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Karv- '’I wanted to create a body of really brutal and unhinged music''

‘’The word in Swedish means” harsh,” or” tough” - and that is probably what it is: harsh, difficult music composed by me, Grìshâ.

Grisha is the composer, creator, and multi-instrumentalist of Karv. And unforgiving black metal assault on the senses that is steeped in in folk sensibilities, darkness and faith. The debut album ‘’ What the Dunes Have Hidden’ is the natural progression from EP ‘’ Abominations of the Canaanite. Immense, calamitous, foreboding and inherently aggressive.

‘’It took me about 2 years to get from Abominations of the Canaanite to completing WTDHH - time which involved a lot of learning and honing my skills in recording and mixing this kind of music, and so overall, the sound of the new album is bigger, heavier and much more defined than previous releases. Since the goal was a full-length, I also had time and space to develop some of the lyrical concepts a bit more.

The decision to create Kärv as a solo project?

‘’Initially there was no plan at all I think, neither for the nature of the project, or if it would end up consisting of more people than myself; just an exploration of writing and recording more extreme sounding music, and attaining the skills needed to make it sound the way I wanted it to.‘’But yea, the core of Kärv will probably always be just me.

The freedom of a one-person project?

‘’Relative to what you want to accomplish, yes… I put no creative limitations on myself, whether it’s concerning instrumentation, lyrics or the overall sound of the mix, but of course there’s a general idea of what I want to do within Kärv, and I want there to be some sort of cohesion and unity in the songs; some boundaries just make for a better listening experience, I think.

It is pure raw dark black metal. The decision to make it so?

‘’I wanted to create a body of really brutal and unhinged music, that’s always been the goal with Kärv – and so musically, it is definitely closest to black metal. However, I’ve been writing music for about 20 years, with most of those in different contexts of folk music, where Death, Darkness, Strife and different aspects of Spirituality

are very common themes, and so in many ways this feels like a continuation of what I’ve been doing before, just in a more extreme sense with more extreme expressions, both lyrically and musically.

The inspiration behind Mother Harlot, Mother Whore? Contrasting Dualities?

‘’It is taken from chapter 17 and 18 of John’s Apocalypse, and is my poetic rendition of his vision of the Mother of Harlots, or “Mystery, Babylon the Great”, a woman clad in extravagant clothing, drunken with the blood of the saints, and sitting in the midst of the oceans on a scarlet-colored beast with seven heads and ten horns. The vision describes how the kings and merchants of the world all come to drink from her cup containing “wine of fornication”, and thus entering into a sort of drunken symbiosis, or allegiance with this figurative harlot, until she is eventually judged for her iniquities (insatiable blood lust, murder of saints and martyrs etc.) and condemned to death by fire.

‘’It’s a grim vision, visually potent, and very interesting, and definitely there is an interesting intersection between the “Harlot” and the “Mother”, connoting vastly different values and images, but here used together: the mother as sort of an archetypal keeper of the hearth and home, the conscious bearer and nurturer of children and the wife of one husband, as opposed to the Harlot in this context, wallowing in decadence, and perpetually and uncontrollably birthing abominations while drunken on innocent blood and fornicating with the kings of the world. It’s heavy stuff, well worth a song.


The influence of organized religion In Karv? Is Pillars of Salt a punishment or warning?

‘’Religion and spiritual discipline play major parts in my personal life, and have improved, enriched and transformed it continuously over the years.That being said, I have never considered Kärv to be a religious project, or confessional in some sense – it is dark music dealing with dark subject matter, and approaching that, I can only speak on what I know, and from what is my frame of reference.

‘’Pillars of Salt, simply put, is a cautionary tale and an introspection. Cataclysmic change can happen very fast, so have your affairs in order, show charity to the noble visitor, and don’t look back if he tells you not to.

The vitriolic nature of your music and the intertwining of your beliefs? Are they inseparable?

‘’No, I don’t think so. I can’t think of anything in my beliefs necessitating me to write aggressive and abrasive music, or to deliver my lyrics in the way that I do – they are what they are independent of my personal neuroses and vain strivings. On the other hand, I see no conflict in expressing these things, be they of dark or of light, in the way that I do: aggressively and abrasively to most listeners, beautifully to some. It has less to do with vitriol, aggression and anger – those things are only seeming and superficial – than it has to do with wielding the sonic force that this kind of music is, and what it lets you translate not only in word but also through this feral vocal expression, and it does not discriminate.


Is to be honest and true to your nature without apology the definition of uncompromising?

‘’One aspect of it, definitely.


The heavier side of music…

‘’As I mentioned before, there is a raw, unbridled force there, especially in black metal, that is pretty unique, and pretty irresistible to be honest. I come from a completely different musical background… but a lot of the darkness, melancholy, and harmonies of folk music kind of came together in Black Metal with this insane rawness and cold that somehow just spoke to me. As Vindsval of Blut Aus Nord said, if Black Metal is or inherently has to be satanic in nature, then BAN is not Black Metal… and that resonates with me, because I feel the same way; but if Black metal is this subversive uncompromising motion, agitating and disturbing borders and dogma, then Kärv definitely fits in that category – it is dark music for dark times, laboring the filth, grime and decadence of the human mind in a howling call to repentance; it is a soundtrack of a resurrection to life or to judgment, and a vision of eschatological cataclysm.

Extreme music is timeless...

‘’It is timeless, and it’s a beautiful thing... People will work it with whichever Geist and ardor that drive them, and it will evolve and devolve and evolve ad absurdum, into some Golem we could have never imagined. It will be interesting to see.


Final thoughts and future releases

‘’First of all, thank you for the good questions!

‘’There are already a number of releases planned for Kärv after What the Dunes Have Hidden, coming this year and the next. Also, the collaboration with my friend Vindur of Mörkvind will continue (We released our first collaboration “Alkohol, Berg och Skogar” in April); we are currently working on a new Mörkvind release, where my part will be vocals and lyrics.

''Lastly: seek the Lord while he may still be found.

Top 6 albums of all time?

''Oh man, that is so difficult, how about I give you six albums which have been really instrumental in the creation and evolution of Kärv?!

The Laughing Stalk, Refractory Obdurate & Star Treatment, by Wovenhand

Litourgiya & Panihida, by (Drabikowski’s) Batushka

Exercises in Futility, by Mgla


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