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Interviews

Gravehill - Mike Abominator

30/03/12  ||  Curt

Gravehill

Global Domination: First of all thank you for doing this interview with me. I know you’re a busy guy with all of the projects that you do. Would you tell the readers a bit about yourself for those unfamiliar with your work?

Mike Abominator: Hails to you Curt. Thank YOU for the interest. Busy is an understatement, but this is the metal life! Hahahah. I’m the motherfucking Grim Reaper. Some call me the Death Dealer. Most call me ASSHOLE! Hahaha. But I, Mike Abominator scream and growl for the death metal band Gravehill. In this band I deal in misanthropic diatribes, Armageddon vomits and pukes of pure terror. I also write for the great metal website Metal Maniacs. I try and cover the underground as best as I can and bring the maniacs new bands that I feel deserve some coverage, old bands that some have forgotten, and even more bands who some haven’t heard yet, that really need to.

How did you get involved in metal in the first place? What album or band turned you onto heavy metal and what eventually got you into listening to and then playing death metal?

From the womb, in the year 1974, I guess I really started kicking my mom’s stomach when my dad or brother would play Black Sabbath. That band was my first love – I really don’t remember that obviously! But, later on, I started raiding my dad and brother’s record collection. After my fascination with Black Sabbath, I then found Judas Priest and Kiss. As a young child, my mother would make me shut the fuck up when she would put on the songs “Black Sabbath”, “The Ripper” or “God of Thunder”. As time went on, my brother kept getting records and even 8 tracks. I got into all of that 70s stuff like Deep Purple , MC5, Blue Oyster Cult, Skynrd, Led Zep, Thin Lizzy, Scorpions, The Stooges, Rush, Foreigner, The Ramones and a bunch more. I even went back to the 60s stuff like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Hendrix, Cream, The Doors, Janis Joplin and more. I had a real passion for music, even as a real young child. I liked my toys and cartoons, but my family started to notice that I liked to do things based around music. I could chill out in my room and have music playing and be happy.

My brother was pretty passionate about music back then and just kept finding new and killer bands. The 70s stuff lead into the 80s and the NWOBHM stuff started showing up in his collection. So it was on to Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Motorhead, Venom and others. After that I was a fucking maniac for the next level of bands. The next wave of thrash came: Metallica, Slayer, Exodus and all of that. My brother hooked up with a woman who had a son (his name was Jonas) that was into all kinds of music. Like The Cramps, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Television, Talking Heads and many more. He was also the one that showed me hard core, punk and crossover stuff like Discharge, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains and then later Agnostic Front, Cryptic Slaughter, Wehrmacht and others.Jonas was the one that said “You think Slayer is fast? Wait till you hear D.R.I. Agnostic Front and Cryptic Slaughter!”. I was so lucky to have 3 key people show me the way of finding bands and getting really into music in my dad, my brother and then later on Jonas. This all lead to death metal and grindcore. It was the mid 80s and at that point I was an underground lunatic. I was still into stuff like Twisted Sister, old Def Leppard, Ratt, old Motley Crue and Dokken, but I was really getting into the faster and heavier stuff. My buddies and I met a crazy older metal head by the name of Viktor who got us all into the DEEP underground stuff and I started really getting into the tape and demo trading madness. There were land mark and legendary albums coming out by the likes of Razor, Sodom, Bathory, and so many more.

Once the real crazy stuff started making it’s way to the L.A. Underground like Death, master, Genocide, Massacre, Napalm Death, Merciless, Morbid Angel, Slaughter Lord, Necrovore and all of that, it became an obsession. I was hooked and it was a constant search for new bands that played the most extreme and killer music possible. Autopsy, Immolation, Obituary, Bolt Thrower and others started putting out their demos and albums. It was a death metal frenzy after that! Hahaha. Pungent Stench, Blasphemy, Crematory (Swe), Convulse, Dr. Shrinker, Interment, Mayhem and so many more bands started infecting my ears and imagination. That all lead to me just going to the next level and wanting to actually play the music that I loved. So I started jamming with bands and forming my own bands. Death metal will always be my first love. The pure classic form of course. This is the style that is rooted int he old days of 1983, all the way to the end of the classic era in 1993. DEATH FUCKING METAL ETERNAL!!!!

I used to read Metal Maniacs all of the time when I was a teenager-it was the reason I found out about many heavy bands! I would probably still be listening to Bon Jovi if it wasn’t for MM! How did you end up writing for Metal Maniacs? Is it a paid gig or something you do for fun?

Fuck yeah man, Metal Maniacs was killer back in the day. I was so used to just reading about death metal and grind bands in cut and paste fanzines, that it was insane seeing the bands that I grew up living on fancy full color paper and layouts! Metal Edge was the one that had the Bon Jovi. They would also have the usual Metallica coverage. Maybe even a short story on Testament! Hahaha. But Metal Maniacs covered the more extreme stuff and it was cool. Back then, it was also stuff like Power Metal Mag and Metal Forces out of the UK. Terrorizer came out a few years later. Metal Maniacs was the mag for the kids back then. It was the gateway for a lot of the kids and even adults to get into underground bands. Although I did enjoy MM and it was cool, I was already into the deep underground stuff at the time and still enjoyed my homemade fanzines! NOTHING will ever beat those!

The way I got into writing for MM was through the awesome artist Mark Riddick. Mark and I became friends when he was doing the art for our debut album “Rites of the Pentagram”. He mentioned that his twin brother Mike Riddick was in charge over at MM now and they were always looking for new writers/contributors. So, I got in contact with Mike and the rest is history. Mike let’s me do whatever I want and I never have to worry about deadlines, which is always nice. Shit man, I WISH it was a paid gig. My friends and family tell me that I should be getting paid for this stuff, but ya know, I don’t do ANY of this for money in the first place. I just have a love for it. So it is just for fun as of now. If anyone wants to pay me though, I wouldn’t cry! Hehehehe.

How do you find all of the bands that you promote on Metal Maniacs? You find some pretty obscure (but awesome) stuff. If it wasn’t for you, I would’ve missed out on some killer stuff!

I cover what I would enjoy listening to, or what I would actually buy and support. It’s pretty easy actually. I guess I have part of that passion from when I was a kid, or maybe still ALL of it! Hahaha. I love the old days and the old bands, trust me! But I also feel that the new days and some of the new bands are awesome too! So I’m always on a constant hunt for the next band that will kick me in the ass! I used to comb the thank lists of the bands that I love for new bands that i had never heard of. Or I would see what shirts the guys had on, in the bands that I liked! I know, what a fucking nerd huh? Hahaha. And then of course, through tape and fanzine trading, and getting mail sent back and forth, you would always get flyers. Now it’s just searching online. Going through the various sites and checking stuff out. Record labels that I like tend to put out good stuff on a regular basis. I will check out other bands from the country. It’s actually very easy! You just have to know where to look! Hehehe. I can’t share all of my secrets though, I would have to kill ya! ;> I’m happy to see and hear that maniacs like you are finding out about these bands Curt. THAT’s why I do it! It’s like a passing of the torch! Music is meant to be shared.

Are you able to do music related things (Gravehill, MM and promo for other bands) for a living or do you hold down a day job?

Shit man, again, I WISH I was making money off of it.For the last few years, Gravehill has thrown so much money into this band, it’s actually ridiculous. But we are getting to the point what we can actually break even, and not have to spend money. We are trying to move towards the point to where we are making money, but who knows if that will ever happen. The money we make goes directly back into the band anyways, for recordings, merchandise and what not. But doing this band is what we love and it is our passion. It takes us away from our boring existence and being a part of the “society machine”. All 5 of us have day jobs, even night jobs for me since I work 2nd shift at times. And we have to work weekends at times. But we seem to try and balance everything that we can, as best as possible. At times, bosses can be pains in the asses, co-workers can fuck things up for us schedule wise and our paces of work can be demanding in ways that get in the way of the band but we continue this death machine regardless of all those fuck faces!

“When All Roads Lead to Hell” was killer! How has the reception to it been overall?

Hails for the words, man! I think the reception has been cool. It is like either people get it or they don’t. Some think we are boring or overrated. Some love us. At the end of the day, we do what we do. If people like it, cool! If not, we will keep doing it. But I think that people really seemed to like the album.

Gravehill, despite being loaded with satanic imagery doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. Is the satanism a homage to the olden days of heavy metal with tongue planted firmly in cheek, or are you guys really into the dark side?

A bloody mess You know what? We take what we do VERY seriously. I know some might laugh at that, but we really do. We become different people when we get in that “killing” mode. The spikes, leather and blood seem over the top and cheesy to some, but fi we really cared what people thought then we wouldn’t still be doing it, would we? But like those who came before us, we have FUN with it and with what we do! THAT is the difference. Why be so fucking serious all of the time? All of the greats before us had a fucking blast up there! So we do as well because we love them! We want to put on a killer show for the maniacs who come down, that is all. As far as satanism and what not, I have respect for satanism, but I do not practice it myself. I have friends that do, but I follow my own path. I think all of the members of Gravehill have a total hatred and disrespect of the BAD parts of man made religion and false faith. Like with out Illuminati design, the Freemason design, we are saying FUCK ALL RELIGIONS! We think for ourselves, we aren’t part of the flock of sheep. We are wolves.

As far as the homage to the early days, FUCK YEAH! Kiss, Pries, Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Venom! And later Bathory, Death, Possessed, Dismember, some of the killer black metal bands later on, they all looked fucking KILLER and made you go “WHOA!” So we want to bring back that feeling. I myself have studied all kinds of theology and religions, even taken classes in college on the subject. We are all into history, especially the dark side. So the dark arts are a big part of our lives. We are extreme people after all, you have to be to be into underground metal. But we don’t sit around all day in the dark with only candles lit, listening to our Nihilist demos, sacrificing virgins and babies, drinking blood and killing people. Well, OK, we like to kill virgins and babies, but only after we fuck the virgins and eat the babies. Mmmm…

What would you say to someone who says that the style of music that you play is a bad influence on their kids? I’ve been listening to this stuff since I was 12 and I never turned into a devil worshiping psychopath!

It’s always easy for these shitty parents to blame others for not being able to raise or control their kids. I have been listening to this music for a long time myself and I can function in society half-way decent! Hahaha. I know plenty of kids that also now listen to this music and they are fine. As a matter of fact they are BETTER people than most of the other morons in society these days. Have you seen the fucks that watch all of that reality TV shit and listen to the likes of Lady Gaga and T-Pain in the ass of whatever Beiber, Little Wayne or Daughtry dumb fuck YouTube sensation is diseasing us with their mainstream garbage.

People get so wrapped up in following what society tells them and breeding like the sheep that they are and making sure that the drive thru at Starbucks is not too long so they can get to the soccer game and gossip about how Jimmy’s dad likes tranny porn, and Susie’s mom is blowing the coach (why else would she be playing goalie?) that they forget about the simple things when it comes to their kids. So the kid starts drinking and stealing drugs from the medicine cabinet. There are signs all over the place warning the parents about the little monster about to come out, but once Jimmy goes on a shooting spree, let’s blame Gravehill because we found a Gravehill CD in his player, or on his iPod. If anything, I think metal and extreme music in general HELPS kids cope with the everyday shit that they have to deal with in their lives. Pointing fingers is easy for weak minds. I don’t do this to influence anyone. I’M NOT A ROLE MODEL. The PARENTS should be, and if they were then they wouldn’t have to worry about ME or Gravehill.

Do you ever get shit from MM for covering the obscure stuff that you do? Do you ever think that they’d rather you write about Slipknot or Children of Bodom instead?

Hahaha, nah, thankfully like I mentioned above, Mike lets me do what I want. He did mention that at times there would be some mainstream stuff covered, and it might be considered lame to me, but he has to do what he has to do to cover the bills and keep it running, it is a business after all. I’m just a contributor. From the start I told him my plans and concepts and he has been 100% into what I do. He is actually an underground maniac himself. Both Mike and Mark are! They are both old school underground metal maniacs, so it’s cool being a part of this family. Some of the stuff that gets covered makes me cringe, ESPECIALLY what that Natalie Perez covers on the site. Some of the other writers like to cover the more mainstream stuff and that’s fine. This is a metal website that has MANY different types of fans. What I do is cover the stuff for the underground freaks LIKE ME! Hahaha.

I like what some of the other writers cover like Janet Willis and Brian Krassman. We have had some killer writers recently like Cosmo Lee and Kim Kelley. I’m just kind of continuing what the greats did before me with my writing. I grew up on Metallion, Mark Sawickis/Uniforce Mag (also of Impetigo!), Doc Schaus/Final Holocaust Zine, Theiry/Septicore Mag, Brian/Chainsaw Abortions and many, MANY others who had fanzines back in the day. I just want to continue that type of thing, just online. THOSE maniacs did so much to break bands into the underground. The credibility that a band could get from just being featured those zines was HUGE! So whatever I can do to help expose some of these killer bands, I will do it.

What’s your: A. Top 10 overall metal albums of all time.
B. Top 10 underground metal albums of all time.
C. Top 10 death metal albums of all time.

This is a hard one obviously, but off the top of my head I will make the picks.

A. Overall metal= (HAIL TO ENGLAND!) 1. Venom: Welcome to Hell, 2. Iron Maiden: Killers, 3. Bathory: Bathory. 4. Judas Priest: Sad Wings of Destiny, 5. Mercyful Fate: Don’t Break the Oath, 6. Black Sabbath: Volume 4, 7. Sodom: In the Sign of Evil, 8. Slayer: Show No Mercy, 9. Metallica: Kill ‘em All, 10. Kreator: Pleasure to Kill.

B. Underground Metal: 1. Slaughter: Strappado, 2. Merciless: The Awakening, 3. Pagan Altar: Volume 1, 4. Miasma: Changes, 5. Blasphemy: Fallen Angel of Doom, 6. Nifelheim: Servants of Darkness, 7. Razor: Evil Invaders, 8 Massacra: The Final Holocaust 9. NME: Unholy Death, 10. Bestial Mockery: Evoke teh Desecrator.

C. Death Metal: 1. Autopsy-Severed Survival, 2. Repulsion: Horrified, 3. Death: Scream Bloody Gore, 4. Bolt Thrower: Realm of Chaos, 5. Entombed: Left Hand Path, 6. Morbid Angel: Altars of Madness, 7. Possessed: Seven Churches, 8. Cianide: Divide and Conquer, 9. Dismember: Like an Everflowing Stream, 10. Carcass: Symphonies of Sickness.

How did you feel about the news that Sabbath was recording a new album? Stoked? Or are you worried that they’re going to release something worse than “Never Say Die”?

I don’t really dig it man. Fucking Ozzy is washed up and he is his wife’s money making puppet now. Have you seen those commercials that they do for shit now, he looks like a drugged out old tranny now! He was one of my heroes growing up. His newer music is fucking SAD! Either with Zack Wylde or with whatever other all star line up of wankers they will put together for him. Sometimes people, will ask me, “DUDE! DID YOU HEAR GUS G. IS PLAYING WITH OZZY NOW? And I’m like “Who the fuck is Gus G.?” Hahahaha, so I guess I’m out of touch with the mainstream metal stuff and I aim to keep it that way.

The way that they were fucking with Bill Ward was also fucked. If you are going to do a full reunion then do it with the original 4! And pay him fairly. Sorry, but we aren’t going to see Ozzy strutter his way through those new bullshit songs. We want the 4 up there and playing the classics. But even then, the last time I saw Sabbath with the 4 they got blown off the stage by Iron Maiden. And even before that, they got upstaged by Rob Zombie, and I’m not even a Rob Zombie fan at all. But both him and Maiden were more powerful, better stage show, better performance, better everything! And this was years ago. These guys have gotten older. Now Tony and Geezer proved that they still had it with that Heaven & Hell album and tour. But that was with Ronnie up there. It’s not hard to sound killer when your singer is Dio. So this is just a bad idea. Just stop playing guys. Don’t become the Rolling Stones of heavy metal!

What’s the future plans for Gravehill?

We will just keep making this death noise until it leaves our dark hearts. Bad news for the posers, because we haven’t stopped yet. We are lifers! Hahahaha. But we just want to continue to get out there to more and more people. Play as many killer gigs as possible and put out some quality releases. We plan on doing some splits coming up. We hope to become the Agathocles of Death metal! Hahaha. No way we could ever do that, but we do plan on having some splits come out with some very cool bands that we are good friends with in 2012 and 2013. The next album will also be worked on this year. We really want to get out to Europe and Mexico. And at some point Japan and Australia. We have developed quite a following in Malaysia and Singapore. But I’m not sure about Gravehill getting out there any time soon. Plus we just got our prescriptions for metal Viagra, so we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon motherfuckers! Hahahaha.

What’s the best tour experience you’ve had?

I can recall a few actually. But my top 3 would have to be the following: Maryland Death Fest was quite an experience! We played on a Sunday and not only were we burnt out and we played early in the heat, it was also the hottest day of the weekend. But NO excuses! We thought maybe everyone would be inside in the air conditioning, plus Dead Congregation was set to play RIGHT after our set, and I know a lot of people were excited to see them. Well, to our fucking surprise it was packed the whole fucking time for us, outside in that heat! What a killer feeling to be able to look out into that sea of people and suffer along with them in that suffocating heat! Bahahaha. Many hails to those maniacs! It worked out great!

The 2nd best experience or maybe even #1a would be in San Antonio in late Feb 2010. Our pals Hod had brought us out to Texas to play some shows. Basically 3 shows over the weekend. Friday night was in San Antonio at the 10/11 bar. It was our very first Texas gig. All fucking hell broke loose once we started to play. Beer Reebs, the singer of Hod challenged the manhood of Gravehill and asked us “are you Californian’s ready to drink?!?!? Hahahaha, so OBVIOUSLY this act of aggression would NOT stand and we drank a whole bottle of whiskey with him and tons of Texas beers. I was pretty wasted by the time we played, hahaha, but it added to the whole atmosphere. It got so crazy that the PA fell over on me and went out during one of our songs. I just kept screaming into a dead mica and the crowd just got crazier and crazier. There were fights, including 2 chick fights! It was INSANE! We will never forget that fucking show!

But the best show for me is still our 2008 tour of the mid west with Cardiac Arrest. The first show was in Dekalb, Illinois and it was also on Halloween. The show itself was at a band rehearsal place. In a medium sized rehearsal room. It wasn’t very big. At first there was hardly anyone there. And then people started showing up. But they weren’t really metal heads, they were dressed up in costumes and it was a regular, almost high school type crowd. But when it became our time to play there was a buzz in the air. The bands that played before us were all different, including some sort of hip hop DJ and an alternative music/indie rock type band. So Gravehill coming up dressed in leather/spikes/blood was a shocking site to these folks. EVEN on Halloween! Hahaha. The room was packed and everyone was nice and drunk. We started our first song and there was almost this “calm before the storm” feeling for a few seconds. Then a kid jumped off the bar and onto the crowd up front and it was fucking ON! It was the craziest fucking crowd that we have ever had. It might be one of the craziest crowds that I have ever seen. They all just went APESHIT nuts! It was FUCKING AWESOME! I had to keep pushing people back away from the drums and cabs. Bodybag got knocked into his cab. We spit TONS of blood all over the place. Kids were jumping ON to me, on my spikes and bullet belts. TOTAL INSANITY! BUT TOTALLY AWESOME!

Any advice for someone wanting to start a band or trying to start a career in one?

DON’T! Hahahahaha. Seriously, it’s hard work. You need to pay your dues. Don’t believe the hype either. If everyone keeps telling you how good you are, just keep working at trying to get BETTER. Don’t get lazy once you achieve some success keep moving forward! It is rough at times, trying to deal with people and personalities. And going out on the road often either brings out the worst, or the best in people. It will separate the babies from the adults. Don’t EVER think that you will make money off of this. It is POSSIBLE but you have to be in the right place at the right time. And that timing ALWAYS decides the fate of bands. Don’t EVER burn bridges! Keep your connections close, the positive ones! If you get ripped off, drop it and move on. NEVER work with that person again. This isn’t a job but treat it like one. TRY and be as professional as possible. But HAVE FUCKING FUN!

The trade off for all of this is pretty fucking cool. Getting your craft out there to the masses is a feeling like no other. You are carrying the torch and the tradition of those before you, so don’t be a dick and blow it! Follow your heart and make sure everything that you do is 100% Don’t half ass anything! If you do, STOP THAT SHIT! And wait until you can do it 100%. Don’t be a wuss bag. If people quit and bad shit happens on the road, DEAL WITH IT an make it work! Don’t fuck over the people that PAY to see you and support what you do! GIVE THEM 10000000%, they are teh erason that you can CONTINUE to do what you do. But make sure that you are doing this FOR YOU!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you so much Curt, for the interview. Hails to the woldwide HORDE OF DEATH! GRAVEHILL HONORS THEE! Keep an eye out for the next CARDIAC ARREST album! OH YES! IT IS COMING!