“Powerful, dramatic and aggressive weren’t just ways to describe the bands on Noise Records’ legendary roster. They also accurately characterized the relationships those acts had with label founder Karl-Ulrich Walterbach. David E. Gehlke serves as a master mediator between art and commerce with Damn the Machine.”
-Decibel Magazine Editor in Chief Albert Mudrian-
“Gehlke should be commended for how he handles the controversial topics that arise over the course of the label’s history. Rather than taking sides, he presents evidence and lets the characters involved speak for themselves instead of guiding them through a pre-meditated narrative.”
-The Void Report-
“A 500-page behemoth of a book.”
– Black Night Meditations-
“This is going to be my new sacred scripture…I will be reading this non-stop over and over again. This is the book to get.”
– Mettle Milieu-
Deliberation Press and Iron Pages Books have released the highly anticipated English/German language book Damn the Machine – The Story of Noise Records. (German title: Systemstörung: Die Geschichte von Noise Records)
Authored by American metal journalist David E. Gehlke, the book features cover art by Voivod drummer Michel ‘Away’ Langevin, and a foreword penned by Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch. The book’s inner design was handled by EasyRabbit CreArtions, the team behind Helloween‘s 2015 career-spanning Hellbook.
Gehlke cannot believe the day is finally here:
“Back when I was staring into the void that is my computer screen on a daily basis, the release of Damn the Machine – The Story of Noise Records seemed far-fetched. But, with some hard work and the help of some really great people, the book finally came together and now is available for release. The book is perfect for anyone who wants to dive into the business side of the metal scene while learning about some fascinating artist/label drama. And let’s not forget about in-depth pieces on legendary Noise Records bands such as Celtic Frost, Coroner, Helloween, Grave Digger, Kreator, Running Wild, Voivod and more. Heavy metal is the law!”
At over 500 pages, Damn the Machine tackles the complicated history of Germany’s Noise Records, the most influential European independent heavy metal record company of the 1980s. The creation of Karl-Ulrich Walterbach, Noise was responsible for signing and developing the likes of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Coroner, Gamma Ray, Grave Digger,Helloween, Kamelot, Kreator, Rage, Running Wild, Skyclad, Tankard, and many more, assembling a roster whose impact reverberates throughout the metal scene today.
For the first time, Walterbach goes into elaborate detail on his experiences in the music industry. A self-proclaimed anarchist with no musical background to speak of, Walterbach rose from the violent Berlin punk rock scene to the forefront of European metal after launching Noise in 1983. Walterbach‘s gut instinct for signing new talent made him one of metal’s first true label impresarios, but his abrasive personality and unwillingness to conform to industry standards made him an outsider in a business he grew to despise.
Damn the Machine takes the reader through Walterbach‘s early days of getting Noise off the ground, as the metal scene rallied around black/death metal progenitors Celtic Frost, power metal torchbearers Helloween, and Teutonic thrash upstarts Kreator. The book chronicles Walterbach‘s A&R triumphs and failures, frustrating experiences with the era’s major labels, and the social climate of running a record company stationed 15 minutes away from the Berlin Wall. And, it contains Walterbach‘s no-holds-barred commentary on the bands and industry counterparts he did business with during his time running Noise until 2001.