Not happy with the way things were going with forerunner band Reïncremated, being mediocre mid-paced death metal, the band decided in April 1994 it was time for change. Inspired by albums of bands such as Paradise Lost, Anathema, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Celestial Season, Type O Negative and the sound of bands like Winter, Edge Of Sanity, Entombed and Dismember the band changed their style and name. Officium Triste was born focusing on melodic doom/death metal.
In august 1994 the band recorded their first 4-track demo, simply called ‘Demo ‘94’ at Elektra in Sliedrecht, Holland.
The original line-up consisted of:
Martin Kwakernaak – Drums
Johan Kwakernaak – Guitars
Maarten v.d. Giessen – Bass
Pim Blankenstein – Vocals
Gerard de Jong – Guitars
Based on the demo the band secured a deal for a 7” release. Recordings of 2 new songs and an intro took place in February 1995 at Excess Studio in Rotterdam, Holland. The deal with the label fell through so the band released the 7”, entitled ‘Mountains Of Depressiveness’ on their own Weeping Willow Records.
Basically a quiet year but based on the previous demo and EP Dutch label Teutonic Existence Records offered a deal for a full-length album. In December 1996 Officium Triste entered Excess Studio once again to record the debut album.
Meanwhile original bass-player Maarten v.d. Giessen was replaced by Johan Mijnster.
January 1997 saw Officium Triste finishing the first album, entitled ‘Ne Vivam’. The album was released in April. Quite a lot of shows followed and the band started making name as one of the leading doom/death bands in the Netherlands.
February 1998 the band entered Excess Studio in Rotterdam again to record 3 new songs. 2 of these songs ended up on a split MCD with Californian doom metal band Cold Mourning and this MCD was released later on in 1998 on the band’s own Weeping Willow Records.
Due to lack of communication the band split up late 1998, seeing Martin, Johan and Pim continuing with a new identity called 11:59 or XI:LIX. They enlisted new guitarist Johan Tonnon in this line-up with Pim handling the bass guitar.
As there was some material of Officium Triste left the band released a goodbye CD-single with the song ‘Roses On My Grave’ that was recorded in 1998 and a cover of Chorus Of Ruin’s ‘Headstone’ that was recorded during the ‘Ne Vivam’ session. This single was released on the band’s own, appropriately named To The Gallows Records.
To celebrate this release the band got together for a few drinks and that evening they came to the conclusion that they had made the wrong decision. So they reformed, adding Johan Tonnon to the line-up as a third guitarist.
New material came along quite well, with some ideas already created in the periode 11:59 was active. The band decided to record a promotional CD on their own in January. Just before the recordings Johan Tonnon quit as he felt he didn’t fit in the band. The band was back together as a 5-piece. The ‘Promo 2000’ drew attention of Holland based Displeased Records who offered a deal.
2000 also saw another line-up change as bassist Johan Mijnster left and was replaced by Lawrence Meyer, who had no experience as a bassist but used to drum in black metal band Liar Of Golgotha and play guitar in Death Sentence.
April 2001 Officium Triste went to the new studio Valvesound in Schiedam, Holland to record the second full-length ‘The Pathway’. The album was released by Displeased Records in October 2001. This album is also the first recording with Martin handling keyboards next to drums. Displeased also re-issued the 1999 single ‘Roses On My Grave’ as a 7” EP.
Mainly playing gigs during this year.
Again a lot of gigs and writing new material. Next to that Holland based Badger Records released a vinyl edition of the 1997 debut ‘Ne Vivam’ on 5 different colours.
During February and March 2004 the band started recording the third album ‘Reason’ in the band’s own El Pato Studio. In May 2004 ‘Reason’ was released through Displeased Records.
In 2005 the debut ‘Ne Vivam’ once again was re-released, this time through Russia’s Serpent’s Lair Productions. This edition containes a bonus song in the form of a re-recorded version of the song ‘Mountains Of Depressiveness’.
Once again a year of doing gigs and writing new material.
January 2007 the band returned to Excess Studio in Rotterdam to record their fourth album ‘Giving Yourself Away’. The album was released in May 2007 once again through Displeased Records.
However, after the recordings were finished founding member and guitarist Johan Kwakernaak decided to leave. In April 2007 during a gig in Hoorn, the Netherlands the band met Bram Bijlhout who showed interest. Bram’s previous band Imbolc had folded and he didn’t have to think long about filling the open position.
In 2007 the band also recorded a version of Thergothon’s ‘Crying Blood and Crimson Snow’ for a tribute album.
Line-up change once again. Drummer Martin, who in the meantime moved to Germany for some years, felt he couldn’t deliver what was needed and decided to quit drumming and focus on the keyboards. Bram’s former Imbolc bandmate Ronald Lagerwaard stepped in to fill the spot behind the drums.
15 years of hurt! To celebrate the 15th anniversary the band released an album with a new song, alternate versions of older songs, a cover and some out of print material. ‘Charcoal Hearts – 15 Years Of Hurt’ was released in May 2009. In November 2009 the tribute to Thergothon in which Officium Triste partook was released on Russia’s Solitude Productions.
Due to conflicting schedules drummer Ronald had to resign and Niels Jordaan, formerly of the band In Age And Sadness, took over the position on drums.
2010 mainly was to break in Niels into the band and writing new material for the band’s fifth full-length album. Of course the band kept on playing gigs as well.
The band recorded the new album ‘Mors Viri’ over several weekends during several months at the band’s El Pato Studio located in Martin’s house in Germany. The album was mixed by Ronnie Björnström at Enhanced Audio Productions in Umea, Sweden.
Two new songs were recorded for a split CD with Ophis from Germany. These songs were mixed by Jonas Lindström of Ereb Altor and Isole at Studio Apocalypse in Sweden. Greg Chandler of Esoteric mastered the album at his Priory Recording Studios in the UK
The split, entitled ‘Immersed’, was released through Spain’s Memento Mori Records in July.
The band licensed the recordings of the ‘Mors Viri’ album to Hammerheart Records from the Netherlands.
‘Mors Viri’ was released by Hammerheart Records on CD and LP.
April marks the 20th anniversary of the band. Guitarist Bram decides to leave. He is replaced by former Whispering Gallery guitarist William van Dijk.
Band retrieves the rights to all recordings done for Displeased Records.
The 2004 album ‘Reason’ that has been sold-out for some time gets reissued as a digipack through Vic Records. Bassist Lawrence Meyer leaves the band due to personal differences.
Theo Plaisier becomes the new bassist. Transcending Obscurity from India will release the next studio album.
Besides 4 live shows the band wrote a new album. They recorded and (digitally) released a cover of an Editors song; "The Weight of the World". A demo of a new song ("World in Flames") was recorded as well.
2018 saw a return to Moscow where the band did an awesome show, debuting some new songs. The band also returned to Malta to perform for the third time on the 10th anniversary of the Malta Doom Metal Fest. Furthermore the band went to various studios to record their 6th album "The Death Of Gaia".
Chile's Australis Records released the split album with Chile's Lapsus Dei entitled "Broken Memories". Besides the Editors cover this also contains 2 songs recorded live at the 2014 edition of the Malta Doom Metal Fest.
This year marked the 25th anniversary. Celebrated with a great show at Baroeg, having a batch of "The Hoppy Forest" beer and the release of a compilation album for which quite a few bands recorded a cover of Officium Triste.
The studio album "The Death Of Gaia" was released as well. A great release show at a church in Antwerp and several festival appearances.
Due to the worldwide Covid pandemic 2020 was a slow year. Having an album released in the last quarter of 2019 the goal was to promote its release with numerous shows. In the end we managed to do a show in Leipzig, Germany a few weeks before the lockdown. Later on in December we did a show at the venue where we rehearse as well. These actually were two shows with a seated crowd and one of the shows was streamed online. Other than that we could rehearse a bit and work on some new material.
Over the years Officium Triste has done numerous shows; amongst them Dutch Doom Days, Doom Shall Rise, Dublin Doom Day, Belgian Doom Night, Madrid Is The Dark, Malta Doom Metal Festival. They played in cities such as Rotterdam, Paris, Moscow, Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Dublin, London. They shared the stage with acts like: Anathema, Candlemass, Hollenthon, Evoken, Esoteric, Agent Steel, Warning, Chorus Of Ruin, Mirror Of Deception, Forsaken, Pagan Altar, Procession, Mournful Congregation, Whispering Gallery, Isole, Ophis, Autumnal, Mourning Beloveth…the list goes on and on and will only get bigger.
Officium Triste, June 2021