The United Kingdom is alive and kickin’ when it comes to Old School Death Metal, right? Vaticinal Rites can be easily added to the list of interesting acts from Britannia, merging the European and Flordian scenes. The self-titled debut EP was quite a nice one and I contacted Andreas (lead guitarist) about the band and Metal in general, and he included Marcus (vocalist) in the answers as well…
Andreas: The band originally formed as a one-man project with the intention of recruiting members once there were enough rough demos to share with like-minded musicians. I hit up Marcus (vocals) through a mutual friend on Instagram, and from there it has now finally grown into an almost full lineup. The goal was to simply write great death metal songs, pulling inspiration from classic extreme bands from the nineties and combining this with our love for melodic riffs that were also popular throughout that era, particularly in thrash and symphonic black metal.
We’re all big into fantasy sci-fi novels and movies. When I first discovered heavy metal music as a kid, I started to notice all of the imagery and lyrical themes had a lot in common with some of the stuff I was reading or watching at the time. This sparked my interest in the genre, with Iron Maiden being at the forefront. From there, I fell in love with everything metal-related. As I got into the more extreme stuff, I noticed how much darker and more imaginative concepts got, which is ultimately what inspired the concept behind Vaticinal. After all, this shit should be an escape from reality.
The central theme of the band revolves around a prophetic cult thriving in a dystopian future, engaging in elaborate and technologically advanced ritualistic killings targeting corrupt politicians and religious leaders from the previous world.
What inspired you to start a band in this style and wWhat about the genre appeals to you / intrigues you?
Andreas: For me, it’s the aggression and cathartic nature that comes with it. The release I get when writing or listening to heavy music is like no other. As a fan, I also get the same feeling when attending a show. After all, life is fucking hard and we all need an outlet and I feel lucky to have this with heavy metal.
Before we start on your own music, in your opinion which historical release or releases absolutely defines the genre you’re playing? Is it Death’s ‘Spiritual Healing’ or Monstrosity’s ‘Imperial Doom or maybe Brutality’s debut?
Andreas: Man, there are so many but I’d personally say everything Morbid Angel put out up until and including ‘Gateways of Annihilation’, as well as Death, in particular ‘Symbolic’, ‘Human’ and ‘Individual Thought Patterns’. Some more that spring to my mind would be Morta Skuld ‘Dying Remians’, Vader ‘Sothis’, Deicide ‘Once Upon the Cross’, Disincarnate ‘Dreams of The Carrion Kind’ and Sinister’s ‘Hate’.
in 2021 you’ve released your EP “Vaticinal Rites” (CD & Cassette released by Caligari Records, Dry Cough Records & Redefining Darkness Records)…
Andreas: The EP was all written by myself during Covid 19 but many rough demo tracks came prior. It received a great response from the underground community and we appreciate everyone who has checked it out and purchased a copy. Special shoutout to Caligari and Redefining Darkness for putting it out stateside and our homie Andy at Dry Cough for hooking it up here in the UK. Highly recommend checking out all the other releases from those labels too!
The artwork plays on the theme which I mentioned about earlier and was created by Fernando JFL who is known for his awesome fantasy sifi horror work.
Marcus: I handle all the lyrical content in the band and tend to focus on the daily struggles that humans face. Topics like suicide, grief, and depression are frequently addressed, often depicted through metaphors. Additionally, I enjoy crafting fantasy narratives, particularly involving space and religion. My ideas primarily stem from films, which serve as my go-to source of inspiration. Notably, films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar, Prometheus, Dune and Event Horizon have all contributed to shaping the concepts behind my lyrics.
While I do write without music, I also enjoy the process of composing to the riffs or demos Andreas sends over. Our lyrical content holds significant importance in our music and I’d like to think that I’m raising some important points and shedding light on critical issues with my lyrics.
Within your discography you have the format cassette. Is that important to you? Would you like to have something on vinyl as well? What do both formats mean to you, as a recording artist but also as a collector?
Andreas: There’s something about the cassette format that makes heavy metal and extreme metal sound even more appealing to me. The lo-fi frequency adds to the charm, especially when it comes to the classics. I recently picked up an OG copy of Death’s ‘Human’ on cassette and it sounds amazing. There’s something very real about a death metal band putting out a demo on a tape format, not to mention the financial advantage it brings to the consumer.
We’re working on a vinyl release which we hope to have done by the end of the year. Having the full artwork as a gatefold is always a very special experience and really brings the music to life which is my favourite part of vinyl, along with the sonic aspect.
How did you get in contact with your label Redefining Darkness Records? Did they contact you? Will they release your new material as well? How did the co-operation with Dry Cough Records and Caligari Records occur?
Andreas: I personally sent to demo to a bunch of underground labels who I thought might be keen to put it out. I wasn’t expecting so much interest, particularly from the likes of Caligari and Redefining Darkness. At the time Dry Cough mainly put out more Death Doom and Sludge but checked out the songs and explained how he wanted to start putting out more Death Metal, particularly from the UK and that this was a perfect way for him to do so.
Those guys worked out a three-way release-type deal and it all went from there.
What are your expectations for Vaticinal Rites in the future? Have you already written any new songs?
Andreas: We’re nearly done recording our first debut full-length album which we hope to have released by the end of the year or early next 2024 but who knows with delays in vinyl production these days. We’re also looking to play live shows and possibly tour the album come the end of this year, now that we have a full lineup.
You are also involved with Grim Existence. Any news to tell our readers about it?
Andreas: Only that Marcus was the vocalist and that they were fucking sick. Go check them out on Bandcamp.
Are you involved in any other way in the music scene?
Andreas: Marcus has been involved with putting on some local shows but apart from that our full focus is on Vaticinal. That being said, we try to support illustrators, producers, labels and zines within the underground Death Metal community as best as we can. Without their contribution, this scene would barely exist.
Are there any bands or albums of your recent playlist you would like to mention? A rediscovery, an overlooked gem or an unsigned demo band that deserves attention? Any other bands of your region of United Kingdom that are worth mentioning and to check out for our readers?
Andreas: I mainly listen to a lot of Heavy Metal classics when I’m chilling at home, stuff like Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Priest and King Diamond etc. That shit is ingrained in me but recently I’ve been enjoying some lesser-known thrash albums from the late 80s/early 90s like Forced Entry, Devastation and Atrophy. Every day is different though, sometimes ill wake up a find myself wanting to listen to nothing but Cannibal Corpse, other times I’ll find myself listing to some ambient soundscape stuff like Vangelis or Klaus Schulz.
In terms of other shoutouts, we’re fortunate enough to have a very healthy underground death metal scene here in the UK with a number of great bands leading the charge such as, Vacuous, Mortuary Spawn, Slimelord etc. as well as old guards like Grave Miasmia and Cruciamentum. A special shoutout goes to Max Southall from Vacuous and Hellripper for providing us with his services behind the kit on the upcoming album.
Also do you have favourite labels you always keep an eye on when they announce a new release? Or a favourite illustrator / cover artist? Any favourite printed / online zines (if you are considering to mention us, I appreciate the gesture, but please don’t as this is not a question meant to blow our own horn but to support others, so mention others if you please)? A distro you order a lot from?
Andreas: Yeah for sure. I’m always looking at what Me Saco Un Ojo and Extremely Rotten Productions are doing, as well as Dry Cough Records. I also tend to pick up a few gems from Crypt of the Wizard and Mercenary Press.
There are so many amazing artists and illustrators out there who we’d love to work with someday, such as Mark Riddick and Paolo Girardi but seeing as our debut album is cooking, I have to give a shoutout to Pedro Moriendee who has produced an absolute masterpiece for the cover, as well as Becky Pearey who did an amazing job with the layout and is an awesome illustrator too.
Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts? Is there something I’ve forgotten to ask you which you would like to mention? Thanks for your time!
Andreas: Think that covers everything dude. Thanks for having us. Be sure to check us out on Spotify, Bandcamp and all that good stuff. Keep your eyes and ears out for our debut album and thanks to everyone who has supported us.