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Wednesday 31 July 2019

The Spotlight: BOA Interview With Grief Ritual (Paul H)

Grief Ritual’s EP Life Is A Phase hit the right spot with our reviewer Mark back in April when he awarded it an impressive 8/10. Vocalist Jamie took the contestant’s chair as I played Magnus Magnusson.

Paul: Let’s start with a brief history of the band

Jamie: We formed in the latter part of 2018 and played our first show soon afterwards in September of that same year at Underground Festival at Gloucester Guildhall, which also featured Black Peaks, Loathe and Modern Error. In December 2018 we released our debut EP Life is a Phase and we've since been playing as many shows as possible to support its release.

Paul: Who is the current line up?

Jamie: James (drums), Mart (guitar), Silas (bass) and Jamie (vocals)

Paul: How would you describe the band’s sound and influences

Jamie: We consider ourselves to sit somewhere within the genres of blackened hardcore / post-metal so I guess you could say we're a bit crossover in that respect. We have what's been described as a crushingly heavy sound live and there's an interesting (at least to us) mixture of heavy hardcore and bits of modern metalcore plus elements of grim post-metal, black metal and savage grindcore to our sound. We've got a lot of different influences and each member definitely brings something to the table when it comes to that but as a whole, we really enjoy bands like Behemoth, Conjurer, Cult Leader, Cursed, Deafheaven, End, Full of Hell, Gojira, Harms Way and Leeched.

Paul: Prior to Bloodstock, what are some of the highlights for the band so far?

Jamie: Our debut EP Life Is A Phase was put out on cassette by the excellent Cardiff-based DIY label FHED in March of this year. Pop over to - https://fhed.bandcamp.com/album/life-is-a-phase – to grab yourself a copy and support this great label. Alongside that we've only really been actively playing shows since January of this year but have been delighted to be able to support bands we really enjoy such as; Bun Dem Out, Who Cares?, Cruelty, Revolve, Climate of Fear, Loathe, Lotus Eater, Ithaca, Monolithian and Watchcries. We've also got shows supporting Black Tongue (in Bristol) and Kingpin (in Sheffield) coming up as well as a weekender with Heriot in September and next year we'll be appearing at Dreadfest. It's really great to be able to see and meet all these great bands and visit new places to play to new audiences. We also had the pleasure of recording our second EP (due for release later this year) with Joe Clayton (Pijn / Leeched / Curse These Metal Hands) at No Studio, Manchester, recently and we can't wait to show everybody the new release.

Paul: Let’s move on to Bloodstock and your road to the festival. Please tell us about your journey

Jamie: Cheltenham hasn't ever had any M2TM shows before so when the opportunity to take part arose, we jumped at the chance. Bloodstock is such a great festival and gives so many opportunities to bands so with us being somewhat of a new band it seemed a great testing ground for our material. We entered the competition with the hope that we'd be able to at least make the final, if not win it (as you have to have that hope and belief), and although the competition was extremely strong we were absolutely delighted to make it all the way through.

Paul: We know from our friends in bands that getting to the M2TM final is a great feeling. Tell us about the build up to your final and how you handled it

Jamie: It was a big deal for us, and certainly the biggest, if not one of the biggest shows we'd ever played up to that point. We were also fortunate in that the final was held at a venue – The Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham - that we all know very well, and that we'd be playing to a good amount of people we knew would support us, as well as some who may have never heard of us before, so that definitely gave us a lot of confidence going in the final.

Added to that, we work harder practicing than any band I've ever been in previously and have been busy playing as many shows as possible this year. All that meant that leading up to the actual day we felt well prepared and that if we played as well as we knew we could that we'd be alright. It certainly helped alleviate any nerves that we'd had by being able to prepare so thoroughly and once we were on stage and in full flow everything just seemed to go into overdrive. The final itself was one of the best shows I've ever been fortunate enough to be a part of.

Paul: What about when you were announced as winners? What were the emotions like?

Jamie: Definitely shock and then absolute elation. I feel proud to be able to be in a band with friends and to have managed to achieve something as great as getting the chance to play Bloodstock Festival within our first year of being a band.
Paul: So, moving on to the festival itself, what can we expect from you?

Jamie: Blackened crushing heaviness and riffs that will be hard not to bang your head to. We feel that we’ve got a sound that’s got something for everyone who enjoys their music on the heavy dynamic side so we can’t wait to get on stage and show people, who may not have heard us before, what we’re about.
Paul: Which bands are you looking forward to seeing there?

Jamie: There's so much quality in the line-up but definitely for us the highlights are Parkway Drive, Cradle of Filth, Thy Art is Murder, Children of Bodom, Raging Speedhorn, Cancer Bats, Lotus Eater and Soilwork. We're also looking forward to seeing our friends in the The Hope Burden, who are also playing the New Blood Stage this year.

Paul: Have you been to Bloodstock before?

Jamie: No, this will be the first time for all of us.

Many thanks to Jamie for his honest and full answers. Plenty of background information for you there. Catch Grief Ritual destroying the New Blood Stage on Saturday 10th August


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