Interviews About Albums: Hellgrimm - Ritual (2022)

In this new interview, we sat down with the American Stoner Rock/Metal band Hellgrimm to ask some questions about their new album "Ritual"

1. What can you say about this new EP/CD? 

Jerry Connor (writer/guitarist): Our latest release, “Ritual,” has more of an aggressive, straightforward metal sound than our previous releases. The energy in these tracks is explosive. Erica is an amazing vocalist and brought all the songs to life.

As a songwriter and guitarist, I’ve tried to concentrate more on melodies and overall song structure in Hellgrimm whereas in the past I would have focused more on technical guitar work.

We’re excited that the songs "Monster in Me,” “Sin After Sin," and “Back from the Dead" will be released on the upcoming television series, “Lowie Mortem (Chronicles of a Dead Detective).”

Erica Missey (singer/drummer): Our last album, “The Hunger,” was recorded during the first several months of the COVID pandemic. The world was in upheaval, our daily lives and jobs and hopes were flipped on their heads. We didn’t know what to expect day to day while recording this album and I think it reflects in the sound of those songs. I couldn’t help but feeling a somewhat lost and hopeless during that time and I could definitely feel it coming out in my vocal performance on the songs.

We started recording “Ritual” in March of 2022 and things were looking up again. Our lives have been easing back to something resembling normalcy and with that, our hopes and plans to perform and take our music further have surged back tenfold. The songs and our performance on this album reflect that renewed energy and excitement we felt working on this project.

2. What is the meaning of the EP/CD name? 

Erica: Jerry and I have gone into the studio with our favorite engineer, Daisun De Rijk, for nearly every song Hellgrimm has recorded in its four years of existence. This is a ‘ritual’ for us - a welcome one we always look forward to doing.

3. Which one is the composer of the CD/EP? 

Erica: Jerry initially writes the main melodies and lyrics of the tunes. Then he and I go into the rehearsal room and I help tweak the rhythms and lyrics – we both shape the songs as we rehearse them together. Jerry’s the main creative force behind the music – I help to shape and perform the material. We’re both lucky to have Joseph Quinones, Adrian Cavazos, George Ortiz, and Joshua Pechawer as bassists when we hit the stage – they alternate shows depending on when and where we’re playing and who is available.

4. If you had to pick one song, which one would you pick? 

Jerry: I would say "Back from the Dead" would be a stand-out song - it has great dynamics and mood. We were told we needed one more song for the “Lowie Mortem” series and this one came to me overnight. We banged it out a few days later. It was serendipitous.

Erica: I agree with Jerry. “Back from the Dead” is so raw and powerful. But it’s a difficult decision for me to pick a stand out on this album – each of these songs is very strong in its own right. There was no fat to trim on “Ritual.”
There is some sturdy material.

5. Is there a special message in this EP/CD? If there is what is it? 
Erica: The songs in “Ritual” all deal with one central theme: death. Fighting death, returning from death, dealing with death, close calls with death, and dealing with the aftermath. This album is my favorite of our four Hellgrimm offerings and the credit belongs to Jerry’s musical and lyrical imagination. He never stops writing. Even as we just released “Ritual,” he’s already got material ready for at least another two albums – I’m always fighting to keep up with his prolific songwriting.

6. Are there some lyrics that you'd love to share?

Jerry: I love most of the lyrics from these songs, but I took the second verse in "Jack of all Blades" from the famous “From Hell” letter written by Jack the Ripper. You can read it on the inside of the “Ritual” CD but if you’re streaming the tune and don’t have a chance to look up the letter, here it is:

“Sorry I sent you half the kidney I took from one woman and preserved it for you, another piece I fried and ate it was very nice. I may send you the bloody knife that took it out if you only wait a while longer. Catch me when you can.”

Erica: What started out as my least favorite song on the new album might now be my favorite. “Ashes to Ashes” is what we call a cemetery song – a slow, moody ballad that we put on the end of each album. This one is a call out to people who’ve been in abusive relationships. We plan to donate the proceeds made from this song to groups that aid people in domestically abusive relationships. The chorus of the song, written brilliantly by Jerry, reads “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, all is forgiven when my body turns to rust.”

7. Which inspirations have been important for this album?  Like musically or friends, family, someone you'd love to thank especially? 

Jerry: As far as writing I have been listening to a lot of the NWOBHM bands and after we recorded “Ritual,” I realized it had a lot of influence on me writing the CD.

I’ve always had a fascination with psychology and studying serial killers in particular intrigues me. Our previous two albums have songs about serial killers and on the new album, we have several songs dealing with that subject. “Jack of All Blades” is about the infamous Jack the Ripper. “I’ll Never Say Never to Always” (written by Charles Manson) and “Creepy Crawly” both deal with the influence and insanity of Charles Manson.  

8. Something to add? 

Jerry: We want to thank Breathing The Core, Grand Sounds, Lang Amps, Soultone Cymbals, My Little Voodoo, EMG Pickups, The BLITZ 100.1FM Laredo, and Burning V Records, for your support. Catch us on our first UK tour in March 2023 supporting Raven! – look for us on Spotify, Youtube, Amazon. We’re on Facebook and Tiktok as Hellgrimmband – Instagram as Hellgrimm_band.

Erica: Thank you to our bandmates, our recording engineer, our favorite venues and promoters, and our friends and fans for helping us see our crazy musical dreams actualized!

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