ANCIENT RITES: Drummer Walter van Cortenberg ist tot

ANCIENT RITES-Drummer Walter van Cortenberg ist vor drei Tagen an einem plötzlichen Herzinfarkt gestorben. Bassist und Sänger Gunther verabschiedet Walter wie folgt:

Farewell to Walter 

With a heavy heart ANCIENT RITES has to inform you about the passing…I can`t do it like this. Walter. I…You know, brother. We never needed any words to understand. You were the only one left from the very beginning of this turbulent ANCIENT RITES adventure, dating back to the 80`s. You were there as our drum roadie, during the first rehearsals. When our drummer Stefan died, soon after the recordings of our demo, we asked you to step in his shoes. You were wondering if you could do it. I remember your smile of disbelief but feeling welcomed, when our guitarist Philip encouraged you with humour, saying you played so powerful, that he could feel a shift in the air. Soon after you joined, Philip died, too. But he was right. We all knew it was an exaggeration but you got the picture, we believed in you.

And what a fantastic drummer you became

Actually you never made any mistakes, like a machine following the click track. Sooner prepared than any of us when it came to performing new material, like clockwork. No hesitation. Spot on. Always. Once you took your place in the band, you never left, until your last breath (alas literally!) loyal to ANCIENT RITES. Good times, bad times, good press, hate press, glorification or boycotts, no matter the obstacles, you never stopped the fight.

It never crossed your mind to give in

Also a loyal ally when it came to keep the old school flame burning, to keep the legacy alive, without compromise preserving our identity. You enjoyed playing the old school set again, a tribute to the early band years and indirectly our youth. Much to our surprise, both gigs sold out within hours and the response at both shows were intense and heart-warming. Despite Corona, you came to our house several weeks ago, to pick up a shirt for your daughter, who recently got into Metal. You were thrilled about the re-releases of our first two albums. Also about the good news that we were offered a new record deal. Immediately, you had the same idea I was playing with: “Now we should record an album, even more raw and furious than our first recordings. In your face material”. Also the rest of the band agreed on the plan. You wanted to go out and play, not performing a weak “soulless” copy of “what was”, but as fierce as ever, giving it a 100%, making clear the fire within hadn`t faded yet.

To go out with a blast, as it were, to complete the circle

Gigs were offered or scheduled throughout Europe. Also proposals to play Asia, North, South and Central America. Corona intervened but we`d be ready if the tide would turn. Two days before you suddenly passed away because of an unexpected heart attack, I said in an interview we would give it all we`ve got. But that life is unpredictable and over before you know it. That nothing can be taken for granted. We have seen too many people in and surrounding our band vanish, due to car accidents, health issues, suicide. We have learnt to expect the unexpected. But still. My words weren`t cold yet and I received the devastating news that now you were gone, too.

Another person on the unfortunate list of ANCIENT RITES casualties

Surreal. I always believed you would be the one in the future talking in a past tense about me. Today, I will phone the Funerarium and make an appointment, hoping they`ll find a moment for us to come and say farewell, with my wife and some of the old crew. Nothing will be the same again. Our heart goes out to your wife Iana and young daughter Arina, what a tragedy came upon them. Rest assured, that all of your friends and worldwide supporters of the band, will always cherish your memory.

For who you were and for your talent

I am glad that last year, I actually told you what a fantastic drummer I always thought you were. That my father and I had been talking about that. You reacted a bit surprised like “what has suddenly come over him?” But you smiled your typical smile and looked content “Allee jong?!” you said, which is hard to translate, “really, man?” could come close. We never needed words but somehow I felt the urge to say it out loud, after decades. Glad I did. Also that I expressed how much I valued our personal bond. Isn`t it often so that people often regret things they never said to someone dear, when it`s too late?

Walter always stood our ground

Perhaps it sounds overly dramatic but playing in a band like ANCIENT RITES always implicated more than just making music together. One had to stand firm without support of business men and the negative reactions one encountered from those outside of the underground scene, ruling the mainstream. Walter always stood our ground, withstanding pressure, without blinking an eye, as well. That is why I feel like an old trooper in the trenches, who at the final days of the war, looks to his right side, and suddenly notices an empty spot that never was there before. Who watches down in disbelief and see that his comrade, the only one left from day one, has fallen. Feeling flabbergasted, shocked, not knowing what to say or do. Feeling lonely, now the only one left remembering it all. And pretend for the sake of the other troopers, that the mud and dirt of the trenches, caused an irritation of the eyes, this happens, dust in the eyes. But you would know better, Walter.

Farewell my brother in Arms

I cannot believe I am writing this. Thank you for all, not only for your talent and everlasting support but also for your brotherhood, that went far beyond music. Words are never enough and all seem superficial to describe feelings that go back for decades, a lifetime, actually. I think I feel that same dust down my throat, as I am typing this…Spread the word my friends, an Ancient One has fallen, way too young, once again. Honour his memory, the press probably won`t but you can. Remember him Ancient Hordes, from the depths of the real underground.  

Gunther, on behalf of ANCIENT RITES.”