Fayetteville, Arkansas death-doom metal beasts, Vore return this winter with its fourth self-released opus, Gravehammer. The band, which formed in 1994 follows up previous releases Dead Kings Eyes (1997), Lord of Storms (2001), and Maleficus (2005). As usual the guys, guitarist and vocalist Page Townsley, drummer Remy Cameron and bassist Jeremy Partin leave the listener bruised and bloodied.
Vore‘s sound culls elements of death, thrash and traditional metal and blends them together with an impact like a mace caving your skull.
In the band’s own words, “Vore‘s mid-paced rhythmic style is built around strong riffs and songcraft, rather than all out speed, which sets them apart from current trends in death metal. Over this soundscape, themes of doom, darkness, conquest and sorcery roar in a savage vocal attack.”
That is a fair and apt description of the band’s weighty and powerful sonic signature. One that is stamped all over Gravehammer. Vore‘s newest creation raises the question, why are these guys still unsigned by a label?
Frontman Page Townsley takes us through Gravehammer track by track:
1) The Cruelest Construct – This is the opening track on the new album. Lyrically it’s loosely based around the legend of the golem from Jewish folklore. The lyrics describe a mystic pledging an oath of vengeance and creating this nigh-unstoppable construct to be the vessel of his revenge. The song starts with a pounding intro which moves into a fast alternate picked line and then shifting a chunky downpicked riff on the verses. It’s got a great middle section that’s uber-heavy which complements the part in the lyrics where the construct is awakened and is on the move to fulfill his dread purpose.
2) The Unseen Hand is about a group of occult scholars who seek out an ancient sorcerer’s tomb. Hoping to learn secrets and gain power for themselves, they invoke his spirit. The sorcerer’s corpse animates and kills them all and takes their souls out into the cosmos where they discover the nature of all things and the unseen hand that sets and keeps it all in motion. It’s one of those be careful what you wish for scenarios. Musically this track has a lot of variety to it. There’s a shuffle rhythm to the verses that is something we’ve never done before.
3) Doomwhore takes inspiration from Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air which is about the Mt. Everest climbing disasters in 1996. In Tibet the Sherpa’s call the mountain “Chomolungma” which means “Mother Goddess Of The Land”. She lives in the mountain with a gem spitting mongoose and rides a tiger. We took those mythos and made them malevolent, as Everest most certainly can be. It is a hostile and brutal environment and some truly horrific stuff can and has happened. There’s a lot of different dynamics to this song. Lots of crushing riffs and some speedy stuff as well!
4) Uroboros – This is a short acoustic interlude that begins as “Doomwhore” fades out. It has a circular feel to it, hence the name. Uroboros is the symbol of the serpent eating his own tail and represents cycles ending and beginning again.
5) Gravehammer – This is, in my opinion, is one of the heaviest songs Vore has ever written. It embodies the essence of the Vore aesthetic: a mid-paced, doom laden churn. It’s about an artifact created in the underworld the first time one human ever murdered another. Men can petition the dark gods to wield the Gravehammer in battle but their humanity will be forfeit. The souls of all those slain by the Gravehammer dwell eternally within it.
6) The Claw Is The Law is an epic. It starts with some tight riffing with the guitars and kick drums locked in together and then moves into some tasty chugging for the verses. It takes liberally from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos and has a great atmospheric interlude that represents Cthulhu dreaming. We gathered a bunch of our friends together (former Vore member John Volker, Steve Allington from Apnea, Mike Rodgers of Nailed To Eternity/Epitaph and Jason Lowery of Antarctichrist) to do a big group vocal for the chorus. They also did the “DOOM”s on “Doomwhore”.
7) Progeny Of The Leviathans – This track is probably the most melodious of the songs on the new album. Lyrically, it deals with the cyclical nature of history. It is about a great empire built by conquerors that has fallen into corruption. Their offspring rise up to reclaim what once was and destroy the world in the process.
8) Throne To The Wolves – We had previously recorded this song for a video we shot a couple of years ago and we re-recorded it for inclusion on this album. This version is a little faster than the one we did for the video. It’s has the classic Vore crunch vibe. The lyrics are a metaphor for the beast inside man who drives him to wage war.
9) Sacerdotum Tyrannis, the album closer, is latin for “tyranny of the priests”. It’s a faster paced track about “holy” men throughout history that have used spirituality as a conduit to manipulate and control people, much to the detriment of the human race.