DARKNESS - Thrash Till Death 2LP Ltd Ed 12" Vinyl LP Album

This album "Thrash Till Death" is a compilation of very early demo recordings of Darkness (Essen, Germany) band, during the period 1985-1987. The inside pages of this gatefold (foc) cover contains a wealth of information on tour-dates during these years This album "DARKNESS - Thrash Till Death 2LP Ltd Ed" includes the original custom inner sleeve with album details, and artwork/photos

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Album Description & Collectors information: 

Transcript of the liner notes on "Thrash Till Death" with the biography of the "Darkness" band

Have you ever wondered why the Ruhr area was the birthplace of German Thrash Metal music., Weil. there was Iron Angel from Hamburg and Destruction from down South situated in Weil am Rhein, a tiny village near the Swiss border. But bands like Kreator. Sodom. Living Death and even one-hit wonders such as Violent Force (Velbert ) al, came from the heart of the Ruhr area graced by bleak industrial towns and massive unemployment. It just was the ,deal breeding ground for this extreme kind of muss: remembers Lacky (Andreas Lakawj. founding member and drummer of German Thrash Metal legend Darkness Wearing his black .Ruhrpott-baseball cap with pride. he carries on social frustration was Immense where we lived.

Kids in Essen. Dortmund or Bochum certainly had more anger inside them at the time than say young people in Munich In addition to that. back in the 80's. we had all the cool clubs. like the Mephisto, the Zeche Carl a superb live venue. and all the big bands like Iron Maiden. Motorhead or Saxon were playing here regularly. Even a small local band drew up to 500 fans. quite phenomenal. That has changed a bit over the years though, it has become more trendy ... Nowadays, Testament struggle to pull 100 punters. Darkness was founded on the spot on December 1 1984 after a legendary gig at the Emscherschule Altenessen, where Destruction, Iron Angel and Tormentor, an early incarnation of Kreator, had been playing.

They had everything: the name of the band, Darkness (Destroyer was an early alternative name), the concept, and the pseudonyms, namely Torturer (Lacky), Agony (Hartmut Schtiner) and Skull (Andreas Becker). What was missing though, was the music, as Lacky recalls: We all couldn't play a f..k, it was just noise, organised noise. But we were learing really quickly." With Damager (Uwe Christophers) a second guitarist joined the band shortly after its formation and the four-piece recorded their first demo »The evil Curses with the songs "Victims", "Infernal Declaration" and Armageddon".

Christophers left Darkness after recording the first demo and the remaining three-piece published their second demonstration tape christened »Titanic Wars. By the time of their third demo »Spawn of the dark Oneo, not only the sound quality had improved immensly, Darkness had also found a stable line-up for the first time with Oliver Fernickel (Zeutan) on vocals, Lacky on drums, Pierre Danielscyk on guitar and Bruno on bass. When Darkness started out, they did not take the route of so many other bands enriching their live set with cover versions. "No, we never did that", explains Lacky. "In rehearsals, we jammed on some Metallica riffs, that's for sure, and the first Slayer album was already out, so we were heavily influenced by that.

But we never played a cover a such, that just didn't happen. All we knew was that Darkness had to be really fast and really heavy. In Arnd Klink, the band added another second guitarist to their line-up just in time for their fourth demo, which started the ball rolling for them. New Renaissance Records from America offered them a deal to place four songs on their compilation series and Darkness recorded "Armageddon", "Deathsquad", "Phantasmagoria" and "Iron Force" in a proper studio this time around. In the end, New Renaissance only used the track "Armageddon" for their »Satan's Revenge Part II« album but Darkness now had the opportunity to send out a professional cassette to record companies.

Whereas their buddies from Kreator (with whom they shared a rehearsal space) and Sodom (also from Essen) were both able to land lucrative deals with Noise Records and SPV respectively, Darkness got left behind. "Drinking beer was much more important for us back then than playing gigs and promoting the band", sighs Lacky today. As you get what you deserve in life, Darkness signed a rather dodgy deal with GAMA, for no less than five albums, in 1987. Their first album »Deathsquad«, released the same year on Tales of Thrash, a subsidiary label of GAMA, became an instant Teutonic Thrash Classic. And it sold in very respectable quantities, making Darkness one of the label's commercially most successful bands, as Lacky explains: ,According to official documents, we have sold 15,000 copies of it. But I know that the album was pressed in Eastern Europe and one could imagine that not all sales were actually accounted for.

So we have possibly sold a lot more than 15,000. All Darkness needed now, was a tour to make them known on a national scale. But due to the record company's unwillingness to invest and also due to sheer bad luck, three consecutive tours of Germany fell through (first with Kreator, then with Wehrmacht and finally Dark Angel). 1988 saw Darkness' second album release for GAMA, entitled »Defenders of Justice«. As guitarist Pierre Danielscyk had taken over a lot of the songwriting by then and one of his favourite bands was Watchtower, the songs on »Defenders of Justices were much longer and much more complex than on the uncompromising debut. Parallel to the album, Lacky and his boys had (finally) signed a management deal with Boggi Kopec's Drakkar Promotion company. Boggi was responsible for building the careers of numerous German Metal acts, from Faithful Breath to Kreator.

Lacky: "Boggi tried to untie the contract with GAMA there and then. He probably wanted us to sign to a bigger label like Noise, SPV or even Roadrunner. But GAMA asked for a horrendous sum of money to release us, so we were stuck with them." Kopec tried to book Darkness as support act for a nationwide tour of the then immensly popular Kreator but financially it just did not work out, as Lacky sadly remembers: "Boggi wanted to get 15,000 Deutschmarks from GAMA but they were only willing to invest 7,500 Marks for the tour. Boggi, being a business man through and through, did not accept the offer and as a result we had no tour for our second album lined up."

Cracks began to show as the band once again only played a couple of one-off gigs supporting the new album. As a consequence, Pierre Danielscyk left the band as he strifed to play even more progressive music. He later joined Jester's March and recorded one album with them. Singer Ollie also got disillusioned with the way things went with Darkness during 1988. When the band started writing songs for their third longplayer, Ollie was absent. He was getting more and more into Dark Wave music like Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nefelim. Timo Oehlke, meanwhile, had already replaced Thomas Becker on bass, and Darkness was slowly but surely falling apart.

They even went as far as playing a farewell gig at the Zeche Carl including cover versions of Kiss' "Detroit Rock City" as an opener and a tune by beloved Sisters of Mercy. GAMA, however, did not give in easily, as they would have possibly lost their second best-selling act behind Stormwitch.

When ' Lacky mentioned to the record company that they are toying with the idea of changing the band's name, GAMA insisted on releasing the third album »Conclusion and Revival« under the moniker of Darkness. An obvious mistake as a lot of the old Darkness fans could not relate to the new, more mellow material at all. A new singer was found in Ray, who did not have an easy time at all, as Lacky confesses in retrospect: ,Okay, he did have a drug problem. So he could not really follow what we were trying to tell him. Also, his style of melodic singing was not best suited for Darkness. But he was a really good singer and we gave him a hard time.

For example, most of the material for »Conclusion and Revival« was written without vocals before he even joined the band. It was all rather complex and long material and Ray had to find fitting words to all this crazy stuff." This time, Darkness indeed get to play a whole tour of Germany, supporting New Jersey's Mucky Pup, a bit of a musical mismatch, but it was too little too late. The band finally split up for good in late 1992. Sadly, Darkness did not get to play one single concert outside their home country, although, over the years, they have become a cult band on an international scale. "Yes, that is a fact", claims Lacky when being asked about whether the popularity of Darkness was bigger outisde Germany than on home turf.

We did get a lot of feedback from South America and even Asia back in the 80's. A friend of ours runs a myspace site for Darkness and you just have to look at the guestbook entries for evidence. 50% of those are from South America. A lot from the States as well. When we played in Zeutern, don't ask me where that is, a small village down South, people from Sweden had come to see us. In Herford, fans from Spain supported us. Un-be-lie-va-ble! On ebay just recently, a faded, sleeveless Darkness t-shirt in seize medium sold for 97 Euros. At Wacken, last year, Mexican bootleg shirts of Darkness were sold by the truckload for 15 Euros each."

Lacky continued to play with Charger throughout the 90's, a traditional Heavy Metal band, who put out two CDs (»12« and the four-track mini-CD »Remember Yesterday«) and played roughly 20 gigs in total, albeit only locally. In 1999, Darkness considered a re-union, they rehearsed with different line-ups, but somehow the magic was not there. Lacky explains: It did not really work out. Our singer then was heavily influenced by Rob Halford, this was not Darkness any more. I met Rock Hard journalist Gotz KOhnemund at a festival and told him about our plans. He outed himself as a big Darkness fan and voiced serious doubts about our re-union plans.

He was dead right. If your heart isn't in it, you better not do it!" So Darkness mark II l did not happen ... In some respect, Darkness was a far more innovative band than a lot of people give them credit for. For example, on their 1987 debut »Deathsquad« they had a song with a German title called ,Staatsfeind". When they played the advance tape of the album to Sodom's Tom Angelripper, he just shook his head. Just a while later, the same band made a tradition of giving their songs German titles like "Bombenhagel" or ,Die stumme Ursel". Well, times are a-changing ... Lacky continues: "Same thing with Kreator. Mille was generally very enthusiastic about other people's ideas.

We played Kreator our tape in the tour bus in Augsburg before a gig with them and Destruction. They could not understand how we dared to start a bona fide Thrash Metal record with an accoustic intro before going full speed. Well, do take a listen to their »Pleasure to kill« album, which was released a short while later. Same thing, the record begins with an accoustic intro. Nuff said." In retrospect, Lacky does not have any regrets concerning the career of Darkness, although, without the shadow of a doubt, with the right label backing them, they could have been a lot bigger: "Darkness was a band which questioned authority, any kind of authority. I treated a bum in the pub exactly the same as I would have treated Tom Araya.

That is probably why our relationship with the mainstream Metal press was never the best. We got along okay with the underground press, no problem there at all, but people at Metal Hammer or Rock Hard, back then, tended to think of themselves as messiahs of some kind or other. We had no time for that." In 2004, Arnd and Lacky decided to join forces again for good (with new bassist Emma on board). Under the name of Eure Erben, they played re-arranged old Darkness material with German lyrics, which worked surprisingly well. Why German lyrics then, old Darkness supporters may ask themselves? "Well", reflects drummer Lacky, "throughout the years,

I was heavily influenced by bands with German lyrics, be it the Bohsen Onkelz, Toten Hosen or Arzte. Even 50% of the Charger songs were sung in German. However, it was a challenge for us to express ourselves in our native language. And it was big fun as well. We were able to translate some of the old Darkness lyrics directly into German, Deathsquad` for example became ,Schlafer'. Some songs had to be totally re-arranged though, lron Force' is now ,Eure Fauste`. During the course of 2005, Andreas Preisig's Battle Crty Records re-released the three Darkness albums »Deathsquad« (including 7 bonus tracks), »Defenders of Justice« (including 8 bonus tracks) and »Conclusion and Revival« (with 9 bonus tracks) on CD, making the band's name familiar with new generations of Thrash Metal fans.

In addition to that, an 18-track live-recording from 1987 was also published (under the title of »Bocholt Live Squad«). Surprisingly, Darkness played an unexpected re-union show at the legendary "Keep It True" festival in 2006. Although they were the best band of the night (and got offered to play three further festivals as a result), this gig was an one-off affair. Arnd and Lacky decided to concentrate fully on their work with Eure Erben, who have released two extremely enjoyable, privately produced six-track mini-CDs so far. "I am an obsessive CD collector", the Darkness/Eure Erben drummer confesses when asked about, whether he prefers his Metal on vinyl or compact disc.

"I sold off my entire vinyl collection when CD players first appeared on the market. Some of it, luckily, to my brother - I had a huge collection of Kiss bootlegs for example. I stopped counting my CDs at 850, so I possibly own around 1,000 CDs, 80% of it Thrash Metal."

Matthias Mader

Music Genre:

Thrash Metal 

Record Label Information:

High Roller Records – HRR 403

Record Format:

2x 12" Vinyl Stereo Gramophone Record
Total Album (Cover+Record) weight: 230 gram  

Year & Country:

2015 Germany
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Complete Track-listing of the album "DARKNESS - Thrash Till Death 2LP Ltd Ed"

The detailed tracklist of this record "DARKNESS - Thrash Till Death 2LP Ltd Ed" is:

    Track-listing Side One: (The Evil Curse demo from 1985)
  1. Intro
  2. Victims
  3. Infernal Declaration
  4. Armageddon
  5. Voice of Malice (unreleased track recorded 19 March 1986)
    Track-listing Side Two: (Titanic War demo from 1986)
  1. Intro
  2. The Evil Curse
  3. Hear The City
  4. Iron Force
  5. Torment Declaration
  6. Kingdom Of Death
    Track-listing Side Three: (Spawn of the Dark One, Demo from 1986)
  1. The Gates (Intro)
  2. Beyond The Gates Of Death
  3. Death Squad
  4. Armageddon
  5. Legacy Of Blood
  6. Titanic War
    Track-listing Side Four: (Promotape 1987)
  1. Armageddon
  2. Death Squad
  3. Legacy Of Blood
  4. Phantasmagoria
  5. Iron Force (Live) Recorded at "Zeche Carl", in Essen 12 November 1988)