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Rise - The divine eternity - June 2003

RISE is a sophisticated blackened Death Metal band from Los Angeles, California. Following is an interview with RISE keyboardist, Johnson Wang.

How long has RISE been around and who started it?

RISE has been around since 1993, formed by Rob Alaniz and Albert Gonzales. Both had previously played in the band EVIL DEAD. The original RISE sound was a direct approach to Death Metal, as it has been noted to be very "old school Death Metal" sounding. Examples of this are old songs from the first EP "Life Into Ever Black" such as "Deathrow" and "Life Into Ever Black". After forming the band, Rik Hansen and John Cardenas joined and Istvan Lendvay became the vocalist soon thereafter.

How long have you been with RISE?

I have been in RISE since December of 1999 after hearing that they were interested in adding a new element into the band, keyboards. I thought I could add a more atmospheric and emotional sense into the band, and played my first show with RISE about a week after I joined.

Who are the current members/what instruments do they play?

Just recently, long time guitarist Rik Hansen has quit the band. However, the lineup is still strong as we have found a replacement. The current members are:
Istvan Lendvay - Vocals/Guitars
Jaime Vivar - Drums
Johnson Wang - Keyboards
Charles Elliott - Guitars
As you may have noticed, we do not have a bass player. We feel that the arrangements of the keyboards fill the low end, and bass is played in the studio on recordings.

How would you describe the music RISE plays?

Many people who know of the "old" RISE but haven't had a chance to hear the latest music know of us with the straight old school Death Metal style. But RISE has obviously enhanced the sound and progressed with more intricate structures of songs, and most notably, more technical and faster drumming. The music of RISE is probably most described as a mixture of Death Metal mixed in with melodies and brutality. There are many parts of emotional melodic parts, whereas other parts are extremely heavy and have a Death Metal feel to it. RISE is more of a blackened Death Metal band, as we are not entirely Death Metal, nor are we close to Black Metal.

Who writes most of the music/lyrics?

The music is obviously written by guitars as far as structure is concerned. After riffs are written, the music is written by the entire band, with everyone adding elements and ideas, until it becomes a song. Without each members' input, the songs would sound different as it would with just one person writing an entire song. All the lyrics are written by Istvan Lendvay, with the exception of a couple tracks on the latest album written by his brother, Peter Lendvay. However, there will probably be more contributions from the rest of the band with lyrics on the newest album.

How many CDs have you put out?

RISE has put out 4 CDs: 1 EP and 3 full lengths. The first EP was taken from the RISE demo also known as "Life Into Ever Black". "Shadow Of Ruins" was the debut album which had 2 re-recorded songs from "Life" as well as brand new songs.
The next album, "Slaves Of Illusion" was a great album that never got officially released in the US, and not many know about. It was an album that was the foundation for what RISE sounds like now. It was a more melodic and brutally driven album. Unfortunately, it never got released domestically due to various reasons as well as different band members leaving the band. It was after the recording of "Slaves Of Illusion" that founding members Albert Gonzales and Rob Alaniz quit due to own personal reasons. This also allowed Istvan Lendvay to move from bass to guitar. I had joined during this period and found Jaime as our new drummer a couple months later to solidify the lineup for "Divine Aeternum". The latest album, "Divine Aeternum," is the best work RISE has done in terms of both musically and progressively speaking. "Slaves Of Illusion" was later released in Europe on the same label "Divine Aeternum" was.

Do you have a record deal?

We licensed Nephilim Records in Hungary to release "Slaves Of Illusion" and "Divine Aeternum". However, that label is no longer together, which allows us to move on. Currently, we are looking for label representation in the U.S.

How did you come to record you latest album in Hungary? Tell about the experience.

We recorded "Divine Aeternum" in Hungary because when Istvan went there to visit, he got in touch with the owner of Nephilim, so we were able to record there and get a great sound for the album out there. It was an amazing experience as well as playing in Europe. It's an entirely different vibe out there. We spent 3 weeks in the studio recording all the tracks before we flew back to the U.S. Istvan stayed a couple more weeks after we left to finish vocal tracks as well as help mix the album.

There has been some confusion about "Divine Aeternum," about the spelling of the title as well as the "Roman Numerals" on the tracklisting on the back of the CD.

Some places have named the album "DivinA Aeternum" as opposed to "DivinE Aeternum" but it is just a slight difference in the way to pronounce the word in Latin. The album is "Divine" although "Divina" is fine for the album as well. The literal translation is "Divine Eternity."
As far as the "backwards" Roman Numerals on the back of the CD, they are not representing roman numerals. Ancient Hungarian numerals were carved onto stone, as they carved from right to left, and it was easier to carve numbers into stone that way, which is why the numbers on the back of the CD are "backwards". The Roman Numeral system is similar but not the same as the ancient Hungarian Numerals, so people may be confused by the numbers. We decided to use this system because it would be a unique feature not seen on any other album.

Have you toured much/performed live much? If so, what kind of accommodations did you have? What type/size venues?

RISE has performed many shows, especially during the "Shadow Of Ruins" era, playing with bands ranging from SUFFOCATION, DISSECTION, MORBID ANGEL, to SINISTER. RISE has also done a mini-tour with DEICIDE on the West Coast. The places RISE has performed have ranged from small hole-in-the-wall bars to a venue with 1000 fans packed in Hungary. A notable show that was at a really small place that was packed with 300 people was another show we played in Hungary a few days before New Year's, with Atilla (ex-MAYHEM) singing with us on stage.

Do all the members in RISE have "ordinary" jobs? What are they?

The members in RISE have jobs like most bands in this genre. Istvan runs his own carpet cleaning business, Jaime works for a CD/DVD duplicating company, Charles works in retail, and I work for a telescope company as a marketing assistant.

What are your hopes for RISE?

The short term hopes for RISE are to establish ourselves across the country by getting our name out there outside of the western regions and into the Midwest and East Coast. Long term goals that we want to reach are to tour and reach countries that bands usually don't or cannot tour, such as Japan and Eastern European countries.


19??: Life Into Ever Black (EP)
19??: Shadow Of Ruins (CD)
19??: Slaves Of Illusion (CD, Nephilim)
2002: Divine Aeternum (CD, Nephilim)

Cindy Gilkey

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