Interview with Wannes of Pentacle by Keith Dempe 1998 

With so many bands trying to “rehash” the 1980’s it is extremely pleasing at least to me, to see a bands that stuck to their guns, so to speak, all the way through from the late 1980’S!!!. This band is of course Holland’s solution to Order From Chaos, Pentacle!. Even past releases by the band wouldn’t have prepared us for the release last year of “The Fifth Moon (reviewed by me to great praise in issue # 1 of Canadian Assault -Dale)” the bands CD debut on Displeased Records. Easily the best thing that the already successful label has ever presented , the new MCD has my vote for one of the best CD’s of 1997!. TOTAL ‘80’s deathrash revisited, from this already very well seasoned dutch band, the mini-LP version has a cover of “The Reaper”!. Never before has Hellhammer been paid such a tribute. There really isn’t enough good I could say about this band, they are brutal, they are raw, they are everything metal should be and I think you would be well advised to read on this interview conducted with bassist/vocalist Wannes Gubbels!  - Keith Dempe



First of course the obligatory, please fill us in on the necessary history of Pentacle prior to releasing the “Winds Of The Fall” demo? Have you recruited any members of Pentacle from other bands? 

The band started in winter 1989. The first time it was just our guitarist Mike and me. We came form a small village and at that time there was almost no fans of extreme music, so when we saw somebody walking with a heavy shirt and studs, it was something rare. I met Mike several time and said “Hi”, to him, but we never talked with each other. At a certain moment we met each other and started talking. I found out he liked the same bands that I did, we talked about all kinds of bands like Celtic Frost, Death, Messiah, Destruction, Slayer ect ect…So now we knew each other better and started to tape each other’s collection. Mike also told me he played guitar and wanted to form a band, but he didn’t know the right people. I said I wanted to give it a try and as I didn’t play an instrument I would do the vocals. So that’s where we started. We started to write songs together, and sometimes I took the bass also. I always liked the idea of me doing bass and vocals so I bought a guitar and started practicing. The first song I started playing was Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor”. At the time I also did a radio program called “Thrashing Madness”, we played really underground stuff like the demos of bands like Morbid Angel, Entombed, Immolation, Messiah, Asphyx, Treblinka, Carnage, Samael, ect. I knew this guy Marc and he played drums so I asked him to come over and hear our material. So Mike and me played him our songs plus Hellhammer’s “Triumph Of Death”, including the insane vocals. Today Marc still admits he was totally blown away by the vocals and from that moment he joined the band. Together we completed the songs Mike and me had written and at the same time we started writing material as a 3 piece. In 1992 we wanted to record the songs that were ready. Mike had some friends that were running a PA company and he asked them to record our songs in our rehearsal room. I remember it was pretty cold but we managed to do it. The songs we recorded were: “A Mind In Flames”, “Son Of The Dawn”, “Belief From Below”, “Denial Of God”(our first song ever written), and Hellhammer’s “The Reaper”. After the recording we weren’t satisfied with it, the guitars lacked power and the vocals were too growling. We first had the idea to release it, but because we weren’t satisfied with it we didn’t do it. However Mike started to record the tape for several interested people and they were pretty positive about it. After a couple of weeks the demand became bigger and as naïve as we were we decided to release it. It got the title “Caressed By Both Sides” rehearsal and we sold about 100 copies of it. At the time we did our first gigs with bands like Gorefest and Asphyx. At the gig with Asphyx we put on warpaint just like Frost did in their old days. You have to remember almost no bands did that at this time except bands like Mayhem, Bestial Summoning, Grotesque, Treblinka and some more. It was not to create a black metal feeling but more to give our music a more visual aspect. So that’s where it all started.

The sound on “Winds Of The Fall” is so classic! Totally primordial which has worked well into what you are doing today Do you agree? How did this demo do for the band? Were you happy with the tape? 

Yes the sound on the demo is very honest. Very basic yet powerful. It was our first studio experience. At the time I was really impressed by Acrostichon’s “Dehumanized” demo(me too -Keith), concerning the sound. I wanted to record in the same studio as well. So when the time came I called the studio and booked it 2 days to record and mix our demo. We recorded it in the RS 29 studio. Everything went pretty well, except for the first song “Buried In Mankind’s Sleep”. Marc had some trouble with the drums, he couldn’t play it right. You can hear that just listen to the drum intro. Mike and I were so fucked up, and we didn’t want to do it again and the rest of the song is played well. So we decided to leave it this way. There were also some guest vocals on the song “My Fall”, do you know the Dutch Dead End?. Well I was really into their music and we were (and are still) good friends. When we were about to record our demo we I asked Micha to join me on that particular song and he did. We really did our best concerning the layout, it cost us a lot of money but I still think it was worth it, it still looks great!. We sold about 600 copies of it. We got a very good response from the crowd. Of course there were some people that didn’t like, like a guy from Poland who thought we were 10 years too late with our music, but the major part was very enthusiastic about it. It gave us a name about being a very old fashioned death metal band in the vein of Celtic Frost, Hellhammer and Possessed with some influences from Asphyx which I agree. Through the demo we got many interesting gigs to play with bands like Anathema, Ancient Rites, Occult, Mangled and more. I agree that our first demo is/was a good foundation for what we do today. We still play songs off of it and our next release will feature a new version of the song “Deepness Of The Depths”. The demo directed our way to what we do today, yet in a more embryonic way. Of course we matured a lot but the demo did it’s job. The only thing I don’t like much anymore are the vocals, but at the time I couldn’t do better, so there is no need to put them down, it’s just the way it was!. It also gave us an opportunity to record and exclusive track for the DSFA compilation CD part 6. Anthony like our demo very much and he was putting another comp together he wanted us too. For this purpose we recorded “A Dance Beyond”. The CD was successful, it featured only unreleased tracks and we did 2 DSFA festivals which were cool as well!.

How did the deal with Displeased Records to do “The Fifth Moon” MCD come about? How has it been selling and how has the overall reaction been from the press community? Are you going to tour in support of it? 

Some time back Reaper Records wanted to release a 12” of us. I don’t know if you know this label, but he (Gunther Crass) released the Morbid 12”, the Acheron 7” and he did together with Wim (from Midian Creations) the Sathanas 7”. He already wanted to release the 12” right after the demo, but we thought it was too early to do it. First we wanted to get more well known in the underground, after the ep we thought we were ready for it, so we talked about it with Gunther and he thought the time was ready for it as well. They (Displeased)  heard about our plans of doing a 12” and asked if they could do the CD version as they liked the show and the material. We asked Gunther about it and he said it was okay, but again after some time he quit, maybe he didn’t like the idea of Displeased doing the CD version. At that time there would only be the CD version. We were very disappointed about these happenings, because we felt left on our own. Vinyl is for us very important and far more interesting than a CD and at the time it wasn’t there!. At the same time Jeroen of Damnation Records heard our advance tape. He heard of our problems and liked our material a lot. He offered us a deal to release “The Fifth Moon” on picture disc 12”. We agreed and that is what happened. The picture disc has been released as a limited edition of 525 copies with a bonus track and a different layout. You can also find a photo sheet with all kinds of cool pictures. Just like the old days. The picture disc has been sold out for quite some time. About the CD, I don’t have the right amount, but I guess it’s about 2000 copies. Not bad, but not good either. The reactions have been very good except for some in Norway like Nordic Vision. They totally ripped us apart, except for the production nothing was good. Okay that’s their opinion (even though it is a DEAD WRONG opinion -Keith), but almost everybody thinks that “The Fifth Moon” is a very good release. Even some major magazines like Rock Hard from Germany liked it, HA!. Anyway the underground press has been very supportive. I’m glad they see us not as a new trying to be part of the new “back to the 1980’s” wave, but recognize us as a band that is trying to do their own thing since 1989. There are some bands pretending to do the same, but lucky enough the people in the underground notice what we are doing (And that we do Wannes -Keith). Last year we did a small tour with our friends of Ancient Rites. We played in countries like Holland, France, Germany and Belgium. We had some bad luck because Cradle Of Filth and In The Woods were touring at the same time, as they are more popular they got better promotion for their tours. This had a negative influence over our tour, but I am glad we did it. It was a great time together with Ancient Rites and we met cool people, I am proud to say every gig we did was a good one!.

Are you happy with the outcome of “The Fifth Moon”? What are each of the songs about? Especially my favorite “Black At Heart”!!!. The MCD is a multi-media disc, can you tell us what we will find if we load it into the computer? 

Yes I am still very satisfied with “The Fifth Moon”, as well the CD as the picture disc. Both products looks and sounds professional. The change of studios did us well, I like Harrow Productions very much!. The sound is more brutal yet clear. As always there are some minor details I would like to change some additional reverb to the vocals, they sound a bit too “dry” in my opinion. What I dislike the most is the photo collage in the picture disc has been screened. You can see that too well and I don’t like that. It could have been better but there is nothing we can do about it. If I could change one thing I would get rid of the ROM part, it’s superfluous in my eyes. What can you see on it?. A photo, a logo and a biography, furthermore a not working Displeased catalog. The most annoying thing is that you can read in reviews it is not working. It doesn’t interest me but I don’t like it if half of the review goes on about the ROM part that doesn’t work. The music is most important not the ROM part. We didn’t have anything to do with it and if we had some input we would have made it far more interesting. I am still pissed off about this but I guess we have to deal with it. You asked about the content of the songs. Well they deal with things I have experienced in my life. Emotions, happenings, visions ect…Very personal stuff. I put everything in a very symbolic way, so it’s hard for someone else to understand what I am writing about. The whole thing is a concept. On the front cover you can see the 4 elements: water, earth, fire and air, but there is a fifth element, the state of the mind/soul. The four elements are connected with the four moons while the fifth element concerns the rest of the drawing. The woman, the serpent, the triangle ect…The whole thing fits into each other you know. “Black At Heart” is of course part of it. The lyrics are dealing with a rather weird story/ vision. It would be difficult to explain here, I can tell you it’s really obscure.

I know you have had some line-up trouble could you fill us in on what has been the problem? What happened to Edwin? Will you continue as a 3 piece? 

Well as you know by now our second guitarist Edwin has left the band at the beginning of the year. There were no personal problems, definitely not!. The problem was this- we rehearsal in the south of the country, near Eidenhoven well as Edwin lives more in the northwest part, he had to travel quite a lot to visit our rehearsal room. . In hours it was about 4 to come here and go home all in one evening. He’s working and it took a lot of his time which he apparently couldn’t afford. Also we are playing often live, we like that, but Edwin felt it was too much strain. His motivation went down because he had to put to much time to the band. You couldn’t see that on stage because he really gave his best  to give an extreme live show. When your not willing to give time one can better stop and that was what Edwin did, he quit. It’s really a pity because he is really a cool guy and a good guitarist. I spent last weekend at his place and we had a great time. Again there are no hard feelings towards him. He is busy with a new project more in the thrash vein, I heard a couple of the new songs and they are really good, so I wish him the best!. So we’re a three piece again. Well it definitely works out well for us. We are experienced enough to pull it through. It’s pretty difficult to find the right member for the band. We want someone who has been in the scene for quite some time and must have experienced the good old days. He must know what he’s talking about. I know some guitarists who could fit in Pentacle, but they are in other bands, so…I guess we will stay a three piece.

I have heard your cover of Hellhammer’s “The Reaper”, what recording is that from and when was it recorded? Do you do any other covers? What are some covers you would like to or plan to do? 

As you can read the first time we recorded “The Reaper” was during the rehearsal recordings. We wanted to do “Buried And Forgotten” but as I didn’t have the lyrics for the songs we decided to do “The Reaper”. So you can find it for the first time on the rehearsal. The song really became part of the band. We often played it as an encore and the crowd was very wild during this song. We wanted to record it again, but now in the studio to check out how the song would be with a good production. The “Satanic Rites” demo is of course, TOTAL GODLY (I agree -Keith), but the production is not that good, although this became a important part of the atmosphere the demo has(right again my friend -Keith). Anyway we wanted to record it in a studio. We already wanted to do it during the recording of the DSFA track, but there wasn’t enough time left so we couldn’t make it. Then when we recorded the 7” we wanted to try it again, but due to the above mentioned reason it failed again. By the way it was more to check out this song in the studio environment, more for ourselves and not another reason. When the time was ready to record the 12” we wanted to make a bonus track for the vinyl version, it didn’t take long to decide which one it would be. Yep, “The Reaper”! So you can find it on the picture disc. For this purpose I wrote Tom Warrior and asked his permission to record this song, but I never heard from him. I know he got the letter… Maybe it’s stupid of me, but I know how he thinks of Hellhammer, but he could have had the decency to write back. Oh well we like the song very much and that is very important. Live, the song really kills, because of it’s simplicity. At our gigs there are always people asking for this song. I don’t find this a negative thing, because it’s a classic song. I guess I would do the same. HA! There is a little story connected to the version on the picture disc. At the end song you can hear me scream “Deathcrush”. I’m talking about Mayhem right? It has the following reason. At the same time I was recording my vocals my friend Bob(Asphyx(Gods!! -Dale) R.I.P.) was also there. The recording studio we used for “The Fifth Moon” is also where they recorded albums like “The Rack”, “Last One On Earth” and “God Cries”. They rehearsed there as well. Anyway Bob was there with his girlfriend Marleen and we talked the whole time about Mayhem and the gigs Asphyx were supposed to do with them in 1990. So at the end of “The Reaper” we have a kind of chaos part. Suddenly the word “Deathcrush” came through my mind is the reason it made it onto record. We play all kinds of covers. Today we are playing Destruction’s “Antichrist” on gigs, but most times it is something from Hellhammer or Celtic Frost . We did “Messiah”, “Into The Crypts Of Rays”, “Procreation(Of The Wicked)”, “Return To The Eve” and “The Usurper” but in our rehearsal room we did a lot more Hellhammer/Celtic Frost covers. But also some other stuff like Messiah, Mayhem, Slayer, Samael and more. It’s not like we spend whole rehearsals concerning this stuff, but sometimes it’s cool to do. Oh we played Slaughter’s “Tales Of The Macabre” and Death’s “Zombie Ritual” too. I have numerous ideas concerning covers, when Edwin was still in the band we wanted to do Treblinka’s “Severe Abomination”, but it never made it. I would really like to do a Necrovore track, maybe “Slaughtered Remains”. Yes that would be a cool one. I am very much into Necrovore(I hear that!! -Dale). They did very intense stuff. I heard they are back in business and don’t live in Texas anymore(They are back in business but I think they are still in Texas!?! -Dale). I’m curious what the future will bring us!.

Speaking of which, one cannot miss the Necrovore shirt you are wearing on the back of the MCD. What do you think of the new trend of reverting back to the 1980’s sound? Bands like Bewitched, Arch Enemy ect…What do you thin of these bands? Who are you listening to a lot these days? 

I’m listening to all kinds of bands today, of course old GODS like Possessed, Destruction, Nasty Savage, Necrophagia, Messiah, Protector and Onslaught, but also a lot of newer stuff, I really like Destroyer 666 (me too! -Keith) their new album is fucking great!. I am listening to Cianide, Warhammer(Ger), Grotesque, Occult, Celestial Pain, Emperor, Abominator, Sadistic Intent, Vulpecula, Ancient Rites, Scepter, Desaster, Ungod, Eternal Solstice, Asphyx, Equinox(Usa), Aurora Borealis, Mortem, Necrophobic, and many more. It’s only metal I’m listening to, I guess I am too narrow minded to listen to other bands(Wannes my metal brother you are not alone with this! -Dale). About the new wave, I don’t know how the situation in the states is concerning this new movement, but here in Europe it seems how better you rip-off an old band, the faster you get a record deal. It’s really strange. Just take a band like Inferno(Einar is a friggin’ wimp!- a very pissed off -Keith). If you know your old gods can’t tolerate something like this it’s just too much you know. If your being influenced by a band that’s okay, we too have our influences, but if you are stealing riff after riff… That’s not okay!. I really like something like Warhammer . As I said they are a total Hellhammer clone, but these guys know this band from 1984 so they know what they are talking about. It’s their goal to sound just the same and they succeeded very well. But on the other hand there are already labels that went to sign them (I’ve heard they are signed to Voices Productions from Germany -Keith). I can understand that but in a way it’s weird you know?. It’s a strange situation but it’s happening. You can see all kinds of bands that are playing this kind of metal again. In a way it’s cool, the bands are getting more recognition and they deserve it!. But there are a lot of new bands that are pretending to be something they’re not, It’s a bit difficult to explain. Let me put it this way… For me the 1980’s are sacred and I really worship those days, but I don’t like if somebody is messing up the whole thing. If they don’t handle the old days with respect they can fuck off!!!! (I think Wannes has just summoned up how I feel too completely! -Dale). Bands like Inferno are nothing more than a joke to me (me too -Keith). I can’t take such a band serious. Bewiched is much better, although they tend to steal a lot, but at least they try to make it more interesting by using some of their own ideas. As always there are good and bad bands. Most times I like them, but often I can’t get rid of the feeling it’s just another “trendy”. You can also see a lot of bootlegs circulating in the scene. Bands like Mayhem, Morbid, Celtic Frost, Venom and Sodom and many more are victims of this business. I really dislike this money making business but there is nothing much to do about it other than making the public knowledgeable.

Tell us about your side project Soulburn. Which members of Asphyx are in it and how can we obtain a copy of your demo? 

Soulburn started after the demise of the great Asphyx. As I knew Bob really well and we already had another project (Thy Infernal) we talked about doing another one. We asked Eric to join and with this line-up we recorded the demo 1996 at the end of last year with me on bass and vocals. It contains 2 songs and a intro/outro. The style is in the old Asphyx (dude I need to hear that! -Keith) vein. More like “The Rack” or “Last One On Earth” with some cool ancient influences. It was recorded at Harrow Productions. It was a pretty limited release so if somebody wants to try and get it try tape trading!!!. We’ll probably release a 12” on Damnation Records. It’ll contain 3 new tracks and a cover of a famous underground band. Just wait and see!. I don’t know when we’ll start to record the 12” because we have some troubles with the guitarist. We’ll see.

Please fill us in on the merchandise of Pentacle!. 

We have full-color T-shirts and longsleeves available for both $15 and $18. On the front is “The Fifth Moon” drawing and on the back is the logo and photo of the band. Soon we’ll have new shirts. Really underground, but I can’t tell you about it because we are still busy with it!. The CD is obtainable through my address for $10 US. About the picture disc, I don’t have any copies left. Maybe you could find it in some mailorders, but I guess it will be hard to get.

Any final words of wisdom my friend? 

Well Keith I want to thank you very much for this interesting interview. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, keep up the good work and good luck with Eternal Darkness, I would like to greet some friends like Chuck of Vulpecula, Bay and Sadistic Intent, Sephiroth and Occult, All and Desaster, Ungod, Ancient Rites and many more. Keep the ancient flame burning!!!!!!!!!. Write: Pentacle, c/o Wannes Gubbels, Franse Hoef 17, 5531 PD Bladel, HOLLAND.



The Complete Pentacle Discography 

Caressed By Both Sides Demo, 1992

Winds Of The Fall Demo, 1993

Exalted Journey EP, 1995

The Fifth Moon EP, 1996

...Rides The Moonstorm Full-length, 1998

Desaster in League with Pentacle Split, 2000

Ancient Death EP, 2001

Dunkel Besatthet Split, 2002

Under the Black Cross Full-length, 2005

Archaic Undead Fury EP, 2005



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