-- Cult of Scarecrow gets shredded again! --
September 3, 2021 we went to the newly established version of Grimm Gent’s JH Asgaard for the Darken The Moon event, hosted and headlined by Marche Funèbre. The first band on the lineup was the epic doom metal band Cult Of Scarecrow. We’ve been following the band for about 3 years now and most recently we reviewed their awesome debut album “Tales Of The Sacrosanct Man.” (read it here: https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/310).
And now with the Sacrosanct album having reached its worldwide release date, it was time to sit together with the Cult to talk about the production and songwriting of the Sacrosanct album, how they ended up signing to 2 distinct record labels and the band’s freshly recruited manager Glenn offers some Belgian metal inspired words.
BMS: Hello guys! Great to see you all again. I must say that your brand new album “Tales Of The Sacrosanct Man” was quite impressive. Compared to your eponymous debut EP our sound is now more guitar-driven, the songs are also more varied, get to the point quicker and are overall compelling even though they are only slightly shorter compared to the 4 very lengthy tracks from the EP. So now, tell us your own thoughts about the Sacrosanct album.Gunny: I’d say that our debut EP was doom with classic metal influences while our freshly made album is classic metal with doom influences. In other words, we wanted to make the Sacrosanct a more straight-forward album compared to the EP. We paid close attention to the feedback we received from the EP (and the rather dragged-out aspect of the EP’s songs was a frequent remark).
Gunny: In addition, we added two new members to our ranks, specifically Nico on drums and Robbie on keyboards and both influenced the eventual sound of Sacrosanct. Truth to be told, we actually aren’t that much into doom metal and the EP’s doom-oriented sound was mostly influenced by Schram, our drummer at the time. Still, we didn’t want to fully abandon the doom influences, so we decided to create a heavy metal album with a solid doom atmosphere.
Filip: In fact, the Sacrosanct album represents a return to our old-school metal roots. The fact that the self-titled EP ended up been so doom metal as it is was rather unintentional. Back then we were just starting off and didn’t have that clear a direction as to where we wanted to go. Our former drummer wanted to make it doom metal and we took our chances with it.
BMS: I see, so how did the songwriting go for Sacrosanct?
Gunny: The songwriting has always been a joint affair, but this time, however, we discarded as little material as possible. In the past we had thrown away a lot of stuff but now we challenged ourselves to make each written song worthy of inclusion for the album.
Filip: In addition, we are now slightly reworking the EP’s material to better suit our current, more evolved sound so that those 4 songs can stand together with our new stuff.
BMS: Great idea! That will be make the old stuff fun to rediscover. How did the production of the Sacrosanct album go?
Filip: We worked with beloved producer Ace Zec and he offered to not only produce the songs but to also give his suggestions for the material and his advice brought the material to an even higher level. It was great working with him.
BMS: So let’s now talk to the new members of the Cult, Robbie & Nico. Robbie you first, how did you join the Cult Of Scarecrow?Robbie: I got introduced to the band by my former colleague and good friend Guy Vercruysse, vocalist of death metal act Reject The Sickness. He told me that Cult Of Scarecrow was looking for a keyboard player and after a successful audition I quickly tagged along.
Nico: It was a chance meeting at the Lokerse Feesten 2019 between me and Eddy Scheire, the band’s then-keyboardist at the time. I was looking for a new band and Eddy introduced me to the band and things went quickly from there.
Jan: We’re very glad for the both them, not only do they know their respective crafts but we’ve formed a very close bound with each another as well. It has made the whole experience of being in a band that much more enjoyable since we’re also a fun-loving bunch who like to crank jokes with each other.
BMS: Great! You also signed to 2 record labels, the Belgian label Sounds Of Hell and the Italian label Wormholedeath. How did you join those respective labels?
Gunny: While our debut EP was self-released we really wanted to release our album via a label since it offered a lot more practical possibilities. We had sent our tapings to several labels and Wormholedeath was one of those positive responses. We asked other Belgian bands who were signed to them (including Reject The Sickness, Mordkaul & Basement Critters) and they all said they were very satisfied with Wormholedeath so we joined them too.
Gunny: And our deal with Wormholedeath has helped us gain airplay on various worldwide underground radio stations so we’re very glad for all that extra exposure.
BMS: I’ve been working with Wormholedeath for a while now and you’re right, they’re honest and hard-working people. So now, how did you get signed to Sounds Of Hell?Gunny: I’ve already been into contact with its label executive Erik Depoorter to prepare a remastered release of “It’s A Nice Day,” the 1991 released album from our old thrash metal band Dead Serious. Since I had a great collaboration with Erik I offered him to release our album. Initially he refused and he told us to look for an even bigger label since he saw huge potential in our material (which ended up in us signing to Wormholedeath). But we did offer him to release and promote the album digitally in the Benelux a couple of months before the official, worldwide release.
BMS: Excellent! So, what are the future plans for Cult Of Scarecrow?
Jan: We don’t plan that far ahead, ever since Ivan, Filip, Gunny and I joined forces once more (20 years after we had split-up with our former band Die Sinner Die) we decided to play for our own amusement first. The acclaim, airplay and record labels all come second to that. But to answer your question, we may consider making a second album after we’ve finished promoting the Sacrosanct album.
Jan: Looking back when we were all in our twenties, we were pretty naïve back then. We received a lot of promises and we were imaging us being famous and wealthy rockstars. But after playing together for 10-15 years you realize that being a musician isn’t quite as glamorous as you expected. And that’s the lesson we all learned, to remain humble, to create what we want to create and to not let ourselves be influenced by trends or the pressures from record labels.
BMS: I admire the fact that you truly enjoy being part of a band and playing music. Now, I remember from your former keyboardist Eddy that you were scheduled to be part of the semifinals of the Alcatraz Bash 2020 which of course got cancelled because of the COVID19 pandemic. Do you have plans to rejoin the battle once it returns?
Nico: We sure will. And there’s a chance that we and the other semifinalists will finally get our chance to compete with each other. But we’ll see what happens. We’ll be prepared.
Filip: We attended Alcatraz this year and we were blown away by how many great Belgian metal bands were on stage there. And they all drew large, enthusiastic crowds. It gave us a great motivation to one day stand on that event ourselves.
BMS: We’re looking forward to that. So let’s see, what other activities do you guys do in life aside from Cult Of Scarecrow. And I’ll start with you, Ivan.
Ivan: I have a bunch of children and grandchildren to support and aside from that I love playing music and the positive responses we’ve received thus far as Cult Of Scarecrow has made me a very happy grandpa.
Jan: I also play guitar in a Brussels-based 80s pop & rock cover band called Recall. And since I mainly play with the band in the Brussels region I use those gigs as a chance to promote Cult Of Scarecrow in the southern parts of our country. Filip: I’m a hobby carpenter. I love crafting furniture and other wood-made beauties.
Gunny: Cult Of Scarecrow takes up most of my free time since I’m not only do bass & songwriting but I’m also responsible for the band’s promo aspect. And from time to time (depending on the weather) I go out on my motorcycle.
Robbie: Like Jan I also play in a cover band, but my cover band is even more diverse, we cover songs ranging from Elvis to Rammstein. We even play schlager music and so much more. And in addition I’ve also got a daughter and recently born granddaughter to support.
Nico: I support Gunny with the promotional and management aspects of Cult Of Scarecrow and finally I also play drums in Gio Smet’s horror-themed project Horrorwish, hopefully our lineup will be complete soon so that we can bring his project live to the masses.
BMS: I see, so, is there anything else you guys with to add.
Gunny: We’d like to introduce you all to our new manager, Glenn Timmerman.
ahead Glenn, join us.
Glenn: Glad to be here. I’ve been a friend of Gunny’s since my childhood and a couple of years ago I began interested in band management since good management is essential to a band’s success (it’s more than just the music, after all). I began with the Herzele-based metalcore band If I May and now I’ve added Cult Of Scarecrow to my roster. I’m also organizing my own Belgian metal festival called HeavyLake, Saturday November 6th in Berlare (headlined by FireForce).
BMS: That’s great, that was all we wanted to ask, you cultists have anything left say?
Gunny: It was great talking to you!
Jan: And thanks for the chocolates from Chocolatier Deduytschaever.