Hailing from the south east and stashing numerous musical accolades already under their collective belt, Grave Lines are a band that have quickly acquired a more than favourable reputation within the metal community. The four piece played 2017’s edition of Desertfest as well as providing support for the likes of Cough, Black Moth, Oathbreaker and Ufomammut. Their 2016 release ‘Welcome to Nothing’ was met with critical acclaim and, when you look at the line up the band is made up of, it’s easy to see why. Jake Harding (Landskap, Bastardhammer, etc.) provides vocals, with Julia Owen (Casual Nun, Throne) on drums, Stag’rin Matt (Dysteria, Dead Existence, etc.) on bass and Oliver Irongiant (Sea Bastard, Dead Witches) on guitar. This veritable melting pot of musical influences was always bound to produce something noteworthy, and the harrowing echoes of second and newest album ‘Fed into the Nihilist Engine’ further cements their status as one of the most talented up and coming bands that UK metal currently has to offer. “It’s very much a progression from what we did on the first release”, says Jake, telling us about the latest record, “Those main elements that were present on ‘Welcome To Nothing’ are all there but we’ve given the songs space to grow in the way that has felt right. The writing has all been about nurturing the roots that were already growing while still giving everyone the freedom to bring in new ideas. Conceptually these songs for me had a very distinct feel to them from quite early on so I had some strong ideas bouncing around from the start. It feels like a very complete entity now. We are really stoked with how everything’s come out and it’s been great to have New Heavy Sounds behind us with it.”

When your band members are already pretty well established within the UK’s underground community, it can be easy to assume that you’re coasting by on reputation alone. However, for Grave Lines their vision and focus is very much rooted in hard work and dedication. With their guitarist based in Hove, while the rest of the band are located in and around London, the sheer amount of effort that is placed into practicing alone is testament to the faith that each member has in the music, and every single person involved brings their own set of unique talents to the table. “We all have a healthy amount of ambition and focus in terms of what we do musically so there are definitely expectations we each bring with us. Outside of the band I don’t think any of us feel any pressure from that kind of thing”, Jake explains, “This scene is way too incestuous for most people to care who’s come from what band and ultimately Grave Lines is only trying to be Grave Lines so comparing it to previous bands or other projects doesn’t really have much relevance to us.”

One of the most noticeable aspects of Grave Lines’ sound is its eclectic blend of influences – throughout ‘Fed into The Nihilist Machine’ there are a multitude of switches in gear – from intensely oppressive sludge to sorrowful acoustic driven folk. Most bands attempting this amount of variety would produce something that sounds chaotic and messy, however, for this particular band it’s all in their stride and a by-product of having members pulling from all corners of the musical spectrum. “Coming from different musical angles is essential for us, and natural. No two people are the same so why should or would their influences be?! If you get 4 people all with the same modus operandi in mind it inevitably ends up pretty stagnant in my eyes”, states Matt, “You might as well just do a solo project rather than have three replicants of yourself. The magic lies in the nuances of the difference in approach. The cohesive elements are really important to Grave Lines’ sound, but bouncing ideas and developing things based upon our current listening trends makes for a driven and more engaging work, and allows the tracks to breathe. We all have a pretty eclectic, and ever morphing taste. I personally couldn’t get my head around having to write within a condition of pre-set parameters I don’t think. That approach may have scope for some projects, but for what we produce it would probably end up clinical and soulless, which is not how this particular band operates.”

With no particular set blueprint or direction of where they want their sound to go you could assume that the process that lies within the creative methods of Grave Lines would contain a certain degree of mayhem, however, it’s more about four individuals simply doing what comes naturally to them and allowing the music to flow of its own accord. “We also don’t set out to have a certain sound. We’ve been around the block a few hundred thousand times by this point in our lives, so all the elements from all genres and styles we’ve had around us over the years are already entrenched within, so we just write in a way of seeing what comes out when we jam, or when we’re hungover at home, which will inevitably contain elements of all of our influences and backgrounds without trying to sound like a particular thing”, Matt continues, “Moving towards different time signatures and patterns can also happen in the same way. It’s all about what sounds right to our somewhat decrepit ears, without a care of what has come before, or any ridiculous notion of what ‘should’ be or any crap like that.”

Having cultivated a solid fan base over the last two years, comprised of people who all revel in the overarching message of misery within their music, Grave Lines are very much set. However, for Julia the two people she wants most in the world to appreciate her band’s music are her parents. “Because of how supportive they are of my musical endeavours”, she reveals, “I’m very proud of this album and it was a real joy to not only play drums but also provide vocals and keys for the first time.”