Do you remember that I mentioned the TARDIS in my first article in this column? Just travelling through time isn’t enough, I like to travel through space as well. That’s why I’d like to take a closer look at different cities, inspired by whatever, and check their active (!) bands. If there is somebody special worth mentioning, I will do so as well, of course.
The first city I would like to take a closer look at is Gelsenkirchen. Why Gelsenkirchen, and where the f*** is this place you might ask… Well, Gelsenkirchen is the city I was born and raised in, and it still is more home to me than Duisburg today. Maybe you don’t know Gelsenkirchen, but I’m pretty sure you heard of FC Schalke 04, the famous football/soccer club. Speaking of soccer and Schalke, maybe we will take a look at Dortmund as well. I’m pretty sure they can only loose. Why? You will see!
I would like to start with the most important band and person for metal music from our beautiful city: Tom Angelripper, Onkel Tom himself, the voice, the bass and the founder of Sodom. So we have Sodom, and what about you, Dortmund?
We will see in one of the next parts…maybe… 😉
Sodom was founded in 1982 and released their first album Obssessed by Cruelty in 1986 after two demos and an EP. With Persecution Mania and Agent Orange they fulfill their task and get to the top of the German and European Thrash bands with international relevance. The term “Teutonic Thrash Metal” was born and included Sodom next to Kreator, Destruction and Tankard. Sodom’s last album-release was in 2016, Decision Day. In 2018 the musicians behind Tom were changed completely and Sodom started from scratch with two guitars for the first time. The 2018 EP Partisan gives us a chance to get a first impression of the new generation of Sodom.
As mentioned before, Tom isn’t just the singer and bassist of Sodom, but he is also Onkel Tom. Okay, before talking about Onkel Tom you need at least two sixpacks of beer and some liquor. Now you need the right feeling, the wish to sing along with the cheesiest songs you can imagine, and playing some rockin’ guitars – drunk as f***, but you don’t care, because you have the greatest night of your life – kind of. Okay, now we are in the mood. Onkel Tom celebrates exactly this feeling with cover songs of German traditional (Pop) songs. You mustn’t take it serious, it’s all about fun. It’s loud, it’s filthy. Like it or hate it.
Okay, maybe you think: Sodom and Onkel Tom, they are just one foot away from living in retirement… Nothing else? Well, yes there is, and I think Gelsenkirchen is able to fulfill the needs of nearly every kind of taste.
For fans of Power Metal we can offer Gloryful, who released their last album Cult of Sedna in January 2019. It’s not the Manowar kind of style, it’s more like Helloween. Double bassdrum, fast riffs, faster solos, gang-shouts. To be honest, that is not my kind of music, nothing I would listen to on a regular basis, but I think they do a lot of things in the right way. I like the riffs, the drums, even the singer sounds good to me, but I don’t like some of the genres standards. I’m sorry – but I think that if you like Power Metal, you can give them a chance and I think that they can convince you.
So you think it’s a pity that the last album-releases of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate were so long ago, but you don’t fear new influences as well, like Black Metal-flavoured parts and riffs? You really miss high falsetto voices, heavy guitars and a mysterious, clerical setting? Gelsenkichen has got one for you as well, give Attic a chance. Their album Sanctimonious from 2017 was a really great one. Okay, if you don’t like the style of singing you will have a big problem with this band, but then you aren’t missing the King, do you?
And if you want to go even deeper into the Heavy Metal underground, Gelsenkirchen can offer you Iron Kobra – Heavy Metal as its best with bumpy productions, a real 80’s flair, full of dungeons, dragons, magic, and studded leather. Their last release was the 2018 EP Kerker & Drachen (translation: Dungeons & Dragons… references? I don’t know… maybe). Might & Magic was the KOBRA’S last album released in 2015. Especially on older releases you can hear a young, nerdy band, but they are able to give you this special feeling. You know that they really love what they are doing, even if it sounds far from perfect, especially the drums and the voicings. The German accent on their English is really outstanding, and not every note hits the right way, but it’s full of energy.
So what do you think? Gelsenkirchen has a lot to offer, doesn’t it? What about you Dortmund? If you have a band in Gelsenkirchen, why don’t you give us a comment, and let us know about you?
There is one last band I like to mention. Their status on Metal Archives is unknown, but I’m pretty sure that they are splitted and done. The name is Dermaptera. I have no idea how they got in there. One of their biggest concerts was at my sister’s 18th birthday in my parent’s garden, I think. But hey, they made it at least onto the internet 😉