Ever since the release of the debut Rites of the Black Mass back in 1992 US black/death metallers Acheron have remained a somewhat hidden germ in the scene. This despite the fact that the band has featured prominent skinbashers such as Mike Browning [Morbid Angel, Nocturnus], Richard Christy [Death], Tony Laureano [Angel Corpse, Nile] and currently Kyle Severn [Incantation, Funerus]. I had the opportunity to ask founder, bassist and vocalist Vincent Crowley a few questions about the current status of the band as well as other things.

Vincent Crowley interviewed by PSL

Why did you split with guitarist Michael Estes earlier this year?
Michael lives in Florida and the rest of the band in Ohio. That is 1000 miles away. Him living so far away limited the band's advancement to do more things. I played with Michael since like 1995 and enjoyed the music we recorded together, but the long distance thing just wasn't working out.

You quickly found a replacement in guitarist Stacey Connolly. How did you hook up with him?
Well, it wasn't that quick [laughs]. We looked around for awhile. Actually, I met Stacey through a guy I knew from the underground scene. I was actually contacted about Stacey's other band Life Is Lost maybe opening for Acheron. When I mentioned we weren't doing shows at that time because we were looking for a guitarist, I received an e-mail the next day about Stacey wanting to try out. And it has been working out pretty good, thus far.

Guitarist Christopher Wiford has been playing with the band. Is he a permanent part of Acheron or are you still a three-piece?
Christopher has been helping out the band for awhile now. He isn't an official member, but he is still a part of the Acheron family.

In the past you've been very active in the Church Of Satan. Why did you leave them?
Because at this time in my life I don't want to be a member of any group or organization. When I was working with the Church Of Satan, it was more of a Satanic "think tank". It seems to have actually turned into an actual "church". Many of the newer members are more concerned with their titles than their "real lives". I have nothing against the Church Of Satan; I just feel no need for it anymore. When I was a Magister/Priest for the organization, I was looking to help show what Satanism really was. Now, after over a decade of promoting it, I feel if people don't know what it is…then fuck them! There are many books and literature on the subject. People should get off their lazy asses and do some research, instead of always having others spoon feed them their beliefs.

What is Satanism to you?
To me, it is being your true self and tapping into that darkside that everyone has. It is a perfect balance. The light of darkness, the pleasure of pain, the love of hate, the evil of goodness, etc. It is also showing respect for others' personal space and demanding the same respect for yourself. Satanist, Heathen, Social Darwinist, Vampire, Misanthropy, Magician, Magus, Sinner, Rebel and the Damned are just different words with similar meanings. They are all the same in my book.

Often the name Bob Larson pops up when reading about Acheron. What is your connection to him?
He's just some Christian Radio/Television personality that has had me on his show several times. He is a true nemesis of Acheron [laughs]. I actually did two video debates with him called "The Devil and Death Metal" and "Highway to Hell". He was always fun to toy with. Like a lion with a Christian.

Your old albums are pretty hard to obtain these days. I assume they all are out of print by now, so do you plan on reissuing them at some point?
Yes, most of the older albums are out of print. But our new label Black Lotus Records just released a re-mastered double-CD called Decade Infernus 1988-1998 which included 32 songs from the band's first 10 years of existence. But Those Who Have Risen and Rites of the Black Mass are being re-issued in South America by Dying Music Records.

Throughout the years you have had more than a few changes in the line-up and in particular the drummers have come and gone. It seems like you have always had trouble maintaining a stable line-up, why is that?
Because, I'm an asshole [laughs]. Well, usually it is because people get sick of all the bullshit the music industry has to offer. Many musicians think you join a signed band and you become a rock star. Not true! This kind of music is not mainstream and you really have to work at it. You'll never become rich playing black/death metal. I'm pretty happy with the present line-up, but if things change in the future, it wouldn't surprise me. Drummer wise, Kyle has been jamming with me since 2000, so he's got the record for "Longest playing Acheron drummer" [laughs]. We work very well together.

Why did you not use keyboarder Peter H. Gilmore on Rebirth: Metamorphosing into Godhood?
Because this was a new beginning for the band. A new chapter, so to speak. Peter is now the High Priest of the Church Of Satan and I no longer wanted to have Acheron be linked as a Church Of Satan band anymore. So onward to new things. Acheron is much more open-minded nowadays. My influences are from all sorts of dark ideas, instead of being based on mostly Church Of Satan ideology.

Through the years you've been signed to various small and lesser known labels. Have you deliberately been avoiding the larger and more established labels or is it the other way around?

Basically it has been bad decisions. Believe me; we don't have major labels knocking down our doors to sign us [laughs]. But Acheron will always remain Acheron and smaller labels seem to give us more control on what we do musically and visually. Our aesthetics do offend the average person, so we need to make sure some label doesn't have the right to say "You need to change this". Fuck that! Acheron will never submit to any label or industry!

How is work on the successor to Rebirth: Metamorphosing into Godhood progressing?
All the music and lyrics are actually written. We are just getting it tight and coming up with ideas to layer it. I'm very excited about the next album Sanctum Regnum: The Predator Manifesto. It will be a concept-like album based on true Satanic ideas, without the typical Satanic aesthetics. Some person will be offended and try to define their own interpretations. But when has that ever stopped us? [laughs].

Will Sanctum Regnum: The Predator Manifesto continue from where Rebirth: Metamorphosing into Godhood left off?
In a way, yes. It is showing how the band is embracing our past roots, yet advancing and evolving musically. If you liked Rebirth: Metamorphosing into Godhood, you should really like the next album.

I've seen you labelled as being black metal but to me it sounds more like death metal. How would you in your own words categorize your music?
I hate labels, but black/death metal seems to be the correct description. We are a blend of both genres, with a heavy dose of old school.

Do you have any live activities scheduled for the coming months?
We just got back from doing a mini-tour in Poland. We are presently just working on the music for the next album. I'm sure we will do some shows, but nothing is signed in blood just yet.

Are there any possibilities of a new Wolfen Society album in a foreseeable future?
Funny you ask. Wolfen Society has been on a hiatus for sometime now. Lord Ahriman just informed me he is talking with a label now about doing a full-length album. So perhaps sooner than you think?

Any closing comments?
Infernal hails for the support! We hope everyone gets our new releases on Black Lotus Records and visits our web-site at www.Acheron666.com. May the darkness always engulf you! Ad Maiorem Satanae Gloriam!

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