Oldschool Metal Maniac - English Version

ANCESTOR INTERVIEW

I admit that the recent actions of Sodom, the first full-length of the Thai Nuclear Warfare and just the debut album Ancestor, are three reasons why I have been watching the Thrash scene much more carefully, one I have neglected so far. And Ancestor is at the forefront here! This young team from China plays as if we wanted many veterans of the scene to play. They take handfuls of Teutonic Thrash under the sign of Destruction, Kreator or Sodom, adding to it something from the old American scene, like Death Angel and Dark Angel influences. I invite you to read the conversation I had last year with Li Meng - guitarist and leader of the band

1. Hi there Li Meng! What's new in Ancestor's camp? As far as I know there is a new album coming next year, right?

Hi buddy, I’m very excited to be interviewed by Oldschool Metal Maniac. We performed a massive tour in Asia in February for our last album, Lords of Destiny. After that, we have hardly scheduled a concert. As you said, we are currently working on our next album, but before we release that we will have a new song included on a compilation of Asian thrash metal.

2. I guess it's your very first interview for the Polish Metal press. Do you have a chance to reach European scene already? Johannes Chan from Destruktion Records is Ancestor's great supporter and I remember reading interview with you in his Bestial Desecration fanzine.

Yes, this is my first interview with Polish metal press. Previously, we were invited to perform in the Czech Republic, but during that time we were on tour in Asia. Johannes is a great guy; he’s really obsessed with the music of ANCESTOR. The interview that you mention was actually done by another guy named Jero. He owns a label called Eerie Hint Productions. The tape versions of the first ANCESTOR album and the EP were both released by him. Both Johannes and Jero are real underground metal maniacs! I'm very honored to have their support and help.

3. Let's get back to the beginnings of the band to introduce you a bit to the Polish maniacs. How you guys met and what inspired you then to start making your own music?

Hail, Polish maniacs, we are ANCESTOR, an underground thrash metal band from Beijing, China.

The band was formed in 2004 by our drummer and myself. There was only two of us at first. I recall, back in the summer of 2007, we got an opportunity to perform, so we found a temporary guitarist and a bass player to join us to complete the group for the show. After the show, a maniac fan came to us and insisted to join the band, so the duo became a trio! That was how we found our first official bass player. During this time in 2007, a true barbarian carrying a Jackson showed up and he became our guitarist. Finally, in 2009, for the first time, ANCESTOR got a complete line-up.

 

4. Your Thrash Metal art seems to be highly influenced by the old European bands, especially the ones from Germany, like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. Do you have any memories when you listen to these for the first time? Why you have decided on such style instead of more popular US Thrash? Does your band name means that correspondence with the European Thrash godfathers?

Yes, our music is influenced by a large number of European metal bands. I am fascinated by the solemn, dark artistic atmosphere that they create. I also like US Thrash, such as the great MEGADETH, but when I heard KREATOR’s Pleasure to Kill, I knew this was the style of music I really wanted to play! Underground, brutal and aggressive! In fact, our name comes from a Chinese band called OVERLOAD. They have a famous single called The Shades of Ancestors. They were the very first Chinese Thrash Metal band.

5. Heard, that from the very beginning the band suffered from frequent line-up changes and because of that 10 years needed to pass to officially release your first material - "Age of Overload" EP. Could your recall that period and why it took so much time to stabilize the band?

From the beginning, only the drummer and I have been constant members. In 2008, we moved from our hometown to Beijing in order to see how far ANCESTOR could go. We’ve had a number of lineups - musicians came and left. In the past, this has made the band’s future unclear. The most crucial issue that we’ve collided with in the past is finding genuine, underground metal musicians. This is really difficult! When it comes to musicians in Beijing, some of them can be exceptional, skilled in technique, but they know nothing about metal music, leaving underground metal behind. As far as I’m concerned, without the underground spirit, a musician is only soulless and machine-like. The songs on Age of Overload were written and ready for recording in 2010, but at that time we went through the first major lineup change, so recording the album had to be postponed. 7 years later, in 2017, we successfully released Age of Overload on the band’s 10th anniversary.

 

6. So far you have one EP and a debut album, what was the response on both materials in China and other countries you've managed to reach? For me, and to be honest, such bands like your are the hope of Thrash scene.

Thanks for your kind words! Here in China metal fans are more familiar with US Thrash, Retro Thrash and Modern Thrash. So many of them don’t really understand what we are doing. We didn’t get much following after the release of the album. So, we were very surprised to be featured in several international metal music magazines and websites. Lords of Destiny was even included in some of their 2018 top 5 or top 10 lists. As a Chinese thrash metal band, this has made us feel more confident with the release and we consider this a huge accomplishment. Our achievements have encouraged us to forge ahead and put out even more heavyweight thrash metal assaults in the future.

7. Do you have any special memories connected with the recording of "Lords of Destiny" and concerts you gave to promote the album?

We started recording Lords of Destiny in May of 2018 with our former bass player, Zhang Jinliang. Age of Overload was also recorded by him and he did an excellent job with both albums.

The most memorable thing about recording Lords of Destiny is that Inner Struggle was written the day before we recorded it. We didn’t have any time to rehearse it. We just recorded it. On August 18, 2018, we took part in a gig called Thrashing Madness Attack, which was the official release date for the album. Then we started a large-scale Asian tour which lasted until February this year. The last stop was True Thrash Fest in Japan. There were about 50 gigs on this touring circuit, which here in China is considered unprecedented for an extreme metal band.

 

8. Could you tell me how the extreme Metal scene in China looks like? Could you recommend any bands, releases for us to check?

I don't think the way that China’s Extreme Metal is developing is proper. Many of the older bands don’t desire to continue, while the newer bands are lured by profit. These people lack an essential element of metal music—the true underground spirit. China also lacks excellent and fair metal music media. Fans no longer focused on music as before, they prefer to buy T-shirts, patches, anything that looks good and makes them seem metal. Even though I still find the Extreme Metal environment in promising. There are still some good bands I'd like to recommend, such as Dugu, Skeletal Augury, Holokastrial, Rupture, The Metaphor, Deathpact, Hellfire, Hellward, and Chaotic Aeon.

9.When talking about influences and stuff you listen to, I bet you do not limit yourself to Thrash only. What other genres are among your favourites, bands, maybe records if you like to mention a few? Are you going to add some Black/Death elements to your Ancestor's music on the upcoming record?

Besides Thrash Metal, I listen to a lot of Black Metal and Death Metal... I think the classic albums of the '80s and '90s influences every new band and will continue to do so until the day when there is no underground metal music on earth. I think the following bands are the ones that every metalhead must listen to, such as: KREATOR, BATHORY, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, PROTECTOR, POISON, AGRESSOR, DESASTER, MERCILESS, DEATH, POSSESSED, EGZEKUTHOR, TORMENTOR , SACRIFICE, DESTROYER 666, INCUBUS, DEAD HEAD, MESSIAH, MASSACRA, PESTILENCE, SADUS, SEPULTURA, NIFELHEIM, IMMORTAL, AURA NOIR and NECROMANTIA. There are too many great bands and they all have affected what music I create and the path that my life is all about. If I had to mention only one album, it has to be Pleasure To Kill. As far as I’m concerned, it's the best Thrash album ever and will never be surpassed. ANCESTOR’s next album will be more aggressive and will have a touch of Black/Death elements.

10.When mentioning an upcoming release there is a matter of tour as well, are there any plans for a Europe gigs, visiting Poland maybe?

A European tour is and has been our dream all along. If all goes well, maybe next year.

Currently, we are looking for a booking agency. Hopefully, we could take our new killer album to the underground metal scene in Europe! See you in Poland, man!

11. You are also a men behind Awakening Records, am I correct? You have already released the Ancestor's debut under this label, but also the reissue of "Gloomy Night Stories" by Inferno Requiem and Nightbound self-titled EP. Both bands are completely different, on one hand there is a Hard Rock stuff, and on the other raw Black Metal. I guess you are not limiting yourself to only extreme art. Please tell me how you got started with releasing stuff and what inspired you to do so?

 

Yes, you are right! I started Awakening Records with two friends in 2017. Both of them are 666 % pure metalheads. Personally, I prefer extreme metal of the '80s and '90stheir tastes are a lot more across-the-board than mine. So, AR’s releases are not limited to just Black, Death and Thrash.

No matter what, we all share the same viewpoint: to pursue high-quality metal music and produce high-quality records. I believe every diehard dreams of owning their own label to distribute records of the bands that they love. I had this dream 20 years ago when I was just an uninformed kid. Now I am finally realizing this dream, though there is still a lot of things I need to learn. Because of this, I would like to share my appreciation to all the underground metal music labels!

12.Now something different but still connected with the label. What is your opinion on downloading music, its digital version and the situation of the physical stuff? I think you are strongly defending the vinyl, cd, tape format and its quality.

Thank you for your kind words about Awakening Records. Yes, times are changing, science and technology are growing strong. Every new step produces both good and bad influences. When I started to listen to extreme metal, many of the older underground bands did not have their albums reprinted yet, and express delivery was not as convenient as it is today. So, it was difficult to get what you wanted. Because of this, I initially downloaded a lot of MP3s and in recent years and have been able to start purchasing these wonderful albums because they have been reprinted on a large scale.

I don’t look down upon any digital format. It’s more practical, especially when you’re on the road touring. I mean, no one wants to be lugging around tons of CDs.

I think that most people are like me. We still buy CDs, vinyl, and tapes but we also enjoy the convenience of digital format.

13.I know you are familiar with Polish metal scene, both old and new, are there any bands you like most? Do they have any influence on you when writing music for Ancestor?

Yes, I'm familiar withsome metal bands from Poland. In fact, I first became aware of Polish metal thanks to Thrashing Madness Productions. I’m impressed with EGZEKUTHOR, MERCILESS DEATH, HELLIAS, MORTAL SLAUGHTER, LASTWAR, and GHOST. The underground metal spirit and feeling of all these great bands have had some influence on my music. In general, all the TMP releases are worth collecting. In 2014, the Polish band Wolf Spider came to China. ANCESTOR had the honour to open the gig.

14.Ok, that's will be the end for now. Thanks for all the answers and your time. It was a damn pleasure to have you here and the possibility to introduce Ancestor to OMM readers. If you have anything to add, or any message to Polish Metal maniacs now it's the time. Metal regards and hope to see you soon in Poland!

It was great be interviewed by OMM. This will be a very important addition to ANCESTOR's experiences! Hail to all OMM readers! A killer show will soon be held for the Polish Metal maniacs! It's time to Rise by Sin!

  Przemysław Bukowski

Poprawiony (piątek, 07 lutego 2020 12:05)