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Despite the presence of Robert Lowe on vocals, Grief Collector's DIY debut album launch went almost unnoticed. Band co-founder Brad fills in some more detail about it to Comrade Aleks.

Interview with Grief Collector.
"It's strange that the release of Grief Collector's debut 'From Dissension To Avowal' went almost unnoticed. The fact that it was an enitrely DIY self-production could explain that, but given that this album presents excellent classic Doom with Robert Lowe on vocals makes me wonder how any band without a label and high-level promotion can reach anything in this world nowadays. We are here to fix that. I've started by mentioning Robert Lowe, but Grief Collector was originally founded by Brad Miller of Among The Serpents and Matt Johnson from Sign Of Reign. Brad is here to tell the band's story."

Grief Collector: Brad Miller (drums), Matt Johnson (guitars, bass), Robert Lowe (vocals).

Hello Brad! Thanks for your time, it's much appreciated! Grief Collector was founded in 2017, and this year you've released your first full-length album. It seems you were very motivated and worked fast. Were you so focused from the start working on the first songs?

The process was actually very long. We went in spurts of being very productive, then there were months of not writing at all. But once all the songs were finally written, the recording process went fairly quickly.

How long did you know each other before Grief Collector?

Matt and I have known each other for 15 years or so. Although we had played together on numerous occasions, we never actually had a band or even recorded together. And we had never met Robert in person until he arrived in Minnesota to record the album in January 2019.

How did you manage to find him and lure him into Grief Collector, then?

It sounds so ridiculous, but one day I realized that I was friends with Robert on Facebook. So I thought, what the hell? I messaged him asking if he would be interested in singing on our album. I sent him the tracks, and about a week later he responded saying "I'm in". And the rest is Doom history.

The band performs traditional Doom metal, and the power trio format isn't common for this genre. Didn't you want to invite extra members to join the band?

Nothing about this band is very common, haha. This band started out as just a recording project initially. But yes, we have a bassist and second guitarist for touring and live shows.

Founding line-up: Matt and Brad.

Actually I was going to ask this I see no information concerning Grief Collector's live activities. What about performing your songs live?

We have a few show options and offers for 2020. We will be recording the new album in late 2019 - early 2020. Then we hope to do a tour for that.

Brad, you played in Sludge/Doom band Among the Serpents and groove band Opaque, Matt is in Prog Power outfit Signs Of Reign, and Robert's background is well known. How did you manage to avoid using Sludge and Prog influences in Grief Collector?

In all honesty, we don't write with any real restrictions. I think Epic Doom metal is very prog feeling. And classic Doom has elements of sludge in it. So it's really just about being creative and being true to ourselves.

What do you mean with classic Doom having elements of Sludge in it?

I mean Candlemass, Trouble, Pentagram and (obviously) Black Sabbath, have elements of heavy straight forward sludgy riffs. Sludge is really just a heavier version of Doom riffs in my opinion.

How did you compose this material? Do you have a chief songwriter in the band?

Matt and I write the music as of right now. And I write all the lyrics. Robert comes up with the vocal melodies and reworks my words when needed. It really is a team effort in the studio.

Grief Collector - 'Eyes Of Fog' (2019):

It was pointed out from the start that 'From Dissension To Avowal' is a concept album that reflects the five stages of experiencing "grief": Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. That's quite unusual because Doom usually deals with consequences, rather than reasons. Was this concept born before the music?

The concept of the album really goes hand in hand with the band name and reason it was formed. It was written with the intent of taking the listener from Denial to Acceptance. And experiencing the journey.

Do you see this "act" as a sort of Doom metal cornerstone?

Putting out a concept album as a first release is definitely not a common thing these days. But we wrote it with intent and for a specific outcome, which I think we've achieved that.

I suppose you could find some big label to release the album just using the tag "Robert Lowe's new band": instead of this you took the decision to record and release the album DIY. Why did you choose to work this way?

Well, the album was written before we even thought about contacting Robert. And we did absolutely everything ourselves. In hindsight, shopping it around for a label probably would have been a good idea. But we have no regrets on our decision.

Do you feel it was the right decision to promote the band on your own? Did labels or promoters get in touch with you after the album's release?

We had a few interests, and we still do actually. There are a lot of possibilities in the near future that we are considering.

Brad, you are responsible for the texts in the band, do you have a concept for the next album?

The next album will not have one topic like the debut album did. I currently have 7 songs written lyrically for the new album. The new lyrics range from the war that your mind can create against itself, to the haunting of your past. With a few classic Doom themes as well. I guess everyone will have to listen to find out for themselves when it comes out. Hahahahaha

As you're already working on new songs, how many do you have now? Do you want to experiment a bit with your sound?

We currently have 8 new songs for the next album. And yes, the new songs are very different than previous songs we've done. But they still have the familiarity of what Grief Collector has created on our first album.

What kind of differences do you mean? By the way, do you plan to record it with Robert again?

Robert is a permanent member of Grief Collector. This is not a side project for him. The new songs feature more diversity, multiple themes lyrically and much more expansion of our musical abilities.

Are you going to release Grief Collector's next album on your own again, or do you have a label behind you?

We have some interests, but we haven't decided what we will be doing as of yet. Time will tell.

Brad, as you played in Sludge bands, maybe you have a suggestion why sludgy stuff seems to be more popular in USA than Traditional Doom metal? Is it a kind of national feature?

I wish I knew. I'm a huge fan of clean vocals for Doom metal. And I think that trend has died out. The sludge stuff is so heavy and very relatable to everyone that likes all styles of metal. So it's really a win win.

Thank you for the interview Brad! Would you like to add a few more words? Did we miss anything?

Check us out on Bandcamp and Facebook. We have some new merchandise coming soon. So keep checking back for updates. We wanna thank everyone for their support and kind words.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Grief Collector bandpage.

Interviewed on 2019-11-23 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Aesthetic Death
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