Legacy Of Emptiness revive fallen works

Some out there might recall a symphonic black metal band called Ancestral Legacy that recently evolved into a more gothic symphonic metal band. And some might have been pretty upset about that. Well, recently former members of Ancestral Legacy have gone back to shelved demos and re-recorded and re-worked them into a whole new symphonic black metal band called Legacy Of Emptiness. For those that have missed Ancestral’s older sound, this is a perfect opportunity to get nostalgic. I got a chance to talk with Kjell-Ivar on bass and where he felt the band was headed, as well as reasons for resurrecting the material of their former band for their debut album.

Hi there Kjell. So how does it feel to revisit the material from your former band, Ancestral Legacy?
Greetings Colin.
To go back in time, so to speak, has been a great experience for all of us. We left off with quite a few loose ends that I think we all have had a wish to do something with and now the time was finally there.
When we disbanded all these years ago Eddie had a stack of material he never found place to in this setting, so instead of throwing the band name away he gathered new people and continued Ancestral Legacy down another path. Øyvind and I had no problems with that as we were unable to continue for different reasons. For me it was a car accident that changed my life situation quite a bit. So all these years we’ve felt like the plane may have exploded in the hangar and never got away.

There is quite a bit of similarity between your current band name and that of Ancestral Legacy. Did you choose a name so close on purpose or is it because you were reworking material specifically from that band?
The name works on several levels. You have of course “Legacy” that spawns out of Ancestral Legacy, and since here is a lot of re-work of older stuff we grabbed “Emptiness” from one of our demos with the same name. Confusing,you say?  Indeed, haha. The name also fit very well into the lyrical aspect of the album that also the artwork is based upon.

Any particular reason why you wanted to re-work those demo tracks in particular as opposed to just writing new material altogether? Aren’t there legal issues to taking another band’s material- even if you were once a part of it- and putting it under a new name?
This idea started out as an ego trip. I’ve had the idea for some time that we should go back and dress up these tunes with the sound and production they deserve just for our own satisfaction. The old recordings were verily limited by our equipment and recording skills and did not sound good at all. So I’ve waited until Eddie was finished releasing the Ancestral Legacy album and got back from a little tour before I presented the idea. Needless to say, he got really excited and so did Øyvind. So here we are.

The legal aspect is not an issue, as these songs have never been officially released and there are no other composers involved.

How would you compare Legacy Of Emptiness’s sound to that of Ancestral Legacy? Were you trying to capture the spirit of the older works or did you have something else in mind?
As I see it LoE is far more bombastic and raw compared to AL of today. There will of course be similarities as Eddie screams and play the guitar in both bands but AL has the female vocals very present in their sound and makes it a bit more romantic. LoE is all about pain, despair and hopelessness. AL is also more guitar based and don’t have the obvious symphonic expression that LoE has.

How do your fellow band-mates feel about this resurrection of older works, per say?
Everyone is fully on board on the fact that this is two different bands. And as LoE is not a touring band there’s no conflict with logistics at all. As Darwin would have put it, “We’re two branches on the same tree.”

Now that you’ve redone former Ancestral Legacy demos, do you think you will continue under the moniker with new material or continue to tweak and re-adjust other Ancestral Legacy music that you think could be a lot better as opposed to when it was originally recorded?
We will definitely continue with Legacy of Emptiness. There may or may not be another hidden gem or two that we’ll lift up but our main focus will be on new material.  Some waters are best leaving unstirred.

Do you want Legacy Of Emptiness to continue as a ‘symphonic black metal band,’ or will the style change once you start creating your own material… if you intend to keep the band as a running project?
We already have a brand new track on the album (Onward!) that was born during the recording session and we have some bits and pieces of what may appear on a future release. It may sound a bit cliché but we don’t focus on genre at all. It seems, however, that we don’t think radically different when it comes to making music as we did 10-15 years ago.

Do you think there will a tour with both Legacy Of Emptiness and Ancestral Legacy co-headlining?
No. LoE is not at performing band due to several reasons. I have very limited capacity due to the before mentioned accident. Eddie has his hands full with both AL and family time is the biggest problem for him.  And when you listen to our music you‘ll hear that it would take several session musicians to make it sound decent in a live setting. Of course in this business you ‘never say never’ but per now it’s not simply an option.

What music do you usually listen to get your inspiration? Surely after recording symphonic black metal in the studio over and over and fine tuning it to your liking, that’s probably the last thing you want to hear unless it has something to do with your own band haha.
Good point there. I listen to very different music an A LOT of it hehe. Mostly metal but I really like things that break with all patterns. In my mind, the best album released last year was Evelyn Evelyn - s/t. Check it out. But if you expect metal you’ll be disappointed hehe.

Of course I also listen to symphonic black metal and both Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth released splendid albums last year.

Where do you see the future of metal headed, or black metal in particular? Looking back from how it was in the 90s so much has changed.
The (black) magic from the first half of the 90s will never be back. And trying to remake it would never work. One of the biggest problems of today is that it’s too easy for everyone to record and release poor music. You’ll have to shuffle more and more shit to find the golden nuggets. I guess you as a reviewer notice this to. 4 kids can start a band on Monday and have their “music” all over the internet by the weekend. The mystery is gone.
I remember going to the black metal shows in the mid ‘90s . Living far from the big cities this were where we could get hold of demo tapes, zines, etc. Now you get all by the click of a button. Great music will continue to be released but it takes an effort to find it.

How have fans reacted to the Legacy Of Emptiness project, both new and the older Ancestral Legacy ones that might have been following you since you left? Are most the comments supportive or do lots of fans feel you’re doing a disservice by re-recording the older works?
The response has been almost overwhelmingly positive both from fans and press. The reaction from those who have knowledge to our earlier demos has been more of “about fucking time” than “you’re messing with history.” We feel more and more confident that we’ve done the right thing

That’s about all I have for at this point in the way of questions. Thanks again for all your time and please tell your label thanks for letting us review your work!
Thanks for interesting and constructive questions. It has been a pleasure to answer.
Interviewer: devilmetal747
Aug 2, 2011

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