Aquiles Priester, Angra's drummer, was born in South Africa on June 25th, 1971. Living in Brazil since age five, Priester fell in love with music in 1985, courtesy of the first edition of the world famous Rock In Rio festival, which had big impact in the Brazilian scene back then. Hugely influenced by heavy metal, he took part of many bands in the town of Porto Alegre, where he lived. He started getting noticed as a musician when he joined local band Hangar, an opening-act for Angra in a Porto Alegre gig in 1998. In the following year, Priester was invited to record Nomad, former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di'Anno's solo album, recorded in Brazil solely with Brazilian musicians. He also played on the extensive tour that followed Nomad's release. Such experience, plus his great talent, made him the perfect drummer to join Angra.
Until the age of 14, Aquiles was sure he would be a great soccer player - and by that time he was already in his city's team (Foz do Iguaçu). One day, when he was with his father passing by the club's bar where he played soccer, he saw the drums (that was the second time he saw one; the first time was when he was 4 years old and he saw on tv a drummer playing jazz) and he felt like that thing would change his life. In 1985, during 'Rock In Rio', he puts together his own drums using things like cans, ice cream pots and gas stripes and starts drumming in the back of his house. A year later, along with some school friends, he starts to dub a Brazilian band called "Ultraje a Rigor"... At this moment he discovered a great passion that would go along with him for the rest of his life.
He started his first band called Stylo Livre in 1987 and as they were the only rock band of his city, they became popular after very little time. But in the following year his family moves to Porto Alegre and so Aquiles goes to a city that was starting to show its local talents for the rest of the country.
He played with several bands in Porto Alegre - like Lucas Scariotys, Spartacus, Ecos do Silêncio, Infra Blue, Truck - besides some cover bands, until 1997 when he started Hangar where he developed his own way of playing the drums.
Everything happened very quickly for the band in Porto Alegre, and less than one year after its start they were already invited to be the opening act for an Angra's concert. Aquiles recalls some interesting facts about that concert: "The band wasn't very well-known in the metal scene and we heard some rumors that the concert promoter wanted to invite us to the opening act, but he couldn't get in touch with us. As the concert was about to happen and we still didn't know if that was true, I decided to go to Flávio's store (bassist/vocalist of Leviathan) who was the responsible for the Angra's concert in Porto Alegre. On my way to the store, I saw a car with two stickers on it: Hangar Lavagem and Angra Veículos... Since then I knew it was only a matter of time for us to play on the same stage as the greatest Brazilian melodic metal band! Until today I remember every detail of what happened before our concert... But I still didn't know what was fated to me..." This concert was very important for the band and after that they started recording their first album called Last Time - released in May, 1999.
This album received positive reviews from the musical critics and the band reached national recognition. While they were touring through Rio Grande do Sul to release the album, Aquiles had the chance to play with some other musicians. His first opportunity was with Tritone, instrumental project formed by Edu Ardanuy (Dr. Sin), Frank Solari (Solo career) and Sérgio Buss (solo career/Steve Vai), playing with them on the tour of Just For Fun and Maybe Some Money.
In October, 1999 Hangar played in São Paulo at the famous bar Black Jack, and after that concert Marcos Cardoso (from Encore Records) invited Aquiles to record with other Brazilian musicians a Paul Di'Anno's album. By that time he met Felipe Andreoli with whom he got along very well. The album Nomad was recorded in São Paulo and right after that they toured around the country; Aquiles had the chance to get in contact with people who already knew his work in Hangar.
A tour in the United States was scheduled but it didn't happen because of some problems with Paul's visa in that country.
In 2000, during a music fair in São Paulo, Aquiles met Edu Ardanuy who introduced him to Kiko Loureiro. The tour with Paul Di'Anno had been cancelled, so Kiko invited Aquiles to go through some tests to join Angra. These tests just happened after an Hangar concert at Black Jack on November, 2000 where Rafael and Kiko went to check Aquiles playing live. Right after that Aquiles did some tests and was invited to join Angra.
Aquiles' style features great energy, advanced techniques of two bass drums, always in search of new musical information and creating grooves so that the drums become a characteristic of the music.