Like many of you, I woke up with the news of Walter’s passing yesterday. Barely awake and sitting in front of my computer, I received the news from our good friend Steven Willems. Dumfounded, sad and angry at the same time, I cursed this particular email. I was and still am shocked. Though I haven’t seen or spoken Walter for some years, I have only fond memories of him. He was a genuine and kind guy who loved his Metal and was totally dedicated to Ancient Rites. Always willing to have a chat about whatever topic and treating you with respect. Sometimes you meet people in life and there’s an instant click. Walter was one of them. I remember his sense of humour and smile very much. His performance was powerful and passionate and it was not uncommon to see Walter banging his head furiously while smashing his kit to pieces. He was a true powerhouse.
During the era of Ancient Rites’ first two albums, we shared many stages. They took us on the road for many occasions and gave Pentacle the opportunity to spread our name around the scene. We are still very grateful for the opportunities they offered us and it feels very good when reminiscing about these turbulent and exciting days. When their guitarist Bart left the band on short notice, our Mike helped them out on guitar on their first ‘Blasfemia Eternal’ tour through Europe. Afterwards, Ancient Rites used our rehearsal room for auditioning a new guitarist and we were glad to see our comrade in arms Erik Sprooten (Inquisitor) getting the job. Both bands shared many great moments together as you can see on the photo, taken in Hamburg, Germany, after the last gig of our short European tour in 1996 (Walter is seen on the left). So, it is with pride and a tear when I think about Walter as he played a major part in all these events.
The last time I met him, was at a Morbid Angel gig at the 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands. It had been a while since we spoke, so when we bumped into each other unexpected, the mutual surprise was big. We hugged, clapped on each other’s shoulders and there was a sincere moment of joy in the air. A meeting of old friends. These are my last memories of Walter, but they meant and still mean a lot to me, as they really show what a kind and warm person Walter was…
We wish his family, friends and Ancient Rites much strength in these sad and tragic days. Our thoughts are with you.
Walter, wherever you may be…go in peace!