|Insiders will know that there is a certain connection between the band Antichrist and Witchgrave. However, drummer Sven does not think it's fair to call Witchgrave a mere side project of Antichrist: "No, Witchgrave shouldn't really be seen as a side project of Antichrist. Jocke, who started Witchgrave, is not a member of Antichrist and has never been. Back in the beginning he played everything himself and he wrote everything himself. When it comes to musical inspiration I guess there is a lot of bands that have influenced both Antichrist and Witchgrave such as Mot__rhead, Venom, Bulldozer, Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and so on. Both bands are influenced by heavy metal and early speed metal but the difference is that while Witchgrave is influenced by a lot of punk, Antichrist is not so much and while Antichrist is influenced by a lot of thrash metal, Witchgrave is not so much influenced by thrash metal." Which brings us to the history of Witchgrave: "As I said before it all started with Jocke sitting at home playing some guitar (probably while listening to Venom and drinking beer) and he ended up writing some songs. This was sometime in 2008. He asked me to join the band and I gladly accepted the offer. Then, in 2009, we recorded four songs which soon will be released on High Roller as a mini album. After this Gabbe joined the band as a full time member. He had already done some guitar solos on the recording of 'The Devil's Night' and since we all play together in Eviscerated we knew each other from before and we knew that Gabbe would fit great in the band. Anyway, Gabbe joined the band and we started to write new songs which will be featured on a full-length. We will record it sometime later this year."
As mentioned before, "The Devil's Night" is the title of Witchgrave's debut mini album for High Roller: "Well, like I said before we recorded the songs sometime in 2009 (don't know exactly when) and then we got in contact with a label called Problem Child Records. They wanted to realese a Mini-LP with our new songs and we accepted the offer. But then Melle at High Roller Records heard the songs and he really liked them so he asked us if High Roller Records could release it. At this point nobody really knew what would happen and who would release the Mini-LP but in the end releasing it on High Roller Records turned out to be the best thing for all parties involved, including PCR. That is why High Roller Records will release 'The Devil's Night'. The songs on the album were recorded in our rehearsal place with a simple portable studio but the sound turned out great! Jocke recorded and mixed everything himself but we got some help from a friend called David with the mastering. The mini album will consist of four songs all written by Jocke. The lyrics are written by both Jocke and me and they mostly deal with the occult, black magic and other dreadful things. Besides being inspired by a lot of good music we are also very much inspired by old horror movies. Mostly from the 70's but also from the 60's and 80's."
Somebody once described to me that Witchgrave sounds like Mercyful Fate with Cronos on vocals. Does Sven think that is a fair description? He answers: "Hehe, I don't know about that but we will take it as a compliment since both bands are amazing. Personally I think we are much closer to Venom than to Mercyful Fate though, not only when it comes to the vocals but also the music in it self. Maybe if you mix Venom and Mercyful Fate it would sound something like Witchgrave We've got the speed and rawness from Venom and some melody from Mercyful Fate but I don't want to compare us with them since they are way out of our league." Sven, by the way, has appeared at last year's Muskelrock festival, but not with Witchgrave: "Antichrist and Eviscerated played at Muskelrock last year and let me tell everyone who wasn't there that it is the best festival I know of. Anyway, Witchgrave did not play and to this point we haven't done a single gig. This is mostly because it was only me and Jocke for a long time and we saw it more like a project while we spend most of our time on other bands. We still spend a lot of time on other bands but Witchgrave have become more important and I think the reason for this is all the positive things we have heard from people who have listened to the new songs. That's why we decided to get a new member (Tobbe) who will play one of the guitars live. We will see if he in the future will become more than just a live member but that's something we have not discussed."
Witchgrave stem from V__xj__, the same city the mighty Bullet come from. So it seems to be a good breeding place for Metal bands. Sven does not think so entirely: "I wouldn't say the scene is very big here in V__xj__ (where is it huh?) but I think there is an unusual big amount of people living here that listen to Metal. Considering it's a small town (only 60,000 inhabitants) that is. Some bands besides Antichrist and Witchgrave are Eviscerated and Bullet. Eviscerated is another band that all three members of Witchgrave are in. Eviscerated have only released one demo (in 2006 I think it was) so far and things have been a little so so for some time but the band is still alive and we will record and release some stuff in 2010. Eviscerated plays dirty yet haunting death metal like they did in the late 80's. Bullet is a heavy metal band inspired by heavy metal music from the 70's and 80's and bands like Judas Priest, AC/DC, Accept and so on. I'm sure a lot of people who read this already know of them since they are popular both in Sweden and Germany among people who like classic heavy metal. Besides those bands there aren't really that many bands that play the kind of Metal I like."
We have already briefly touched upon Witchgrave's musical influences. But Sven cites more bands: "Hmm, there are many bands that we are influenced by to make us sound like we do but I can mention a few. Of course there is Venom and Mercyful Fate which are two bands that really matter a lot to us! Then we have a whole lot of bands from the N.W.O.B.H.M. era like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Angel Witch, Holocaust, Traitors Gate and so on. And besides that there loads of other bands like Bulldozer, Bathory, Sarcofago, Misfits, Motorhead, Black Uniforms, Hellhammer and many, many more! And don't forget that good horror movies always have played a big part in all our bands!"