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Germany's Naevus released one album in the '90s, spent over a decade disbanded, then reformed with the original line-up. 2016's sophomore 'Heavy Burden' was one of Comrade Aleks' favourites of the year, so he wanted to have a chat with the band.

Interview with Naevus.
"Naevus started in 1991 and developed their style, through a series of demos over the years, into a Doom rock outfit. Indeed, their second demo, 'A Sad Illusion', released on tape in 1994 drew the attention of Rise Above Records. The demos 'Autumn Sun' (1996) and 'The Wizard's Universe' (1997) finally persuaded the label to release Naevus' full-length debut 'Sun Meditation' in 1998. Since their first years, Naevus have managed to keep the same lineup: Sven Heimerdinger on bass and vocals, Mathias Straub on drums, guitarist Oliver Grosshans and Uwe Groebel on vocals and guitars. The guys were obsessed with Black Sabbath, so the first full-length reflects that passion, embodied in a slightly raw and rocking form of doom. The album was released by Rise Above Records, but the band didn't become popular and Naevus split in 1999. After going in different directions until 2012, the band was suddenly resurrected with the original line-up. After four years of work, their second album, 'Heavy Burden', appeared. For me it was one of the most significant releases of 2016, so I'm glad that we managed to get this interview with Uwe Groebel."

Today's interviewee: Uwe Groebel (guitar/vocals).

Hi there! Naevus isn't a new name for many of us, but as the band was formed in 1991 would you remind our readers how it started?

We started in 1991 as a three-piece death metal band in a local youth club and developed our style over the years into a doom rock outfit in 1994, which led us to a RISE Above Record deal in 1996 with our latest demo "Autumn Sun".

I'm not sure about the very first demos, but 'Autumn Sun' in 1996 was recorded with the same line-up as your newest album 'Heavy Burden'. How did you manage to keep such a tight relationship with each other?

We were true friends. We split in 1999 after we all went different directions with families, business and other band duties. Mathias and Oli played together in Sacred Steel for a long time, Mathias is still drumming with them. So we had loose contacts over the years and one day I was asked just to jam old songs.

Though the band was formed in 1991, your first full-length release, 'Sun Meditation', wasn't released until 1998: why did it take so long to reach that point?

In the 90s we didn't have the internet. The first demo was recorded in 1993. It was the first band we've all been into, various line-up changes led to delays. We started trading tapes maybe around 1994 with the second demo. So it took us two years.

Naevus guitars: Oliver Grosshans and Uwe.

From the very beginning you played doom metal, something that wasn't popular in that period. What inspired you to choose that musical direction?

It was a natural thing, I was obsessed with Sabbath kind of music. We simply gave a shit about other musical stuff and went on.

The album was released by Rise Above Records, did it make a difference back then? Did it make the band popular?

No, we weren't popular. We had a record deal in England, but played shows in front of 20 people in local youth centres. For us it was a big deal but weren't able to tour and didn't get much support from the label. We were young and inexperienced.

Naevus split up in 1999, just a year after the release of split album 'Fourteen Inches Of Fury' - what drove you to make the decision to stop band activities?

The recorded song was done in 1995 already. We were simply done and it felt okay.

Mathias Straub, drums. Photo: Marco Wenzel.

Okay, so what made you reunite in 2012?

We jammed as a three piece at first and were offered a support show for Vitus. The same time RISE ABOVE asked us to do a rerelease of the Sun Meditation album on vinyl.

After all that, you released your second full-length, 'Heavy Burden', in 2016. This material is in a straight Traditional Doom vein with a lot of rock influences and - I would say - a pretty positive vibe. How would you describe the album's mood or concept?

A positive vibe is a good description for it. All lyrics are very personal and we need to go ahead with positive vibes to undergo such actions in the future, to be strong again in those political situations.

Naevus - 'Heavy Burden':

Speaking about Naevus' lyrics, what kind of message do you put in your songs?

Like I said, the lyrics are very personal, please read the press release for it.

'Heavy Burden' was released by Meta Matter Records, didn't you try to return to Rise Above?

Yes we tried.

Uwe and Sven Heimerdinger (bass/vocals). Photo: Marco Wenzel.

The album is well produced and recorded, it has a lot of remarkable moments and thought-through compositions. How did the studio work go when you recorded these tunes?

We recorded all basic tracks with drums/ bass/ two guitars in like 20 hours, live. All extras like lyrics, doubled guitars and lead guitars were done separately in various sessions over almost 2 years, besides working and family time.

What goal did you set when you entered the studio to record 'Heavy Burden'? What did you want to play after a 16 year break?

We didn't have any pressure so we just tried to write good songs. It felt good to write new stuff with long-time friends.

How would you describe the features of this material? What's different between the new songs and 'Sun Meditation'?

We developed to focus on the songs. Not just how heavy a riff could be, well that's a different point of view anyway, but to see how it all works together. Let's say a real song writing process with everyone involved. We didn't have this in the 90s.

What about Naevus live activity? Do you have opportunity to regularly play live, in Germany or abroad? How often do you play gigs?

We try to get shows but we can't tour for weeks. We're in our 40s and the dream of rock is gone, hehe. It's fun for us and if we're offered a show somewhere we try to make it there, covering all the costs we have. We'd like to have it comfortable.

What are your plans for 2017? Should we expect new stuff from Naevus?

We have two shows at the moment planned for end 2017, more to come soon. One is the Hammer of Doom festival in Wuerzburg, Germany, playing with Cirith Ungol and Warning, Count Raven and the likes. This festival was one of our first shows 5 years ago. We're writing songs at the moment for a 12" EP. We have two leftovers from the recording session with some special guest vocals. So we'd like to release this before autumn. Again with a killer artwork from Roland Scriver.

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Visit the Naevus bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-05-28 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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