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HM Portal Italy, 03 December 2001
Text © Evil Frons / HM Portal
Ancient Rites are on of my best bands and I was so happy to have the opportunity to meet Gunther Theys (v/b) and the rest of the band at the Rock Planet (RA). After a brief quest for the tour bus key, we started to talk about many things that you can read down here.. Ladies and gentleman Mr. Theys
Hi Gunther. First of all I'd like to tell you that is a honor for me being here now and I hope not to bore you with my questions.. So about Dim Carcosa, I think that it's your most complete and technical release, want you tell me about its realization?
It's been a really hard work because we worked with other musicians who were classical musician also active in progressive metal, so it's quite demanding.. moreover the producers of the Spacelab Studios, in Germany, pushed us too on higher levels every time: they were never satisfied, every note you played they checked and... it created a little stress while we worked. On the other way we were happy in the end because there were no mistakes on the album as you can hear in the songs.
As I wrote in the review too, I think that the beauty of the album is given also by the splendid artwork, from the cover to the booklet that is made like a book… I think it's genial !!
Thank you... Well we always followed our own ways and thought it really could be interesting for people who really want to dig deep in the songs create a sort of own book like it should be a concept album… the songs are individual but through these liner notes I wrote it's like they are connected. I spent a lot of time in studying many historical facts, because it's not sci-fi what I wanted to deal with. I know that most of people into metal music probably do not care for that details, but if they'll care they'd enjoy the release even more.. so I did it for those who want to know the details and want to dig deeper: maybe it gives more value to the release and people can understand in a better way what are the ideas behind the songs. I thought it could be a good way to explain to people who doesn't listen to metal music that not every song deals with sex with women, beer, or Satanic acts… it's ok I don't critic the people who do it, but we have a more intelligent approach. You know we also had to fight with prejudices that people usually have against our style, and often they are right, but not everyone is like this, you know, I tried to present our work in a different way, more individual and more thoughtful on different lines: the songs, the liner notes have to mix perfectly to create a new work of art... So for that reason I'm a it disappointed that the liner notes are printed in a not clear way, it's a bit difficult to read them... The label didn't care about this aspect instead of us that are perfectionist. It's like Umberto Eco.. he made a book written very very thin so he said that only die-hard readers had continued the lecture.. ah ah ah
I disagree with magazines that label your sound as power black metal or something like that, because I think that it's something more. How would you define it?
I also think that's a bit limiting when you say power metal everyone believes the retro German trend now with most bands you know have this typical sound, or when they say black metal, I think we're more progressive than that and we put more attention to music. I think our music is a combination of different elements, from classical music to folklore to different kinds of metal. We are able to create different atmospheres: from melancholic to aggressive one, epic, dreaming and brutal.. we want to make like a journey to different moods; for this purpose I think our lyrics create unity into our songs because when I describe for instance the moment when the knight Roland dies in ...And The Horns Called For War is a dreamy part while the attack is given is more aggressive. All the details has to match together.
It's like a flow...
Yeah, and it comes naturally. We are old guys, much older than the guys of our scene so we saw heavy metal growing up so we have a different approaching to music.. we're not from the generation that saw the born of Norse black metal and tried to imitate, our influences are so strange for lot of people but I like it, because gives us more individuality.
doing a jump in time, I know you from The Diabolic Serenades era. What your best memory about that time?
The purity of the underground, there were not so many bands so whenever we played it was full house, there weren't fashioned people who came to concerts only to see crazy guys that spit fire and that praised Satan. I don't want to insult anyone but back then the scene got an extra boom but just because the events in Norway, it was much more for the shocking elements of that time than for music itself. We believed that the pen is mightier than the sword sometimes because it's easy to insult, but it's hard to offer an alternative. When I knew that people burnt down churches I thought they were crazy.. I like art so I see an old church as a medieval building and the symbolism doesn't affect me at all.
Can you do a little review of each Ancient Rites release?
It's difficult to talk about your own works because you have prejudices but I can say you that every Ancient Rites release has a own identity without having jumped into the trends.. sometimes people criticize us because they have a narrow minded way of what our music should be but I'd say them that who says that black metal has to be the one played in Norway or in Sweden? It might sound arrogant, but I'm sure people who really understand our music are the most intellectual ones of the extreme underground because we always focus on the philosophical and historical aspect of the dark side, not only the cruel aspect as MOST bands usually do.
One of the leading themes of your lyrics is the love for the ancient European history, where does it come from?
I was fascinated by a picture of a Roman soldier I saw when I was six or seven years old... I always tried to understand our ancient history and our culture, I asked so many times my father to tell me ancient stories. Before I played music I was a painter.. I always needed the art to express my love for these ancient traditions.
And music as well..
Of course.. It's a passion for me.
Is there anything you regret about medieval Europe?
Maybe there was much more brotherhood but moreover I think that the splendid landscapes there were into our land are lost.
You know Italy it's plenty of monuments, ancient operas and so on but sometimes people don't value them and unconsciously destroy them. Is it the same in Belgium too?
It depends on who is in charge, it depends. Where I live, a old medieval village, (as you can read in the introduction to Victory Or Valhalla. NbFrons) there were water problems like in Venice but in the ‘60s our political party decided to cover them up, but in this way we lost something that was there from one thousand years and made the village also more romantic and nice. Most of the times it's the money that decides if an opera has to be restored or not, and I think that's very sad...
Is there any Italian band that you know and that you like?
Oh yeah, I know several Italian bands, I remember Bulldozer, and of course Death SS that's a cult name in the Italian scene, Mortuary Drape, also in the gothic scene I know Lacuna Coil. Yhey're popular...
Yeah, she's popular (and we started to smile. NbFrons) I love playing in your country because every time you give us a good welcoming, and I don't say it because you are from this land but when we played in Milan, Turin, Biella or Rome (everyone of these cities pronounced in perfect Italian language. NbFrons) it was every night so good and I hope it will be the same tonight because it's the first time we play in this area and I heard there are not so many people of our scene here, but I could play also for you two (Michele Giorgi of Code666 Records and me. NbFrons) and it would be as good.
Ok that's all. Thank you very much Gunther.
Thank all to you hope you'll enjoy tonight!
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