and subsequently offered to interview Griftegård, which accepted. Despite the momentum created by the sales and favorable reviews Griftegård didn't pick up speed, the main reason being the different members commitment to other musical related dealings - from the recording of Psalmbok in 2006 to mid 2008 the band didn't rehearse at all and nothing was recorded. Still Griftegård agreed with Vigridr that when the time for a debut album release was due Nachtgnosis would be ready. In late summer 2008 hibernation time was finally over and the band picked up where it had left off in 2006. Composition of new gospels commenced, however slowly, and in the autumn Dennis Olsson left Griftegård and was replaced by Robert Hylén. Rehearsals intensified, resulting in the creation of Griftegård..s first new song in three years - The Mire. The Mire was recorded in Norrköping's Endarker Studios one week before Griftegård's live debut at Dutch Doom Day's on the 25th of October. Then, through a contact established between Per Broddesson and Ván Records label owner Sveinn, destiny unfolded. Per sent The Mire to Sveinn, who embraced Griftegård's message for him completely. Griftegård, represented by Ola, Per and Thomas then met Sveinn in person at Ván artists The Devil's Blood's Stockholm gig on the 13th of December. Mutual respect arose between label owner and artist and soon an album agreement between Griftegård, Ván and Nachtgnosis was signed. In the spring of 2009 a CD EP version of Psalmbok was released by Ván Records in connection to the German Doom Shall Rise festival, which Griftegård played on the 17th of April. Spring 2009 also saw the release of Psalmbok on tape in a limited edition of 200 copies through French underground label Offering Records, who did a great and professional job. Griftegård's debut full length Solemn-Sacred-Severe, was recorded and mixed between the 13th of March and 14th of June 2009 in Milk Studios, Norrköping. During the recording Robert Hylén left the band and Thomas Jansson (also in Wolverine) stepped in on short notice and re-recorded the bass tracks as session member, becoming a permanent member of Griftegård in June. Solemn-Sacred-Severe was produced by the band, with engineer/studio owner Magnus Jonsson as co-producer. The relatively slow and dragged out mixing process was an experience shared mainly by Magnus, Thomas E and Ola, while Magnus Lindberg at Tonteknik in Umeå managed the mastering. Additional mastering for the LP version was carried out by Magnus Devo Andersson in Endarker Studios, Norrköping. During the recording various friends of the band was helpful in different ways; Nicklas Kinnander played the organ on the track Noah's Hands and laid down piano for Drunk With Wormwood. He also lent his voice to the choirs that appear on the album, together with Thomas Erickson, Jens Gustafsson, Micael Zetterberg and Rickard Larsson, the later deserving a special mention - besides providing fantastic soprano vocal lines Rickard helped arranging the choirs. Having been engaged in this type of sacred expression since childhood he has an extensive source of choral singing experience to pour from, something that is clearly evident upon listening to Noah's Hands. Another very talented and helpful individual is Peter Andersson, famous for his dark ambient artistry in Raison D'être, Stratvm Terror, Necrophorus, Svasti-Ayanam etc. Peter's ideas/re-mixing added a lot to the atmosphere of Noah's Hands and we are eternally indebted to him. The release of Solemn-Sacred-Severe on the 11th of September was preceded by numerous favorable reviews - Scandinavia's biggest magazine Sweden Rock Magazine branded it "a milestone" and gave it the grade 9/10, while a row of big net based web zine's rated it in a similar way, or even higher. Griftegård is now, in the time of writing (2009-09-13), preparing for a four date tour of Germany in November with label comrades The Devil's Blood. Other plans for the near future include split 7" releases with Count Raven and Lord Vicar as well as composition of new hymns for a follow up to Solemn-Sacred-Severe