A chance encounter online with Cryptos Granamyr Grimm (drums, vocals) of local metal sensation Spectral Manifest led to an in-depth conversation on the point of unintelligible Cookie Monster vocals in the world of metal.
Rocks Off: Pick a tune of yours. Any tune that you look at and it looks back at you and says, "We are." What is the name of that song?
Cryptos Granamyr Grimm: "Fate of the Disgraced" (He then sent us the above video)
RO: Kudos on the pretty nice live recording, first off. It's the clarity of your drums coming through that is really amazing. Bass... not so much. It's lost in the mix.
CGG: Thanks, imagine what it was like for me behind said kit... it was hard to hear what was going on. I had to play some of it from memory... downside to backlines at shows...
RO: That's why I use drum machines. Now onto adventure! One thing I've always wondered about black/doom metal is what exactly you hope to gain by delivering lyrics in the least accessible manner possible? When someone hears this song, what do you want them to take away from it?
CGG: We want them to feel the power and energy that was expelled in performing it. The delivery is part of the intensity of the show and the song itself. A lot of that comes from growing up with bands like Obituary who didn't really even have any lyrics, but it was the power of the vocals that grabbed you.
RO: So of the energy expended is itself the point? I'm delving into my Laveyism magic roots here. How the fuck do you compose that? Seriously, it's like writing a bomb for a random victim you haven't yet chosen.
CGG: Ha! I like that analogy! Yeah, we go on an adventure when we write these songs, sometimes they will take several turns, encounter different mutations, until we have beaten the song into submission and carved out what we feel is the best cut of meat.
And to be honest, we have taken a few different approaches to that one, usually the songs come first, lyrics later, but we did challenge ourselves recently and wrote music around lyrics and resulted in a pretty cool song, but it has also been one of the more difficult ones to nail down.
RO: Quotable, make no mistake, but you've buried the lede. What's the intent? When you write something that is by definition unintelligible do you seek nothing but raw emotion?
CGG: Those who want to find out what's going on with the lyrics will find their own interpretation in them, we don't explain them, so that they remain true to the individual's interpretation and perception of what it is about. No sense in ruining someone's view of the art.
With Spectral Manifest, we do seek the primal emotion, the reaction, and often a lyric is just an extension of that, read aloud it comes off one way, while spewed from one's gut in the violent fashion that we do often not only amplifies but also serves as a catharsis.
RO: All right, I can see that... but then you name the song "Fate of the Disgraced." That fate is clearly not a happy one. Frankly, I feel like something is being pulled on me. You want me to interpret? All right, Ill bite. I think the song is about the tortured existence of lost honor. I think it's about living as a coward. Thoughts?
CGG: There is a bit of that in there for sure, lyrically it takes both an introspective view into one person, but in other parts casts a shadow over the human race. For the most part, the lyrics are fairly vague, obscure in a sense. Sometimes a phrase will catch your attention better than long written prose.
RO: Well, that's too fucking bad because you poked me at the end of a day that I spent watching my toddler bleed. So you get the third degree. A shadow over the human race, you say? And what exactly have we done that deserves such a shadow? We've got iPhones and Dippin' Dots. What's there to fear?
CGG: What have we done? Take a look around. We've done a great job of fucking it up... Earth. And in the process have nowhere to go... I thought by now at least we would be seeing some Jetsons style shit. So much for Spacely Sprockets or Coggswell Coggs
RO: The Jetsons lived in on stilt cities above a scorched Earth. See Jetsons: The Movie.
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Cryptos Granamyr Grimm: Maybe there's hope yet.
Spectral Manifest plays Saturday, May 5 at 19th Hole with Hod, Vore, Blaspherian, and H.R.A.