Two posts ago (Killer Fox), I made passing reference to the utterly baffling Metal Enterprises label out of Germany, in particular their brief run in the late 80's and early 90's releasing some of the most absurd, disturbing "heavy metal" ever known to makind. Founded by the young entrepeneur (?) Ingo Nowotny (who also played on several of ME's most notorious releases), the label was a true study in anomalous high weirdness, at worst a scam and exercise in the worst type of consumer fraud, at best a Kaufman-esque excursion into highbrow art via insult comedy. I linked to THIS excellent article regarding the Metal Enterprises phenomena over at The Corroseum the other day, and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven't already. Author Dan Edman is a seeming expert in all things 'ME', including Mr. Nowotny's heinous practice of releasing "fake" albums by established bands, i.e. recording an album under another band's name with no original members involved, slapping the Metal Enterprises label on it, and sending it off to stores, copyright infringement be damned. This petty theft would be unremarkable at best, had several of these albums not been in all actuality quite superior to the originals! I mean, yes, they're all pretty awful, but Jesus Christ, there are some seriously captivating, off-the-wall ideas at work here.
More from Mr. Edman:
"The finest/worst examples of this very special "ME-sound" are to be found on their infamous Fake Follow-ups. They contain what is probably the most retarded music ever released under the banner of Heavy Metal (which doesn't necessarily mean that the music itself is Metal.) They never bare (sic) any resemblance to the original bands or projects, but are pretty similar in-between themselves, especially the "2nd" KILLER FOX, GODZILLA, THRASH QUEEN, KALASCHNIKOV and FUCKER albums, and could very well have been recorded on the same occasion. It's really hard to describe the sound on these abominations. If you've ever experienced how comedy-shows on TV or radio sometimes can parody Metal music it will give you a faint idea idea of what we're talking about here. It's the music of someone who might have heard a few minutes of Metal at one point in their life and years later trying to recreate it with gleeful intent. Drum-machines, ultra-generic riffing, strange vocal effects and/or improvised singing. Any dumber than dumb idea you can think of and more, it's in there. Like the sudden burst into whistling in the intro of KALASCHNIKOV's "Czarewitch". A venture so terrible and eerie it honestly made me jump out of my chair in terror the first time I heard it. Or the improvised, operatic wailing/screaming, atonal female vocals with a heavy French accent on THRASH QUEEN's "Ashes To Ashes". Or the haunting robot-voices on many a KILLER FOX-cut, or etc etc... On several records they fill up space with strange, lengthy experimental pieces and sound-collages, often sounding like cock-eyed, hapless versions of CELTIC FROST's old cult-pieces of weirdness, "Danse Macabre" and "Tears in a Prophet's Dream". Listening to these specific tracks you get the impression that these guys didn't find it enough to lure innocent people into buying crap music, they really had to rub salt in their wounds by exposing them to pure, torturous noise. Evil, evil men be the men of Metal Enterprises."
So here we go...
First off, we have Kalaschnikov:
Kalaschnikov was a German band basically composed of two members, one Simon Sobkowiak on guitar and one Patrice "T-Bass" Jones on bass and vocals. While they have their charming moments (Jones' voice is unique and pleasing in a weird sort of way), Kalaschnikov are mostly interesting due to the fact that they were one of few bands still playing generic, rehashed NWOBHM in 1988 (for fuck's sake!), when just about everyone else had moved on to thrash, black, or even death metal. In spite of the cool haircuts, there just ain't much to love about this band... That is, until Nowotny stole their name and put out Desert Storm. Don't get me wrong: the "fake" Kalaschnikov album is still fucking terrible. The songs are waaaay too long (4 out of 6 jams surpass the 8-minute mark), the production value is ASS, and the cover art... Well, have a look at it.
But the whistling. Why, Mr. Nowotny, WHY?!?!!?
THE TORTURE NEVER STOPS (1988)
DESERT STORM (1990)
Next up, we have Thrash Queen.
Billed as the "first all-female thrash metal band" and hailing from the uber-metal realms of suburban New England, Thrash Queen were no credit to their gender, as the lackluster, primitive Motorhead worship present on Manslayer will prove. If you're into bedroom demos recorded on broken microphones by brain-damaged 8-year-olds, this might be just your cup of tea. But really, this band is awful. Just awful.
Enter Nowotny's Thrash Queen revival Ashes To Ashes, which arrived six years after their sole release. Edman summed it up nicely in his write-up, which I agree with for the most part. The music on the "fake" Thrash Queen album is undoubtedly superior to the clumsy fumbling on Manslayer, but man, the vocals! Seriously, they sound almost exactly like this:
ASHES TO ASHES (1990)
Exposed tit: insult to injury?
Lastly, we have Godzilla. Fronted by the infamous (?) Gary Wheeler (also from such well-known German acts as Blind Petition, Break Point, Blowin Free, Stahlhammer, Lady, Stalynn, Simon, and Oliviera), Godzilla' self-titled debut album, like Kalaschnikov, is naught but born-too-late NWOBHM leftovers, from the Iron Maiden-biting intro riff to the final notes of the last track. It's listenable, yes, and not much more--another completely disposable 80's "hard rock" album which has its moments, but not many.
But HOLY SHIT, the "fake" Godzilla. I don't even know where to start: the kabuki-esque New Wave space prog of "Cinderella Rockefella"? The Dread Zeppelin-ed out psychedelic shred-reggae of "I Followed The Zombie"? How 'bout the heartfelt ballad "Ass of The Prophet" or the too-long cover abomination of "Helter Skelter"? There are no words. If you take nothing else away from this post, please at least download Godzilla II, and expose yourself to some classic Metal Enterprises brain molestation. But be careful, madness lies therein...
Best album cover EVER?
I apologize in advance for everything you're about to hear.