Ancient Rites is a Belgian black metal (old) / folk metal (recent) band formed in 1988. Initially, the line- up consisted of guitar players Johan and Phillip, drummer Stefan, and Gunther Theys on bass and vocals. In 1990 the Dark Ritual demo was released in the underground scene, getting worldwide attention just as black metal was gaining importance in the metal scene. Soon after the release of this demo Phillip died in a car crash and not long after, Stefan committed suicide. However painful this episode was to the band, they decided to continue and Stefan's position was taken by his drum roadie Walter Van Cortenberg.