ACHERON was formed by Vincent Crowley, after he quit NOCTURNUS and you joined the band, after you quit NOCTURNUS as well, hiw did you get in the picture? Did you join ACHERON because Vincent is/was your good friend or did he ask you to join the band?
Yes, since Vince and I were still pretty good friends and it just so happened that when we were in the studio recording "Thresholds", he was in there too, finishing a remix of the first ACHERON "Rites Of The Black Mass", so I ended up singing backups on that CD and that's when Vince asked, if I wanted to do the drums on the next ACHERON album, so I agreed. And so when they fired me from NOCTURNUS I started playing in ACHERON the very next day and ended up recording 2 CD's and a 7" with ACHERON.

At which point joined the guitarists Vincent Breeding and Tony Blakk the band? What about his musical backrounds?
Vincent was in a vampire rock band called CAST OF NASTIES, that had just broken up, but he was into what we were doing, so he joined and I don't think Tony was ever in a band before ACHERON.

Why was Vincent Breeding studio musician? Didn't he want to be a full time member? Hadn't he have enough time concentrating on the band?
Vincent was a full time member, in fact he was in the band even after I left, but he ended up leaving shortly after me, because another label had again ripped Vince off!

He replaced Peter Slate and you were recruitaed for James Strauss, why did he leave the band?
I don't really know James Strauss, but I quit because I couldn't tour at the time for no money at all!

Did you move at that time from Florida to Ohio, Columbus? Did you stay in touch with the scene of Florida?
No I never moved, I have always lived here in Florida.

At that time was another band called ACHERON, but they came from Chicago, didn't you think about to rename the band?
I didn't know about any other Acheron's that's news to me!
(These ACHERON were active from 1986 to 1996 and did three recorded called "Prophecies Unholy" (1990), "The Pain Dominion" and "Darkroom Image" (never released) - Leif).

The name ACHERON means "river of woe", and is one of the five rivers that flow through the realm of Hades in greek mythology, was Vincent always interested in the greek mythology? Was he influenced by the Greek mythology?
He was more into Satanism than Greek mythology, but I am not sure about how he came by using the name.

The first release of the new line-up was a two track 7" EP "Alla Xul" (1992), which was limited 1000 copies, was it at that time totally sold out? Is it these days a rare collectors item?
I am pretty sure it is sold out, and it is probably pretty rare now!

Were "Alla Xul" and "One With Darkness" the first songs what you wrote and recorded together or were they older ones?
They were some of the newer songs that we had.

Why was the EP released with two different cover artworks?
Vince wanted the CD to be called "Hail Victory", but the record company being in Europe was afraid that people would associate it with the Nazi term, which it wasn't at all, so they released it as "Satanic Victory", so Vince had it released in the US under the original "Hail Victory" title that he wanted to call it.

While the "Rites Of The Black Mass" record was released by Turbo/JL the EP came out through Gutted Records/Metal Merchant, how did you get in touch with them? Did you sign them only for this release?
That was before I was in the band, so I am not sure how Vince got in contact with them in the beginning. He always did all the business stuff for ACHERON, I just played drums!

Were you dissatisfied with the promotion of Turbo Records?
I know they ripped Vince off pretty badly.

One of the legendary releases of Turbo Records is the classic debut record of Finnish BEHERIT "Oath Of The Black Blood", what do you think about it?
Is it a milestone in the black metal scene? That is an awesome classic!!!

It was followed by the six track EP "Satanic Victory", do you still remember how did the song born? Were all of the songs written by Vincent or did you also had the opportunity to write some ones?
The ACHERON stuff were always Vince's ideas, I only came up with my drum parts.

What about the recording sessions?
The whole thing was done over a weekend really quickly in a 500 dollar budget!!!

How much did you develope musically compared to "Rites Of The Black Mass"? Do you consider "Satanic Victory" a more technical record than "Rites..."?
Yes, it's a way better thought out bunch of songs, the first CD was more raw compared to "Satanic Victory".

An advantage could been, that instead of a guitar you could use two guitars, so the sound became more brutal and the atmosphere became more evil, what do you think about it?
Yes, just the different musicians and the adding of two guitars helped a lot to shape the sound we had.

Your technical drumming played also an important role!
The stuff on "Rites..." was pretty straightforward and
simple, so I did try to put a bit more of a technical edge to the songs to make it sound more interesting.

The album was released by Lethal Records (Austria), which at that time was a known underground label, with bands such as BELIAL or UNHOLY, why and how did your choice fall on them? Weren't interested any bigger labels in the band?
Like I had mentioned, Vince was always the one negotiating with the labels, I wasn't involved in any of that stuff.

As I know, you weren't satisfied with the production, what happened?
I thought it was a pretty good production, especially for how much we spent on the recording and how fast it was done, so actually I was pretty happy with the sound.

It was released again, along with "Alla Xul" under the originally planned title "Hail Victory", was this version more better than the original one?
It was better beacuse it had the extra songs on it, in my opinion.

"Lex Talionis" was your next effort in 1994 and in my opinion it's not only the best ACHERON album, but a classic death/black record as well.
The funny thing about "Lex Talionis" was that the majority of the songs were old NOCTURNUS and ENTITY songs that we redid! We played most of those songs in the first version of NOCTURNUS back in 1987!

How do you remember about the studio sessions? Did you work on it in Columbus or had you to fly to Vienna
to record the material?
We recorded it at the same place, Audiolab here in Tampa, that we did the "Hail Victory" recordings. And again we had a 500 budget and recorded and mixed the entire CD in one weekend!

Before all of the songs are intros, whose idea was to begin the tracks with these intros? What kind of purposes did they serve?
That was Vince's idea, the guy who did them was a very high up member of the Church of Satan, Peter Gilmore. I think he actually pretty much runs the Church nowadays. They were the "9 Satanic statements" in The Satanic Bible, put to music.

Did "The entity" get up on the record, because it was written by Vincent during his period in NOCTURNUS? Didn't you think about to "cover" and put those NOCTURNUS song, which were witten during Vincent's period?
Actually most of the songs were old NOCTURNUS songs and some were even written before NOCTURNUS when Vince had a band called THE ENTITY. When Vince quit NOCTURNUS he took all the stuff he wrote with him and we never played any of his songs in NOCTURNUS after he quit, so that's why we decided to redo them!

As far as myself, "Lex Talionis" and "Those Who Have Risen" are my favourite ACHERON records.
I like all the ACHERON stuff myself, but I do like "Hail Victory" a lot. and "Anti-God, Anti-Christ".

The record was released by Lethal Records and Vincent told me in an interview for 2-3 years, that they were a rip-off, fucked up label. What were the problems? Didn't they promote and support the band?
I think Vince has been ripped-off by every label he has signed with!!! We never got any support from them at all and I never got any royalties at all from ACHERON ever.

In 1995 surfaced a video called "Lust, Sin, Chaos And Blasphemy", was it a concert video or did it contain
some videoclips? Was it an official release?
It was a compilation video of all kinds of clips, from what Vince told me it was done by a fan.

What about the compilations, such as "Triumph Of Death” (1992; Turbo Music), "Brutal Aggression" (1992; JL America) and "Death Is Only The Beginning" 3? Which ACHERON songs were on these compilations?
I don't even know to tell you the truth, I don't even have any of these comps myself!!!

In your opinion, did these compilations helped introduce ACHERON to many new fans?
Like I said I wasn't even aware of them at all!

Around those times, thus 1994/95 death metal wasn't popular anymore, like 4-5 years before, a lot of bands either broke up or vanished from sight for several years, such as INCUBUS, NOCTURNUS, MASSACRE, GORGUTS, DISINCARNATE, IMMOLATION, MONSTROSITY, HELLWITCH to name a few, in your opinion, what was the reason of it?
Over saturation of the bands, there were just too many bands all trying to sound and do the same thing, this happens a lot in all styles of music I think, it happened with Black Metal, too. Bands should try to be more original rather than sounding like their favorite band or competing to be fast.

Would you say that the grunge and the pop/punk scene almost killed metal?
I don't know, I mean when that stuff came out, I sure didn't listen to it and if anyone was really into metal in the first place they wouldn't have listened to it either! So it shouldn't have had any effect on metal.

As far as the death metal movement, why only CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL and MALEVOLENT CREATION could work continuously? They are alive these days as well.
Not too many bands last the test of time! Even these bands you mentioned have had LOTS of line-up changes!!! I think it's really hard for 4 or 5 people to try and get along for years and years!

For example SUFFOCATION and OBITUARY have thrown in the towel for few years, but nowadays they are active again.
Well, I think if you are a real musician than you will never really stop playing altogether, I mean I don't know what I would do if I couldn't create musick anymore!!!

How and when did your ACHERON story end up? Did you relocate to Tampa? Did you stay in touch with Vincent?
I guess it was in 1994 or 1995 I think, after I did the two CDs with ACHERON. A month long tour was planned, but there was no money involved at all, so I wasn't able to tour for free at the time. So Vince thought it would be best to get another drummer that could tour with no guarantees. The worst part is they found another drummer and never even ended up touring! The whole time I was in ACHERON the band was located in Tampa, it was Vince who was always moving. But yes I am still in contact with him, he just wrote me a couple days ago on MySpace.

Michael Estes joined ACHERON after your departure who is guitarist, is he perhaps the brother of Jeff Estes or does he nothing to do with him?
No, they are not related at all. Michael lived in Orlando, which is about an hour or two drive from Tampa and Jeff lived here in Tampa.

Interview: David Laszlo

continue with next part -> AFTER DEATH

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