It’s been over 10 years since ACHERON appeared in Voices From The Darkside and a lot has changed in their camp during that time. The band has released two strong albums – "Rebirth: Metamorphosing Into Godhood" (2003) and "The Final Conflict: Last Days Of God" (2009) before breaking up but reforming again in 2010. The band then has recorded a two song demo with the tracks ‘Satan Holds Dominion’ and ‘Asphyxiation (Hands Of God)’ (which you can listen to here), that kicked so much ass with its bile spewing sort of Satanic Metal that Listenable Records’ honcho Laurent signed the band and released their newest album "Kult Des Hasses" in the beginning of 2014. Shit has been coming together for these Satanic Metal warriors, when unexpectedly the news came that their long standing drummer Kyle Severn (also INCANTATION) has quit the band. So we got in touch with ACHERON’s mainman Vincent Crowley and had this talk about a few things and what the future holds for the band.
Hails, Vincent. I would like to start from the current situation of ACHERON. You went through a big line-up change this year and parted ways with your long time drummer Kyle Severn. So who are the new ACHERON recruits and how it’s been working out so far?
"ACHERON is myself on vocals and bass, Art Taylor on guitar, Shaun Cothron on guitar and we are presently working with a drummer named Brandon Howe for live shows. We are testing the waters with Brandon and shall see where that leads."
Your latest album "Kult Des Hasses" features many well-known undeground growlers on backing vocals, like Kam Lee, John McEntee, Jill McEntee, Jim Lippucci and others. Was it hard to get all these people to contribute, what was the idea behind that and how did the overall album recording process go this time around?
"No. Everyone was friends of ours, so things worked out rather easy. We just wanted to add some friends to some of the songs. Recording the album was a long process and we traveled to Cleveland, Ohio to record it. We did the tracking on the weekends. Then we sent off the tracks to Sweden to get them mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö of Unisound. We told him we wanted a sound that felt like something from the late 80s or early 90s and he granted our wishes! The whole band was very pleased with the outcome."
That is good to hear, Swanö is a Death Metal magician! I really dig "Kult Des Hasses" which has a perfect balance between an organic and a powerful sound. Where was it recorded and how long did it take to make? Did you do anything differently from your last album? Do you think Listenable are doing a good job promoting it?
"Thank you. It was recorded at Bad Back Studio in Cleveland, Ohio and it was mixed and mastered by Swanö. Our last 2 albums we recorded at Mars Studio, but they were not open at the time of our recording schedule. But things still worked out well. Listenable Records has been doing a great job. They really support our band and music. It is great that the owner Laurent is a big ACHERON fan!"
In one of your interviews I read that after the previous album "The Final Conflict: Last Days Of God" which came out on Displeased Records, you got really fed up with the record industry and that was one of the main reasons why you decided to break up the band. In the last few years more and more bands started to put out their releases themselves using all those different platforms for promoting and selling their music. What’s your take on this? Did you ever think of doing it with ACHERON?
"None of us have the time or money to invest in doing our own label. And we really wanted a label to be able to get our music out to the public. Listenable Records really stepped up and got me to want to deal with a label again. And they did get us back into the media again."
Obviously you have a very long history with ACHERON, so you have seen many bands and trends come and go. What do you think about the current Metal scene, are there any new bands worth your time? How do you usually pick what to listen during your days?
"Things are different today, but you have to deal with change. There are still die-hard Metal fans, but they are a lot more spoiled these days. The internet makes music very easy to get a hold of. There are indeed some killer new bands out there. But I must admit I mostly listen to the older stuff. My music depends on my mood. So much music, so many moods! (Ha, Ha)."
OK, in the 90s you were based in Florida where all these big Death Metal bands came from. Many of them went to have rather significant commercial success (DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, CANNIBAL CORPSE, etc.) whereas ACHERON stayed more underground. Do you have any regrets about that when thinking back to those times?
"Well, I moved away from Tampa after I quit NOCTURNUS in 1988. I didn’t move back to Florida till 1991. So ACHERON missed the whole Tampa invasion. I remember being in Pittsburgh, PA and having friends of mine in bands from Tampa tell me “You moved away at the wrong time! They are signing pretty much everyone here!“ So in a way we may have missed the bus, but we also did things on our own merit. Living in Tampa at the time we lived there didn’t get us any special treatment. It is just a shame we never got a chance to be on a label back then that could have taken ACHERON to the next level. But no regrets!"
The words to live by! Anyway, line-up changes have plagued ACHERON since the early days. Would you say that you are a difficult person to work with? What’s the most important thing you require from people who play in your band? Are you still on good terms with people who played in ACHERON?
"I hear that all the time, but there are so many other bands that also go through multiple line-up changes. What is the big deal? I don’t think I am hard to work with. And I am pretty much still friends with most of the people I have worked with in the past. It is hard to keep a band together when you don’t have a label giving you tour support or being able to promote your albums enough. But that is also very underground."
That’s true, sometimes the bands who get stuck into the cycle of touring / recording / promoting / touring lose their fire and passion for music and it becomes just a job. Let’s talk about religion. Your hatred in religions is well documented on your albums and interviews. Why in your opinion people are so hung onto them? Is it possible to eradicate religion from mankind? Isn’t it the nature of man to believe into something bigger than himself?
"Religion will never be totally destroyed. Most people are sheep. But it would be nice for mankind to be enlightened by facts and reality instead of faith and blind faith."
Do you still consider yourself a Satanist? I know that you view it more like a philosophy than straight up antithesis of Christianity, am I right? Can you explain your views? What would you say to those who claim that inherently Christian commandments aren’t wrong (like don’t steal, cheat, etc.), but it’s humans who transform them according to their needs?
"Actually due to the ridiculous battles of “what is real Satanism” I no longer call myself a Satanist. I like to say I am a Neo-Heathen leading a Satanic life. I agree with the Satanic philosophy set forth in "The Satanic Bible", but I also have other influences. And my Occult are very personal. As for "The 10 Commandments" that the Christians follow, sure there are some ideas that I don’t have a problem with. But as a whole it doesn’t work. Most beliefs have at least some valid ideas. It doesn’t mean that makes up for all the other bullshit."
OK, enough about religion, let’s talk some more about Metal. How about some old bands who are still going? Can you give us your opinion about the following bands in 2014 – SLAYER, EXODUS, JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, KREATOR, KISS and last but definitely not least – MOTÖRHEAD. And what do you think about this project calling itself DEATH TO ALL and touring all around without Chuck Schuldiner?
"Not much into new SLAYER or KISS, but the other bands you mentioned have really released some great music! I haven’t seen the DEATH TO ALL project, but I am sure DEATH fans will enjoy seeing them. I have no problem with them doing that."
You had another project, WOLFEN SOCIETY, a few years ago. Are there any plans to do something more with it? Do you have any other ongoing side projects?
"Actually that was 14 years ago! (Ha, Ha) No, I don’t see us doing anything else. I don’t have any side projects at this time but you never know about the future."
You have a very extensive back catalogue, but almost every album is released on a different label and some only on CD, without vinyl versions being available. Do you hold the rights to all your music and have you ever thought about re-releasing all your previous albums on some label, like for example Relapse, who are doing great re-releases of DEATH, ATHEIST and some other old school Death / Thrash bands?
"I have the rights to all the ACHERON back catalog. We have actually released a lot of vinyl in the several years of past albums. The only stuff we haven’t released on vinyl is “Tribute To The Devil’s Music”, “Rebirth…” and “The Final Conflict". And we are actually talking with our label about maybe re-releasing that stuff."
That it cool to hear. Are you still attending concerts? How is the scene in Columbus, Ohio where you reside? What was the last show you saw and the one that left you the biggest impression?
"I go to shows when I can. Columbus doesn’t have a very good Metal scene. Many shows pass us up. I usually travel out of town to see shows. The last show I saw was HELLOWEEN and they kicked fucking ass!"
What are your other interests besides music? Or do you dedicate all your free time to ACHERON?
"I like to watch horror movies, working out, going hiking out in the woods and check out old graveyards and so-called haunted places. My life is a lot more than just music."
Well, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions, please feel free to add anything that we’ve might missed and good look with bringing ACHERON on the live stages in 2015!
"Thanks for your interest in ACHERON. We plan to do as much touring in 2015 as we can. And we are also working on writing a new ACHERON album. So keep an eye out for us. We also hope everyone goes out and picks up our new album “Kult Des Hasses” on Listenable Records. Keep the Metal alive! Cheers! Ad Maiorem Satanae Gloriam!"
Well, it’s great to hear that the ACHERON Metal Machine is firing on all cyliders, so hopefully we can see them destroying stages in your cities and meanwhile go and buy their latest album "Kult Des Hasses" if you haven’t done so yet! It contains 10 scorching songs of the most crushing and brain melting Satanic Death Metal that you will ever hear this year, that is for sure!
Mindaugas "Plix" Lapinskas