Aardschok Magazine March1995
A a r d s c h o k March 1995
In past era's, when in oblivion passed away legends like Ostrogoth, Acid,Killer and Cyclone were breaking bones, the Belgian heavy metal scene wasconsiderd as an exceptional breeding soil for the more harder genre. Afterfameless years, there's a new generation germinating in the boggy land of black/death. A new generation of potential great bands from which Ancient Rites deserves primary recognition and recently is being offered. Since the release of the illustrious 'The Diabolic Serenades', the extremely sympathetic trio is being hosted very enthusiastically on German, Dutch, French and even Portuguese and Greek stages. Still, the debut is being distributed only from now on ; kind of a frustrating situation of 'billy goat-riders' Gunther Theys (bas/growls), Bart Vandereycken (gitaar) and Walter Van Cortenberg (drums),which we will do this interview collectively.
Already from in the beginning we were confronted with all kinds of setbacks: innumerable line-up changes, boycots, bombthreats, cancelled tours and the death of our guitarplayer Philip. When 'The Diabolic Serenades' was being released and was being hosted very positive, we thought it would go easier on us....notthing was less true. Before we realized, we were involved in a game between distributions and recordlabels what a frustrating situation was. At the moment, there are various companies involved with the distribution of the cd, what complicates the overview.
Even before the actual recordings from the debut, Ancient Rites was being approached by several interessted labels, from which some with a tempting studiobudget. However, the choice fell on the brand new After Dark label that was a lot less wealthy, so that the band had to manage the studiocosts themselves.
Various bigger labels approached Ancient Rites, yet we choose for a pure cult-label, as we were still in the delusion that underground would be free of corruption and false promises. On top of it, we knew the people of After Dark for several years. Afterwards, the combination of friendship/business is hard to realize. Ancient Rites has invested a lot of money in the release, so we could keep a lot of freedom for ourselves. At the moment, we are involved in negotiations with various labels, who are interessted in the release of our second album. It doesn't have to be said that we will examine the contract very thoroughly, before we place our signature. We have to consider that the label where we will sign up, can rely on a solid distribution, can insure tours and is able to pay our studiocosts, without making any concession.
Ancient Rites is no doubt a high original, self-assured band with a strond individual sound and style. It surprises me that the band has to identify itself with a cheap, common black metal image.
All members are involved from the very beginning of the black metal thing, and we persevered when the style was being laughed away in the mid 80's. Why should we let ourselves influenced by twelve year old kids, who found Venom to soft and are in the delusion that "Circle of The Tyrants" is being created by Obituary??? The opportunists will disappear when black metal will increase on popularity. Some concerts we do with corspepaint, others without, and this selection is being made on our state of mind, apart from the public or the organizers. When some have it hard to understand, that's their problem.
Musically seen, Ancient Rites doesn't compare to the actual black metal hordes. It is rather influenced by the harder metal genre from the mid eighties; music that's not being appreciated by an average black metal fan today, while Ancient Rites is being worshipped.
There is no doubt that many years of being in the underground had its influence. One should not forget that we were already active in the metalscene when black metal didn't really exists, so our inspiration sometimes comes from another angle of the metalgenre. Despite we understand eachother, musically, very well, we still have our own preferences, what does the originality only good. We consider Ancient Rites like a real black metalband, yet we carry our own identity high in the banner (this translation sux:)) (note from the translator:))
Also moody, melancholic melodies are being used sometimes. There should be some plans to release, after the second CD, a mini with instrumental medieval, soundtrack-alike things like in the vein of 'Last Rites'
Medieval music fits perfectly in the 'ancient' concept from the band. Original, 'Last Rites (Echoes of Melancholy)' was an instrumental number which we used to end our gigs. In the studio, we found it interessting to replace our modern instruments by medieval ones. Most of the people knew to appreciate this, and to our surprise, the track was even being used to end some foreign radioshows. At the moment, we prefer the concentrate us at our 2nc CD, yet we don't say we will never make such a mini-CD in the future. A tribute to our medieval ancestors!;)
Ancient Rites has a very fanatic underground-following and especially in Greece the band is very popular. In their own country their is some attention comming up.
Before, we tourded various times through Europe with acts like Imapled Nazerene and Rotting Christ, what resulted in some appearances in foreign TV and radioshows, but in our homecountry the appreciation didn't follow. Since last year there is some change in that. Like we had to proove ourselves first abroad. Belgian bands will confirm that the audience in Belgium is far from chauvinistic. Besides, the attitude between Belgian bands isn't worth calling optimal. Also, years ago less people were interessted in the style we brought. Also this is changed.
At the moment, Ancient Rites is touring again thru Europe as support of Swedish At The Gates. Afterwards, they get there black souls in the studio again, to record the successor of 'The Diabolic Serenades'.
© Wim Baelus - Aardschok