When I started to write for CoC I was already 35 and thought I had seen
I had been the only one who had brought a tape when Venom's Legions
Deutschland chartered a bus to travel to Nuremburg and attend the Seven
Dates of Hell show there. Everyone had to listen to _Show No Mercy_ on
repeat for approximately six hours. It's safe to say that I am
responsible for Slayer's breakthrough in Europe and Kerry King still
having a job. The rumor that I bought _Show No Mercy_ just because of
the promo photo with the girl on the altar is also true.
On arrival in Nuremberg I had been perplexed to see Konrad Lant wearing
shining red, knee-high transvestite boots. Based on the pictures on the
back-cover of _Black Metal_ and up until this point in time, I had been
expecting a ten foot creature half demon, half necromantic swine.
Seconds later I wondered what song they were just playing, although I
knew all of them in my sleep. Knowing a guy who wrote letters to them in
his own blood did not provide spiritual guidance to recognize "Black
I proudly let Lar$ Ullrich sign my Venom's Legions Deutschland
back-patch there and no clairvoyant was at hand to advise me not to let
him soil it forever. I even dared to ask him the important question "How
old is Kirk?". I have forgotten his answer, but it was long and
I was aware of only one person on earth who liked Hellhammer while they
existed. The consensus "in the Frankfurt scene" was that he was an idiot
and Hellhammer sounded like crappy punk.
Possessed's _Seven Churches_ had almost given me a permanent tinnitus
but was also the only reason I had not been falling asleep at the wheel
on a nightmarish nightly drive from the North of Germany back home, and
in the process saved me and the three thrashers in the back from serious
harm. When I got an advance tape of _Beyond the Gates_ I hoped it was
only a demo. I still think that would have been preferable. Carl Canedy
should have never ever been left alone with a mixing desk after _Feel
I had been to Black Metal Night where Sodom and Destruction got their
recording contracts. Tankard on the other hand didn't, because one of
their guitar players wore a pullover Norwegian style. The fact that they
had made up fictional words to achieve a better flow to the lyrics for
"Incredible Loudness" made a bigger impression on me than their very
first life performances. Scream for me, Sindlingen: "Running Free, Kill
em down, Let's play heavy with much rown"!
When Sodom started to play that night I went outside after only ten
minutes because apart from the visuals -- the bone Grave Violator had
stuffed through his bullet belt was almost as tall as himself -- they
were absolute shit. I was not the only poser at Black Metal Night.
Towards the end of their set the intense witching metal had driven
everybody out but about ten people, three of which had collapsed on the
Memories of Tom Angelripper still haunt me to this day. Crowned by a
bowl-style haircut from hell, he desperately tried to get someone to
pick up his "Sodom, Sodom, Sodom" chant and attempted to unplug amps all
the while Destruction played their first show using Sodom's shabby
Man, this could have been the day Destruction killed Sodom. Dig the
alternative universe with all the possibilities for myths and legends.
One night in Southern Germany the hooligan buddies of Exumer's Ray Mensh
pulled the singer from Blood (Ger) off the stage and threatened to beat
him up if he continued with his bullshit yelling and grunting. Amidst
the amateur wrestling some random guy got on stage and replaced him on
the microphone. Violence subsided, Blood were legion, unstoppable and
blew up the PA, leaving Exumer and Holy Moses with the backline.
I can also testify that the Celtic Frost live in Weinheim bootleg is a
scam because I was there and Tom Warrior wasn't.
I swear there was a "Metallica have sold out with _Ride the Lightning_"
point of view and it took me years to get over the use of Exodus riffs
on side B.
I had a legendary laugh along with some friends when we heard the first
Napalm Death album and were 100% sure we had never heard anything that
I'm still laughing every time I remember that Quorthon intended to hire
Sodom's Witchhunter. But if you fail to play guitar in sync with a drum
computer like on _The Return_, things might even out when the German
synonym for timing problems sits behind the kit.
I wrote history again sitting on Exciter's bus when they supported
Accept on the _Metal Heart_ tour by answering Dan Beehler's worried
question "why are you so silent" truthfully with "I don't know what to
say". I maintained the manly not-knowing-what-to-say stance for a full
twenty minutes before I left.
I encountered my personal end of German power and speed metal when Hansi
Kürsch announced the song "Tommyknockers" describing the following
terrifying scene: "Imagine you walk through the woods at night, and
there is... a Tommyknocker". In German. With a decidedly manly voice.
With the first name Hansi.
I had heard _Beneath the Remains_ sans vocals on Max Possessed's Walkman
at the blazingly hot Copacabana beach and didn't take a single picture
during four days in Rio because someone advised me that taking my twenty
buck camera outside would be the guarantee to become the next victim of
Brazilian street crime. Disaster struck completely when he couldn't find
someone with a tape recorder to make a copy of the tape before returning
to Belo Horizonte.
Besides listening to _A Blaze in the Northern Sky_ once or twice I had
successfully ignored the second wave of black metal for half a decade. I
was convinced that the world did not need a bunch of teenage weenies
running around in Scandinavian forests with swords and make-up all the
while musically imitating Bathory's self-titled album and _The Return_.
I occasionally played "To Walk the Infernal Fields" from some Earache
sampler to visitors with a metal background because its perceived
shittiness was a guarantee for howling laughter and verbal agreement on
the sad state of metal.
A precious possession of mine turned out to be the book "They Only Want
Your Soul" which was regularly handed out by Christian scatterbrains
after metal shows. Amongst the description of some slightly less
hilarious sightings of Satan himself, it featured the true story how
Gene Simmons once stuck his Satanic tongue out of some metal fan's Kiss
poster. At midnight, you bet!
My personal memories of Chuck Schuldiner the Great center almost
exclusively around the asshole's habit of cancelling European tours.
I kickstarted the second wave of black metal by deliberately throwing up
against a church door -– hail Satan -- when coming back from the local
pub in a very intoxicated state, pre-dating the Norwegian church attacks
by a full five years!
Apart from the obvious narcissism and said feeling of having seen it all
at the end of the '90s, I had pretty much run out of friends who still
were into metal, their recommendations and inspiration, the
sharing aspect of things, and had also finally become disillusioned with
the German metal press and leading magazines like Rock Hard.
What can you say about a mag that has rated every Tankard album higher
than _Altars of Madness_ and crowning _The Oath of Black Blood_ and
_Vengeance War 'til Death_ as "Arschbombe des Monats" (ass-bomb of the
month) with a whopping 0 out 10 points rating? Suffocation got 3 out of
10 for _Effigy of the Forgotten_. My appreciation of these albums
suffered a delay of only ten years. Be advised: never, ever trust the
German metal press.
The Internet opened-up a whole new world for me, a different and much
broader perspective and a range of bands I had so far not heard about.
Mainly because said German print magazines were more interested in still
boycotting certain black metal bands and again and again featuring
already established bands while maintaining a blind eye towards emerging
bands like Nile, Opeth, Angelcorpse and many, many more.
I don't remember exactly how and and when, but I came across Chronicles
of Chaos one day and was impressed with their reviews, the style, the
overall quality of writing, the scope of bands. I wrote an application.
Somewhat to my surprise, they took me. Despite my halfway decent
English, despite me laughing about _Scum_ and "Infernal Fields". Of
course I hadn't told them.
Alvin Wee's reviews introduced me to Clandestine Blaze, Nunslaughter,
Sabbat, and in the process loads of other obscure black metal. David
Rocher had delved much further into the pure death metal and
Scandinavian melo-death metal subgenres and introduced me to what felt
like 200 bands. Pedro Azevedo spread doom and darkness in his path. Paul
Schwarz's long chats with Napalm Death, Nile or Metalucifer were and
still are amongst the most interesting interviews I'm aware of this side
of Kick*Ass magazine. Steve Hoeltzel finally opened the bestial
floodgates and taught me how to go to sleep chuckling comfortably while
listening to _Vengeance War 'til Death_.
I bought records based on their recommendations and reviews, just like I
did back then when it all started. I bought records I had ignored so far
because I was a fool to trust the local press or just had not been
aware. I identified and then filled shame-inducing, gaping holes in my
collection and knowledge of the genre. The Internet and CoC re-lit the
fire, made me approach the whole genre with a new-found enthusiasm and
erased the feeling of been there, done that, know-it-all completely. It
made being an ageing metal fan who's still up-to-date even without local
I was proud to be part of something that was so refreshingly
un-commercial and totally DIY while delivering what I still mostly
consider great quality at the same time. Even if some of my
contributions make me seriously cringe when I read them again, I am sure
that most of the time we were successful in delivering a good read, a
worthwhile recommendation, a service to fellow headbangers.
Amateur writer´s block and laziness ended my amazing career, and I had
plenty of time during retirement to read Blabbermouth and the NWN
forum... until Gino announced that CoC would close its doors in August
Fittingly I have rarely been a reader myself for quite some time, and
it's mostly technology that killed the text-based e-zine. I've recently
bought the absolutely amazing Yamaha CD-N301 CD/network player with
Spotify Connect functionality for only 300 Euros after my trusty Marantz
CD player refused to handle _Blessed Are the Sick_. Of course I got
myself a Spotify subscription and since then there is almost no
downloading and need to rip, tag, transfer to iTunes, search iPod, find
iPod, transfer to iPod, hook-up iPod to my amplifier anymore.
It also means that instead of reading some random dude's notes about
this or that album I just press a couple of buttons on my smartphone and
listen to the whole thing on my decent stereo. Gone are the days of
determining a reviewer's orbit compared to your own taste and decoding
wave after wave of metaphors and off-topic clutter to get hold of the
bits that might finally give me a clue what the music sounds like.
And so I sit here now with my Spotify subscription, 300 GB of MP3s, 1000
something CDs, a metric ton of vinyl and the gear to listen to metal in
memoriam CoC as a reader, fan, ex-writer and friend of some of the guys
until the sun turns cold. But unfortunately pressing the buttons doesn't
come easy all the time, because I'm not left with a lot of enthusiasm.
What once started as a novelty and festival gimmick, the reunion, has
now taken over. It is a rider of the apocalypse symbolizing the genre's
artistic bankruptcy and the audience's overwhelming desire to gather and
party as if you just don't care. Preferably together with the dude in
the banana costume.
Metal once had something to do with youth, now it's presided and led by
a committee of revenants, regurgitating the glory days. After returning
from a well-deserved hiatus, your average reunionist is not content with
a once-in-a-lifetime re-enactment of the old days. And, like every
self-respecting rider of the apocalypse, he chooses from a whole heard
of mighty steeds which go by the names of Wacken, Hellfest, Keep It
True, Headbanger's Open Air, With Full Force, MDF, Summerbreeze, Sweden
Rock, Metal Holiday and a multitude of inbred offspring. Once he's
commanded the ten thousand side by side to circle pit or perform the
wall of death, and bathed in the shadow of their horns, he's ready to
soldier on into eternity. His bestial reunion from hell is not a
short-lived affair. Due to the refreshing nature of the hiatus even guys
in their fifties return with enough stamina for the absolutely long
So we get the world-exclusive reunion gig at first. Then, after
many months of stubborn denial, the inevitable, mediocre-at-best
reunion/comeback album is upon us, and sells 665 copies in the United
States in its first week of release to debut at position 37 on the Top
New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling
albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never
appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
This is followed by the never-to-end-again continuation of the reunion
on different steeds or in remote places like Chile. From the Nuclear
Assaults, Nirvana 2002s, Exciters, Death Angels, Coroners, etc., etc.,
etc., down to the fucking eleventh tier basement dwellers whose only
trace of existence is a Metal Archives page. Well, everyone but
Sepultura. I should travel to Brazil again and try to thank Andreas
Kisser in person for so far not letting this atrocity happen. I will
take a camera with me this time.
Even in the most bestial depths of the underground the situation is no
different. Nuclear War Now festival is headlined by Blasphemy, a band
that's definitely influenced and spawned about 68.686 gasmask wearing
goatfago clones but is about as musically relevant today as the Rolling
Stones or AC/DC. Even the motivations to go and see them might be
identical. By all means they could be dead next year and you might lose
your chance to tell your grandchildren that you were sieg-heiling at the
bar while the Ross Bay Cult played next door.
In a financially more comfortable realm AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest
etc. adhere to Lovecraftian principles which postulate "That is not dead
which can eternally tour". Instead of having the decency to follow
examples set by Jimmy Hendrix, Bon Scott or Randy Rhoads, they keep
fading away looking older and less metal than my 78 year old father. Or,
in the curious case of David Coverdale, my mother.
They don't seem to care that it has really been 20, 25 or even 30 years
since their last good record. They bless the planet's eager metal youth
with last chances to see the true legends before grim reaper comes
knocking. Legends are larger than life. Who cares about wrecked vocal
chords, fading hair, prostate problems, a tumor here, a slipped disk
there? Just come back from chemotherapy in time for the next leg of the
tour. You piss yourself on stage? Just establish the nightly
water-bucket challenge to cover it up. Welcome to the metal nursing home
which is still hell patrolling and running free like it's 83 even if
it's not just two minutes to midnight but also until the final bad news
from the biopsy come in.
Soon enough Halford will be riding on the wind on a custom Harley
Davidson wheelchair and go full playback, and there's no doubt there
will still be an audience that is demented enough to think that he's
still doing well "for his age" and certainly has got another thing
coming. Just play two octaves lower and a bit slower and the
teleprompter will fix the rest. Apart from these top dogs, the whole
circus obviously has enough "job" opportunities for absolute bottom
feeders like Paul Di'Anno to somehow survive.
Meanwhile the few that didn't have to reunite because they missed the
right time to disband have come up with a new threat. They publicly
confess what everyone knew anyway. That apart from the one or two
semi-classics from decades ago, they have only released mediocre or crap
albums that achieve unsatisfactory levels of showing the devil's horns
and only initiate the wall of folded arms. They play the -– exclusive of
course -– old-school set-list. The once-in-a-lifetime classic album from
start to finish gig! Just imagine, even songs they haven't played since
But let's be careful not to get too nostalgic here and rest assured the
next album is surely going to be their best, like, back-to-the-roots, by
public demand, you know. Even King Diamond, refurbished by the doctors
with 25 bypasses, is eager to falsetto on for two more decades and shares
his confidence that his greatest album lies ahead of him, seriously. The
music industry might be on its knees, money is in short supply, but you
still need a new album to have a reason to hop on next year's festival
circuit with the ultimate old-school set. This business has got some
When not busy playing the old-school setlist or the final final tour,
yesteryear's heroes and grim anti-commercial black metallers alike sue
each other in public. They sue over band names, money, copyrights,
getting spat at by human wreckage in a vest or getting publicly
denounced by former bandmates for being too old or untrue to cult on.
What's next? Public display of underwear to prove you do indeed have
enough stamina for performing half of the old-school set and contrary to
your ex-bandmate's recent malicious statement are not shitting yourself
twice a day after the colostomy? Partaking in an open medical study to
prove to the court that homosexuals can indeed play black metal?
Of course the business and the money was always part of it. But starting
your band to make it big, or even for the nookie surely produces totally
different results than to keep doing it because you do not want to spend
the rest of your life watching your snake collection digest mice. Or, in
case of the second and third tier dwellers, go back to flipping burgers
and sleeping on mommy's couch at the age of fifty. Success in the metal
genre is defined as "keeping the job" these days.
The title of Employee of the Year without a doubt goes to Kerry King of
once titanic and now half-Slayer. His unshaken dedication to the metal
and the fans enables him to have another past-time apart from looking
like his own action figurine. He wouldn't know what else to do but
release irrelevant albums and be on tour. He is a pro at it and hasn't
done anything else for 21 years since bloody _Divine Intervention_. Keep
"the job" and be open about it on Blabbermouth and I might have to
cleanse my collection of the hallowed _Hell Awaits_.
The future looks brighter than ever now that the "the band is greater
than individual members" motto is not used exclusively to indoctrinate
the Kiss Army to keep the shekel ready and follow the brand into the
next millennium. Sub-genre co-founders Exodus have also picked up the
chant to justify the absence of Gary Holt from gigs and tours. Bless
him, a regular paycheck from Kerry is not to be sneered at. High-top
wearers all over the globe just close your eyes and Gary, and on perfect
nights even Rick Hunolt, will make an appearance 1:31 into "Strike of
the Beast". You paid for Exodus and the Exodus attack you will get. Even
Baloff's spirit might float around if you just wish hard enough.
Once-underground label Nuclear Blast has achieved world metal
domination, churning out the same "new" shit over and over and signing
bands for the one reason which seems to pluck the leaks between
reunions, zombies and job-owners in the line-up of the ever-growing
festival machine. Who did foresee the joy and luxury of being able see
Mütiilation and The Scorpions now together with 20-30 Nuclear Blasts at
the same event? With a bit of planning, luck and a good flight
connection you might be able to wash away the still fresh festival dust
in the pool of the Liberty of the Seas. Take a powernap in your first
class cabin and in no time you'll be ready to get nuclear blasted into
It's almost a miracle that it took the public and finally even the
leisure industry decades to realize that your average metaller is an
easier, cleaner, better customer than a bunch of pensioners who might
trouble the crew with a heart attack during captain's dinner. The whole
Satan, leather, spikes, long hair, denim vest, growling, blasting,
screeching shtick really fooled the rest of the world into believing
that this scene and its inhabitants is less conservative, philistine or
shallow, even dangerous.
The Wacken festival and its media coverage just needed a few years to
dispel the fourty year old myth about metal fans being dangerous anti-social
devil worshippers. Public perception got rightly adjusted to your
average metal head being a well-mannered cuddle bear in a denim and
leather costume whose most excessive deed of rebellion against society
is to drunkenly collapse in a pool of piss behind the merchandise tent
on hot festival afternoons.
The peace, love and harmony atmosphere and the intense bro-hood of elder
men in the backstage area inspires bands like Kreator to refrain from
taking as many lives as possible and attempt to become a thinking man's
version of Manowar and come up with cringe-worthy shit like: "This is
what we stand for, something you cannot kill. We are the counter-culture
and we are growing still". Even world music icon Max Cavalera has
stopped from jumpingdafuckup for a second to read the signs of the
times, discover the metal in his veins and re-sell his soul. "Born to
rage against the order" they stand in union with the Wacken fire brigade
orchestra and atrocious comedy acts and watch the counter culture show
their new costumes to the mainstream media delegates.
While Schlachtschiff Metal is going full-speed ahead a gazillion true
Satanists and black metal cults perform their "rituals" against
Christianity on the lower decks. Finally true, unlike the five
generations before them and in uncompromisingly non-commercial fashion,
as well as honestly afraid of becoming the next Watain of course. The
more forward-thinking among them might have learned a lesson or two from
the recent Inquisition PR disaster and are prepared for the worst case
scenario of suddenly getting drafted for the metal job and have their
"the tattoo artist told me my Swastika was a Chinese letter" statement
In rebellious fashion the genre follows the one-page black metal
rule-book and continues to insult poor baby Jesus as if now is the last
chance to take action before the holy inquisition knock-knocks at your
cabin door searching for your heathen niece. Someone chopping down the
holy Hingirsdottir oak 843 years ago is all the reason needed to keep on
with the Satanic powerlifting and Christhunting in 2015.
Together as one Satanic terrorist Einsatzgruppen stand against
Judeo-Christianity in an age where the Christian or Judaic faith is as
relevant as chewing gum vending machines in the street. When comes the
Moyen artwork depicting Che Guevara as a satanic goat mounting the whore
of Bethlehem? I stand ready to type "Total support" and pre-order!! Let
the theater continue until the dragons and unicorns return or someone
with a ski-mask and IS tour-shirt shoves a sword of Islam up the last
true white wolf of Wotan's butt.
Now back to the real world one last time. Who would have doubted that
Glen Benton is still plotting Godkill after all these years? See, he's
also got a job in the company that Kerry is working for, just another
department. Kerry is the guy who employs Gary. Gary is the guy who -is-
the band he's not playing with because he's working for Kerry. Just in
case you were losing track.
Some corrections that need to be made:
Hail of Bullets - _...Of Frost and War_
(Metal Blade records, 2008)
by: Matthias Noll (11 out of 10)
The only death metal classic released in the last fifteen years. The
best lyrics in the genre delivered by one of the best and most original
death metal vocalists. Blockbuster hit after hit is unleashed with an
absolutely immense sound. Apart from the extremely down-tuned guitar
sound and reminiscences to "Revel in Flesh" in "Red Wolves of Stalin"
this record is as much a Dismember tribute as Häagen Dasz is
Scandinavian. Sorry Jackie ;)
Rebaelliun – _Annihilation_
(Hammerheart Records, 2001)
by: Matthias Noll (9 out of 10)
The best Krisiun album ever, by far and also one of the best Southern
American death metal albums. Of course the reunion is upon us.