lundi 17 février 2014

80's Heavy Metal / Hard Rock in Wallonia

(click to enlarge)

Toute aide/correction est la bienvenue. N'hésitez pas à me contacter.

Flemish and Brussels map to follow soon...

samedi 28 décembre 2013

Buried By Time And Dust Records interview

Here is an interview I made in October with Russ and Nick of Buried By Time And Dust...the name should ring a bell for all the metal vinyl maniacs out there...they don't need introduction ... so open a good beer, put on Black Sabb' Heaven And Hell (why not heh ?) and read what the evil brothers have to say...


How was BBTAD put together? What was the whole idea and goal behind the label at the beginning?

BBTAD was put together totally by accident. Growing up in the early 80’s our favourite band was and is Witchfinder General, an obsession that still exists to this day. In the mid nineties we would routinely take turns and get up in the middle of the night to call Heavy Metal Records (In England) which was their last known label to ask if they had any unpublished material or live stuff that they planned on releasing. For years we did this with the same reply that they had stuff but needed a bit more time to move on it. We always let them know that if they needed any assistance we would certainly be of help.  Fast forward to the early 2000’s when Phil Cope and Zeeb Parkes found a tape that had a great sounding gig on it. They approached Heavy Metal Records who owed them a lot of back royalties and said let’s square up and then release this. The label’s response was to the effect they didn’t have the money for back royalties but they knew two guys in America that could help. At this point the band saw no sense in letting the label screw them further and decided to contact us directly in the form of Phil Cope calling us on the phone out of the blue. To say that we were shocked would be a ridiculous understatement. A dream of a lifetime came true for us that day.

I believe BBTAD is run by two persons. What is your personal role and how do you share the tasks between you two?

Yes, the label is run by Russ and I (Nick) who are brothers. Russ does all of the financial, shipping and daily stuff of the label. We work together on layout, presentation and the balance of the work.

Except being simple listeners, were you guys involved in the metal scene before starting BBTAD? Were you familiar with all the matters regarding the management of a label? I mean dealing with pressing plant, getting licence, working with bands, etc.?

We had zero familiarity on label stuff. Our involvement was simply going to gigs and buying records.

How many hours a day do you spend working for BBTAD? Does it demand a lot of time, effort and sacrifice to run a label such as BBTAD?

On a daily basis not much time. There are certain periods where there is a lot to do but since we only do 5 or 6 releases a year it is not too bad.





Your first release (WITCHFINDER GENERAL live DLP) was a collaboration with Nuclear War Now! Productions, why? Was it financially too risky for BBTAD to release it alone? How successful was this collaboration and how did you convince Yosuke to work with you?

After Witchfinder General had contacted us Russ flew to Stourbridge England from San Francisco to complete the deal. When he returned we had a master tape and literally zero idea of what to do with it. We knew Yosuke from NWN! Knew what he was doing from some of the releases we had of his and geographically he lived only about twenty minutes away so we approached him with the deal. It had nothing to to with risk or finances but simply us not having any experience and not wanting to fuck it up. The collaboration produced the Live 83 DLP and the Buried Amongst the Ruins projects which with the exception of a few fuck ups turned out very good I thought.

You guys are huge NWOBHM fans; are there any particular bands from that area that you really want to reissue? Or wanted to but didn’t work in the end? I’d love to see DAWNWATCHER, KRAKEN, SARACEN (the one on Roksnax comp’) or TRESPASS getting the BBTAD treatment for example, what do you think?

There are plenty of bands we’d love to do projects with and in fact are doing a couple right now that are in various stages. The bands you mention of course are fantastic so well see.

What are your views on the current underground music industry? It seems that the demand for vinyl records among metal fans is still rising up but don’t you think this trend will disappear in the end considering the continuously increasing retail price for one single LP (and I’m even not speaking about postage rates…)? Is it getting harder those days to offer high quality vinyl for a decent price?

The Underground is alive and well. Tons of cool labels, tons of cool bands so for me there is nothing to complain about. People say vinyl is a trend and maybe it is...we don’t care. We love when people dump their record collections or leave the metal to do some other limpwristed style. Good riddance.



You guys are mostly specialized in reissuing old stuff, is it hard to convince band members to work with you? I’m also clueless regarding to copyright matters, contracts, getting licences, etc. Could you please explain us roughly how does it work? Hard to believe but did you already have problem with bands not satisfied with your job in the end?

It is not too hard to convince people as long as you come off genuine and show you care for the band and have their best interests at heart.  Band members  can smell bullshit a mile away for the most part so the fact we only do stuff were passionate about and have enthusiasm for makes things easy. A few of the bands have wanted contracts which is fine, no problem. Most bands we work with deal on a handshake and trust...nothing written at all. Only would happen in the underground. Regarding bands not being happy with the final product it hasn’t happened yet....at least they haven’t said anything.  We try to make things look like we would love to see in a store and pick up on a blind buy like you had to pre internet. Etc....


When it comes to actual releases, you clearly prefer quality over quantity. What’s your opinion on the current metal “scene”? Does a label like BBTAD receive a lot of promo stuff? What bands need to do if they want to be signed on BBTAD?

Like I said before the metal scene is great I think...anybody who complains about it isn’t paying attention. I don’t think weve ever received one piece of promo material though....

Do you wish to expand your activities in the future and make the label bigger and more “professional”, a bit like High Roller Records now? Or do you prefer BBTAD to stay like it is now?

No, I think were fine with the way things are. There are full time day jobs, kids and families involved so with the time we have left the label will stay small I think.

Does a label like BBTAD use promotional tools to survive or the reputation/word of mouth is enough? I don’t remember ever seeing a BBTAD flyer for example and you don’t seem to care a lot about promoting the label…you don’t think it’s necessary or do you want BBTAD to stay confidential?

We have a small presence on some of the underground forums but that is it.  It is not that we want to stay confidential but were just not aggressive marketers. If we have extra time we will be drinking and listening to records.
I was pleasantly surprised to see EVIL BLOOD material getting properly reissued. I know a lot of other labels tried to work with Dennis Harris (Bat Connan) and EVIL BLOOD in the past but didn’t succeed in the end because Dennis is quite a tough negotiator and very demanding. Is that true? How hard it was to persuade him?

This is partially true...Dennis can be tough but when Russ wants to do something he can get it done. I think it was a combination of us being Slavic and Russ’ passion for Evil Blood that convinced Dennis to work with us.

On the other hand, that’s another story between PAGAN ALTAR and you. They seem to be very confident and supportive toward BBTAD, am I right? How does it feel to work with such a mythical and magical band? How did you enter in contact with Terry and Alan? What’s your opinion on their recurrent line-up problem?

Working with Pagan Altar is another dream come true for us. We first met them when we flew to their London ULU gig with Warning, Against Nature and The Lamp of Thoth and of course they were incredibly nice. The next year my wife and I flew to Ireland to visit family and catch Pagan Altar at a small club date their put on by Sarlacc. Terry and I drank and talked for hours before the gig with some of the other Templars. He asked how the label was going and at the time I think we only had 4 releases out. He then said “would you like to put out our vinyl “.... Taking into account that I just flew 12 hours to see the gig the answer was of course Hell yes! He then said as long as you want to do it you will be the guys and we shook on it and he has never gone back on his promise. Again a dream come true for us. My opinion on the line up problem is that I don’t like it in that it delays the band recording but past that it is none of our business.





You’ve released a few CDs in the past. This is something the bands wanted or are you personally interested in this format?

We do cd’s occasionally when demand might be there but overall we loathe them.

What’s your most successful release so far? And the least one?

The best selling stuff is obviously the Witchfinder General and Pagan Altar stuff and Satan as well. The live records sell slower than most as people are that crazy about live records I guess.

How come you don’t run a mailorder list? Is it a part of the business that you don’t like or it’s just because you lack of time?

Lack of time, space and there are plenty of people who do this well.


Well I guess you’re both huge records collectors, aren’t you? How big is your collection and what are your most cherished items? Is it financially difficult to be both a vinyl collector and a label owner? Did you already sell valuable records to finance your releases?



Our collections are okay...nothing that would blow your mind though. Our finances come from our jobs..not from the label so we never have to sell records to finance other stuff or whatever. Russ has one of the best NWOBHM 7” collections I have seen but other stuff is too numerous too mention.



What would be your advice to people who want to start a label nowadays? 


The only advice I would give is to work with bands you love and have fun...otherwise whats the point?



What the future holds for BBTAD? Can you reveal some details about your next projects and releases?



Well the Pagan Altar Judgement of the Dead repress is happening now along with the Paul Chain- King of the Dream lp. Also by press time of this zine we will have a Radium release out called “Through the smoke and Into the Grave” which is a reproduction of the 1981 7” single and a full lp of incredible live stuff from 1980. Other than that we’ll have a few more announcements soon as well. Other than that we will be sitting around drinking and with fists in the air.



Thank you very much for your time! End this interview like you wish. Long live BBTAD!!



Cheers and Die Hard!!

 (Roksnax sampler from which the BBTAD logo comes from...)

  


Fanzines / Mags memorabilia

Just for the pleasure of the eyes...

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Metal Forces # 7 (UK) (1984)
























Marshall Stack #3 (UK) (year unknown, my guess: late 1985, early 1986)



















Deflagration (Fr) # 4 (1990)























Other Deflagration issues ....#1, #2, #3, all from 1988 !
















Please note that those zines are from my own collection and those pictures (...like most on this blog by the way...) are mine ! Use them "carefully".

I'm interested in buying 80's / early 90's fanzines / magazines...drop me a mail if you have some for sale. Or simply if you want to contribute... ironhammer(at)live.be

Interesting webpages:

http://france.metal.museum.free.fr/revues.htm
http://demolishmag.wordpress.com/category/demolish-issue-1/metal-fanzines-spotlight/ 
https://www.facebook.com/metalzinecollectors
https://www.facebook.com/undergroundmetalfanzines
etc.

More to come later



DEATHSLAYER (US - NY)

DEATHSLAYER from New-York with their song "Raven's Nest" on the Iron Tyrant sampler from 1984. 

Loud 'n' proud US metal with classy Suzanne Hearts on vocals. 

DEATHSLAYER also appears on the New York Metal - 84 sampler with the song "Journey for Light", another great number.

If I had a record label, I'd definitely reissue their material and especially that "Cry of the Sword" album/demo... top notch stuff !

Read an interview with Suzanne here:

DEATHSLAYER / Suzanne Hearts interview
 
(from left to right: John Forte, Steve Alliano, Johnny Hearts, Suzanne Hearts)
 
Deathslayer - Raven's Nest

If you were a member of DEATHSLAYER, please get in touch: ironhammer(at)live.be



Mega Watt Fanzine isn't completely dead yet...

Keep your eyes open for updates soon (hopefully...)






dimanche 18 août 2013

rare Belgian 7"s


AMMA - Le Fou/Le Faiseur d'Amour (Christian's Records) (year ?)

Obscure Wallonian band from the Hainault province run by Fred Scamardi who was kind enough to give me a copy of this quite rare single (salut Freddy si tu lis ses lignes !...) some times ago. It was released early 80's thru their manager's (Christian Verhelst) own label. Can't tell much more about them...
Musically, it's good hard rock ("Le Fou" especially) with raging vocals. Nothing outstanding but worth tracking down. The cover art is sooo great and depicts AMMA's intentions pretty well...



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GOLGOTHA - Players/The Soldier (KPs Records) (1984)



Another almost unknown band from the French part of Belgium. From Fleurus exactly. Their music is not really heavy but I happen to enjoy their catchy melodic hard rock that reminds me a bit of mainstream UK bands like PRAYING MANTIS, DEMON, etc. 
Whatever happened to them after the release of this single is unknown to me. If someone has their three tracks demo from 1983, I would love to hear it.


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VERMIN - Method in the Madness/Life has no Limits (Vamo Records) (1988)

That's quite a strange one...and again, I know pretty much nothing about the history of this mysterious bunch from Lanaken (Limburg, Flanders). A side "Method in the Madness" is a boring semi-ballad with weird lyrics that goes nowhere. With flip side "Life has no Limits", VERMIN shows a slighty more interesting face but it still very sloppy and...huh ... well I don't how to describe their music. It's quite bad actually, the riffs and production are weird. Very rare single. Any more info about them is more than welcome.



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MOTHERS OF TRACK -  When you Get Older/Love Me When I'm Down (Monopole) (1977)


This is their second single and unfortunately, it doesn't share the greatness of its predecessor, the awesome "Motorcycle Rock" 7" from 1976. Well, it's still good boogie glam/hard rock with nice leads but it lacks the rawness and the power in my opinion.  



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SNAKE - I'm a Fool/Lady of the Night (Snake Records) (year 1980)

This is probably the rarest and most obscure 7" I own in my Belgian metal/hard rock collection. It took me years to find a copy, but for once it was worth the chase. Both songs are excellent crunchy hard rock. Nothing original of course but it's far more superior to most belgian rarities out there, the riffs are fuckin cool 'n' heavy, I don't ask for more. 
Except for the surnames of the band members (Toussaint, Verbruggen, Elias, Geeraert), I know absolutely nothing about them. It's a total mystery. If you ever happen to know more about SNAKE, even the slightest, please get in touch asap (ironhammer(at)live.be).








See you soon for more Belgian rarities !

Forgotten Jewel of the Past part III






KRAKEN - Fantasy Reality / Deadmans Dreamland / Winged Bulls of Ninevh 7" EP

Label : Knave
Country: UK (Midlands)
Year : 1980
Limitation : Unknown (something like 1000 copies maybe ?)


I guess that with such songs titles as « Fantasy Reality », « Deadmans Dreamland » and « Winged Bulls of Ninevh » (!) , you won’t expect KRAKEN to be one of those boring boogie/blues influenced NWOBHM act, do you? This EP, privately released in 1980, is indeed quite a unique listening experience, but is also one of those forgotten jewels that prove (in case someone was still doubtful) that NWOBHM was undeniably the most exciting and interesting musical movement in the history of heavy metal. Fuck, it amazes me how band like KRAKEN came up with such heavy and off-the-wall material back then, those guys were really ahead of their time and so far away (both musically and lyrically) from all the other typical/no-frills heavy metal bands of that period. People were not ready to hear such unpredictable stuff in 1980 (for a matter of fact, KRAKEN were accused of “killing music” by a dumb journalist in “Sounds” back then…) and as Malc Macmillan stated it in its NWOBHM encyclopedia, “the skilful musicianship occasionally threatens to become a bit too clever for its own good”. Actually, I can hardly draw comparisons with any other NWOBHM acts but I’d put them in the same league as HELL/RACE AGAINST TIME, RADIUM, OXYM, MARQUIS DE SADE, REQUIEM and the likes... if you like your metal to be ambitous, esoteric, doomy and progressive (imagine RUSH at their darkest and heaviest), so Andy Hopkins (vocals and bass), Ian Leach (guitar) and Jim Connolly (drums) will be your new gods. Yes, they are that good…although I assume you may need to be patient or in a certain mood to enter KRAKEN’s own odd world. My only complaint is that the sound quality is bad: cramming three tracks (for a total of 20 minutes) on a 7” is never a good idea (I know…lack of money…)… it would have been so better and massive on a 12”. Most of the rips you’ll find on the internet sound even worse by the way. Well, it’s never too late for a reissue. They released a demo after this (with more straight-forward/conventional material: (Destroyer) and supposedly recorded an album as well. If it’s true, please get in touch if you happen to know more (ironhammer(at)live.be), there is still a future for KRAKEN and the world needs to know!!!