GRIFFAR "Of witches and celts" CD (IS10)
50 minutes of cold majestic pagan black metal from France. Killer production and lyrics that will guide you to real battles and worlds of Celts. "Virtus Spiritus Sathanas".
Griffar has been formed in 1997 by the four members who still make up the band nowadays : Hellskrim (vocals-guitars), Drakhian (guitars), Krakken (bass), and Maldoror (drums). The first effort of the band came out in 2000 under the name of «Of Witches and Celts». This 4 titles work lasts roughly 50 minutes.

The reviews have been eulogistic. Many distributors compare Griffar to the swedish band Dissection. Then, the Griffar's music is swift as an arrow, melodic, technical, and last but not least, extreme. Through its 4 songs, Griffar invites the audience to discover a rich, complex, and various atmospheres music.

Griffar also takes care of the lyrics dealing with sorcery, paganism, fantasy and History. They give to the whole work of Griffar a gloomy atmosphere fitted to Black Metal. Two members of Griffar have some side-projects : Drakhian plays with Black Dementia and, as a session guitarist, toured in 2001 with the norwegian band Taake. Maldoror plays drums with his other band, Profane.
1/ First, can you tell us who are the members of GRIFFAR ?
GRIFFAR exists since 1997 and is composed of Drakhian (guitars), Krakken (bass guitar), Maldoror (drums) and I (guitars, vocals). Nevertheless, our bass player decided to quit after a long moment of silence. The behaviour of our first singer, gone in Scotland to study, was much more honourable as he told us faster his intention to leave the band. We did not have lost with him and thanks to him the time wasted because of the Krakken's silence. Apart this incident, we still have a pleasant recollection of his presence in GRIFFAR as a bass player and as a friend. "Of Witches and Celts," released in September 2000, is our first demo tape. If we were so much delayed in offering this work to the audience, it is of course because we cared for doing well but mostly because we decided to modify the songs that were to be featured on the demo, for those we used to play did not correspond anymore to the new fields towards which we wanted to drive GRIFFAR.

2/ Can you tell the people who read this interview what they can expect when they buy "Of Witches and Celts", what kind of music is it ? With what bands would you compare yourself or what bands gave influence to play in this style ? I think the older Scandinavian had a lot of influence to you guys.
Well, it is hard for me to answer such a question because I don't like to practice auto-satisfaction. It is difficult to be objective when talking about GRIFFAR. Anyway, I can say that our demo has received an excellent response from the underground. Old-school-drumming, dark atmospheres, sincere compositions, epic lyrics from the heart of French History, were some positive comments concerning us. A German label even said that we were better than 90% of today's swedish bands. Such words fill me with pleasure. Why ? because in fact, one of these Swedish bands influenced us a lot : DISSECTION. Therefore, I can say that you are right when you talked about the older Scandinavian bands. GRIFFAR do not seek to create a linear music, rather a devastating symphony strewn with more technical parts than most of the other formations. To my mind, this is accounted for by a simple reason : we are influenced by bands with much integrity, bands which make music and not business. This is also what we do with GRIFFAR and one can feel then that the band makes no concessions whatsoever to acquire notoriety. Notoriety could come to us, but GRIFFAR would definitely not seek fame through compromising. Besides, the bands which gave influence to us are uncompromising ones. IMMORTAL, SATYRICON, BURZUM, SLAYER or IRON MAIDEN are bands we like and we listen to. Then, the music we compose comes inevitably from what we listen to. There is never a true dissociation between both. It's all a question of nuances: some bands just play a vulgar plagiarism of their influences ; others, those which deserve our attention, know how to use their musical culture to express their own inspiration. These influences are then distinguished as simples reminiscences. I think that we form part of this second category. Thus, in GRIFFAR, I believe that one can notice multiple influences, for the members of the band do not necessarily listen to the same things. Starting from this diversity, we have known how to build our own identity. It combines melody, nostalgic and majestic aspects to sides of intense speed and of pure hatred. It is up to the auditor to imagine what GRIFFAR is.

3/ Can you also tell us how it goes in work when you guys are creating songs ? What comes first lyrics or music ? And have you got many rehearsals ?
It turns out that there is a fantastic alchemy between Drakhian and me. He composes the main part of the riffs of GRIFFAR's songs, sets them up; as to me, I take charge of lyrics. We do not consult each other to make both coincide. Each member works on his part, even if all the members of the band should agree in the course to be followed. We consult ourselves at the beginning of a work, then, there is a total confidence which is mutual. What is fantastic is that one has the feeling that the music stems from the texts, while it is not the case. Thus, there is a real osmosis among us which gives all its value to GRIFFAR. But GRIFFAR should not be considered as a duet. Every member is essential. The work which is done during the rehearsals where each one brings his contribution is a proof of what I said. It is necessary that reach unanimity for us to introduce a contribution of one of the members of the band. Krakken composes all his bass' lines which are especially fantastic and particularly original for a Black Metal band. Namaroth places his drums parts which correspond with the spirit of GRIFFAR: a return to the real sources of Black Metal. The illustration of what I say lies in the next title which will represent us on a Split demo with PROFANE. Music and lyrics go hand in hand. For the work of creation, I can speak to you about what inspires me to write a text. I base myself on a particular, real or imaginary place, then, imagination plays its part. Every story is thus in compliance with the atmosphere which comes out from the places invested by my characters. When the next text came to me, it was plain sailing, as in a dream, after I was inspired by a circle of menhirs in Brittany, as if this story already existed and the spirits roaming around stones made me relive a part of their past.

4/ Did you already did live performances or not ? I think it must be hard to do so because the songs on the demo are really long ones (7-8 minutes or even longer). And what do you think of the bands playing live in general ? Isn't it a bit strange to see BM bands playing live because the people who go there are most of the time some stupid posers, children or they get there to have a good time and drink till they do not know anymore where they are ? I think BM is not for collective listening, do you agree or not ? Why or why not ?
As far as concerts are concerned, we had a few gigs in France. These are great moments, great feelings only music can give. It would be very interesting to play in front of other European attendance. Metal, and Black Metal even more, are tied to the stage by essence. The power, the hate music brings are then magnified. The fact our songs are really long is not a problem I think, for us as for the audience. I mean that these are not long and boring songs, because there are various atmospheres in one title. Concerning the second part of your question, I agree with some points but disagree with others. You are right when you say that trends or posers infest live performances. They don't understand anything about what Black Metal is. They know Cradle, Dimmu, latest Emperor's (…), but they don't have any idea of the true roots of Black Metal, its mighty and extreme spirit. However, I guess we shouldn't have to let them decide for us. I mean that if a good band wish to play live, it should be able to do what it wants without worrying about the opinion of those fools. Personally, I don't give a damn about trends' presence because if I play live it is firstly because I have decided to do so and because I know that a few persons are in the audience who are able to understand our music. It is for us and for these persons that we reach the decision to do concerts. Lastly, you said that Black Metal is not made for a collective listening. It is very interesting and partly true. Some aspects of Black Metal can't be properly reproduced on stage, essentially misanthropic, nostalgic, sadness… Others are absolutely made for a live representation. These are the aspects which belong not only to Black Metal but to Metal : power, hatred, and pernicious sides. So, it is very hard to settle this question. For example, I guess that a band like BURZUM could hardly have a concert because it performs a very misanthropic music, each listener can understand what he wants. It's like a mirror in which we see our own feelings. On the other side, a band like MARDUK is really impressive during its live performances, because its music deals with war, hatred and feelings which are more collective than in BURZUM.

5/ I must say when I look at your lyrics they are very long and very good. Can you tell people about what they handle ? What kind of thing or things gave influence to write them ? Sometimes you use words like satan, what do you understand under this do you think that there is a chance that there is existence of this creature / being ?
The lyrics to "Of Witches and Celts" are divided in two distinct parts. The first part is devoted to the immemorial times of witchcraft, in its link with the Inquisition, and is entitled "Chronicle of a Blazing Witchcraft." The action takes place in XIVth-century France and the first to songs constitute one tale which deals with such topics as the Devilish Covenant, the Sabbath, torture, or the baneful mysteries of Black Magic. I would describe these texts as fantastic and epic for they depict the interference of supernal elements into historic reality. The second part, called "The Celtic Spectre," comprising two songs as well, deals with vengeance, paganism, war, and Satanism in the Biblical sense of the term. The two songs constitute here again one story, in which a young man denies the Catholic religion and wishes to administer it a fatal blow in order to avenge the death of his father. He thus returns to the roots of paganism and leaves behind the sentiments taught by the Gospels. I will not add anything as far as the plots are concerned. We enclosed the texts to the demo so that the listener can also become a reader. The more the senses are enthralled, the easier it is for us to convey the emotions we wanted to get across with this demo. Each song is a sort of film which keeps the spectator engrossed to its denouement. Of course, in GRIFFAR's case, it is a horror movie. What else could a Black Metal band do, whose aim is to horrify? Too many romantic Black Metal bands have deprived Black Metal from this aspect. To come back to what I was saying, I think it is important to read the lyrics while listening to GRIFFAR's music. A peculiar atmosphere then emanates from it.

Yes, I mention in my lyrics the name of Satan. The main reason is that I speak of themes which are tied to the character of Satan. He will not be the main centre of interest when I write the next lyrics. Anyway, He is a privileged character who makes the access to the universe of our lyrics an experience of fantasy. In "Of Witches and Celts", the historical and religious aspect of the lyrics compelled me to consider this character as He is depicted in the Holy Bible. However, I do not believe in his existence as such. On the other hand, He incarnates and personalises a malignant spirit which lie dormant within each one of us. In the future, the lyrics of GRIFFAR will be more oriented towards Paganism and traditional French tales. But I don't give up the possibility to make Satan breaking in on a song. If the character of Satan and the medieval representations which are done of him attract me, I don't think I am involved in Satanism. I guess Satan is too much tied to the Christ and leads to destruction. This is not what I am attracted by when talking about religion. Harmony between Man and Nature contained in Paganism seems to me to be a much more interesting philosophy. The only thing I approve in Satanism is contempt of Man. I agree with that because Man mistakes his role. He is not superior to the other creatures of this World. It's an error to believe it. Man also possesses instincts that Zionist and Evangelic humanism wish to eradicate. If Man finds again his archaic values (work, strength, honour, nationalism…), he then goes back to a pagan perspective. If this arrives, Satanism will lose every interest to my eyes.

6/ From where is the drawing on the cover of the demo of Griffar (Of witches and Celts) ? Can you tell us the meaning of it ?
The " Of Witches and Celts " sleeve is a lithography of a French painter, Louis Boulanger ( 1806-1867 ), entitled " The Round dance of Sabbath " … This work is magnificent and is perfectly convenient for the lyrics of the demo. At least the first part of them.

7/ In the booklet of your demo you use a Celtic drawing, can you tell us what this means to you and the other members ?
The Celtic Cross used on the booklet as the one I have around my neck means very much. For me, it is the symbol of paganism. The Celtic Cross symbolises the bridge to higher energies. It represents the relation between the celestial world (vertical axis) and the earthly world (horizontal axis). The circle around the cross symbolises the great wheel of life and the solar energy. Finally, the centre of the cross is the most important place. Indeed, it is the place where we can get in touch with the divinity. But in reality, the Celts didn't use the Celtic Cross as we know it, with the branches overhanging the circle, before their conversion to Christianity. The original symbol is then the solar wheel. It indicates the existence and the importance of the solar cult in our ancestors life. Besides, megalithic places in Brittany are often aligned with the sun. That is why the Celtic Cross is above all, for me, a symbol of identity. Bearing it, I assert my reaction and that of the European people in front of the real colonisation which undermines the Occident today. In this way, it becomes a symbol of resistance. Also, we can notice the doggedness with which the authorities try to put an end to the use of the Celtic Cross, in the same way of the swastika, which means that they try to abolish our identity, our pride of belonging to a people, a culture, a history.

8/ Do you regard yourself as a pagan ?
I regard myself indeed as a pagan. First, I believe that the universe was created by an entity, a supreme being. Chance cannot have led to such a perfect Nature. It is, I think, the extraordinary fruit of an imagination, a brain much finer than the finest thing imaginable. Then, the question of knowing whether there is only one God or there are several does not really interest me. Nature is the only thing that fills me with wonder. The forests, the mountains, the oceans are things much more valuable than all of what Man could create. Besides, can one really speak about creation ? Inventions yes, but those are only done by evolutions. Secondly, I regard myself as a pagan because I am not part of any « official » religion or any existing worship here below. I draw my beliefs from my one experiences. Moreover, I disavow all the beliefs which place Man on a pedestal. His mediocrity is flagrant. He is exceedingly stupid and greedy. Man is, I think, nothing but a divine experiment. Every possible defects were placed in him to see what was going to be the evolution of such refuse. History proves that things are not improving. On the contrary, silliness and ignorance increase endlessly. How funny it is to note that Man nevertheless considers that he has never been as much erudite and cultivated as today; Irony of fate! But I believe that only an idiot can convince himself that he is a know-it-all. Then, he delights in mediocrity. Didn't Jesus Christ say « blessed are the poor in spirit » ? The World seems never to have been so much blessed as it is now! Pagan I am finally in my will to belong to the Elite. Gospels softened so much Christians' spirit. To turn the other cheek is neither a proof of intelligence, nor a proof of force. Today, Christian people are invaded, insulted, gently exterminated, and they don't react. On the contrary, the suicidal humanism which inhabits them leads them to pass the aggressor off as a victim. Conquering Christianity has disappeared. If Charlemagne wanted to legitimate his battles today, he could not rely on this degenerating religion. This is why it seems to me that the only spiritual source of capacity that is faithful to our origins is paganism.

9/ Were there any church or graves desecrations in France, and what is your point of view about this ?
Yes, there had been some desecrations of graves in France. Is it due to Black Metal people ? In part, yes. But the medias bring this charge against the nationalist movements for there is a cabal against those dissident parties. For example, a jewish cemetary has been profanated. The medias made a great fuss about that, they give vent to their indignation, they scream their inaudible jeremiads. The aggressor screams he is sticked like a pig ! Yes, I say it, the medias often aggress some political movements. For me, it is nothing but defamation… In fact, we have learned latter that it was the fact of people acting without any political consideration… Much ado about nothing ! Media's manipulations are so frequent that it is hard to know the truth about desecrations. On the other hand, I consider it is stupid to desecrate a grave. The respect of the Deads is a pagan principle which has a lot of value in my eyes. Moreover, why hurting a dead person one should not know and who could have a honourable life ? This constitutes a lack of courage. It is worth making bad deeds on the « lower classes », on the idiot and ignorant masses which refuse to open their eyes to see that our european civilisations are threatened… Concerning Churches desecrations, the situation here in France is really different that the one in Norway which legitimated a lot of arsons. Churches and catholic religion are implanted in France 1500 years ago, since the Clovis' Baptism. They are part of our culture, our history. Many great things were done thanks to that faith. I am proud of this heritage. The problem is that this strong faith has changed to a weak one. Even if I am not a catholic, I disapprove such harmful acts to such architectural wonders. Nevertheless, every attack against a mosque fills me with pleasure. Those horrible monuments have nothing to do in France and in Europe. The blood of our ancestrors has running down our lands during many centuries in order to fight against this religion. A few decades were enough to ridicule our History. Such horrific buildings pullulate. It is the sign that our civilisation is declining. We are still not the conquerors, we are colonised. This colonisation of the Europe brings us misery, dirtiness, terrorism… and we remain without reacting. I believe the time has come to react. Israel did react, now, it is the Europe's turn. After, that is going to be too late. That's why I guess that the struggle against churches is of another time. Our « enemy » attends the mosques. Once regulated these problems which threaten our survival, we can deal with evangelism which is a tumour destroying little by little the brain of its followers.

10/ Last Question, what about the GRIFFAR's future ?
You should ask me that question in one or two years, I'll know more than now. To be sincere, I even don't know what is going to happen with the band. In the next days, we will have two new works which are going to be out : first, ISO666 production proposed us to release « Of Witches and Celts » on CD format. We enjoyed that idea because, even if the music has not changed, we made a new artwork which is a killer one ! It gives our music a new dimension. In fact, each painting illustrate one song. We printed the lyrics as well as those wonderful works by the great Gustave Dore. Secondly, we will release the split demo with PROFANE, french and friend band. The song of GRIFFAR, called Brittany, is the third part of Chronicle of a Blazing Witchcraft. We might have a demo K7 with DEMONION PROD. From Greece which is a great label and which had produced bands such as KEEP OF KALESSIN, and maybe a CD format of that split… After that… I can't answer… Maybe the album… See you in a few months to know about GRIFFAR's future.

"Of witches and celts"CD
e-mail: hellskrim@hotmail.com