When I heard Victor Griffin had started a new band, I was immediately electrified by the great news. Of course, it would have been interesting to see how Pentagram would have continued with him, in particular with regard to the successor of 'Last Rites'. And it would also have been a good thing to record the fifth album with Place Of Skulls. But I personally think that it is much more exciting to open up new paths instead of playing 'All Your Sins' until the end of days, if you know what I mean. Perhaps Victor Griffin felt the same way too, but whatever the reason, fact is that he teamed up with ex-Sixty Watt Shaman/Place Of Skulls drummer Pete Campbell in order to get new inspirations and fresh ideas. Out of this came IN-GRAVED which released their self-titled debut album (review here) at the end of March 2013 via Svart Records (Europe) and Veritas Vinyl (USA). As already successfully proven with the last two Place Of Skulls albums, IN-GRAVED shake off the confining 'doom metal' label to allow free play to creativity. The result is astonishing and will once again underline the fact that Victor Griffin is on top of his game. For more details about IN-GRAVED, please continue to read the following interview I did with Victor.
Hello Victor, since the last time we spoke, a lot has happened. I think, the most important thing at the moment is your new band IN-GRAVED. How did things lead to the decision for a new outfit?
After the last Skulls album, there were member changes again and I just didn’t want to deal with again. I went back to Pentagram basically as a favor to Bobby and with a hope that things would have changed, or at least that they were in the midst of positive changes. And they were for a while… but as we went into 2012, I began to feel I’d contributed all I could and any further time spent would be futile. So I fulfilled my touring commitments through last November and split. In the meantime, Pete Campbell and I had worked up new material and laid down the basic tracks. We weren’t sure where it would lead at the time but here we are with IN-GRAVED.
Despite the fact that Pentagram is going through their most commercially successful period in the moment, you left the band. What is the reason for that? Have you been limited in your creativity?
I’m sure it seems like a strange time to leave since like you said, it’s Pentagram’s most "successful" period. But it all has to do with your perspective on success. It’s impossible for me to paint a perfectly clear picture of every nuance of life on the road and in a band. And everything that goes along with that… your time and energy invested, your accountability to one another, the chemistry or lack thereof with each other, and the inspiration you hopefully would draw from all these elements. Sometimes you just get to that place where the inspiration is lacking and no matter the size of the venue, how many people you’re playing for, or how much money you’re making…you know you’re not in the place you’re supposed to be. So it wasn’t just one or two things…it was many. Creativity, purpose, convictions, different priorities, and so on.
What is the impact of IN-GRAVED on Place Of Skulls or, to put it in different words, did you close that chapter of your musical career?
There’s really no impact on Place of Skulls. I’ve pretty much closed that chapter, or at least put it aside. I can’t foresee any circumstance where I’d put it back together. But we’ll probably be re-issuing some of the back catalog on vinyl at some point. Who knows…
Let's talk about the upcoming self-titled debut album. I was surprised to see how many well-known bassists appear in the studio line-up. Why is that?
After Pete and I had the basic tracks down, we didn’t really have a solid plan. I knew I wanted keyboards on it for sure but we needed to get some bass on it first. So we invited all these great bass players and at the same time…it gives the recordings some extra personality. We figured in the meantime we’d figure out what to do for the touring line-up.