Thursday, June 28, 2012


Kam Lee band, after A Day Of Death 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

Glorious Times returns to the cannibal cookout, and joins Kam Lee to stir the pot and see what delectable tidbits have stuck and simmered since last we spoke.

GT - How did you and Rogga first get the idea of starting up Bone Gnawer?

Kam - Pretty much how it all came together was... Rogga and I started talks back in 2007 about working together. He had something going at the time (which later became his own band REVOLTING) that I was just to appear on a few tracks as guest vocalist on. We did a demo... of a few tracks back then - just to see how it felt, but honestly I don't even know where those tracks are now.

When it rolled around into 2009, that was when things with "the label" that was involved in this project went south pretty fast. Mainly due to the fact that I began to suspect something was a bit "fishy" with the whole deal, and I started to suspect that the reason as to why this particular guy was trying to get me on his label so bad was basically for the publicity. I can usually tell when I'm getting "used" - (Hell... I've been thru it enough times now with a certain opportunistic member of the band Massacre - so I kinda can get the clues pretty fast now when it starts to rear it's ugly head.) - so pretty much after calling this guy out on his "bullshit" and having this narcissistic bastard go all ballistically insane - (like they always do when you call them out on their bullshit.) - he had his cry baby tantrum and 'troll/hater' sessions of bashing me on the internet. And so he decided that he didn't want me involved in the band anymore nor involved any longer on his label.

So basically the whole thing with my involvement fell apart before getting any further.
But then while conversing thru e-mails with Rogga... the idea began to grow to just do a band ourselves with out a label involved from the beginning. We found that we shared a lot of the same musical taste, as well as a love for all things horror. Rogga also admitted to being a real fan of my vocals, and expressed that he would like to have me as the full time vocalist on a project instead of me just being a guest vocalist. I then said I thought that was a great idea.

It was now going into 2008, and I just returned off the tour with DENIAL FIEND/MASSACRE, and I was at that point pretty disgusted with a few personal matters of how that tour went. And the complete opportunistic way certain things where done.

I won't get into it... but let us just say - the "waves" caused from it still ripple out 'til this day.

Anyhow, back to BONE GNAWER. Once I knew what I wanted to do (which was to leave DENIAL FIEND) - I just went right ahead and started working with Rogga on BONE GNAWER. At the time the band didn't have a name. BONE GNAWER was actually a song title I had. I knew I wanted to have this band be based on cannibalism and serial killers, but also have a sort of campy black humor approach to it. We tossed around a few names... but BONE GNAWER stuck, because it is such a ridiculous name.

I knew that from the start that the name would stir controversy. I actually find it hilarious - that the first "trolling" attempts to mock the name where all homophobic in nature. It is comical to me that homophobes find the name to be disturbing... it proves just how closed minded and gay fearing some of these "metal heads" really are. After all, the name is meant to be disturbing in nature. If not from the implications of what it stands for... the gnawing of bone, but for it's cannibalistic implications, to the offbeat silly nature in which it is intended.

But the fact that it does stir up nightmare images of phallus chomping for most homophobes - I do find that funny as well. The band is after all about cannibalism. That is the bands main theme. And when it comes to eating meat... did you know that a steak comes from a male steer and not a female cow. So in essence a cannibal would look at it the same way. Also real life cannibals like Chikatilo admitted to gnawing on the sexual organs of his victims, both male and female. Male - Female... it makes no difference... it's just meat!

I knew what I was doing when I picked the name for the band... I knew just how off it would put people. I knew some would think the name was stupid, while others scratched their heads, while others just "got it". But the fact is... once you've heard the term... you won't ever forget it.

GT - Did you have any input into the music of Bone Gnawer or did you stick with just vocal and lyrical input?

Kam - I trusted Rogga with the music. I knew of his works with PAGANIZER and RIB SPREADER and a few other projects he's done.. So I knew and trusted his writing would be equal to those bands. So I had no worries at all when it came to his music talents. I just stuck to the themes, concepts, vocals, and lyrics.

Kam at A Day Of Death 2012 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - Listening to the album several years later are you still satisfied with it or are there things you would change?

Kam - I think it's a great debut. It was also a perfect thing for me to do just after leaving DENIAL FIEND. I shall always feel that it is a milestone in my music career, because it really was "my return" to doing "proper death metal". As far as DF was concerned to me... that band was never a true real death metal act in the first place.

But back to the FEAST OF FLESH album... yes, I feel BONE GNAWER's debut is a perfect album. Like I said, because it was the first real death metal album I had recorded since back in the MASSACRE "From Beyond" days. Plus I had the honor and thrill to work with Stevo of IMPETIGO, Killjoy of NECROPHAGIA, and Dopi of MACHETAZO on that album... with all of them doing some guest vokills!

So yeah... I'm very satisfied with it. 

GT - You and Rogga made a fairly quick transition from Bone Gnawer into The Grotesquery. What made you two decide to start a whole new band rather than just continue on as Bone Gnawer?

Kam - We had such a great experience doing BONE GNAWER - that we wanted to do something more. However, we knew that BONE GNAWER had a certian vibe, image and direction. And the new ideas we wanted to explore - like doing something with a very dark Gothic horror theme with supernatural, and occult elements - just wouldn't fit with BONE GNAWER's already established gore image.

Remember... we knew BONE GNAWER lyrically was a bit campy and gore related. So we wanted to do something that completely counter balanced those ideas - something that would be lyrically more serious in nature but still have a horror theme. As well a band that musically we could explore and experiment more with.

Both Rogga and myself look at a lot of things a bit different then most bands. I always find a lot of bands... lyrically change direction and themes - without sticking to one specific concept. I always found that a bit annoying about bands. We just didn't want to cross genres and themes, and so we talked about doing another completely new band that would allow us to explore these horror occult themes with out being hampered by any sort of expectations. So THE GROTESQUERY was born.

We took some time choosing the name too. It wasn't just a quick decision. At first - we didn't know what to call the band. We tossed a few names around. But at one point Rogga said something in an e-mail - about how the music was turning into a real "grotesquery". And I thought... wow, that's kinda cool way to describe us. Of cousre I know of the Swedish band GROTESQUE, and as well of a few bands with variations of the name, but none were either active at the time or had broken up. So we just decided to throw a THE before the name... and just use THE GROTESQUERY.

Kam and Matias Romero at Niagara Falls - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - How long did it take you guys to write "Tales of the Coffin Born" and how did that writing process work with Rogga over in Europe and you down in Florida?

Kam - I think it took about a year to do... from late in 2008 thru out most of 2009. It was recorded in late 2009... but the ideas from the planning stages and writing, to the actual putting it all together took about a year.

Of course the lyrics and story had been something I myself had been working on and off for the past 6 years. It was actually going to be a novel, movie script... I really didn't know what I was going to do with it. But once the idea to make it into a concept album for THE GROTESQUERY was decided, it went together rather quickly.

The writing is pretty much easy... I let Rogga do the music, and I work the lyrics around the music. It's always been how I've done things. Going all the way back to the MANTAS/DEATH days... I've always written the lyrics around the music. I have the concept and themes prior to the music, but the actual writing of the lyrics comes after the music is written.

How we do it is - we pretty much utilize the internet. Rogga will send to me WAVE or MP3 files of the music for me to work on, and I basically work the lyrics in from there. The BEST thing... is we both TRUST one another to give the BEST of ourselves. So it's never too much of a back and forth with things. 

Again, I trust Rogga... so it's rather easy when you completely trust someone to do their best and not have to worry about trying to compromise yourself around what they are doing. I trust that he will write riffs and arrange the music to fit into the style we do in each band, and likewise he will trust me to do my best with the lyrical direction and the vocals.

GT - With The Grotesquery's debut being well received did you and Rogga ever talk about or consider playing live either in Europe or North America?

Kam - Yes, but I think Europe is all we would do. The U.S. would be cool, but I just don't see it happening.

The main issue with us not being able to tour is because of our drummer Brynjar. He can NOT tour... due to his obligations at work. We would never think of replacing him... but we would need to find a suitable drummer - who lives in Sweden - and who could work close with Rogga to get the material down tight. As you know your self personally... I don't really need to rehearse too much with a band to be able to perform live.
Also - Brynjar is from Norway, while Rogga lives in Sweden. So it's not like they are even in the same country together themselves.

However, finding a tour replacement for Brynjar has been a bit of a challenge for Rogga. We would also need to have the "touring drummer" understand that he is just the "touring drummer" - and not a permanent member. So basically - it's just that we don't have a drummer lined up that can rehearse with Rogga to get the material down for a "live performance" situation. This has been pretty much our only set back.
 Day 1 (July 13 2011) of Kam Lee rehearsals - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - It was completely my honor to have you play A Day of Death 2011 and play the album in full that I requested you play. What was that experience like for you for that week? Your opinions of Buffalo, the people here, the musicians you got to jam with and the others that you got to meet.

Kam - The whole over all experience was great.
Everything was good... the people... the musicians... the fans... the food. I would love to do it again sometime. I really had a great time. I would say it's been ONE of the BEST tour experiences I've had. The people up there are REAL and TRUE... and that is rare in this time and day. So many posers infest our scene... so it was good to be in with true real death/black metal fans and bands, and not incrusted within some trendy hipster mall metal core crap crowd. I'm sure it infest there as well... but it was refreshing to be around people who knew what was real. I met a lot of cool people - who have since become friends - and that is always a good thing.

 Kam checks out the buffaloes at Buffalo Zoo - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - When we announced what you would be doing for A Day of Death there were immediate cries from some that you were cashing in on the past and only doing it for the money. 'Til now the facts have been kept from the public so we figure we'll set it straight now... You were paid a grand total of $500 (which covered your plane ticket and part of your girlfriends plane ticket). You reluctantly played that album because we requested it of you, not because you wanted to. In an age when many bands will demand thousands of dollars and have outrageous riders to play fests why did you agree to do A Day of Death 2011 for essentially nothing?

Kam - Basically because I'm not a money grubbing opportunist. And I wanted to do it for the 'real fans' that could make it out to the show. I'm NOT a "rock star" - and so I do not think like some arrogant egomaniac. I'm still rooted... still grounded, and pretty much like to think I'm down to earth. I understand that the scene (the true scene) is not about the hipster trends. I knew overall that this "fest" was going to be attended by "real" fans... with performances by "true real underground" bands, and that it was going to be an intimate small affair, and not some OVER THE TOP - blown out of proportion mega money gathering event like so many of these other fest in the US these days. 

It's not some multi-day event... with multi-stages -with a bunch of trendy bands and 'named bands' performing ONLY to draw a large crowd in order to "rape" the crowd for money. It's not at all backed by some corporate record labels, trendy magazines, and funded by greedy promoters. It was "real" and it was "true", - funded by fans and friends... attended by fans and friends... and something I was very very proud to be a part of.
Also - I think it's ironic and fucked up that those same people that pitched a bitch and cried about me "cashing in" - are the same fucking idiots that now support the true "cash in" with FAKEASSACRE.

 GT - Currently you are working on a project (music related, but not music) with Buffalo's Dennis John Glinski (Grave Descent). Could you talk a little about the project and how you became involved with it?

Kam - That would be the comic book DEATH SHRIEK. Dennis is planning to do a horror/death metal anthology book based on songs from different bands. I've actually already completed my section. It's a story (8 pages) based on a track from the band DERKETA. It's for their song WITCHBURNED. I pretty much got involved when Dennis approached me... and asked if I would like to do it.

He said - he was a fan of my art, and would really like to have me on board to do it.
I heard what he had planned, and thought this would be cool thing to do... and so I came on board.

Contact Legacy of Death for further info on the comic's release

GT - Do you think you will continue doing comic book art after the "Death Shriek" project is finished?

Kam - Yes. Already I have started my own comic based on TALES OF THE COFFIN BORN from my band THE GROTESQUERY, as well as I've talked to Dennis about coming back for DEATH SHRIEK 2. I've begun a few ideas as well for a comic about a Zombie Werewolf. I may decide to either do it myself... or perhaps see if LEGACY OF DEATH {Dennis's company} would like to put it out... perhaps, in another anthology horror comic. Gotta see how DEATH SHRIEK goes first. I don't want to burden Dennis with too much, as I know he funds the company all himself out of his own pocket. 

GT - You were approached by Sharon (Bascovsky) to do some guest vocals on Derketa's album "In Death We Meet". Then you got to join them on stage to perform the song at A Day of Death 2011. What was the experience of working with them and then performing the song with them like?

Kam - Yeah... I REGRETTABLY... didn't get the chance to record the vocals for the album. It just was a thing with the timing, and the opportunity didn't arise for me to get them recorded in time. But being able to do it onstage was fun. I love DERKETA's Style of Doom Death Metal... I'm a huge fan of Doom, especially when it has Death Metal undertones.
I would hope to someday work with DERKETA again... and hopefully be able to record some vocals with them.

Kam Lee band rehearsal day 2 (July 14 2011 ) - (photo - Brian Pattison)
 GT - Recently The Grotesquery released their second album. How long did that take to put together and what was the overall writing/recording process like?

Kam - Rather quick actually. Not as long as the first album. I think this time Rogga had all the music already written... and I started to flush out ideas right after the first album was completed. At first though... I didn't plan on doing another concept story album, but because of so much positive fan support and response for the first album. I then decided to go ahead and make this one a concept album as well. It didn't take long... because I had a general idea of what I wanted to do. I heard musically what Rogga was doing... and I knew it would be perfect to write about a character that was in an insane asylum.

Of course... every idea I have gets trimmed and cut and reformed to fit into album format. I have ruff drafts of stories written out. When I finally get the music from Rogga, I then choose what best will fit, and what parts are the most important things to write the lyrics about, and what other details can be left out or altered to make it fit.

GT - Now that The Grotesquery has 2 great albums under its belt is there any chance of one or more live performances occurring in North America?

Kam - Well... like I said in the above question about touring. It's unlikely that TG or BG will ever perform in the U.S. I'm NOT saying it's impossible, but it's HIGHLY unlikely to ever happen. 

Kam and Francisco Pulido checking out the rapids at Niagara Falls - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - In addition to the everything else you also have a show on Brutal Existence Radio. How did that come about?

Kam - I had awhile back thought about doing some sort of radio show. Nothing too fancy... just something where I could showcase some new bands, as well as play some of my own personal favorite bands. As well, as have a sort of HALLOWEEN atmosphere to it. I met Fowler and Metal Mark thru FB- and pretty much just went from there. Fowler and I talked about it a year before it even became a reality... but eventually I got to do "FROM THE CRYPT". 

Right now... I'm on hiatus from the radio show... until later this fall. I'm just so busy with so much going on at the time that I had to take time off from the show. I love doing it... but it does take a lot of time to get pre-recorded and get everything ready on a weekly basis. And with my busy ass schedule at the moment... working two jobs... doing all the bands and recordings... the artwork and other stuff. I had to take a break somewhere.
GT - You had a starring role in the low budget horror movie "Deep Seeded", what was that experience like and do you foresee any further acting in your future?

Kam - It was fun to do... although I am a bit pissed that it's being held up in some sort of "red tape". I'm not even sure of the details, but it seems that Troxell has just giving up on it. The entire movie is completed and done. But because of some BULLSHIT with the fucking distribution company or some shit it's sitting in fucking movie limbo. Like I said... seems Troxell just has given up on it altogether, and doesn't even care about it. I have some burnt copies myself... a few I've even sent out to friends for FREE. It's not the best movie... hell it's not even scarey... but it has a few gore scenes in it... and it does have a few fully naked chicks with me cutting them up and tormenting and torturing them. So it has that basic drive-in/grind-house like appeal to it... very exploitative and low budget filth.

I would like to do some more acting for sure... but I'm picky as to what roles I'll play. I just won't pick any sort of role. It has to be something horror and something that fits "me".
I've had a few other offers come my way... a few I just didn't take because they weren't roles I wanted to do... or roles I felt would fit "me".

Francisco, Mat, Kam and Alayna at Niagara Falls - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - Bands, comic books, art, radio and there any other avenue you hope to approach in the future?

Kam - I would like to try once more at writing a horror novel. 

GT - Any last words, people you want to shout out to or projects you want to push?

Kam - I'll be recording the full length for the band GRAVE WAX coming up the next few weeks. GRAVE WAX is a band I do with underground artist Mark Riddick. It's going to be something unique... it's really cool death metal... with some unique twist in both music and the vocals for sure. So we hope to have that out by the late fall/early winter time. 

Also - we will have a split for THE GROTESQUERY coming out with the band INTESTINAL by the end of the year. And keep a look out for the cannibal maniacs to return sometime in the new year.... buzz is that a new BG album maybe in the making. Thanks for all the support and the friendship!


Friday, June 1, 2012


Mike Abominator at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

Gravehill have captured and bottled the essence of GT era death metal. To say they kicked our asses is an understatement. It's our pleasure to have Gravehill a part of this year's A Day Of Death 2012, now let's get down to the rotten soil with vocalist Mike Abominator!

GT - How did you and the other members of Gravehill first come together to start the band?

Mike - Gravehill started in 2000 with Thorgrimm, original bass player/singer Mike Apokalypse and original guitar player Bastard Demon. I would actually show up to their practices and hang out and party with the guys since they were all old friends of mine, I think Thorgrimm and I have known each other for over 23 years. Those guys got together and were playing this crazy ass old school black thrashing death metal and I fuckin loved it! NO ONE was playing this style, ESPECIALLY in America. That original project fell apart and everyone went on their own separate ways by the next year. I always thought “what a waste of a great band”. 

Then Thorgrimm and I decided to start up the exact same type of band come the end of 2006. It was my idea to use the name Gravehill. But I had to get the OK of my friend and original singer Mike Apokalypse. He gave me his blessing and we moved forward. Some might think it was lame to do that, but I guess it was my goal to be in a band like Gravehill anyways, something that I have always wanted to do. Blame ME for that. Then we actually grabbed musicians from some other local bands to get started and we got together and got the death noise rolling out of hell. We had a trifecta of younger guys to join the ranks at first with KK Reaper being the first guitarist we asked to join us. 

Then we snagged Bodybag for the 2nd guitar. KK didn’t work out and Zyklon A (who called himself Vorgoloth at the time, hahaha what a fag) was in another band that we were sharing a studio with. He was also recording a demo for us at this studio as well. So we grabbed him for the 2nd guitar at this point. I was playing bass at first for most of 2007 as we shaped our sound and wrote songs. Then we had a friend named Behemoth that we asked to join us and play bass for us, so I could concentrate on vocals and terrorizing the crowd. Confused yet? Haha. Well, to clarify, the early line up that started playing our first shows was:  Myself on Vocals, Bodybag on guitar, Zyklon on guitar, Behemoth on bass and Thorgrimm on drums. But shit has changed over the last few years as J Corpsemolester has joined on bass in 2008 and Matt Hellfiend has joined on 2nd guitar in 2010. 

GT - What were you early shows like?

Mike - Those early shows will always be something special. We had our first show at an outdoor venue that I used to promote at, and it was all “friend” bands that played (most of the bands that were on the bill aren’t even around anymore!) Then we did a west coast tour with our friends in Splatterhouse that was killer! Even though both shows in Washington State got cancelled, we had some great times and made our mark I feel. We also got to open for Enslaved at a big theater in our home area right after we got back from that first short tour. I remember coming out on the stage to our first “big crowd” at that show and the more mainstream kids in the front row were like “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!” They saw this pissed off bald guy covered in blood, giving them the death stare. Hahahaha That was fun man! Funny enough that show was on Corpsemolester’s birthday! He wasn’t even in the band yet, he was just a good friend at that time. Most people would just stand and stare at the spectacle that we had going on. 

I mean, bands had used leather, spikes and blood before. But it wasn’t something that was a normal thing. It was used more with black metal bands I guess. But we had a totally FUCK YOU attitude, and still do. And we played really ugly, simple and caveman death metal that was based in 1985 (again… STILL DO!) So that set us apart. We came to fucking kill. It was a war to us and we had a chip on our shoulder! STILL DO! Bahahahaha.

During soundcheck at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - Growing up as a metalhead was there a particular band/song/moment that grabbed you and made you realize that you had to be a death metal front man?

Mike -  There were certain events that changed my life. Like the first time hearing Sabbath, Priest and Kiss. The first time I saw an Iron Maiden album cover. That then led to the next phase. I think what really got me was the Venom footage of “Witching Hour” on the Ultimate Revenge 1. The way that video knocked me in the brain just changed me forever. I loved Slayer and Exodus on there too, but Venom was the band that I would fuck me up real good. Then when I started going to shows and live performances, seeing some legendary sets by the bands that I loved helped to shape me. 

I started out as a guitar player. I then moved over to bass and back and forth for a bit. I really didn’t start as a front man until much later on, just a few years ago. But I wasn’t just influenced by just singers or guitar/bass players. I just loved the whole band performance and wanted to be a part of it. It just so happened that I ended up doing what I did in certain bands to be involved in some way. I got pretty good at playing, but I hit a wall at some point. I also got lazy. So I figured, “I can just be a fucking front man and talk shit, terrorize the crowd!” hahahaha.

The bands that really changed me when I saw them live back in the day where the classic sets by Metallica, Slayer, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss, Rush, Motorhead, Kreator, Destruction, Celtic Frost, Sepultura, Dark Angel, Sadus, Obituary, Autopsy, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Entombed, Dismember and the tons of other bands that I forgot. Sabbath, Priest and Kiss got me started. Venom would be the band that made me want to PLAY in a band. Slayer was the band that drove me even further with the total aggression and terror. Napalm Death was the band that took THAT even further. And then my favorites like Hellhammer, Discharge, Autopsy, Bathory, Sodom and others finalized the deal.

Gravehill at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - What vocalists inspired you?

Mike - I like attitude and power as a combination. The first person that scared the shit out of me was Ozzy. Then he became my idol. Yeah, he didn’t have the muscles of Conan, the strength of Superman or the cool stuff of Batman, but he would end up killing all of them regardless! Hahahaha. With the way that I worshipped my original “BIG 3” I would also dig Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. And of course Halford had those pipes of madness. Dianno and Dickenson would also become my next idols. But it was Cronos, Lemmy and Bon Scott who I would eventually really get into as far as attitude. They just had that “FUCK OFF!” look and were total bad ass motherfuckers on stage. They had the voice AND the attitude. They ruled the crowd. You HAVE to be a bad ass to front a metal band, in so many ways. THOSE guys were! And some of them that are still alive still ARE bad asses. Once I heard the next wave of the heavy shit, of course I liked Evil Chuck, Kam Lee, Chris Reifert, Lee Dorrian, Tom Angelripper, Quorthon, Tom G., Jeff Possessed, Mille Kreator, Scott Carlson and LG Entombed.

GT - As you've played shows across the USA, have you noticed any regional differences in crowds?

Mike - Crazy and raging metal heads are pretty much the same all over this earth. Some cities have more people, and even crazier fans. And surprisingly, it has NOTHING to do with the size of the city. SOMETIMES, bigger cities have smaller crowds and “metal heads” either don’t show up, or are kind of spoiled to have so much going on in that city. 

Some of our best shows have been in smaller cities like Dekalb, Illinois, San Antonio, Texas and Portland, Oregon. Even a place like Cheyenne, Wyoming has some of the coolest and best metal heads around. BUT, as an example, a huge city like Chicago also is one of the best places for metal and has some of the best metal heads! And even in places like New York and our home area of Los Angeles, we have had great shows and there are some crazy ass metal heads there as well. In the end, we are all one big happy, smelly and dysfunctional family. It really doesn’t matter where ya come from. 

So far, metal heads from Indianapolis to New Jersey to Seattle to San Diego to Kansas City to Baltimore and more places all over have all been the same! The numbers of them might change from time to time. But as long as we can have a front row of head bangers, some diving from the stage and everyone else going crazy in the place we are playing, Gravehill is one happy fucking band! It can be 10 people or 10,000 people, we will bring the fucking death!

at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - Is there any one show/event from the time surrounding the release of your first album that stands out in your memory?

Mike - There was a big fest that we played right around the recording of our debut album. It was the California Metal Fest and it was at a big and major theater in our home base of Anaheim, California. It was a HUGE event for that year. We had to sell presale tickets for the event to be a part of it, and pay those dues. We had been doing the recording over at Trench Studios in Corona, California with our good friend John Haddad. He runs the studio out of his house. And we had friends coming over to get tickets from us at the house and the anticipation was pretty big for us on this fest. I mean it  was a huge event. Now the recording of that album was a big haze of partying and playing death metal for hours! Hahahaha. But we spoke often about the fest and it was always on our minds. Once the day of came, it was time and we got to the venue bright and early that Saturday. This fest was to be headlined by Carcass and also had Suffocation, Exodus, Repulsion, Samael, Toxic Holocaust, Decrepit Birth, and tons of others. There would be about 2500-3000 people there I would say and it was a packed venue. We did play early when not everyone was there, but we played for about 900 people. It was the largest crowd that we ever played for at that time. We did make MANY new friends and fans at that show as well. Since there were also “metal core” and “death core” bands playing, I had to talk a lot of shit during our set. But for the most part, the people liked our set.

GT - Was the release of "When All Roads Lead to Hell" purposely planned to be released just prior to MDF 2011?

Mike - YES! We knew it would work out very well for us if we could manage to get this fucking album out by May 20th, and more importantly, in time for MDF. It was the #1 PRIORITY to do that. And thanks to Ryan Butler our Engineer and friend, and Matt at Dark Descent, as well as Rob and Rhett being able to take time off and trek out to Arizona to get shit done with Ryan, it came out on time for our plans. When you can make your mark at a festival of the caliber of MDF and get some stuff out there, it is a positive thing for the band obviously. There isn’t a bigger fest in the U.S. of THIS type of underground gathering. So to be able to hit so many metal heads was key for us. We might seem dumb, but we ain’t no dummies! Bahahahaaha.

at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - On the subject of MDF 2011 - 90+ degrees, in direct sunlight, decked out in full leather jacket and covered in blood - how the hell did you not pass out on stage there?

Mike - You know what, I’m not going to lie, it SUCKED in that way. It was HOT! I mean it was suffocating. Sunday at the time that we played was THE WORST heat of the weekend. But you know what, those fans payed A LOT of money to be there. And there are some classic bands and sets jamming and taking place. So we HAD to give our all to get through that one. And I know those fans don’t want to hear any whining and crying about ANYTHING. So I had to try and put a positive and funny spin on this situation. Plus, all of those people were in the same boat with us! They were all hot and sweaty and hung over. We tried to bring them out of it a little. I saw our good friends out there banging away. I saw some new fans banging away. I also saw those who think we are cheese dicks smirk at us and talk their shit, whisper in their buddies ear while we were playing, hahaha, that’s fine as well. We really don’t give a fuck. I saw posts after that had quite a few people saying, “I didn’t like that band at first, I thought they were dicks and over rated, but they changed my mind during that MDF fest!” And THAT’S a cool fucking thing. We did some talking with our music at that  point. Anyways, I got off track there. After we played that set, it was time to die. I felt bad for our friend Brian from New Jersey, he was standing right in front of the stairs leading down to the back stage area, and I was like “GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY!” bahahaha. Also the guys from Malignant Tumor were also back there telling us “good set” and we tried not to ignore them, but we were so burned out and fucking tired at that point. My girlfriend poured ice cold water all over me and I must have pounded 4 of those waters within minutes myself. It took me about 15-20 minutes to recover from that set. Being old and fat also sucks! Bahahahaha. But it was worth every ounce of energy and blood that we put into it!

GT - What was your personal highlight of MDF 2011?

Mike - VOIVOD was so special for me. They sounded like they did in the late 80s, the last time that they REALLY kicked ass. Their later stuff is cool, but they were never the same after their prime era. But their set was CLASSIC, one of the BEST since they were always one of my favorite bands growing up. CIANIDE took the fest for me though. They were always and under rated favorite of mine and death metal legends. To be able to also make friends with them over the last couple of years is awesome! But the way they played songs off every album they did and threw in other classics was just perfect! They were CRUSHING! So Cianide was #1 and Voivod was #1a. Other highlights included DOOM, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, KYLESA, EXHUMED, MALIGNANT TUMOR, TRAGEDY, AURA NOIR and some others that I can’t think of. 

at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT -  Any chance of an east coast tour in 2012?

Mike - You know what Brian, I will NEVER say the word……… CAN’T SAY IT! But a U.S. East Coast tour is not in our plans for 2012. As much as we would LOVE to do such a tour, I doubt it will work itself out for 2012. We did a DIY tour in 2010 and lost our asses, so we just can’t do that again. NOW that being said, who knows what will come up! Things change and we might end up doing a larger scale tour with a bigger band. We are even picky about that type of stuff. It is not out of the question for us to head out to the east coast and do 3 shows over a weekend, like a quick trip out, something like that. It makes much more sense to do that. But we shall see how it all unfolds next year. I will tell you this, we have some of our greatest fans and friends over there on the east coast, and we want to come back out again to kill for you all! We will keep everyone posted with the latest news on this topic. We really need to hit other places that we haven’t been to yet like the South and Florida as well. But everything has to fall into place and work out for that to happen. NEVER say never as I said. If it was up to us, we would visit our East Coast Horde once a year! WE FUCKING LOVE YOU MANIACS!

Flyer for A Day of Death 2012, one of only two east coast dates in 2012 for Gravehill

GT - How did you get involved with Metal Maniacs Online?

Mike - Well, I used to do a little blog on my personal myspace page (remember THAT site? Haha) and I would talk about new bands that I enjoyed. It was a total rip off of the BAND OF THE WEEK thing that Fenriz of Darkthrone did, haha. But I felt the same as he did and wanted to spread some good music to people. I went on to help out a couple of friends with their websites and magazines and I interviewed Mark Riddick for one of them. Well Mark mentioned to me that his twin brother Mike also was the boss of Metal Maniacs now. Unfortunately the print magazine ended and now it was strictly online. But Mark mentioned that Mike was looking for contributors, and suggested that I contact him. So I did and the rest is history. Mike let’s me do WHATEVER I want to do and just let’s me do my thing. I don’t feel comfortable with just reviewing everything that every shitty label puts out there. I also don’t feel comfortable with doing interviews with just any band/artist. I want to be a FAN, so that it comes out killer. Some people just don’t talk all that much, some people LOVE to talk, and that is fine in both areas. But the fact that Mike lets me do my thing and cover what I want to cover is HUGE. 

GT - You seem to have a real fondness for the old death metal scene in your writings. You wrote that great piece on Glorious Times and recently did a great piece on the notorious Richard C and Wild Rags. Can readers expect more pieces on the old days?

Mike - Fuck yeah Brian! I was there man. I started getting deeply involved in the underground in 1987. I started writing letters to bands and zines and corresponding with them. I also started really getting more and more underground releases at Wild Rags Records and other local stores that carried anything that was over the top and brutal. What you and Alan had put together was amazing! I felt that the Glorious Times book needed to get out there to the masses and be seen! 

The piece on Richard I felt also needed to be seen. It was MY story from MY perspective. And you can bet your ass there will be more articles on the old days! Hahahaha. My perspective right now is a combination of a love for the old school AND the new school. My passion gives me a “bird’s eye view” of our scene and it includes great memories of the old days, as well as a hunger to find killer new music. I think that combination works well together with what I do. I have a respect for both the old guard AND the newer warriors. Of course, the old days were so exciting and it was the birth of an era! It will NEVER be the same, with that same feeling. It’s like a new love. But when metal is in your heart and soul, like it is for many of us, it NEVER goes away.

 And there are a few new bands that come out and blow all of us old farts away! It is ignorant of me to put down someone, just because of their age. I WAS THERE ONCE! And some of these kids remind me of myself back in the day. It is also ignorant to not help to “pass the torch” and let the next generation take over. I guess I have also tried to embrace this new technology and be positive about it. I will tell you this; smart phones have SAVED MY ASS on tour quite a few times lately. And things like google maps and social networking sites have also helped out so much! So it’s also lame to say “FUCK ALL THIS NEW SHIT!” hahahaha. But Brian, the old days are something that is set in time and history. It was groundbreaking and an insane time on top of it all.

 How fucking crazy were all of us to be a part of this? Without guys like you, Alan Moses, Ed Farshtey, Joe Pupo and the other maniacs that did zines back then, some of those bands wouldn’t get as far as they did. To me, you guys that did the zines were just as important as those who were in bands, that same passion was there. I mean, ask ANYONE that was in Slayer Mag how honored they were to get in there! Or even Uniforce! Mark was already influential with his scene even before he got known in Impetigo. And those old, classic and forgotten bands that I cover also deserve some due. There are always reasons why bands break up and disappear off the face of the earth. It doesn’t mean that they weren’t good! Some of them are just as good if not better than the famous ones we all love!

Gravehill at MDF 2011 - (photo - Brian Pattison)

GT - Any final comments?

Mike - Brian my brother, I want to thank you so much for this! Keep up the killer work and I will see you sooner than later I hope! THANK YOU AGAIN ALSO FOR THE GLORIOUS TIMES BOOK! ARGHHHHH! THE BEST EVER!!!!!!!!! Now to the Horde, or maybe some who don’t know about Gravehill or my work on Metal, don’t be scared and come check us out! For now go to Gravehill on Facebook for band info and merchandise links. And over at you can see some killer articles by ME! Hahahaha. You never know, you might find a band or album that you will like! HAILS OF HELLFIRE!