Ancient Rites

Decades: 1990s 2000s


This Belgian black metal band, led by Gunther Theys (19 May 1965, Diest, Belgium; vocals/bass), has achieved a kind of veteran status despite enduring a whole list of setbacks since their formation in 1988. Their troubles include constant personnel shuffles, record company setbacks and even (they claim) a series of visits from the secret police. Although the members had been playing together since 1979, the first line-up did not take shape until 1990 when a demo, Dark Ritual, led to the formation of a small fanbase. As Ancient Rites had the advantage of being one of Belgium’s very few black metal bands (only Enthroned represent any sizeable home-grown competition), it did not take long for a local reputation to grow, with their fans even gathering into a group calling itself the Ancient Rites Death Militia. The band created their own label, Fallen Angel Records, and released a self-financed EP, Evil Prevails, before embarking on a protracted touring schedule...

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