So we took a moment to speak with Reaver of Gravespawn about the past, the present and the future of Los Angeles’ black metal veterans.

MP: Please introduce yourself and what you do in the band:

Reaver: I am Reaver; founder, songwriter, lyricist, guitar player, keyboardist, and vocalist for Gravespawn.

MP: How did Gravespawn begin?

Reaver: I conceived the idea while I was in the Army stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I came up with the name and wrote some of the first riffs there. I was playing keyboards in Lythos at the time. I was transferred to Korea not long after where I recorded the first demo.

MP: What inspired Gravespawn?

Reaver: At the time I wanted to do something different from Lythos. The first demo was just raw, simple black metal as opposed to the symphonic, melodic direction I was going in in my other band. When Lythos sounds split up I decided to take Gravespawn seriously and find a balance between raw / aggressive black metal and melodic/ atmospheric black metal. I came back home after my time in the army was done and we recorded the Forged… demo.

MP: You’re originally from Kansas City correct? How’s the change to Los Angeles in comparison?

Reaver: I’m still not used to it honestly. I moved here back in 2006 because there was a strong and thriving black metal scene which isn’t really the case anymore. I definitely miss living in a smaller and more quiet setting with breathable air but I can’t complain too much. I’ve built a decent living out here.

MP: How was the metal scene in Kansas City?

Reaver: From the time that we were kids to the time that I left for the army, Advorsus and I were really the only die-hard metalheads around that we knew of. By the time I left for LA it wasn’t really much better. There were at least a few more of us though. I come back with Gravespawn 10 years later to play a show and the Riot Room is completely packed. I’m thinking to myself the whole time, where the hell did all of you come from?

MP: How did Gravespawn become a full lineup?

Reaver: Not sure how to answer that. We still don’t really have a full lineup and use session members when needed.

MP: What made you change your alias from Rellik Sephiroth to Reaver?

Reaver: I started using Reaver for my Ben Morgh project. I don’t need multiple aliases and just ended up liking Reaver better. I thought it fit better with our current direction.

MP: What influences your music and lyrics?

Reaver: Lyrically my older material was pretty straight forward so I won’t speak for it. I’ve always had an interest in ancient history and mythology since I was a kid. Gravespawn’s lyrics, in simple terms, focus on dark history and mythology. Of course I put several of my own opinions and beliefs within the fine print but I feel people can draw their own conclusions rather than me telling them what it’s supposed to mean. Besides history, I also draw heavy influence from the works of Robert E Howard, my favorite American author. Musically, my influences can be varied. Mid to late 90s Black Metal is obviously my main influence though.

MP: When was Gravespawn’s first show and how was it?

Reaver: Our first show, as well as it being my first ever live performance, was opening for Horna back in 2009. I have mixed feelings about it honestly. It was a cool experience for sure but it definitely looked like our first time on stage after watching it.

MP: What made you guys want to redo Forged In The Malice Of Stygian Fire?

Reaver: Advorsus and I have been wanting to do a proper recording of that album/demo for years. It wasn’t until recently that we were finally presented with the opportunity to do it.

MP: What has changed from old Gravespawn to now?

Reaver: That’s a lot to cover in a single interview. I’ve certainly changed and grown over time like any individual does. I think the core of what Gravespawn is musically hasn’t changed much. We’ve just added more to it.

MP: What is your favorite song you have written to date?

Reaver: Oath of the Annihilator.

MP: You have done other projects, any plans to bring back Lythos?

Reaver: That’s up to Advorsus since he’s the main songwriter and owner of the project. We’ve discussed it a few times but it always ends up on the back burner.

MP: How are things with Draconian Oracle?

Reaver: We just got back to rehearsing after a long period of doing nothing which feels pretty good. We’re definitely moving it forward.

MP: Any plans for a new album?

Reaver: Absolutely! We’re hard at work writing new songs as we speak. That’s all I will say for now.

MP: Gravespawn uses keyboards so how did that become part of the sound?

Reaver: I introduced keys to Gravespawn when we recorded the original Forged… demo back in 2005. I always feel like they should have remained part of the sound. I had originally written keys for Praetorian Maleficus but I ended up selling my keyboards to pay for the recording. I regret it to be honest and still don’t particularly care for any of the “mid-era” recordings.

MP: How did Gravespawn sign with Vae Victus Productions?

Reaver: Vae Victus is actually my own personal label for releasing and co-releasing my work. I signed myself to my own label!

MP: Any plans of touring soon?

Reaver: Yes. We are also working hard on that at this very moment as well.

MP: What bands inspire you most?

Reaver: I don’t really care to answer that question on a per band basis. I’d rather mention specific albums that inspire me. There’s a lot of them so I’ll only mention a few. Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse”, Dark Funeral’s “Secrets of the Black Arts”, Naglfar’s “Vittra”, Satyricon’s “Shadowthrone”, Basil Poledouris’ Conan the Barbarian soundtrack, pretty much every Elffor album, and many more.

MP: Has social media been bad or good for the black metal underground?

Reaver: I have mixed opinions about it. One one hand it makes promoting and making connections easier, but its also a safe haven for cowards who feel like they can say whatever they want and not get punched in the face for it.

MP: Any newer bands that have caught your attention?

Reaver: I hate dropping names to be honest. I always feel like it’s a “how kvlt can you be” pissing contest. I’m always checking out new (or old but new to me) albums though.

MP: What do you think of today’s metal scene?

Reaver: Some bands are good. A whole lot aren’t. Same as it’s always been.

MP: Any advice for upcoming metal bands?

Reaver: Don’t suck.

MP: Any last words?

Reaver: Go to our Bandcamp and buy some stuff. Or just listen to it for free on YouTube which of course I’m just as guilty of.


We are an extreme metal site that focuses on reviews and interviews with bands all over the world! The more obscure, unknown and different, the better!

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