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Graveland

Graveland are a Polish pagan metal band which was formed in 1991 by Rob Darken (born Robert Fudali). They began as a black metal band before adopting a pagan and Viking metal style. The lyrics and imagery of Graveland are strongly inspired by European mythology, far-right politics and neo-Nazism, nature, winter and war. Their early work focused on Celtic and Slavic mythology, while their later work focuses on Norse mythology and Wotanism.

History



Beginning

Darken, who started Graveland as a solo project in 1991, was influenced by bands such as Bathory and Emperor. He recorded the first demos, Necromanteion and Drunemeton, working alone. In 1993, drummer Maciej "Capricornus" Dąbrowski joined the band, which then recorded In the Glare of Burning Churches. In 1994 the two were joined by Grzegorz "Karcharoth" Jurgielewicz (previously of Infernum) and recorded The Celtic Winter, which was released as an EP by the German label No Colours Records. No Colours currently releases the band's new albums.

First albums

A few months later, the band's first album, Carpathian Wolves (recorded at the Radio PRO-FM Studio, Opole, 26 Apr – 2 May 1994), was released by Eternal Devils Records. With Carpathian Wolves, the band drew the attention of several bigger metal labels and was eventually signed by the Austrian Lethal Records label, which released Thousand Swords. This album was recorded in December 1994 at Tuba Studio, Wrocław, "in the days of eternal winter & frozen night of full moon, at the gates of a new era". The Lethal Records release showed a progression in Graveland's sound from raw black metal to black metal with folk and Viking metal influence to it. The album is considered to be the band's best release by many fans and a classic in the black metal scene. After reportedly making several racist statements, the band was dropped by Lethal. Darken then founded his own label, Isengard (later Eastclan), and re-released an extended Thousand Swords on cassette. The album's booklet contains statements against Lethal Records and two other bigger metal labels, Osmose and Nuclear Blast. In 1999, the album was re-released, again, by No Colours with another different album cover. In 2001, it was re-released for a second time by No Colours on CD and vinyl. The CD version had the logo in red and the vinyl version had a red logo. The CD and vinyl versions had different covers from each other.

Move towards folk

The band's third full-length album, Following the Voice of Blood, was recorded 25 September 1996 - 18 December 1996 and released in 1997 via No Colours. With the 1998 album, Immortal Pride (strongly influenced by the movie soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian), the band took on a folk style, while moving more into Viking metal. Its sound became more epic, symphonic, and added more keyboards and chorales. The songs also became much longer. (For instance, Immortal Pride consists of four songs: two of them being the intro and outro; and the other ones being 24 and 17 minutes long.)

In 2000, Raiders of Revenge (a split release with the band Honor), and Creed of Iron / Prawo Stali were released. Since Creed, Darken has worked without Capricornus on drums.

In November 2015, it was announced that Rob Darken had assembled a live lineup and Graveland would play its very first live shows in April 2016.

In February 22nd, 2018 the band released a re-recorded version of Dawn of Iron Blades with new keyboards, drums, bass, and female vocals. Their next full length album Hour of Ragnarok will be released in autumn 2020, the band made the announcement through the single "Possessed by Steel" which was released on digital platforms on April 14th, 2020.

Controversy

Graveland is associated with the National Socialist black metal (NSBM) scene and generally seen as a National Socialist band. Rob Darken has openly glorified Adolf Hitler in interviews, one of several quotes from "Brangolf magazine" being: "Undoubtedly, the most striking personality of Europe was Adolf Hitler. What he tried to build deserves the greatest respect. They [the Nazis] realized the value of pure Aryan Europe. Hitler embodied the idea of an Empire of White People. Hitler discovered and realized the true destiny hidden in the blood of white people. The proud Aryan ancestors always went the way of the gods." Darken has said he rejects the Nazi label in English language interviews, and told Decibel magazine: "I do not think Graveland is an NSBM band. Graveland is regarded as a NSBM band because of my political convictions, [which] most people would call extreme right-wing, National Socialist convictions".

In November 2016, anti-fascists held a protest against Graveland's planned show at the Messe des Morts metal festival in Montreal. It was to have been Graveland's first show in North America. The protesters clashed with police, and the festival had to be cut short for security reasons.

Band members

Current members
  • Robert "Rob Darken" Fudali – vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, bass, drums, synthesizers (1991–present)
  • Piotr "Mścisław" Bajus – bass, guitars (2015–present)
  • Maciej "Draugir" Twarowski – guitars (2016–present)

    Live members
  • Arkadiusz "Aro" Jęczmionka – drums (2016–present)

    Former members
  • Maciej "Capricornus" Dąbrowski – drums (1992–1999)
  • Grzegorz "Karcharoth" Jurgielewicz – bass (1992–1995)
  • Zbigniew "Zbych" Ropicki – guitar (2015–2016)
  • Mirosław "Miro" Rosiński – drums (2015–2016)
  • Bartosz "Bor" Boruszewski – guitar (2015–2019)
  • Krzysztof "Wizun" Saran – drums (2016–2019)

    Discography

    Studio albums
  • Carpathian Wolves (1994) - CD, MC
  • Thousand Swords (1995) - CD
  • Following the Voice of Blood (1997) - CD
  • Immortal Pride (1998) - CD
  • Creed of Iron / Prawo Stali (2000, released in English and Polish versions)
  • Memory and Destiny (2002) - A5 digipak CD, CD, LP
  • The Fire of Awakening (2003) - A5 digipak CD, CD, LP
  • Dawn of Iron Blades (2004) - A5 digipak CD, CD, LP
  • Fire Chariot of Destruction (2005) - A5 digipak CD, CD, DLP
  • Will Stronger Than Death (2007) - A5 digipak CD, CD, LP
  • Spears of Heaven (2009) - A5 digipak CD, CD
  • Thunderbolts of the Gods - (2013)
  • Ogień przebudzenia - (2014)
  • 1050 Years of Pagan Cult - (2016)
  • Dawn of Iron Blades - (2018)

    Demos and promo tapes
  • Necromanteion (1992)
  • Promo June '92 (1992)
  • Drunemeton (1992)
  • Epilogue (1993)
  • In the Glare of Burning Churches (1993)
  • The Celtic Winter (1993)
  • Following the Voice of Blood (1997, contains two tracks, one is an early discarded mix, the second is from the approved mix)
  • Resharpening Thousand Swords (2014)
  • Carpathian Wolves - Rehearsal 1993 (2016)

    EPs and splits
  • The Celtic Winter (1994) - CD
  • Impaler's Wolves (1999) - CD
  • Raiders of Revenge (2000, split EP with Honor) - DIGI-PACK
  • Raise Your Sword! (2001) - CD
  • Blood of Heroes (2002) - EP
  • Eastern Hammer (2007, split EP with Nokturnal Mortum, North and Temnozor) - CD
  • Wotan Mit Mir (2008) - EP, MLP
  • Cold Winter Blades (2010) - Mini CD
  • Tribute to the King of Aquilonia (2010) - EP 7"
  • Ogień Wilczych Serc (Fire of Wolfish Hearts) - (2012, split EP with Biały Viteź)
  • The Spirit Never Dies - (2016, split with Nokturnal Mortum)