The development shown in the following senses and the survey over the East-German underground HC scene is just a small cross-section coming from my own knowledge and the knowledge of my helpers. I can’t say that I’m sure everything is 100% right and complete because a lot is coming from “legends” and stories. I just took vinyl or CD releases in this report because with demo tapes I would write for as long as I live on this report-and don’t forget that English is not my native language so I can’t exactly say in English what I mean in German. But who cares? Here we go!
A Few Words About
the East-German Hardcore Scene
By Sebastian Haufe of BWF
Discordia fanzine volume 1 – 1998
At this time, the active scene in East-Germany (the area of the former G.D.R.) can be subdivided into just a few centers which have all created their own cosmos-like certainly everywhere in this world. First, a survey over bigger scenes which I do not describe in detail because of our poor knowledge about these scenes.
Main centers are Berlin (which took a special development because of their status as a real big city and the capital of Germany-also their divided development as a “West and East part” is important) because I just know the “bigger names” in the Berlin HC business which I will not tell anything about (’cause I think it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the scene-the roots which make it all possible). Then there is Leipzig where the scene took a cool and correct development because of good locations and a lot of involved people. Smaller scenes which are mainly the interface of all “different’/ alternative/ underground styles of music (“United We Win” -you know) developed around smaller locations and, for instance, around Chemnitz, Nunchritz, Rosswein or Bischofswerda. But now some areas which surely own an active scene, but I just know some of the bands from there. A short survey:
Northern East-Germany is where the seaport Rostock is situated, which has a lot of great bands like DRITTE WAHL. Although they are surely the leading ship of the East-German punk, their acceptance in the HC scene is good because of good and intelligent releases and live gigs. After the success of DRITTE WAHL came the bands CRUSHING CASPARS (HC-metal like PRO-PAIN) and GRINDMACHINE (TYPE O NEGATIVE style) under the care of the DRITTE WAHL management to a bigger circle of fans.
We also haven’t told about the scene around Halle and Dessau, which has Halb7 Rec., an active record label in the punk/oi! genre with TIN-PAN-ALLEY (now VIU DRAKH), and old-established , band which is well known because of a lot of touring and some releases-their sound unfortunately changed from HC to a musty metal sound.
Not far from Leipzig is Chemnitz situated south which has a club called Talschock which has been hosting a lot of gigs for a long time and that’s why it had a lot of influence on the development of the scene in and around the town. If there is a band from overseas or Scandinavia in Germany to do a tour, Chemnitz is surely on the tourplan. Well known bands are OUTLINE (new school, split 7″ with DAWN OF ALL AGES) and LOUSY which hit the nail on its head.
If you’re going into the western direction, you’ll find Jena which had DRUCKKAMMER (R.I.P.) a band which you could call an EARTH CRISIS with German Lyrics. Unfortunately, they split up after releasing a CD.
A striking fact is that more big cities, for instance Dresden, don’t have an active scene in the HC movement because of the lack of locations where “real” HC bands can play-all bands which came from Dresden were called HC and were an insult to the word. But a few active people are doing HC shows in Dresden; mostly the Conni 18 (hello Ralph!) which always presents interesting bands and gives young bands the possibility to present themselves to the crowd. Also, there are 2-3 clubs which do HC gigs, but they just take the more well-known bands into their program.
Let’s start now with some history. The band most legends exist about came from Leipzig and are unfortunately no longer active: DMB. Because of the reunion of the two German states in the year of 1989 and the following “new orientation” development of a musical underground movement, it took some time before people started to create their own music. That’s why the first vinyl releases of an active scene are dated from the years after 1990. In the year of 1992 the DMB 7″ is released which gives us excellent HC-style with English lyrics. The songs were recorded in a studio in the western part of Germany and released by a West German label (X-Mist Records) too because at that time there were just a few underground record labels active in the east and the bands did not have enough money to release expensive DIY products. DMB became a legend, as they were the first East German band that toured wrth an American band (SFA from . NY). Unfortunately, DMB split up because of internal problems and tried their luck in different bands-most well known are UP IN ARMS in which the former DMB guitarist plays. UP IN ARMS released a 7″ on the Czech label, Day After Rec. and an LP on Halb7 rec. too, but their releases never reached the great quality of their live performance. But already before 1992 there was life signs of the scene around Leipzig, for instance, CHRIST WEEPS BACKWARDS or THE ART OF THE LEGENDARY TISHVAISINGS who released a 7″ and a CD, but they were not “pure” hardcore-so I don’t discuss them. But one I do notice: From C.C.B., T.A.O.T.L.T. and DOD, a band called THINK ABOUT MUTATION was formed which is now one of the most selling East German indie rock bands (mix of techno and metal).
The year of 1993 gave the scene a new highlight: BBC released their demo tape Under the Milkyway Tonight, which is now available as a 7″ (Day After Rec.). The best description is an “East German SHEER TERROR“. Here you see the strong connection of the scene from Leipzig to NY-HC, although BBC has Abo Alsleben who is one of the most active guys from Zoro, which is now completely finished with NY-HC. Now they give a noisecore band the possibility to play a show rather than a HC band. Times are changing…
Later BBC changed their American sound and are now doing confounded HC with only German lyrics on their CD. Unfortunately, the whole scene from Leipzig didn’t change their tough-imaged NY-HC, that’s why the now active bands FULL SPEED AHEAD (cool NY-style 7″ on Minefield Rec), NORTH SHORE (old school, like GORILLA BISCUITS-7″ on Minefield Rec.) or D.H. (R.I.P. -7″ released) are strongly influenced by the American originals. Through the massive support of the Liepzig scene and around the location Conni Island, the bands quickly built up a good name. We made some noise there too; they are really sympathetic guys. As a sample of the activities by the bands from Leipzig, you can hear them on a CD sampler released on Minefield Rec. which present all of the previously mentioned bands and songs from DENIED REALITY (new school) and S.F.O.C. (musty HC-metal).
Another important band from the East German scene released a split LP with FOR AGE, and they are STAND AS ONE. While STAND AS ONE have been energetic throughout the years and released a split 7″ with MURDERED ART from Berlin (Mad Mob Rec), I don’t know anything about any other FOR AGE release. STAND AS ONE give you powerful old school HC which is played perfectly and really kicks ass!
Around 1992 or 1993 is when the 7″ from USE YOUR STRENGTH from Bautzen was released. This especially has a very personal meaning because, for me, it was the first 7″ on which HC was combined with clear political and social statements. Clear refusal of animal experiences and the enthusiasm for vegetarianism/ veganism in such a way was never seen in the East German scene before. Just the 7″ title Destroy the Myth of Animal Experiences shows the evidence/task of this band. Already in this time, USE YOUR STRENGTH dissed the whole “tough guys from NY” attitude-really cool. USE YOUR STRENGTH remained U.Y.S. and developed their style into intelligent, paincore and released an LP called Zodiac (Maximum Voice Prod.) in 1994-unfortunately, this record is surely out of press.
Between the “big cities” Dresden and Bautzen is situated a small town called Bischofswerda which is really interesting because of their bands. On the basis of the old-established location East Club, which is the interface of all scenes of this town, the climate in the town for the development of the scene is right. LEPRA made the first try in releasing vinyl with their What’s the Disease 7″ (Summertime Rec.) in 1994. PARANOISES, the oldest band in town, tried the next step with their MCD Noise of Silence (Summertime Rec.) in 1996. Although they are not satisfied with the soundmix, the MCD contains 5 powerful punk/crossover songs with characteristic vocals. The latest releases of the Bischofswerda posse were BWF with their split 7″ with AGATHOCLES from Belgium and a CD in 1998. Although most people think there is a grindcore band behind the three letters, we call our style a “hard rockin’ bastard” (because I’m a member of this band I don’t know what to tell you-see review in this ‘zine). And, there’s a new interesting band coming from my town-the youngest and sweetest child of our scene: POOR LITTLE MITE, which play emotional “pop-core”.
Another active pole developed over the ..years around Riesa/GroBenhain around the club Kombi. Proof of this energetic band is given to you by the 7″ from the HOLY PIGS which split up a few weeks ago (R.I.P.). They worked with two singers, but because of the bad production, the 7″ didn’t show the qualities of this band Contrary to HOLY PIGS, POURING PITCH are still active and present a CD which I haven’t heard yet, sorry. ‘ However, some qualified people have told me that POURING PITCH now go in the D.R.I. direction-old school strikes back!
Normally I could write down more, and more, and more… but for a survey, these lines are more than enough. In the beginning, I didn’t think that this report could become like a “thesis”. If there are any questions or you are interested in one of the mentioned releases, please write me and I’ll send you the concerned addresses.