Interview with vocalist and bassist Vincent Crowley
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: August 28, 2013
Acheron was originally formed in Tampa, Florida in 1988 and later relocated to Columbus, Ohio. The band has had a respectable and long career and is considered one of the most devoted extreme US Death Metal bands in the underground Metal community. Acheron has been "on again/off again" a few times due to some negative experiences with the music industry. Getting consistently ripped off by labels surely doesn't feed anyone's passion, focus or motivation to keep a band going for the long run, that's for certain.
The band's previous album, The Final Conflict: Last Days of God, was released on The Netherlands' Displeased Records back in 2009 and Acheron's 7th full-length studio opus, Kult Des Hasses, is set to be released on France's Listenable Records in January 2014.
Acheron is back with a new line-up and the root of evil is getting stronger and stronger. Founding member Vincent Crowley talks about Acheron's forthcoming new album, Kult Des Hasses, and many other things from the band's past and present...
Luxi: How's life Vincent? Are you still excited to be a part of Acheron as you were when you first put the band together back in 1988?
Vincent: Things are going very well. Acheron has actually been more exciting than ever before. The fans have been very supportive and we are busier than ever. We have been recording our upcoming album, Kult Des Hasses, for Listenable Records and we have started to play shows again. We are also getting ready to film a video for our new song "Raptured to Divine Perversion," so things have been very good.
Luxi: Acheron has had a long history in the extreme Metal scene and the band's name is known all over the world by every extreme Metal fan. When Acheron started, did you ever imagine that the band would still be alive and breathing in 2013? Keeping a band going for well over two decades is quite an achievement...
Vincent: Acheron has been a musical entity for almost 25 years now. When I was younger I was hoping to play music for a long time, so my dream came true. I can't imagine not playing Metal. Lemmy set the bar for all musicians to follow and I have a way to go till I'm his age, ha-ha! The reason Acheron still exists is because of the fans and the people in the industry that still believe in the music we make. As long as we get that support Acheron will continue to keep putting out albums and playing shows.
Luxi: Back when Acheron took its first baby steps, obviously Greek mythology was a big source of inspiration for you guys, as the name Acheron suggests (at least for those people that are aware of Greek mythology). Would you still consider Greek mythology a big inspiration for Acheron?
Vincent: I wouldn't say it was a big influence, but the name Acheron did fit what I was trying to say about the band. In Greek mythology Acheron is the River of Woe, which is a river that leads to the underworld. Our music is very similar. Our music takes the listener on a voyage to the darkest regions of the mind. What many don't know is that we don't pronounce the word like many other do. We say it like "ASH-ER-ON" - not "ACHE-ER-ON."
Luxi: Kult Des Hasses is the German-language title of Acheron's 7th studio album and it means "Cult of Hate" in English. The songs on it are rumored to be a return to a raw, brutal and more authentic old-school sound, which has always been what Acheron is all about. Would you enlighten the readers of The Metal Crypt a bit more about this record than just saying the obvious; "it's the best album we have recorded to date," etc.?
Vincent: Acheron has always stayed true to our roots, even when we did some experimental stuff. This album is a perfect follow-up to our last album, The Final Conflict: Last Days of God. I am very proud of the song writing on this album. Acheron has always been known for having catchy songs, very much like Venom and Celtic Frost did. This is probably the catchiest album I have written and when the other guys came in and layered up the music with their stuff, it because very magical. Some bands force themselves to sound like classic old school underground Metal, but with this band it comes naturally. But it doesn't sound dated either. We have returned to putting lots of sick guitar leads on the songs. I don't think any fan will be let down on this recording.
Luxi: This world has always been fed by hatred among people and it's well known that hatred spreads hatred. In today's religions, there is a lot of pure hate and people blinded by their religious dogmas think they are allowed to hate and kill each other because they can't understand what's right and what's wrong anymore. Do you think we are living our last days and that the human race is destined to come its end, due to all this hatred caused by religious beliefs?
Vincent: Mankind digs the hole deeper every day. Religions that are said to bring love and joy are dividing people and causing major conflicts. But let's face it, man is a hateful creature. He always will be. Religions make life so much worse than it needs to be. With out it, things would indeed be much better. Even so, I have no faith in mankind and I am sure the human species would find something else to ignite friction and hostility with each other. Yes, we are indeed doomed!
Luxi: What's your fascination with song titles in languages other than English on this new album, like "Concubina Do Diabo", which is Portuguese and translates to "Devil's Concubine" in English, and "Daemonum Lux", which is, of course, Latin, and means "Light Demons" in English? Is there a particular reason for you to use non-English song titles, maybe to give Acheron a mysterious and obscure vibe?
Vincent: "Concubina Do Diabo" pays tribute to our fans in Brazil, who have treated us so incredibly and are some of the greatest fans in the whole world. "Daemonum Lux" is in homage to Mr. Aleister Crowley and his infamous ritual he did in a hotel room. It is always good to use a variety of languages. It makes things more interesting.
Luxi: You have a number of guests on Kult Des Hasses, like Kam Lee (ex-Massacre), John and Jill McEntee (Incantation/Funerus), Jim Lippucci (Soulless) and others. Why did you end up using so many guest musicians and which one of them made the biggest impression on you with their contribution to the new Acheron record?
Vincent: They all did a great job. Most of the guest vocals are just backing up my vocals in certain spots or are special highlighted moments. They all did a great job. Kam and Jim actually did some spots by themselves and it sounds totally sick! I'm glad they all made an appearance on the album.
Luxi: Kult Des Hasses was recorded at Bad Back Studios in Cleveland, Ohio, with David Johnson at the production helm. Was this one of the easiest recording session you have had with Acheron? If so, what things made your studio visit such an easy and relaxed experience for you this time around?
Vincent: No, actually, ha-ha! Working with David Johnson has been great, but the traveling back and forth to Cleveland (2 ½ hours away) has been brutal. Usually we all go up at once and record everything together as a complete band. We went in sections for this recording. One weekend, Kyle and I would record drums and bass, the next, Art would do rhythm guitars a couple weeks later Art and Ricktor would do leads and another weekend I would do vocals. I've been up in Cleveland for every session and have spent many weekends there thus far, ha-ha!) But the end result is well worth it, even though it has been very stressful.
Luxi: Both Art Taylor and Ricktor Ravensbruck (also in Wolfen Society, Electric Hellfire Club, etc.) handle the lead guitar on this new album. How much did their contributions help give the album the mood and vibe that you were hoping to get for the songs on Kult Des Hasses? Do you think they both gave their best efforts?
Vincent: They both did an incredible job. You can definitely feel the dual-guitar attack on this album; two different guitar lead sounds and styles. There are a lot of intense leads on this album.
Luxi: Acheron made an indelible impression on Laurent Merle from Listenable Records by sending a 2-track demo to him in 2012, which included the songs "Satan Holds Domination" and "Asphyxiation (Hands of God)." Laurent has a good reputation and he's very dedicated to his label and bands. What kind of cooperation are you hoping for between Laurent and Acheron?
Vincent: Laurent is an old Acheron fan and he has confidence in the band. That is why it was very important to give him a true kick-ass Acheron album for his label. We have never really had a label that has given us a lot of promotional support. Laurent has promised to step up and promote this release the way it should be. And we are hoping he sticks to his word.
Luxi: Were there any other labels that showed interest in signing Acheron? What made Listenable's offer the most tempting?
Vincent: We had some labels interested, but Laurent's attitude and the fact that he's actually a fan of Acheron made the choice very easy. Not to mention our drummer Kyle Severn is also in Incantation and they are on the label. Perfect label mates for us!
Luxi: It's been 21 years since Acheron's debut album, Rites of the Black Mass, was released. This album was originally released by Germany's Turbo Music in Europe and as some sort of co-venture between Turbo USA and JL America. Do you still have hard feelings toward those labels? It's well known that both of those labels ripped off their bands pretty badly.
Vincent: We've been ripped off by many labels. In fact, I don't know many bands that haven't had some bad experiences with past labels. But you live and learn. It is time to move forward and not dwell in the past.
Luxi: Rites of the Black Mass was an unusual record back in the day because you used intros between each song and they were all done by Peter H. Gilmore. Was it your idea to place all those intros between the songs and was the main purpose to add a feeling of a Satanic mass into the record?
Vincent: Rites of the Black Mass was the real deal. Lyrically, it was actual texts of "La Messe Noir (Satanic Black Mass)" set to music. The intros were there to invoke a feeling or vibe before the actual song began. When you pressed play on your CD player you actually were listening to a real unholy rite. People always laugh when other bands get credit for being truly Satanic in magazines and we don't get mentioned. Recently the Devil got his due when Terrorizer Magazine put us on their top 75 Devil Music list and mentioned Rites of the Black Mass. I planned that album with the Church of Satan.
Luxi: Mike Browning (ex-Morbid Angel, ex-Nocturnus, After Death) did some guest vocals for some songs on the Rites record and, later on, he was a permanent member of Acheron (1992-94), playing drums on both Lex Talionis and Hail Victory. Was it your history with Nocturnus that made it easy to ask him to be a part of Acheron?
Vincent: Absolutely! The funny thing is that our second full-length album, Lex Talionis, was full of old songs that I wrote when I was younger and were used in Nocturnus. Mike already knew many of the songs. Mike's an old friend and was very cool to work with.
Luxi: Have you been in touch with Mike since he parted ways with Acheron? I suppose you are aware of his latest band, After Death?
Vincent: Of course. In fact, we are putting together an old-school Acheron reunion show in Tampa, Florida, which will feature Mike Browning, Tony Blakk and our old demo guitarist, Bill Koblak. After Death is a great band. It pretty much takes over where Nocturnus left off (I strongly agree – Luxi).
Luxi: Acheron has had many different line-ups over the years with musicians coming and going. Why do you think Acheron has struggled to have a steady line-up from one record to another?
Vincent: That is just the name of the game sometime. My drummer Kyle Severn and I have been paying together for about 12 years now. But guitarists have always been a problem. But we always seem to move forward.
Luxi: Can you name the one or two biggest achievements from your career with Acheron thus far?
Vincent: Being mentioned in Anton LaVey's last book, Satan Speaks, as a true Satanic band and just having such loyal fans. Acheron is far from being mainstream and having an endless amount of fans, but the ones we do have are totally hardcore and loyal. Many have followed us since the first album and even demos.
Luxi: Could you imagine life without Acheron or has it become such a fundamental part of who you are that it would be hard to fill that spot if there was no Acheron?
Vincent: I have tried to break up the band in the past due to problems with the music industry, but I always come back. It is a part of my being. I don't do this band for money or fame; I do it because it is something that is very personal and sacred to me. I would indeed be very empty without it.
Luxi: Back in the day you were a member of organizations such as Order of the Evil Eye and the Church of Satan. What did they teach you about life, in general, and about the opposite side of the world from Christianity?
Vincent: I taught myself these things. I joined the Church of Satan because I agreed with what they were doing at the time. Then I formed the Order of the Evil Eye to declare war on Christianity. Things were very interesting back then. But I have evolved past these things. But they were indeed an important part of my growth.
Luxi: I know that the house of Dr. Anton Szandor LaVey (who was the High Priest of the Church of Satan) was destroyed some years ago by idiots who also stole a lot of Satanic memorabilia. Beyond destroying the house, did they destroy and/or steal anything truly significant for you personally, and did these low-life scumbags ever get caught?
Vincent: I really don't know all the details. That was in California. I believe I was in Florida when all that stuff happened. It was indeed a crime for them to destroy such an important landmark!
Luxi: What's the status of your other band, Wolfen Society, these days? I suppose you still want to keep this band alive and going if there is enough time for it, correct?
Vincent: We always talk about doing another recording, yet none of us ever has the time to do so, ha-ha! Maybe someday we will be able to do so. I'm all about doing an album.
Luxi: Acheron will be playing at the Indianapolis Metalfest at the end of September 2013. Acheron's new live guitarist, a guy named Jacob Shively (also in Dismemberment), should be a part of it. How has Jacob fit in with Acheron so far? What are some of his best assets as a guitarist, in your opinion?
Vincent: Jacob is a great addition to our live show. His band Dismemberment opened up for Acheron a few times and I really liked them. So when Kyle, Art and I where talking about hiring a second guitarist for live shows I thought about asking him. He has great stage presence and fit our attitude perfectly. He's younger, but he steps it up with us older guys, ha-ha!
Luxi: What else is in store for Acheron, as far as performing live is concerned?
Vincent: We hope to do some select shows here in the USA and then set up some tours in Europe and South America. And maybe even Canada.
Luxi: Kult Des Hasses will be out Listenable Records, hopefully by November 2013, correct?
Vincent: The new release date for Kult Des Hasses is January 2014. We are taking our time mixing and mastering the album so that is comes out right.
Luxi: I think that was it, so thank you for your time, Vincent. I wish you all the best with Acheron in the future. May your path be forever victorious. Any last comments to conclude this interview, perhaps?
Vincent: Thanks you for your interest in Acheron. It is always great to be a part of true underground media. We hope everyone checks out our new album and sees us when we come to their town to play. Beast wishes! Ad Maiorem Satanae Gloriam!
VINCENT CROWLEY 8/9/2013 (done on the anniversary of the Manson Murders)
|Other information about Acheron on this site|
|Review: Rebirth: Metamorphosing Into Godhood|
|Review: Anti-God, Anti-Christ|
|Review: The Final Conflict: Last Days of God|
|Review: Kult des Hasses|
|Review: Rites of the Black Mass|
Copyright © 1999-2018, Michel Renaud / The Metal Crypt. All Rights Reserved.