Communal Grave’s recently released début album Solace in Violencia is chock full of melodic Death Metal with absolutely bowel-loosening vocals and a decent Thrash influence. I caught up with frontman Jamail to dig a bit deeper into the history of the band…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
Hello Nigel I hope you are well, I’m Jamail Rafi the main man of Communal Grave. I do vocals, bass, lyrics and songwriting for the band.
Give us a bit of background to Communal Grave
We started back in 2006 in Karachi, Pakistan. It started with 5 guys but now only I, Nabeel (Guitars) and Asas (Drums) are the one carrying the metal movement forward. In the start we had no idea what to sound like; we just wanted to play metal. I remember our main influence was Pantera. We tried so hard to sound like Pantera in the beginning but fell on our collective asses (Haha). So naturally we gravitated towards a sound which combined Death Metal and Thrash Metal which came naturally to us. We made a song called “Anomaly” which became sort of like the anthem of the Karachi Underground. I remember everyone used to sing the song along with us and it was a time where bands didn’t do originals here. We played in the Karachi underground scene from 2006-2009 but after a while the gigs became scarce and the whole scene became a joke. We took a really long break after that and now are back to unleash our fury hehe.
What are your influences?
My influences are mainly 80s US/ German Thrash and a lot of Old School Swedish Death Metal, Swedish Thrash and the Gothenberg scene bands. Bolt Thrower, Hail of Bullets, Testament, Megadeth, Slayer, Kreator, Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Bloodbath, Unleashed, At the Gates, Arch Enemy (stigmata and burning bridges still kicks ass to this day!), Darkane, The Haunted, Carnal Forge etc. The list is really long but I have a deep affection for the nation of Sweden when it comes to metal.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
Well last night I was streaming Brujeria live at hellfest 2012, it kicked mighty ass! Currently listening to Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral, Firespawn – Shadow Realms, Insision – Terminal Reckoning, Bold Thrower – Those Once Loyal (a fucking classic).
How do you feel that you fit into the wider Metal scene?
As far as the whole metal scene is concerned, there are so many bands now that it’s easy to get lost in the abyss. But I would like to keep the focus on changing the Metal landscape of my own country and be a strong inspiration for the non-existent metal community here. I want Communal Grave to be a strong metal band to represent Pakistan.
Give us a bit of background to Solace in Violencia – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?
We started working on the album back in 2008 or 09 but went on a hiatus. The album has a loose concept to it but it does not extend to the whole of the album. “The Killing of the Kings/ all of Monarchy” is the concept that I incorporated into the album. The Last Gasp of the Beardsman is about Saddam Hussein. Tormentor of Agonopolis is about Idid Amin Dada. Heavy Lies the Crown is about Bahadur Shah Zafar (Mughal Empire). The Protruding Tomb is about Peter Ludwig von der Pahlen and the assassination of Paul I of Russia.
Tell us about the album artwork
The artwork was done by me. It shows an amputated corpse suspended in mid-air in a black hole with the black hole/emptiness still eating and feeding off of him.
How do you go about writing your songs?
Well I write constantly. Sometimes an interesting riff comes to me then I start writing the progression of that riff and take the whole writing from there. Once the song is musically created I attach an idea behind it and write the lyrics. I ponder a lot on musical arrangements and the arrangement of different parts in the song. Being a sole songwriter on the band, it definitely has a draining effect on you but nonetheless a very satisfying experience too.
How did the recording process go?
It did not go very smoothly. I experimented a lot with different mics, different distortions, bass amplifiers to find the right sound. As I am the producer on the record I had to make sure that the sound is not comprised in any way. It took me 2-3 months just to find the right sound for this particular record. Juggling a day job and then recording on my free time.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
Heavy Lies the Crown because whenever we have played it live the crowd goes fucking nuts. It always becomes a pit of moshing chaos. The energy it channels the audience is just amazing.
What does the future hold for Communal Grave?
As for me I’m already working with my homie Nabeel’s band called Cardinal Sin which is a sister band of ours so be sure to check out Cardinal Sin’s début this year! And already working on Communal Grave’s follow-up full-length called “Preacher of Darkness” due to be out in 2017. So stay tuned and thanks for this wonderful interview Nigel.