GERTJAN VIS (BLACK KNIGHT): “[We] Played A 12,000 Person City Sports Hall Show. We Even Had Our Own Bodyguards!! Best Time Of Our Lives!!”

Black Knight

Valiant Metal Act Has Some Victorious Tales to Tell

This past July, Dutch Metal act Black Knight released their third full-length album Road to Victory through Pure Steel Records. As an added bonus, Black Knight decided to reach into their vault and remaster their landmark 1998 debut album Tales From the Darkside. The newly remixed and mastered version will be released on November 20, 2020. Who exactly is Black Knight you say? Let longtime guitarist Gertjan Vis tell you all about them.

Metal Express Radio: If I knew absolutely nothing about Black Knight, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Gertjan Vis: I think our music is pure old school Heavy Metal.

MER: On November 20, 2020 Black Knight is releasing a remastered version of their 1998 album Tales from the Darkside through Pure Steel Records. Will the listener be able to notice any difference between the 2020 version and the original?

GV: There are now 6 live recordings attached and we have made a different master. There is more low end.

MER: What do you remember about recording Tales from the Darkside in 1998?

GV: We did the recording in the Dyonix catacomb studio, the studio I worked at that time in Amsterdam. It was a very quick recording but a year of mixing. It all took a long time because we did the mix at a friends home studio. The Roberto Bosch frozen limb studio. At least we learned a lot about mixing and recording.

MER: What do you remember about touring in support of the album’s 1998 release?

GV: We did a great Bulgarian tour, 2 cities, Varna and Sofia. Big posters all over the cities, advertisements on radio, played a 12,000 person city sports hall show. We even had our own bodyguards!! Best time of our lives!!

MER: There is huge time gap between the band’s formation 1981 and the release of your first album Tales From the Darkside in 1998. What was going on with the band between ’82 -‘98?

GV: Performing.

MER: There is also a huge time gap between your first album in 1998 and the release of your follow-up album The Beast Inside in 2007. What was going on with the band between ’98 -’07?

GV: Performing.

MER: There was a final time gap between the 2007 release and your 2020 release Road to Victory? What was going on with the band between ’07 – ‘20?

GV: Performing.

MER: Road to Victory came out in June 26, 2020 (great album by the way). Can you describe the meaning behind the songs…

“Road to Victory” – The title song of the album is all about the fact that you can achieve more when you work together. It takes you back to some historical examples of military alliances that defeated their opponents by unifying on the battlefield.

“Legend” – The question you have to ask yourself when listening to this song is what you will leave behind when you are not there anymore. This is very personal and you can become a legend in your own way.

“Pendragon” – This song tells about the legendary battle near a hill named Badon in modern day England during the early Dark Ages. The Romano-Britons under the leadership of (King) Arthur defeated a larger host of invading Saxons, Jutes and Angles. This event delayed the conquest of western Britain by the Germanic tribes for a generation.

“Thousand Faces” – Large is the number of faces worn by the main character from the movie Darkman (1990, starring Liam Neeson). He uses masks of artificial skin to infiltrate a criminal organization and take revenge on those who wronged him, while at the same time he seeks to regain the heart of his lover who thinks him dead. But gradually he actually changes from within as well and he begins to understand that he is no longer the man he was.

“My Beautiful Daughters” –Napoleon Bonaparte, who was an artillery officer before he became a general, consul of France and then emperor, is rumored to have sometimes referred to his artillery pieces as ‘mes belles filles’, which freely translated means ‘my beautiful daughters’. His powerful artillery, however, could not save him from his final defeat at Waterloo in 1815.

“Crossing the Rubicon” – This song is about those moments during your life when you have to make a choice and you know there will be no turning back from the path that you choose. Once committed you have to persevere and go on regardless of doubt or hindsight. The title is based on one of the most epic moments in classic history when Julius Caesar with the 13th Legion crossed the river Rubicon into the province of Italy in defiance of the Senate’s orders and thereby starting the Pompeian-Caesarian Wars.

“Primal Power” – Most lyrics for the Road to Victory album were written by our current singer David Marcelis. But “Primal Power” as well “Legend” were written by his predecessor Pieter Bas Borger. “Primal Power” is the inner drive and willpower with which you can accomplish anything against all odds.

“The One to Blame” – This is one of the oldest Black Knight’s songs and it has been re-arranged and re-recorded for Road to Victory. The bottom line of the song is that in some relationships it is better to split and rediscover yourself and what you want from life.

MER: Did you find Pure Steel Records or did they find you?

GV: We found them. I guess don’t know exactly how we came to their desk.

MER: Obviously touring is on hold due to the Covid-19 lockdowns. Has Black Knight been working on new material?

GV: We are now in the middle of our 4th album, and there are already 8 fresh new songs. A mix between Power Metal and Rock!!

MER: Any plans to remaster your second album The Beast Inside?

GV: No that’s not something we are going to bring out again.

MER: The band was originally named Capture until 1982. Was this inspired by the Journey album Captured?

GV: Yes indeed!!

MER: Was the name Black Knight inspired by the Monty Python character?

GV: The band name was created while the we were together in our favorite pub, het makerijtje. There was a pinball machine called Black Knight 2000.

Williams Pinball Machine Banner

Black Knight is:

Pieter Bas Borger – Vocals
Romke Boschma – Guitars
Hans Heider – Bass
Gertjan Vis – Guitars
Rudo Plooy – Drums
Roberto Bosch – Keyboards (on Profound)

Band links:

Buy The Album


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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