In May and June 2007, the Missouri-based progpowerheads of Ancient Creation toiled and sweated in The Funeral Home Studio in Springfield, Mo. to record their first album for Melissa Records, with producer and horror enthusiast Greg Ponder behind the knobs. Mixing and mastering are well under way as we speak. Release of the as yet untitled album is slated for Fall 2007.
Each band member has jotted down some impressions of the recordings, so for a taste of what’s to come, please read on.
Peter Nisenkier (guitar):
‘We took this 3-hour trip to Springfield nearly every weekend for the last two months which has been really tiring. Greg Ponder, formerly of Public Assassin, produced our album in his studio The Funeral Home. It provided us with quite an interesting recording environment. The first thing you notice when you get to there is outside, where you see a casket in the front and several wind chimes made out of cow bones! That’s nothing compared to the inside, with an autopsy table with all kinds of freaky looking tools, a jar of eyeballs, more caskets and horror movie memorabilia everywhere! If that doesn’t put you in the mood to record heavy metal, nothing will.’
‘The most difficult song for me to record was ‘Carrion The Horde’. We have recorded several demo versions of this song and it’s always hard, but this time around the tempo is just smoking! I always have trouble with the solos on this song, but with the blazing speed of this version, I was really shaking in my boots. One night toward the end of a long, gruelling recording session, I decided to give my ‘Carrion…’ solo a try. It was about 1:00 in the morning, but my fingers were so warmed up I felt I should go for it. I’m not joking, I must have done 80 takes of the first ten seconds of that solo! We were all completely fried mentally at that point, so I gave up. The next morning we listened to my last attempt and I was pretty happy with it. Jason shredded his brains out on the second half of the solo and did a great job. Those solos will rip your head off!’
‘Another song that turned out great is called ‘Evolution bound’. It is the newest song on the album and the only one where we wrote some of the parts in the studio. We surprised ourselves with this one. It’s a really strong track. All in all, we had a lot of fun recording this album, but we are also very excited to get back out there and start playing shows again.’
Mike Burns (drums):
‘With this recording we wanted to take an approach that would honor our roots in metal. So many recordings these days have the life squeezed from them by the use of ProTools; they grid out the drums, use pitch shifters and other studio magic. These things are fine in moderation, but we really wanted to give it the old school vibe. That is one reason we picked Greg Ponder and The Funeral Home to do this. His ability to capture a performance and push you as a musician was vital in making our vision a reality.
This of course made it much harder on me being the drummer, because I couldn’t lean on technology. I had to not only nail my parts, but lay a foundation the rest of the guys could build on and capture the power and energy that has been our calling card from the beginning. One of the most important parts that not only had to be dead on, but perfect, was the intro to ‘Carrion The Horde’. This song has become one of the highlights of our set. The drums come in after the main riff with 32nd notes on the kicks, along with china and splash accents. It was the only track I had to do several times till I nailed it.’
Andy Critz (bass):
‘Well, it was a long and hard fought couple of months spent at The Funeral Home recording. At this point, it's all just a haze of amazing music, spectacular horror films, and chemically induced late nights. In addition to providing cinematic inspiration from such masters as George Romero, Lucio Fulci, and John Carpenter, our producer Greg Ponder has shown us the patience and vision to steer this ship back to shore with eleven tremendously good songs in tow.’
’I'm particularly happy with the tone of my bass on these tracks. This is the first time I can say that about any bass I've recorded before. The tone is meaty and rich. I played pretty well, inspired by the beefy sound. Check out the bass on ‘Sphere’, ‘Taste of Mortality’ and ‘Carrion: The Horde’ for some bass tracks that make me proud. And wait until you hear ‘Evolution Bound’. We weren't sure if this song would be ready to be recorded, because it is so new. But I'm glad we did! This song sends cold chills down my spine the way only early Priest and Maiden used to. It will probably close the record, and I'm going to pitch hard for
it to be the title track. I just like the dichotomy of ‘Creation’ and ‘Evolution’ being on the cover together. I've taken to calling our loyal fans ‘Creationists’ anyway, so this would be a little private joke for me if we had the age old battle of Creationism vs. Evolution fighting it out through our music.’
’No matter what we call it, call me proud to be a part of it. Any fan of pure metal should be able to listen to this record for the rest of their lives. This is timeless metal in its sharpest form, truly a head banger's feast. Enjoy!’
Jason Johnson (guitar):
‘I'm proud of my band for working so hard on this, and I'm thankful to Greg Ponder for putting up with our shit. These are some great songs and I'm grateful to be part of Ancient Creation. We're putting out a real metal record for real metal fans.’
Steve Bentley (vocals):
‘I have worked with Greg for many years now - he is a master at what he does and that is recording metal. I am proud of what we have done in the studio. The sounds and experiments that we tried worked well on this recording. Everyone did a supreme job and worked very hard and long at pulling off their parts and creating new ones. We even got Greg involved with helping us out on the background vocals. He has that true angry heavy vocal that was needed for the parts and gave it a newer feel than we were used to, but added greatly. Jason typically does them but we really wanted Greg involved in the project other than just recording and mixing. He has worked with several well known musicians including Richard Christy from Death and Iced Earth in addition to Steve Childers from Control Denied and Black Witchery.’
‘The atmosphere of a TV-screen hovering above the mixing board consumed with scenes of death, mutilation, and sex was a sight to see. With the caskets in the main room and miscellaneous devices of death all around us set the tone for a darker recording, which I always like. This is definitely why it’s called The Funeral Home. No deaths have occurred here that we know of, but with the bones and skulls present you’re not really sure of anything…’
‘The best thing for me about the recording process was having the whole band together on several occasions to discuss things, to just hang out and bullshit about everyday things. I enjoyed laying down my vocal tracks, even some high King Diamond-type vocals you will hear tucked away in the background for harmonies. I am really proud of the new songs and am looking forward to everyone hearing them. Especially ‘Evolution Bound’ is an ear-grabbing tune and has so much feeling that I think it will stand out. It was the last song written before we went into the studio and it’s only a sign of what lies ahead for the band.’