Before I even started thinking about doing this web site, I played around with the idea of creating a site dedicated to one of the strangest and most fucked up phenomena in Metal history: The infamous Metal Enterprises record label. At the risk of ruining my dead-serious, True Metal reputation, I'm wrapping up some of the most intriguing and compromising material I've collected on the label, as well as a discography index in this article. After reading this, you might not want to throw around the "False Metal"-moniker so lightly in the future.

I can't really pinpoint the exact moment when I "discovered" this surreal record label. In my early years of HM collecting I started noticing how many of the worst/strangest/ugliest Metal and Hard Rock records I came across had one thing in common: the German, Usingen-based Metal Enterprises/Music Enterprises record company. The mastermind behind the label was one Ingo Nowotny. Unfortunately I know next to nothing about the guy, apart from that his name has popped up on various other record sleeves as manager both before, during and after the labels' heydays. A shady character who I've long since given up hope of tracking down for an interview, however interesting such a project would have been.

Metal Enterprises saw the light of day somewhere around 1985/86. It's very hard to tell exactly, since very few of their albums stated release- or recording dates. The 3 first platters were licensed (?) editions of foreign releases. Nothing strange there, since this was a cost-effective way to get a company rolling (Noise Records started out in the same manner). What's is strange is the undisputed fact that 2 of these acts, KILLER FOX and THRASH QUEEN, are generally regarded some of the worst Metal bands ever put to vinyl. Why he chose to release these particular LPs remain one of the greatest ME-mysteries.

Blame it on the onkelz

In 1987 they released their first record by the sordid "White Power light" Oi-punk band BÖHSE ONKELZ. They had made a couple of albums on the Rock-o-rama label earlier in the 80's and were on it's way to become one of the best selling independent rock bands in Germany. Cash was suddenly flowing into the ME-machine at an increasing rate. Now what could be the best way to invest these new unexpected earnings? Well, to record an endless stream of studio-albums of all your friends and their hopeless projects with a rate of about 1 album a month of course! Here's where the real ME-story starts and things get really interesting.

Metalploitation

Metal Enterprises came to define the term Metalploitation, the shameful metallic version of the exploitation-phenomenon (google on Sexploitation, Blackploitation, Psycheploitation etc for further reference). Starting out at the absolute peak of the 80's Heavy Metal wave, Ingo & co. must have discovered that you could easily unload a 1000 or so copies of anything with the Metal-stamp on it, and if you keep production and design costs to an absolute minimum you could even get your money back and then some. "So what's new? didn't every second indie Metal label at the time have the same agenda?" I hear you ask. Sure, but none of them ever came close to the hideous sounds spewed forth from the darkened pits of the Tanit/Woodland recording studios, where the majority of the label's most suspect albums were recorded. At best these studio stool-samples were plain, utterly boring-beyond-belief rock/hr/melodic metal. All fillers no killers, plus the odd (odd!) cover or 2. (POINT BREAK, 1st GODZILLA, SUPER BAD, NILE TEMPLE, SATAN'S SERVANTS etc are perfect examples of these hopeless 1-weekend ventures.) At it's worst, they went far beyond regular crapness and into the dimension of the Incredibly Strange.

The Fake Follow-ups

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 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.

In true exploitation-fashion they also reedited, re-recorded and/or even stole plenty of the most anonymous filler songs for their different recordings to simplify production, hoping that no-one would ever notice. Some day I'll update this article with a table of all the same songs appearing on different records under different names, all in the name of science. What an unbearable piece of research work that will be.

Logoistics

Their quite neat logo, which has for years has adorned a homemade T-shirt of mine, turned out to be yet another shameless act of theft. It first appeared on the labels' 15th release, the self-titled FUCKER-debut, released some time around '87-88. Or did it? By share luck I stumbled upon the origin of this insignia on the first "Iron Tyrants" compilation, released by Azra-sublabel World Metal Records (another very suspect label - do these guys share a Masonic lodge or something??) 3 years earlier.

So what else is to be found in the ME-catalogue? Well, there's plenty of homespun, substandard Metal/Hard Rock which hardly should have reached the vinyl-stage in the real world (REPRESSION, THUNDERSTORM, MAD BUTCHER, BURNING VISION, EXPECT NO MERCY etc..), a few utterly stupid and lame crossover bands (SACCARA, VALIUM) and noise/grind concoctions (A.O.K., EXTREME NAPALM TERROR).

Sphinx or sphincter?

Many of their below-average but musically more regular acts comes with such atrocious cover art they can be fun to pick up for that reason alone. The perfect example is the mind-melting RANDOM debut. It would be too tiresome to dissect the origin of every single piece of "art" this label has regurgitated, but let's just pick this one as an example. I'm pretty sure it it all happened something like this:

- "Mr. Nowotny, it's our debut LP and we need some really heavy, impressive artwork to match our music!"
- "U-hu, any specific ideas?"
- "Hm, dunno really. What sayest our trusty and reliable label boss? being a man of good taste and fingerspitzgefül."
- "Aw, I'm blushing. How about something on the Egyptian theme? You know, sphinxes, pyramids and stuff. It worked for DIO and IRON MAIDEN."
- "That's a GREAT idea! Got any good artists up your sleeve?"
- "You bet! My own daughter is quite the designer wiz. She's only 5 years old, but man can that lady paint! She did this adoring little bunny rabbit the other day and..."
- "How old did you say she...
- "...and she comes cheap too! And you know we're on a tight budget here. Trust me, you won't even need a proof-sheet."
- "Um, OK..."

A few weeks later...

- "Brace yourselves guys, here it is - your proud and oh so important debut eL-Pee. Ta-ta!"
<--click at your own risk
- " ........ "
- " .......? "
- "You realize we have to kill you now, Mr. Nowotny?"

Incredibly enough the band released a 2nd album on ME a few years later. They are still active today and considered something of a cult band (not so much on musical merits I'm afraid), evolving around the legendary Fred "Nitenpapf" Otto, the only man in Metal bold enough to wear a studded leather tie!

Black candles in the dark

Unavoidably there's gonna be a handful of records on such an industrious label as this one that doesn't quite match the profile. Yes, there are a few decent ones to look out for, especially the BLACK VIRGIN LP, which I hold as one of my all-time American favorites. A handful of other bands also deserve a mention for not being totally abysmal: REAPER is above-average classic German Metal, HAMMER'S RULE have some great moments but are uneven, THINK OF MISERY is great Thrash and the FUCKER debut includes plenty of cool HC cuts if that's your thing. The first KALASCHNIKOV LP may be corny as hell in the lyrical- and graphics-department, but musically it pretty darn catchy. As is the SIMON LP (the only listenable studio-outfit), even if the music is so diverse it borders on annoying. Bands like SYNTRA, HEAVEN WARD and ESCAPE might also appeal to the undemanding Melodic Metal fan and ASGARD's "Dark Horizons" is as great a german Power/Heavy album as you'd ever wish for, but that's just about it. However, if you're looking for cheap laughs and mind-boggling "musical" experiences, you've got a lot of things coming to you. Stuff like JAY JAY TULL, THRASH QUEEN, KALASCHNIKOV etc are likely to heighten the mood on all your parties. Unless you and your friends are humorless twats that is, in which case you really shouldn't throw parties at all.

Huh?

So remains the ever reoccurring question of "Why?" Why so many incredibly boring/awful, fly-by-night releases? Why such extremely ugly graphics? Why does an album like NILE TEMPLE's even exist?! It's like they tried really hard to intentionally release the worst hard rock albums ever - and they succeeded with flying colors! What motivates someone to do this? Money? Surely there must be easier ways to cash in in the music industry. Malice? Despite all his shenanigans, Mr. Nowotny still gives the impression of a real Hard Rock and Heavy Metal fan, so I don't think so. A few laughs? Yeah, perhaps that's it. Perhaps it's all one big in-joke and Ingo & his merry men are the ones laughing at us and not the other way around. Or maybe they're just a bunch of complete morons. It's this enigma that has had the most impact on me and has made me into such a fervent collector of their catalogue. (It certainly isn't associated with my "normal" Metal-fetish.) When I've finally collected all the pieces of the puzzle, perhaps it will reveal it's mysteries to me and I'll finally be free of this obsession. Hopefully, time will tell.

DaN Edman 2005-01-17

ME bits & pieces


JAY JAY TULL -"REVUE"

An album I'm almost tempted to recommend. The concept of "Revue" is to take age-old German schlagers and evergreens and play them the Metal way. With a drum-machine. And female/feminine vocals. Songs like "Ein guter freund", "Waldemar", "Lili Marlene" etc totally crack me up. Not because it's particularly great humor, but because the very existence of such music defies all logic. I'm incidentally the proud owner of a test-pressing(!)
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SATAN'S SERVANTS - S/T

Your half-wit uncle's 4-track demos from hell. Why in fucks name would anyone record an album under the moniker SATAN'S SERVANTS, dress it in a remarkably blasphemous sleeve and fill it with totally lifeless, after-ski bar-band covers of "Mambo Sun", "If you're going to San Francisco", "Sugar Sugar" and the likes? Fuckin hell...
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GODZILLA - "II"
If you've ever had nightmares about what A.O.R./Reggae crossover played by German retards would sound like, do not for the love of life pic up this LP and play the song "I Followed the Zombie"! You might wanna stay away from the Power Metal-meets-Charleston abomination "Cinderella Rockefella" as well. An incredibly dumb record.
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KALASCHNIKOV - "THE TORTURE NEVER STOPS"
A true lover-or-hate cult record. I guess you could call them a German
PILEDRIVER - hard, mean & simple Heavy / Power / Speed with lyrics so monumentally lame they could very well be improvised on the spot ("kill your neighbor, I do confess - beat him down into a mess.."). Even if it most likely was recorded in one take and most music written in the studio it's really catchy all way through. The graphics are some of the most outrageous ever on a ME-record and looks more like some harsh industrial band with an s/m-fetish than your average hard rockin' dudes.
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FUCKER - "MAKING LOVE ON ELECTRIC CHAIR"
Possibly the only bona-fide 'White-Power-ploitation' album in history. No, it's not Oi by a longshot. More like rigid, dickless HR/Glam/HM/pop with a drum-machine, spacey keys, pervy lyrics and awful vocals. Add some skinhead graphics and songtitles like "White Power", "Radical Rascals" and "Comrads in Arms" and the pink-bathing-cap-clad mob are sure to pay up. "Robot Of Love" is funny as hell though. And the fact that the 1st album had a black vocalist and anti-racist lyrics.
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EXTREME NAPALM TERROR - "IMPULSE TO DESTROY"
Ha ha ha! 'Grindploitation' ja? No, my guess is they just managed to sign the lamest, most derisive Grind act ever. Even my friend who's a total Grind-buff and claims he loves just about everything in the genre hated them. Figures, since there's obviously A.O.K.-members involved (now don't get me started on those tossers!) They didn't even bother with song-titles. Or lyrics.
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BLACK VIRGIN - "MOST LIKELY TO EXCEED"

In a way this is the strangest release of the label. Why? It's fucking brilliant. Tight and well-produced? No, but here all the rough edges and beauty-spots associated with an early ME-platter makes perfect sense. They do the VENOM / WARFARE / CARNIVORE thing based on a True Metal-foundation rather than Thrash and songs like "Night Riders", "Heavy Metal Mad" and "Hand Over Fist" fuckin destroy. Hell, they all do. Even the typical, over-simple design looks great on this the one and only ME-masterpiece.
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THRASH QUEEN - "MANSLAYER"

This mind-numbing, all-girl, two-chord Thrash noisefest will bring your mind to a complete halt. I don't think I've ever heard a worse Thrash recording even on a demo. The songs are so primitive, calling them 'songs' is an insult to music itself. The disastrous production defies description. Come to think of it, it doesn't. It sounds exactly like the band is playing in the apartment next door. It's a hell of a lot better than the 2nd LP though.
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THINK OF MISERY - "POVERTY IS NO DISGRACE"
This is actually pretty good stuff. Ultra-fast, brutal Thrash with a fairly decent production well worth checking out if you're fans of the SADUS / PROTECTOR school of brutal Metal. It's still a typical ME curiosity because of the terrible choice of artwork, something that must have had a fatal impact on the band's career and would explain why you've never heard of them before.
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KILLER FOX - "ORGASM OF DEATH"
Pure ME-dementia! Sick sick sick 'Robot-Metal' with a drum-machine (surprise, surprise..) and chock-full of eerie screaming, spoken parts, nonsensical, never-ending songs, 'vocals' like a ranting old hag and weird and totally unmotivated sound effects. Like if THE RESIDENTS had made a Sci-fi concept Metal album. It's more or less the same sound as on the "2nd" KALASCHNIKOV and THRASH QUEEN albums, and made by the same people. The song "Running Blade" must be heard to be believed.


((click pics for hi-res scans))

 


Here a complete discography up until the early 90's. None of the releases I've come across after these 61 first ones have been Metal, so these are of course of no interest to me. Cheers to Rainer Krukenberg, Sasha Glaeser, Peter Daub, Roman Greindl, Kev and everyone else who has supplied info and records through the years.

index band title format year comment
ME501  HAMMER'S RULE after the bomb LP
Good varied Metal
ME502  KILLER FOX going under LP
Crap Metal
ME503  THRASH QUEEN manslayer LP
86
Ultra-crappy Metal
ME504  BLACK VIRGIN most likely to exceed LP
86
Killer raw Metal! (?)
ME505  BEAST the letter LP
Metal/HR
ME506  BLOWING FREE the knife and the floosie LP
87
Power/Heavy
ME507  BÖHSE ONKELZ onkelz wie vir LP
87
Oi
ME508  CROSSFIRE live attack LP
Metal
ME509*  BREAK POINT elephants LP
Crap HR (same "band" as  ME512, 17, 20)
ME510  CHROME MOLLY stick it out LP
HR
ME511  BURNING VISION positive force LP
Melodic Metal/HR
ME512*  GODZILLA s/t LP
HR (same "band" as  ME509, 17, 20)
ME513  EXPECT NO MERCY watch your ears and save your neck we are back to our second attack! LP
Metal
ME514*  KALASCHNIKOV the torture never stops LP
Funny but catchy Metal
ME515  FUCKER s/t LP
Hardcore
ME516  A.O.K. anal oder kot LP
Noise
ME517*  SIMON shiva LP
Very diverse Metal (same "band" as  ME509, 12, 20)
ME518  THINK OF MISERY poverty is no disgrace LP
Thrash
ME519  BÖHSE ONKELZ kneipenterroristen LP
88
Oi
ME520*  OLIVIERA the hunter LP
88
Crap HR (same "band" as  ME509, 12, 17)
ME521*  SATANS SERVANTS s/t LP
88
Crap soft HR/Rock, mostly covers
ME522*  NILE TEMPLE s/t LP
88
Crap soft Rock
ME523*  SUPER BAD s/t LP (45rpm)
88
Metalploitation, mostly covers
ME524  BURNING VISION fear of reality LP
88
Melodic Metal/HR
ME525  ASGARD dark horizons LP
88
Good Power/Heavy
ME526*  JAY JAY TULL revue LP
88
"Metal"-versions of old schlagers
ME527  SPRINGTOIFEL schwere jungs LP
88
Oi
ME528  MAD BUTCHER metal meat LP
Metal
ME529  REAPER beyond all time LP
Great Metal
ME530  BÖHSE ONKELZ lügenmarsch pic 12"
89
Oi
ME531  RANDOM randomised LP
89
Metal
ME532  TATTY RAID rock'n'roll soul LP
89
HR/Glam
ME533  HEAVEN WARD dangerous nights LP/CD
Melodic Metal/HR
ME534  VALIUM wir sind die wauzis LP/CD
Hardcore
ME535*  UNITED FORCES featr. Tiger B. Smith rosita LP/CD
HR
ME536  ESCAPE s/t LP/CD
Melodic Metal/HR
ME537  SACCARA urbi et orbi LP
90
Crossover
ME538 JOHNNY SKANDAL & HOTLEGS ich hau die wand ein LP
90
?
ME539  V/A 6 fur deutschland LP
90
Oi
ME540*  THUNDERSTORM s.n.a.f.u. LP
90
HR
ME541  HAMMERS RULE spontaneous human combustionn LP/CD
90
Metal
ME542  EXTREME NAPALM TERROR impulse to destroy LP
90
Grind
ME543  REPRESSION germany rocks MLP
90
Metal
ME544  STÖRMTROOPER head count LP
90
Motörhead-clones
ME545*  KILLER FOX orgasm of death LP/CD
90
Metalploitation (not the same as ME502)
ME546*  THRASH QUEEN ashes to ashes LP
90
Metalploitation (not the same as ME503)
ME547*  BREAK POINT maniacs LP
90
Melodic HR
ME548*  GODZILLA II LP
90
Metalploitation (not the same as ME512)
ME549  EXPECT NO MERCY the dreams of marquise de sade LP
90
Metal/Melodic HR
ME550*  KALASCHNIKOV desert storm LP
90
Metalploitation (not the same as ME514)
ME551  SYNTRA s/t ("One") LP/CD
90
Power Metal/Melodic HR
ME552  A.O.K. baguette attack LP/CD
90
Noise
ME553*  FUCKER making love on electric chair LP
90
White Power-ploitation (not the same as ME515)
ME554  A.O.K. hardcore cabaret LP/CD
90
Noise
ME555  BÖHSE ONKELZ es ist soweit LP/CD
90
Oi
ME556  NEW EMINENCE shape of things LP/CD
90
Alternative Metal/HR
ME557  DIE GEACHTETTEN FIER jawoll meine herr'n LP/CD
?
ME558  RANDOM body games LP/CD
91
Metal/HR
ME559  EXTREME NAPALM TERROR why? LP
Grind
ME560  RANDOM hate us CD
Metal/HR (live)
ME561  TITANIC lower the atlantic CD
Rock
From here on it's mostly Oi/RAC releases... * = studio projects, not real bands
Take me to the top!