Griftegård is the Swedish name for a grave yard sans a church. The name holds a symbolism that is echoed in the musical and textual themes expressed by Griftegård – the aesthetic is clearly spiritual, although non-confessional, just like the atmosphere of a burial ground is perceived as solemn, sacred and severe regardless of whether the visitor is aware of which religious current it is a part of. Griftegård, in an artistic context, is the burial ground for finite and worldly thoughts and the birth place for ponderings of an infinite and spiritual nature – the superficial, the shallow, the empty has no place in Griftegård’s universe. The core and soul of all is all. To some this may seem as bold, even pretentious, statements to make and to them we say; dare to drop your armour of cynicism and irony, care to open your dormant minds eye, gaze inwards, and challenge your self!
The Doom Metal band Griftegård was formed in Norrköping, Sweden in early 2005 by guitarist and lyricist Ola Blomkvist and guitarist Per Broddesson. Bass player Dennis Olsson soon joined the two and a year long search for the right drummer ended in the discovery of the talents of Jens Gustafsson. With Jens singer Thomas Eriksson came into context and the line up was complete. Griftegård’s first composition came to be Pagan Altar Cometh, a (paradoxically) short and mid paced number that was included on German under ground label Metal Coven’s Knock ém Down To Size 7” vinyl compilation (2007). The relatively high pace of the song as well as its short playing time was a result of necessity – to have six Doom bands sharing a 7” calls for discipline. Pagan Altar Cometh, recorded in Norrköping at Grammofon Studios, is (obviously) a tribute to the legendary U.K. Doom band Pagan Altar. Other contributors to the Knock ém Down To Size compilation are luminaries such as Solstice, Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis, Tortured Spirit and Upwards of Endtime. Charles Taze Russel and Paul Gustave Doré was to come next, and by the creation of these gospels Griftegård’s true formula was found, both songs being slow, brooding and dark and emanating a solemn, sacred and severe aura. The songs were once again recorded at Grammofon Studios (in 2006) and became the self released CD-R demo Psalmbok. The demo was released in a hand crafted card board sleeve with leather spine in 81 copies and sold at Doom Shall Rise in 2007. A major part of the edition was sold during the festival while the remaining copies were given away to friends of the band. One of the DSR pilgrims who bought the Psalmbok CD-R at the festival was a certain Vigridr from German Black Metal label Nachtgnosis. Upon absorbing the two tracks Vigridr offered to release the Psalmbok CD-R on noble black vinyl, Griftegård willingly accepted. Late 2007 saw the release of the Psalmbok vinyl EP in 500 copies. The Psalmbok EP did good sales wise and the critics were very favourable, German Rock Hard’s web issue branding it (wrongfully) “demo of the month” and subsequently offered to interview Griftegård, which accepted. Despite the momentum created by the sales and favourable reviews Griftegård didn’t pick up speed, the main reason being the different members commitment to other musical related dealings – from the recording of Psalmbok in 2006 to mid 2008 the band didn’t rehearse at all and nothing was recorded. Still Griftegård agreed with Vigridr that when the time for a debut album release was due Nachtgnosis would be ready. In late summer 2008 hibernation time was finally over and the band picked up where it had left off in 2006. Composition of new gospels commenced, however slowly, and in the autumn Dennis Olsson left Griftegård and was replaced by Robert Hylén . Rehearsals intensified, resulting in the creation of Griftegård..s first new song in three years – The Mire. The Mire was recorded in Norrköping..s Endarker Studios one week before Griftegård’s live debut at Dutch Doom Day’s on the 25th of October. Then, through a contact established between Per Broddesson and Ván Records label owner Sveinn, destiny unfolded. Per sent The Mire to Sveinn, who embraced Griftegård’s message for him completely. Griftegård, represented by Ola, Per and Thomas then met Sveinn in person at Ván artists The Devil’s Blood’s Stockholm gig on the 13th of December. Mutual respect arose between label owner and artist and soon an agreement between Griftegård, Ván and Nachtgnosis was signed.