Before long, I had enough songs written for a new album. I recorded these as demo's and sent them to Opyros (this was before 'The Return' was even released, mind you). He was quite enthusiastic about the new stuff and suggested it might be interesting to record the new record in a real studio this time. Hammerheart recommended 'The Nick' in Mheer for these recordings, where he had just been to record the first Bifrost album 'Pagan Reality', so we booked the studio for late January 1995 and prepared for the recording sessions.
What made these proceedings really special was the fact both Opyros and Demonos Sova came over to the Netherlands to be there. Two days before we went to the studio they arrived and we went to see Bifrost's album presentation show that night, where Demonos got so drunk Opyros and myself literally had to carry him outside after he had puked all over the place . . . I remember he traded some rare 7" with The Unsane for a couple of beers.
When we arrived at the studio we met Nick Hall, the owner and engineer, who turned out to be a cool guy. He was some kind of pop singer (he had a minor hit single in the 70's or so) and didn't understand my kind of music but he did try to understand it, which I appreciated. He was very constructive during the whole process.
We had 16 digital tracks to our disposal and on the first two we laid down the drums I had programmed in my Yamaha RY10 or 'Count Yamaha' as we used to call the thing. After that I put down the bass parts, playing my Aria Pro II IGB-50, through a small amp and a Boss bass chorus, and before we knew it the day was done. The next day I recorded the rhythm guitar parts, playing Nick Hall's Steinberger (which may be extremely ugly but is still by far the best guitar I have ever played). The guitar was plugged straight into the mixing desk through some advanced effects processors but when I could not get the sound I wanted this way we inserted an old Boss DS-1 distortion which helped a lot to get a really raw and filthy guitar sound.
|The iconic album cover. The picture was taken by Othalaz at the 'Burcht' in Leiden.|
Now only the vocals were left but, as always, these didn't take very long. When I was done Demonos and Opyros did the backing vocals on the intro and when that was done we went out for a bite before starting on the mix. When we came back we ran into the engineer's daughter, a gorgeous chick all dressed in black and wearing fishnet stockings, which made it kind of hard for us to keep our minds on the mixing. Of course, we were also all rather tired by then and there were some misunderstandings. For example, the engineer figured I was mad when I kept saying I wanted more bass in the mix, because he thought I was asking for more low-end, but what I meant was that I wanted the instrument to be more prominent.
The mixing, during which Demonos was emptying the engineer’s liquor cabinet, took all night and if I remember correctly we were finally ready around four in the morning. Of course, it would take a while before the record was released because 'The Return' had only been released a month prior to the recording of 'Ad Maiorem'. We did however release one song off the album - 'The Wrath Of Satan's Whore' - on tape just prior to our German tour with Mortuary Drape in March 1995.
In October 1995, the album itself was finally unleashed upon the world. Initially I wasn't too happy with this album, thinking it sounded too clean and not exactly like I had intended, but I slowly grew to like it. The sound may be a little clean but it's a very distinctive, original sound that fits the music very well and the guitars are raw as Hell. Surprisingly, the album also gathered rather favourable reviews . . . who would have thought that after the first two albums?
Now that it's been twenty years since the record's release, it's safe to say 'Ad Maiorem' has become a classic as well as a firm fan favourite. The album is home to two songs that have emerged as a couple of our most popular tunes through the years: 'The Priest Must Die' and 'The Wrath Of Satan's Whore'. In celebration of the album's twentieth birthday, so to speak, we decided to release videos for brand new versions of both these tracks, featuring both old and new live footage."