You have to tour to reach people these days. No band in this genre sells a shit load of albums so if you want to reach out to people and you want to make a living at it, you tour.

When does a metal band achieve the legendary status tag? As far as I can tell this can be accomplished in a multitude of ways: like releasing a record full of hit songs or an album that helped shape a genera. Maybe a group is known for their extra curricular actives on the road but sometimes a band becomes legendary just because they’re still out there on the road, releasing albums, surviving.

Grave is a band that gained their legendary status by achieving a multitude of these requirements. These ‘road warriors’ have been around since 1988 and are known for their contributions to the Swedish death metal scene. Classic tracks like “Into the Grave” and “You’ll Never See” as well as ground breaking releases like Into the Grave (1991), You’ll Never See.. (1992) and Soulless (1994) have solidified Grave as a trendsetter.

The band is on the road once again, touring in support of their critically acclaimed 10th studio release – Endless Procession of Souls. I recently caught up with Grave drummer Ronnie Bergerstahl to see how the current tour is progressing.

Here are some excerpts from my 10/4/12 Interview:

David Halbe: Are you excited to be back playing in North America?

Ronnie Bergerstahl: Yes, especially this current package. We did a headline tour last year, the same time of year actually, for a couple weeks and it went just as well.

Dave: With a back catalogue of ten studio albums, is it getting harder and harder to comprise a set list?

Ronnie: Yes, at the moment there are a couple of albums we don’t play any material from. From the album Hating Life (1996) up to the last album Burial Ground (2010) we’re not playing anything this time around. We’re trying to focus on the first three albums and the new release, Endless Procession of Souls.

Dave: As an opening act on this current tour, would you rather give the audience a ‘crash course’ in Grave’s music, highlighting the best of your albums or is it better to just play your latest and greatest and let the audience pursue your older material on their own?

Ronnie: I think the second choice, we do mostly songs from Into the Grave, depending on how much time on stage we have, we try to play between three and five new songs. The Co-headline live shows we play with Dark Funeral are usually hour long sets, so we try and play the new stuff, that’s why we’re here.

Dave: What songs off Endless Procession of Souls will you be playing live?

Ronnie: We play the first two (“Amongst Marble and the Dead” & “Disembodied Steps”) then depending on the time we will play “Passion of the Weak” and “Winds of Change” if there’s time.

Dave: Where does the Grave artwork come from?

Ronnie: It’s a guy from Romania named Kosten. He has a company called 13 Twilight Media and this is the 3rd album we’ve worked with him on. The first time I got into contact with him was with my last band Centinex back in 2005. I think he did some cover artwork for us and when we needed artwork for Dominion VIII (2008) I thought of Kosten and we asked him.

Dave: Do you think a band’s stage show is as important as the music they play?

Ronnie: I think it’s important that something happens when we get on stage, not necessarily with tons of stage props and stuff like that. I mean the intensity of the show and the interaction with the audience, that’s important.

I think I’d rather see a band that moves around on stage instead of one where they are glued to the floor.

Dave: How important is a solid lineup to a group’s popularity?

Ronnie: I don’t know, the band has been round long before my time but this is the strongest lineup up we’ve had that I’ve been with. Hopefully it will last a long time, we all get along really well and have fun on stage, we’re friends.

Dave: What do you think of metal categorizations such as blackened death metal and death core?

Ronnie: I hate everything with ‘core’ in it. We are a death metal band and we are completely Swedish in our style.

Dave: In retrospect, how important were thrash bands (Like Slayer or Destruction) to the evolution of death metal?

Ronnie: To Grave very important, growing up we were very much into those guys (Slayer, Destruction) as well as Death, Kreator and Autopsy, they were very influential for us.

Dave: Is metal a fad for younger generations or is it one of the last true forms of artistic expression?

Ronnie: You have to tour to reach people these days. No band in this genera sells a shit load of albums, so if you want to reach out to people and you want to make a living at it, you tour.

Dave: Is metal a fad for younger generations or is it one of the last true forms of artistic expression?

Ronnie: You have to tour to reach people these days. No band in this genera sells a shit load of albums, so if you want to reach out to people and you want to make a living at it, you tour.

Dave: What keeps Grave going? Is it the love of metal, being out on the road touring, maybe a combination of both?

Ronnie: Definitely a combination of both, this is what we want to do, it’s fun for us.

I can really do without the constant travel and waiting around but my time up on stage makes it all worth while.

Dave: That’s for your time, good luck on stage tonight and on the rest of this tour.

Ronnie: Thank you.

Gave are:

  • Ola Lindgren – Guitars, Vocals
  • Ronnie Bergerståhl – Drums
  • Mika Lagrén – Guitars
  • Tobias Cristiansson – Bass

 

This article was originally published 10/18/12 by Metalrecusants.com
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