Here is a new interview with Portugal’s long running death metal band Grog who also have some grind elements within their music. If you are a fan of well written and performed old-school brutal death then be sure to check out Grog’s newest release today.
1. Hello Pedra please introduce yourself to the readers and at what age did you discover metal music?
Hi Patrick, first up thanks a lot for giving us the chance to promote Grog and our new album “Ablutionary Rituals”. I am the band vocalist since its origin and we started in 1991 so it has been a long ride till today. We are from Portugal and play what you could say death grind. My path into metal begun 31 years ago, yes I am that old, so I was a teenager with 16 years old eager to discover the music of my life.
2. Who were some of the first bands you listened to and who are some of your current favorite bands?
Well I started with some hard rock bands back then like AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Ratt, Europe, Motley Crue but with time I went on discovering Iron Maiden, Wasp and Motorhead for example. In the 80’s we had a lot of metal radio shows so as I discovered then I begun listening speed, thrash, black, grindcore and death metal bands form that time. Many of them still currently exist so it’s easy for me to say that I went down to the bottom of almost everything heavy metal had to offer. Nowadays I still love to hear the classics from that time like Immolation, Suffocation, Napalm Death, Autopsy, Agathocles, Deranged, Sinister, Avulsed but also new bands like Benighted, Unfathomable Ruination, Defeated Sanity, Wormed and so on…
3. Grog was formed back in 1991 what gave you all the idea to start this band? What is the current line up of the band?
The idea came from a group of friends that were also into metal and punk actually. There’s always that time that you want to learn how to play and create your own music I guess so we talked and decided to try our shot at doing our own musical vision. I never thought I would be involved in it to be honest but here I am after 26 years as the only active founding member. The current line-up is pretty solid since many years and along with me we have Ivo on guitar, Rolando playing drums and Alex filling the bass.
4. How would you say Grog’s music has changed over the years and who are some of the bands that influenced Grog’s sound?
When we started we were more into grindcore but then we begun to include death metal influences and from that moment till the present we still do it. We try to evolve and reach new ideas and levels of intensity within our sound every time we work on a new release. This is what motivates us to keep on going since we don’t want to sound the same every time we release a new record. The first two albums we released have different line ups so naturally they sound different. There a lot of ideas that belong to the previous members that define the style of music we did. After those releases we managed to stabilize the line up and begun to grow more as a collective and each time we work in new ideas we try to surpass the previous ones never the less we are able to sound like Grog and have our own identity as a band. The influences are obvious I think since death metal and grindcore have their icons very well defined still we aren’t interested on copy then but instead creating our own music so if you wanna relate us with the bands I spoke before it’s ok for us.
5. Grog is getting ready to release their fourth full-length “Ablutionary Rituals” how long did it take the band to write the music for the new songs? Does the whole band work on the music or does one member usually write everything?
The new album took us 4 years to write and we work as team though the songs are brought mostly by Ivo and Alex. When the ideas are presented to the rest of the band myself and Rolando give our contribution and then we decide if it’s a clean go or if we improve or remove what doesn’t make sense.
6. Who usually takes care of writing the lyrics and what are some topics you all wrote about on the new release?
I handle all lyrics in the band since ever. The new album reaches a new approach on the theme we always explored which is the dark side of the human mind. The main difference within “Ablutionary Rituals” was that we begun to focus on the personal aspects related with the human shadow instead of dwelling on the external deviations and sickness/gore of the behavior itself. On this record we try to explain the origin of human darkness, why does it exists, what influences have for us and what are the possible lessons that we can take from its presence in our soul, body and ethereal dimensions.
7. Besides the new release “Ablutionary Rituals” are any of the bands past releases still available for the readers to buy? Besides the releases does the band have any other merchandise available and if yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
We have all our releases available for digital download at our bandcamp but the older ones are if not almost sold out. Concerning merch we have new items available for the new album. I advise all to check us up at our bandcamp and facebook pages to get more information. I leave you the addresses grogpt.bandcamp.com/ and facebook.com/grogpt/.
8. As mentioned Grog has been active in the scene since the early 90’s what have been the bands most memorable shows over the years and who have been some of the bands you have shared the stage with?
Quiet difficult to answer that one you know since all gigs are different and have their own kind of magic. Also as you can image we played a great amount of shows since we started so I consider all shows important even the one that weren’t so great at the end. We played with almost Portuguese bands like Decayed, Holocausto Canibal, Analepsy, Raw Decimating Brutality and so on like we also shared stage with Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Broken Hope, Disgorge, Suffocation, Avulsed, Sinister, Dead Infection, Benighted for instance.
9. Are their any upcoming shows or tours in support of the new release? If yes where will the band be playing?
We are booking some shows mainly for Portugal and we also have a gig in Austria this year.
10. Pedra you and the band have been active in the underground since the early 90’s were you ever into tape-trading back then?
Sure I did a lot of tape trading back in the days and I still keep all letters with me. It’s like the 80’s/90’s underground milestone and I have the most special memories from those days when you had to handwrite every single letter you received. I knew a lot of people and bands that way and also the feeling of receiving mail at home was tremendously exciting.
11. Besides tape trading did you read a lot of fanzines back in the day what were some of your favorite fanzines to read? In your eyes what made a good fanzine?
I was a teen back then so there wasn’t much income to buy zines but we shared a lot information between friends and along that came the fanzines especially Portuguese ones. For a young kid finding new bands was enough so all fanzines mattered because I would devour them letter by letter.
12. Grog comes out of Portugal’s death metal scene what is your opinion of the metal scene in Portugal over the years?
We have evolved a lot. Today we have a healthy scene in all genres and I should say that Portuguese bands aren’t inferior to the rest of bands in the world.
13. Who are your all time favorite bands from Portugal? And are their any new bands coming out of Portugal that you feel the readers should check out soon?
Decayed, Evisceration, Desire, Thormenthor, Namek, Sacred Sin for example on the oldschool side. New ones I should recomend Switchtense, Vai-te Foder, Analepsy, Grunt…
14. Besides bands are their any honest and reliable labels or distro’s you can recommend to the readers?
Yes, absolutely, we have Helldprod Records, Altare Productions, Raging Planet, Chaosphere Records, Signal Rex, Caverna Abismal, Vomit Your Shirt, Larvae Productions, Lusitania, Rastilho among others.
15. What does underground metal mean to you?
Underground is not being mainstream, this is the easiest way to explain it. Underground has a lot of DIY attitude and fuck the rest although you can find also some examples in major music industry but in a completely different approach.
16. When not working on new music or band business what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Play with my kid, to rest, being with friends, going to shows…
17. Thank you Pedra for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers before we end this interview?