Gert Peeters (bass) and Gert Verbeeck (drums) were two of the founding members of MORTUARY, a young death metal band formed in Vilvoorde, around 1989. MORTUARY’s first line-up was completed with the addition of vocalist Sven Hebbelinck and Bart Vanmeerbeeck on guitar. That was when all four of them were in their high school days, and actually the band got together thanks to a mutual friend, who introduced Gert Peeters (looking to form a band) to Gert Verbeeck.

3/4 of MORTUARY in 1989 (L - R) : Bart Vanmeerbeeck - Gert Peeters - Sven Hebbelinck (picture courtesy of and supplied by Gert Verbeeck)

With this line-up, MORTUARY proceeded to record a couple of songs in a small studio in a cellar, somewhere in the Brussels area. Although the band never released these recordings to the public, they did mark the first studio experience for all four members. As far as live experience is concerned, MORTUARY only played live once. In fact, it turned out to be more of a low-profile showcase gig in front of friends and relatives, with the setlist being a mixture of own songs and jams.

Sven and Bart didn’t stay long though, as they wanted to continue playing music in a slower death / doom vein, reminiscent of PARADISE LOST. As a result Sven and Bart started CRYPT later on in 1990. After CRYPT, Sven also surfaced in CLOUDS OVER TYBURN. Gert Peeters (on guitar from then on) and Gert Verbeeck, on the other hand, didn’t mind evolving into an even faster direction, and thus decided to soldier on together. They joined forces with Danny De Becker (vocals) and Kris Demeulder (bass), and changed the bandname to CRUXMORTIS.

CRUXMORTIS (L - R) : Gert Verbeeck - Danny De Becker - Chris Demeulder - Gert Peeters (picture supplied by Gert Verbeeck)

In those early days CRUXMORTIS were clearly influenced by death and thrash metal, and their first creations were along those lines as well. Apart from death / thrash bands such as Brazil’s SEPULTURA and some British thrash and grindcore bands, the CRUXMORTIS members were primarily influenced by the Scandinavian death metal movement that was calling the shots in those days, such as Sweden’s CARNAGE and GRAVE.

Nothing beyond rehearsal material was ever recorded with this early line-up. However, one of the band’s rehearsals got ‘bootlegged’ and distributed by a friend in early 1991. A review of said rehearsal tape even appeared in Holland’s Aardschok / Metal Hammer magazine. The band wasn’t too happy with this, especially as the sound quality wasn’t the best. Besides, they never intended to release such a rehearsal recording to the public to begin with.

In an attempt to offer the fans a better quality release, CRUXMORTIS recorded an ‘official’ rehearsal tape and released it themselves. The untitled tape (recorded in the basement of Kris Demeulder’s parents) featured five original songs, plus a cover of NAPALM DEATH’s Deceiver. Besides those six tunes, CRUXMORTIS’ repertoire in those days also included the likes of Atomic World, Circus Of Fools, Ride The Katafalk and the instrumental Morbid Fascinations.

The band members were all in their mid-teens at the time, but what they lacked in experience and skills, they made up for with enthusiasm. With this line-up, CRUXMORTIS proceeded to play one live show at a local festival. Despite the inclusion of a Punk band and befriended metallers DEADLY INTENTIONS, amongst others, on the bill as well, CRUXMORTIS turned out to be the heaviest band on display that day, resulting in a lot of crowd approval.

Shortly after this festival appearance the rest of the band decided to part ways with vocalist Danny. The remaining trio continued to rehearse for a while, and intended to start the search for a new vocalist. In reality though, bassist Kris Demeulder left the band as well (to continue his studies), while guitarist Gert Peeters was asked to join MOLEST. An offer he was glad to accept, thus leaving drummer Gert Verbeeck out in the cold on his own.

Later on in 1992 ex MOLEST bassist Patrick Meuris got in touch with Gert Verbeeck. Patrick was looking to form a new band at first, but the two of them decided to continue as CRUXMORTIS instead. They soon joined forces with two ex BLACK SHEPHERD members (vocalist Ivan Verhaegen and guitarist Michel Olijf), as well as with Joszef ‘Jef’ Geocze von Szendroi (guitar). The old, immature repertoire was dropped and the band started writing new songs, including All Straight On, Red Meat, Seven On A Row, Suck & Swallow, Scars On Skulls and Bombing The Target.

Guitarist Joszef Geocze von Szendroi didn’t last long though. After hearing some rehearsal recordings, Igor Pint (also ex BLACK SHEPHERD) decided to join the band, replacing Joszef on guitar. Not long after this, bassist Patrick Meuris was forced to leave the band, due to his exigent job. He was replaced by Kurt Cleynens, a friend Gert knew from school. Once again the band started to compose new songs, and from then on the music started to evolve into a mixture of death metal with thrash metal, stoner rock and sludgy doom.

Thus, with the line-up being Ivan Verhaegen (vocals), Michel Olijf & Igor Pint (guitar), Kurt Cleynens (bass) and Gert Verbeeck (drums), CRUXMORTIS went on to record a self-titled 4-song demo at the Jam Studio in Kampenhout, during the Spring of 1994. Now a collector’s item, copies of the Cruxmortis tape were in fact sent out to such countries as England and Polen back in the day. Not long after the recordings were finished, Gert Verbeeck joined MOLEST. In an attempt to keep CRUXMORTIS alive, the remaining members enlisted ex BLACK SHEPHERD drummer Alain Verhaegen. There was even talk of recording a second demo with this new line-up, but when Igor Pint and Kurt Cleynens left, CRUXMORTIS simply split up.


1991 : Rehearsal Tape {Unholy Baptism, Bowel Eruption, Embalmed Without Care, Images Of Violence, Braincancer, Deceiver}

1994 : Cruxmortis (demo) {Death Means All, Sickminded Maniac, No Fairewell, Deserve To Live}

Related links

Consulted people

Patrick Meuris, Gert Verbeeck

First posted

October 3rd 2009

Latest adjustment


[Back to bands index]


[Back to top]