“Where are they now – Pestilence”, October, 2001
Interview by Nathan Robinson
Approximately eight months after writing a little
something on Pestilence for Metal Rules, I happened to receive an email
from Christian Colli, bass player for the band Sacrosanct. Of course if
you read my piece, you will
know the connection between Pestilence and Sacrosanct. Also, a couple
months ago, someone very close to Pestilence had contacted me. However,
this person, whose name shall go unmentioned here, was directed not to
conduct any interview, as the band wishes to let sleeping dogs lie. And
I completely understand. The reason I even mention this is that if you’ve
been waiting for some miraculous update to the Pestilence page, it isn’t
going to happen!
During the last eight or nine months, I had received basically no
reliable information relating to the Pestilence story. I was more than
pleased to receive an email from Christian, who played on the final two
Sacrosanct albums “Recesses for the Depraved” and “Tragic Intense”.
What follows is a little interview that took place via email.
First of all, I would like to say that I first heard about
Sacrosanct several years ago in Metal Maniacs magazine, where they made
reference to the fact that the band featured Randy Meinhard, former
guitarist of Pestilence. I know you came into Sacrosanct towards the
middle of the band's career, but could you tell me anything about why
Randy left Pestilence, and how Sacrosanct was formed?
There was this quarrel in the band and Randy Meinhard and Marco
Foddis left to build Sacrosanct. Very soon they found the right singer
in Mike Lucarelli and entered the studio to record their first four
songs for the "The Die Is Cast" demo. It featured the yet
unreleased instrumental "Prophecies", and the tracks "The
Sickened Thrill", "Injured" and "Disputed
Death". It sounds way better than the debut album! As we know,
Marco Foddis returned to Pestilence soon after. So most people didn’t
even take notice of the split. From my point of view, the Pestilence
thing always was kind of a love/hate relationship. They had real
attitude, and (as a result, it) kept us going to become more
professional as we watched every step of them. The irony, that it was
their attitude that broke their neck in the end.
What kind of following did Sacrosanct have? Where was the
band's biggest fan base?
Well, the question about the following of the band and where they
were…haha! Honestly I don’t know! In the beginning, everybody wanted
to sell Sacrosanct as a Pestilence spin off, which couldn’t work
because it simply wasn’t! I guess Sacrosanct was pretty popular in the
Netherlands, where we did most of our gigs. Although I expect most metal
fans of those days familiar with the band’s name, our record sales
weren’t too good. As far as I know the sales even went down with each
record. What a shame, haha!!
Sacrosanct only released three full-length albums, correct?
Yeah, you are right. There were three albums, plus the mentioned demo
and another one made to get a new record deal after the end of "No
Remorse Records". It was a two-track demo with the never released
"Quarantine" and "Mental Reincarnation". One of the
best recordings we might have done is a very rough version of a song
called "Shining Through", as a contribution for a compilation
album entitled "Stop War". "Shining Through" was
re-recorded later for "Tragic Intense", but failed to keep its
original power, which is an overall problem of the very weak production
on every Sacrosanct album. I still think some of the songs were pretty
good, but are just unlistenable because of the terrible sound.
"Tragic Intense" was released back in 1993, and all
three albums are obviously long out of print and are impossible to find,
except for occasional appearances on eBay (which is where I bought all
three of mine). But even when the releases were current, I never saw
them in stores, never saw advertisements, and basically knew nothing of
the band's existence. How well were the albums distributed?
You are right. Never being a commercial success, all albums are out
of print since a long time. Occasionally I see a copy in second hand
stores, especially the vinyl version of "Recesses For The
Depraved", which seems to sell for pretty high prices, which I
guess is because of the cover artwork by H.R.Giger!
Did any particular album have the biggest sales?
I never saw any statistics nor any money.
The last two albums were released on 1MF Records. I can't
recall any other album in my collection released on this label, so it
seems pretty obscure to me. Of course I am assuming that the label is
now defunct. But at the time, were you satisfied with label? Did you
have any offers from any other labels?
I must say that your impression of 1MF records as a "pretty
obscure label" is pretty much what it was, haha!! Actually it was a
one-man-label of this guy having no idea of how to run a label
whatsoever!! It was a disaster!! It was so unprofessional you wouldn’t
believe it!! I could still blame myself for being so fuckin’ stupid to
sign a deal with this idiot but we were so young…so naive. At the time
I wanted to sign my first record deal and didn’t have much patience.
Shoot me!! As you have mentioned there was no distribution in the US at
all. Germany and the Netherlands were pretty good, done by Rough Trade.
Saw the album as well on my vacation in France. But for the rest…I don’t
know… But we weren’t the only fools around. Some labelmates were
Torture (death metal)…nice guys…died in a car crash days after we
met them for the "Stop War Campaign". Assorted Heap (thrash)…nice
guys too…played with them once. Blood (grindcore)…there were some
more bands but I can’t remember their names.
Sacrosanct went through a few lineup changes during its career,
especially between the first and second albums when the original
guitarist, bassist, and drummer left the band. What brought about this
lineup change, and how did you come to replace original bassist Remco
I knew the band from the very beginning and was asked to join them on
the same day he left. Back then it was a cool opportunity for me because
I had just started playing bass about one and half year before. So
learning all the weird stuff on "Truth Is - What Is" was kind
of fun! Years later, after I left Sacrosanct, I started to become a real
bass player. I took lessons and got a brighter picture of music through
theory. I discovered jazz and fusion, and suddenly couldn’t appreciate
the old metal thing anymore. For many years my bass playing was all
funk! (Funny enough all that happened at the same time Pestilence went
through their musical changes...there must have been something in the
air in our town back then, haha!) By the way, the guys on the first
Sacrosanct record went on in different bands: Remco Nijkamp and Michael
Cerrone formed a band called Imperium, who made an interesting album.
Ronny Scholten later played in Genetic Wisdom with Mike Lucarelli on
vocals after he left Sacrosanct.
What have you been doing since Sacrosanct ended?
As I told you in my former mail, I was busy with Submission for a
while but as soon as Martin left I lost interest. I began to study
economics and right now I am almost done with my studies of sociology,
politics, and psychology. In the meantime, I did several musical
projects but couldn’t get any of them off the ground. So I stopped
playing for good. I am into science now 24/7, so I don’t live music as
much as I used to.
What about all the other members? Have any of them been doing
I never saw any of the Submission members ever again. I know that
Haico van Atticum is just about to graduate. I meet Gerrit Knol
occasionally in concerts. He told me he was playing bass(!) in a band
called Symmetry. Ronny and Michael went on in Genetic Wisdom (see
above). Michael Cerrone and Remco Nijkamp started Imperium. Collin and
Michael Kock are still busy with music having a coverband.
"Recesses for the Depraved", Sacrosanct's second
album, was much more polished and focused than the debut album
"Truth Is What Is". What brought about this change? It seems
that, for the most part, guitarist Randy Meinhard wrote most of the
music for Sacrosanct. But did the change in lineup between albums help
solidify the band and make it more focused?
See, I am not exactly sure what you mean by "focused". Does
it mean being more concentrated on the songs? To leave the unnecessary?
That was a problem with Sacrosanct. Too many riffs, no concept. Today I
would call it just very bad songwriting! We were on the right track with
some songs on the third album, but didn’t have the big picture, know
what I mean? People don’t care about how difficult your riffing is.
They want a killer song, and most of the Sacrosanct songs failed to be
The album title "Tragic Intense" pretty much sums up
the album's mood: intensly tragic. Slower, darker and quite depressing.
Quite a change in direction from the fast-paced thrash found on the
first two albums. What brought about this change?
At the time we were tired of the thrash thing. There were great bands
like Forbidden, Slayer, Exodus, Testament...how could we ever beat them?
So we were looking for new goals. I remember us being impressed by
Trouble and Cathedral as well. Creating atmosphere was our new aim. The
idea was good. The songs being more important than the musician. I still
like that philosophy and consider "Tragic Intense" the best
album of Sacrosanct. We just weren’t free enough yet. And as I said
before, the production fucked it up! But at least we had a singer who
could really sing. No offense to Lucarelli…he was a killer, especially
live. But Collin gave us new options. The album was very well received
by the European press…almost unbelievably good! They loved it…called
it a masterpiece! Reading back the reviews I should have been rich by
now, haha!! Truth is, nobody bought it. After "Recesses…",
we got mail from all over the world and had trouble answering all the
letters. With "Tragic…", there was nothing but silence. The
guys didn’t kill themselves because of the depressing mood you’ve
mentioned, did they?! Haha!! Since I told the band before the release of
"Tragic Intense" that I was about to leave if we would not get
any positive reactions and go on tour for at least two months or so, you
can imagine how the story continued...
Every Sacrosanct album has some pretty dark artwork. How did
you get to use the Giger painting for "Recesses for the
I simply called him in Zürich, where he lives. Well, actually it
wasn’t that simple, because it felt like calling the evil one himself,
haha! Having him on the phone, I was quiet surprised. He was kind of
confused, but very very nice! He wanted to hear some of our music, and
after a few more calls, he was kind enough to let us use his brilliant
work. Once again, 1MF records fucked it all up when they weren’t even
able to write the title of the record correctly on the cover. Giger didn’t
want much money…almost nothing…but just had one wish: "please
don’t use too much brown in the print!" As I was told, I gave
that message to our record company. You know the result: it was all
brown with the "the" of "Recesses For The Depraved"
missing. I was so ashamed I didn’t dare to call Giger ever again.
Sorry mister Giger, I love your work, and even more appreciate your
kindness. We were stuck with this unprofessional bastard (at the record
label) and too young to react properly.
Can you explain the concept behind the artwork on "Tragic
No. I never met the artist or anything. We didn’t even know how to
look at it. I hope we didn’t use it upside down, haha!
How extensively did the band tour during its existence?
Some gigs in the Netherlands for "Truth…" A little tour
with Dark Angel in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France for
"Recesses…" And a handful of gigs in Germany and Holland for
"Tragic…" That’s the real tragedy after all!! The Dark
Angel tour was great. We blew some places away. I remember Paris and
Enschede being so wild people got injured. There must exist some videos
of the tour. I would pay a lot of money to get the one from Belgium
where we entered the stage to celebrate Ron’s birthday while Dark
Angel were playing! Gene Hoglan was very nice and I am glad I got to
know him! I wish him all the best! Do you know what he is doing right
What exactly happened from the time "Tragic Intense"
was released to the last few days of the band's existence?
Nothing! Two or three gigs. I was the first to leave. (see above)
[In a previous email, Collin had pointed out an error in my piece
The Pestilence demos mentioned are not quite correct. The first demo
was “Dysentery”, featuring Mameli on vocals, followed by a second
demo called “The Penance”. That was Martin van Drunen’s debut! The
mentioned “Infected” tape could be a demo by the American band of
the same time, later renamed as The Horde Of Torment.
Now, switching gears, I would like talk about the Pestilence
demos. Displeased Records re-released the debut Pestilence album "Malleus
Malficarum" a few years ago, and included the two demos I
mentioned. They list the names as "Infected" (1986) and "Dysentry"
(1987). You seem to disagree with these names. I know there was another
band out there called Pestilence, but do you think Displeased Records
What a laugh...yes, I think they did. There never was an official
demo with that name. Or is it something like a rehearsal? But there was
no song with that title either. "Dysentery" was the first demo
in 1987, followed by "The Penance" a year later. Back then I
knew the band and collected all their rehearsal tapes, live- tapes, and
whatever I could get on tape. So I am pretty sure about it. Have you
checked whether it might be of the American band of the same time, later
renamed as The Horde Of Torment?
[A month later, Collin stumbles across the Pestilence re-issue…]
I just wanted to tell you that I saw the Pestilence re-release on
Displeased Records in a shop and couldn’t believe my eyes!!! What a
disaster!!! As I told you, the title "Infected" is completely
wrong. I didn’t have time to listen to the record, but it seems that
the featured songs are those from the two demos. Some titles are written
wrong. And some are not even written....aaaarrrrghh!! For example the
song "Throne of Death" is written as "Thorn of
Death" Fuckin’ hell!!
And being the owner of each of the demos, Collin informed me of the
correct song titles and also sent images of each of the demos. The first
demo “Dysentery” from 1987 has four songs: “Against the Innocent”,
“Delirical Life”, “Traitor’s Gate, and “Throne of Death”.
The Displeased Records reissue lists the first three of these songs as
being on the “Infected” demo (which doesn’t exist), and the fourth
song being on the “Dysentery” demo. On top of that, they screwed up
the spelling on two of the song titles. (And actually, if you really
want to be picky, they omitted the apostrophe in “Traitor’s Gate”…so
that makes three out of four song titles they fucked up. Hey man, when
you do a reissue, it should be done right). And on a personal note, I
knew there was something up when I listened to the demo tracks on the
re-issue… “Thorn of Death”, or more appropriately titled “Throne
of Death”, sounded like it fits with the first three songs as opposed
to the last three.
The second demo “The Penance” also has four songs: “Into Hades
(Intro)”, “Before The Penance”, “Affectation” (later
re-recorded as “Cycle Of Existence”), and “Fight The Plague”. As
you will notice, Displeased Records omitted the track title “Into
Hades…” completely. They also omitted the word “penance” from
“Before the Penance”. Furthermore, these songs were listed as being
from the “Dysentery” demo.
So now the mystery is solved. How come no one picked up on this
before??? And how come Displeased Records fucked up so bad?? I still
admire the fact that the label was kind enough to re-issue the album,
and especially with the bonus demo tracks. But if you are going to go
through the effort to reissue something, shouldn’t you do it
Now let me switch gears again. I'd like to ask you about
Submission. I am pleased to hear this band is no myth! Randy Meinhard,
Martin van Drunen, and you were involved in this band. Was anyone else?
Yeah, there was this guy Klaus on drums. He used to be the
replacement drummer for some Sacrosanct gigs before. So he was first
choice. Another member was a certain Christian on guitar. Can’t
remember their surnames though, sorry.
By the time Martin van Drunen had become involved with
Submission, he has already done a couple albums with Asphyx before
leaving. Can you tell me why he left Asphyx?
Nope, same reason why people always leave bands...personal and
musical differences, or so they say. Boring, isn’t it!?!
Submission recorded only two demos, correct?
Yep, see above.
You had mentioned that the first demo was in the
Pestilence/Death vein. What about the second demo?
As the studio date was booked before Martin left, we decided not to
waste the studio time and track down the three titles we wanted to do
without vocals. As I told you in my former mail, I left the band for
known reasons. They later completed the recordings with a certain Holger
on vocals and added some keyboards. I told you before: it couldn’t be
the same without Martin. His voice was just the sickest…the greatest!
Another thing was that Martin had written some political stuff in the
lyrics of the new songs that the rest of the band didn’t understand
due to a lack of education. There was a song called "Weep For Red
Pride". I didn’t expect people to read Marx back then, especially
since I was very naive myself at the time. But there simply was no
communication in the band at all. A band not knowing what their lyrics
are about seems pretty obscure to me. The other songs were "Kartel"
and "The Observer".
You had also mentioned Martin left Submission to join Bolt
Thrower during the creation of the second demo. Why did he leave?
Because he took the opportunity to join his favorite band!! What were
we supposed to say? He told us about it and we wished him all the best
of luck. Honestly. Too bad he couldn’t even get our names on the guest
lists for the Bolt Thrower gigs…whatever. He didn’t succeed with
them, did he?
You had tried to get Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willetts to
replace Martin. How receptive was he to your offers?
He was very nice but turned down the offer to come to Germany in a
friendly way. He said he liked our music, but that he left Bolt Thrower
because he wanted to go back to college again. I couldn’t understand
everything he said on the phone because of his heavy accent, haha. Sorry
Karl, haha!! What was it again? Birmingham right? It’s so long ago. I
read he is back in Bolt Thrower…
After things didn't work out for Martin and Bolt Thrower, did
Martin ever think about re-joining Submission?
As I said before, I never got to talk to any of them since. I have no
clue what he has been doing since then. A re-entry with Pestilence or
Asphyx would be more interesting!
You had mentioned to me that Submission was formed during the
writing for "Tragic Intense". Why did you guys form Submission
instead of keeping the material for Sacrosanct? I am assuming it is
because Submission was more in the death metal vein, whereas the
material for "Tragic Intense" was dark and doomy, more or
Well, as you might have read between the lines, we couldn’t be
satisfied with the situation in Sacrosanct. When Martin had no band
after his Asphyx period, we thought it might be cool to do Submission.
And it was, at least in the beginning. For the first rehearsal we did
some Asphyx songs due to the lack of our own material. Big fun! Martin
and Roland were talking about using some riffs written but never used
during the Pestilence period. Martin even joined us on stage with
Sacrosanct in Berlin where we played a Submission song.
How long did Submission last and what led to the band's demise?
Submission was born before the first song was written, and dead
before the first song was recorded. Know what I mean? The band was
basically built around the best death metal singer of the time. So all
the enthusiasm died when he left. I can only speak for myself, of
course, and I told you about my reasons. I don’t know what the others
did, except fuckin’ up the recordings of the second demo, so you
should be asking one of them.
I would like to thank Christian, first of all, for getting in contact
with me. Secondly, I would like to thank Christian for taking the time to
answer my questions and helping me give everyone an update to the
Pestilence piece on Metal-Rules.com. You rock man!!!
©2001 Metal Rules!!