Interview with Grethor done by Patrick
1.Hails please introduce yourself to the readers. When did you become interested in writing and playing music?
Tony Petrocelly: I played guitar and bass on the album, as well as recording and mixing it. I've been obsessed with music for as long as I can remember, and started playing guitar and bass about 22 years ago.
Brian Frost: I started playing music about 26 years ago when I was still in elementary school. I did well in several solo competitions and become interested in becoming a more dynamic musician. I eventually picking up guitar in my teens and composing my own music.
Marcus Lawrence : Vocals and Lyrics. Been playing since I was 16.
2.Grethor was formed in 2007. When did you all get the idea to form this band, and how did you all choose Grethor as the name of the band?
Lawrence: This was oringinally a side project formed by Willy Rivera of LORD. He came to me with the idea of playing 1st Wave Black Metal, which no one was doing at that time. So, we got some people together and practiced in guitarist Bobby Lute's basement, then played some shows and recorded an EP. We have had some lineup changes and recordings since, but it all began with a bunch of guys just wanting to play old school black metal.
The name Grethor is from Star Trek. It's the Klingon version of Niflheim, the Viking Underworld. It's a place for disgraced warriors in the afterlife, and was a great black metal name. We wanted to do something different from the usual occult or Tolkien themes that are typical in the genre's band names.
3.Who would you say are Grethor's biggest influences?
Frost: I’m all over the map, I did draw influences from Steely Dan and old blues rock albums, and old school black metal for this album. I didn’t write the lyrics, but I do believe that you can write music that draws emotion. I spend a while demoing songs until I felt something while playing it back.
Lawrence : I would say that depends on who is in the band at a given time. Willy was influenced by Bathory, Celtic Frost, or Venom, which is what we were doing. Bobby was quite influenced by Emperor, Immortal, and Dissection. Throw in Gorguts, Ulcerate, Portal, etc, and there you go.
4.Damnatio Memoriae is Grethor's debut cd which will be released in early 2018. Does the whole band take part in the writing process, or does one member write everything?
Petrocelly: The bulk of the songwriting was done by Anthony, with Brian contributing three songs.
Frost: Everyone brought something to the table, which was great because I think it made the album more dynamic. Because of the sheer amount of material, we dropped a lot of music and focused producing and sharpening what we thought was the best songs.
5.Who usually takes care of writing the lyrics, and what are some subjects you all wrote about on Damnatio Memoriae?
Lawrence : That's always been me. I have always written about the dangers of anti-intellectualism and the terror it brings, such as authoritarianism and rampant dehumanization. I grew up in the extremely dogmatic faith of Mormonism, and it shaped my views on authority. I often felt alienated by the lack of complete acceptance of it, as if I was sort of screaming into a wind tunnel. I found it to be stifling of creativity and limiting of exploring your limits. I came to the conclusion that if you believe that a divine being has a plan for you, just you, and someone directly to him and interprets that plan, then you will believe anything. You will kill to preserve conformity. You will crush the lives of others, so long as that man's word is a bond to that divine reward, be he Priest, Politician, Pastor, or Imam. It doesn't matter. You will needlessly suffer or destroy yourself and everyone around you so that he can prosper. I had a lot to write about these last couple of years.
6.Has Grethor played live very often over the years? What have been some of the band's most memorable shows over the years?
Frost: We played a great show in Fairfax VA a few years ago where Marcus was wearing in corpsepaint and I wore a Blackhawks hockey jersey. I get pretty into my playing, and the floor was covered in peanut shells and beer. I almost ate the floor while headbanging with someone in the audience.
Lawrence: I really liked that old church in Alexandria. Or that field party that got shut down by the cops. Or those VFW shows. Or that Canal CLub show in Richmond back in '07. Still, nothing beats Grethor's very first show. We had no monitors, so we couldn't hear shit. Bobby stated playing the wrong song once, and I looked at Willy, who just shrugged. I look over at Bobby, who is just grinnning through his corpse paint, saying "This is awesome!" People afterward kept coming up to us and saying "That was black metal as FUCK!" I guess it was. Definitely raw.
7.Are there any tours or shows planned in 2018 in support of the debut release? If yes, where will the band be playing, and who are some bands you will be sharing the stage with?
Frost: I think we are going to take a break and reconvene when we see the response of the album. I live in Chicago now, but I would make the time for the right show/tour.
Lawrence: Marcus : Hard to say at the moment, considering so many of us are moving on. This means lineup changes, and it's going to be hard to replace people, of course, but it has to be done. I really appreciate what everyone has done on this album, and moving on is always challenging. I just hope everyone is happy with the end result of their time in Grethor, and happy in the lives to come, you know?
8.Besides working in Grethor do you or any of the members currently work in other bands or solo projects?
Petrocelly: I play guitar in Construct of Lethe and drums in Lord.
Frost: I play guitar in a rock/jazz outfit called Protobomb, and guitar/vocals/drums in Angry Hate Infestation
Lawrence: I do vocals in a black metal project called Nox Summos, hopefully finish recording in the New Year.
9.Grethor comes out of Virginia's black, death metal scene. What are your thoughts of Virginia's scene?
Petrocelly: We're from northern Virginia, which is sort a world unto itself as compared to the rest of the state. Northern Virginia most certainly has a scene, but death metal and black metal bands are pretty rare. Most of the larger venues around here that hosted shows have closed, so there's a pretty thick network of D.I.Y. shows, to the point where there's generally at least a couple shows every weekend.
Frost: I was surprised that the metal scene in the DC is so small. Baltimore to the north and Richmond to the south seem to have much more robust music scenes in general. On the other hand, seeing a band like Suffocation play on the floor in a place that holds like 50 people was cool.
Lawrence: Agreed. With all of that.
10.Who are some of your all-time favorite bands from Virginia? And are there any new bands you feel the readers should watch out for?
Petrocelly: The Day of the Beast and Cammo Shorts are my personal favorites.
Lawrence: I also agree, and going to add Affasia, Gloom, and Mournspire.
Frost: Deceased and Municipal Waste come time mind quick. Local band Reticle is outstanding.
11.When not working on new music or band business what do you you like to do in your free time?
Petrocelly: What is free time?
Frost: I work on cars, see shows, I read a lot, and have discovered I’m good at cooking and making cocktails.
Lawrence: Personal Trainer by day, and also an actor. My kids take up quite a bit of my time, however.
12.Thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final words for the readers?
Lawrence: Yes. Keep an eye out for the album, for starters, but some things beyond that? Stay informed. Ignorance goes beyond the limits of the microcosm of your immediate existence and concerns. If something tells you that anyone not like you has no right to the basic needs of existence, then it's probably bullshit propaganda.
Frost: In the strict scientific sense we all feed on death..even vegetarians.