Shadows of Old
(By Thomas Bonnicel)

Aeternus are once again on the road, but this time with Cannibal Corpse… Their tour with Deicide seems to have had a strong influence on them, because they now sound closer to the American quartet than to old black metal bands like Darkthrone. And as I had the opportunity to meet Ares (guitar/vocals), I interviewed him while Cannibal Corpse were making their soundcheck. Too bad the pretty Morrigan showed up only at the end of the interview…

Ares, what’s new since February when you toured with Deicide, Behemoth, Rotting Christ and Ancient Rites?

Since that, we have recorded our new album, ‘Shadows Of Old’, and we’ve been preparing this tour as a support for Cannibal Corpse. That’s what happened. And the new CD is not out officially yet, but it will be out by the end of November, and we sell it on the tour. And we got a new guitarist, he’s a permanent member and joined the band when we were producing the CD in the studio.

So, you are now four people in the band?

Now we are four people. He’s not on the cover or anything, but it’s because we got him on the band after the production. He just played a bit on one of the songs.

I got your new album yesterday, and it’s more death metal than ever. There’s especially a strong Deicide influence on both vocals and riffing…

There’s nothing we can hide, Deicide had an influence on us. It’s not only the tour, we listen to Deicide too, and I wanted to use some death metal elements in our music too. We also listen to Morbid Angel a lot, and that was normal for us. We also chose the death metal elements to make a little change in the Aeternus style. But we’ve been very careful, it’s not much, it suits well, and we might not do it again. On the vocals too, it has not a lot to see with Glen Benton. His vocals are deep, but I sing deeper, I have a better voice now…We went for a more death metal sound on this album, it was a part of the different things we changed for this album, actually.

But you still have the traditional folk elements. There’s even only bagpipe on the song ‘The Sunset’s Glory’. Why did you choose to put bagpipe?

Because all the time, when we have acoustic instrument, we a large number of them put together. But this time, we don’t have any intro, it kicks ass from the beginning, and therefore I chose to have an instrumental sons as we’ve always done, but a very simple one. So it’ s just a piece from a very old Scottish song, but it just sounds perfect. The whole album ‘Shadows Of Old’ sounds very brutal, and all the songs are quite easy to listen to. The atmosphere is the same, and I think that the bagpipe track suits very well to the CD.

Ares, you were supposed to be touring with Immortal this summer, what happened?

I was never supposed to join them!

But that’s what you told me when I met you in February!

Oh, yes, that’s right. At that time, that was true, but now they have a permanent bass player, and I don’t think I would have said yes if they had ask, because there are so many things happening with Aeternus. So, I don’t think I would have time to help any band. I mean, if they had asked me for one concert, I would have done it. But big tours, four weeks, that’s too much for me. I have Aeternus now, and a lot of shit is going on. If I had the time, yes…

Concerning your label Hammerheart, are you happy with the way they promote you?

Yes, now everything has increased with Hammerheart. They have changed a lot of promoters and distributors for the better, and I think they are spending a lot more money than before on promotion. The bigger they spend, the better we sell! I feel that they’re a bit more risky on everything than before, they’re less careful, they try to make 200% benefit with each album. So, I think that’s good, and they also got us on tour with Deicide, they got us on this tour with Cannibal Corpse! There were a lot of bands who wanted to go on this tour with Cannibal Corpse, and we were lucky they managed to get us on the bill.

Do you like the other bands on this tour?

Yeah, it’s cool. They’re all good bands, everybody loves everybody.

Which band do you prefer?

Cannibal Corpse! But Marduk is really great too, Angel Corpse too. I like all those bands, Defleshed is cool too, kind of thrashy, and I like that too. They know what they’re doing. But Cannibal Corpse, I have to say that they have a special atmosphere, I think they beat Deicide in many ways. But Glen Benton has an atmosphere that nobody has, they stand there and play. And Cannibal Corpse are more physical on stage. Deicide and Cannibal Corpse are two very different bands, but I’m really impressed by Cannibal Corpse. They’re fucking crazy, they don’t stop, they just bang their heads, and they freak out, and play and play and play so fucking long! Everything is perfect, you know. And I’m a huge fan too.

On the last tour with Deicide, you had very good relations with them, especially Morrigan, right?

Yeah. (laughs)

Between this tour with Cannibal and the one with Deicide, which one do you prefer? Musically and humanly?

I don’t know. Both tours have been cool, and it’s hard to say. The last tour was really cool, and on this one, the guys are very cool too. There’s no negative point, all the audiences are great, and I hope that next time, we’re gonna tour with Morbid Angel, that would be great to meet them.

What are now the projects for Aeternus?

We were supposed to release a CD single before the new album, but we didn’t have time for it, so we’re gonna do that in spring. We’ll make some more recordings, we’re gonna fix some mixing shit, do some talking about live recordings. We haven’t planned anything yet, but if it happens, I don’t know. And after the single release, we’re gonna tour again. Beyond that, we’ll compose the fourth album, and it will take a long time. It’s really hard to make music, because of the direction we are taking, but that’s really cool too, because our new guitarist has lots of influences. We’ve been talking with Metallysee booking agency, and we might do a headlining tour in future, probably in France, about two weeks long. It’s also 90% sure we’ll play the Dynamo, as well as some other festivals. We’re also going to play Oslo and other places near from where we live, that’s something we’ve never done before, and we feel like it’s now the good time to do that. We have three CD’s out, and the interest could be good in Norway. The people I know tell me that my band is cool, so it would be cool to grow in Norway.

By the way, do you have some relations with other Norwegian bands?

Yes, some bands. The Bergen bands, of course, and some bands in Oslo. But I don’t like them generally. I met the Emperor guys, and some other bands, like Nocturnal Breed…

Do you wish to tour other continents than Europe in the future?

Yes, that would be really cool. We’re always ready to tour wherever and whenever, but it’s about money too. We need money, and we’ve got to check the sales before going to America. You have to be sure that people are coming to the shows. But it’s interesting to see that we’re doing well in the States, we have been talking to Angel Corpse to tour with them some time, we just have to look closer to it. I guess we would be supporting them on some kind of US tour, or something. Maybe also Milwaukee Festival…

OK, would you have one last word?

I would like to recommend my own CD, because it has a lot more elements than before, it makes us more original, the sound is better, and the production and the lyrics and the vocals and everything have been done in a different way and with another angle, so it’s really worth to check it out. If you like the old stuff, this will be something that you’ve got to have.