NAZGUL'S EYRIE PRODUCTIONS - THE FULL STORY
 
(by Opyros "Blackgoat")
 

 
"From childhood's hour I have not been as others were - I have not seen as others saw - I could not bring my passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken my sorrow; I could not awaken my heart to joy at the same tone; and all I lov'd, I lov'd alone..."
 
Who among the Metal crowd would not truly understand these wise words by Edgar Allan Poe... We all have a long story of being lone rebels. And through all those hard but also glorious years that have brought us where we are now, through all those years the Underground with all it's fanzines and small labels have been our guide and our well of information. This was the forum where we got in contact with those few others who were like us, where we traded tapes and where we read about new and exciting acts first. It has ever been the most noble quest of the Underground to host the extreme and the unaccepted. We grew up with it and we loved it for what it was...
 
Many of those who started with us lost interest, "grew up" or - sadly - died and only those who were really dedicated carried the torch of true Metal on throughout the years. But times were changing and like venomous reptiles, alien things and ideas that didn't have a place here, were creeping into Metal. During the 90s countless abominations like "Rap Metal", "Funk Metal", "Gothic Metal" or "Hardcore Metal" were created. Clearly defined musical styles such as "Metal", "Punk", "Rap" and "Gothic" have been thrown together to create wave upon wave of sterile hybrid monstrosities which are force fed to the brainwashed masses all over this planet. And people, deceived by what they thought was a change of times bought both lie and albums, thus completing the vicious circle... It is sick beyond words indeed...
 
Ever since the late 80s the term "Metal" has been under attack by the music industry (the term being an abomination in itself...) and their willing slaves, the bribed print media. The goal of this was (and is) to create some multicultural world music that would be accepted by everyone and thus could be marketed to everyone easily and would be consumed just as easily and without thought... But it was a fraud to benefit commercial interests....
 
Of course, throughout the past 25 years Metal has gone through many stages of development. But bands who were heading down a dead end path were never dangerous to Metal as a whole as the foundations were well defined and standing strong. This has been different in the 90s and what always has been the pride of human music is now endangered as less and less people think on their own. What once was art and pride deteriorated into a cesspool of business interests and conformity under the mask of non-conformity and is but Fast Food music for the masses...
 
Now I have gathered strength and force to create a stronghold in the true Underground spirit of the 80s and it is my expressed will to turn back the wheel of time in order to preserve Metal in it's pure essence. I'm 34 as I'm writing this in December 2001 CE and many of you will probably know me by past crimes I committed. Being in the scene since I bought AC/DCs "Highway to Hell" album back in 1979 CE I have seen various trends and fashions come and go... After many years of rather local activities such as being Heavy Metal DJ in discos and radio stations, I was ready to take action, when what I had thought lost beyond recovering was found again in the Black Metal scene in 1992 CE. I'm mostly known via NAZGUL'S EYRIE PRODUCTIONS which I have founded back in 1993 CE as a reaction to Euronymous' murder.
 
My taste and ideals have been forged in the fire of the early and mid 80s where I have seen many a band in their prime who are now legendary and who's names are only uttered in highest praise these days. To give you an idea, I shall now summon the albums that decorate my personal altar of Metal... ACCEPT "Restless And Wild"; BROCAS HELM "Into Battle"; CIRITH UNGOL "King Of The Dead"; CARNIVORE "Carnivore"; SLAUGHTER "Strappado"; DEMON "The Unexpected Guest"; HALLOWS EVE "Tales Of Terror"; JUDAS PRIEST "British Steel"; AGENT STEEL "Skeptics Apocalypse"; RAVEN "Wiped Out"; ANVIL "Forged In Fire"; IRON MAIDEN "Killers"; BATHORY "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark"; MANILLA ROAD "Crystal Logic"; MERCYFUL FATE "Don't Break The Oath"; POSSESSED "Seven Churches"; SAINT VITUS "Hallows Victim"; ANGEL WITCH "Angel Witch" and many many more....
 
The Book Of The Nazgul
 
Rumours about me are legion but few know what really was going on during those years, so here is the whole story about how things began, came into motion and finally mutated into what we have now... A story about the shedding of Blood and the fighting for Glory and above all of the striving for a goal against all odds and the howling of defiance right in the face of defeat. My lifeblood went into this. No matter what you try, I will not go away. Face it. DEATH TO FALSE METAL!!!
 
The events described here are important corner stones to a deeper understanding of what BARBARIAN WRATH is all about. This covers the time between 1993 CE up to the present...
 
Act I: Genesis
 
Dawnfall - Dominance of Darkness
 
I first heard about the general existence of german Black Metal bands in early 1993 CE when I was searching for possible opening acts for a SAMAEL concert here in Regensburg to celebrate my 26th birthday. I talked about this to Volker of MERCILESS RECORDS whom I had met on countless occasions before (usually at shows of Death Metal bands...) and he recommended UNGOD and DAWNFALL to me. Both bands had released their respective debut demos in the month before and though none of these bands actually played, both Targod (DAWNFALL) and A.B.G.I. of UNGOD showed up at the show. It was a financial desaster as was to be expected given the utter dullness of almost all my fellow inhabitants of Regensburg....
 
At that time I had been utterly bored for years about the development of the music scene (with crappy Death Metal everywhere) and more or less exclusively listened to older 80s Death Thrash like the first albums of VOIVOD, CARNIVORE, KREATOR, SODOM, WHIPLASH, IRON ANGEL etcetc.... I'm sure you get the picture.... The slow ascend of bands that brought back originality and did not sound like all the others like SAMAEL, MASTER'S HAMMER, ACHERON, FUNERAL NATION, DARKTHRONE or MAYHEM was very much welcomed and I soon got in very close contact with some of those acts. That may also serve as an explanation why an act like SAMAEL (who already had signed to CENTURY MEDIA and released "Blood Ritual" at that time) played at my birthday party...
 
After I had seen so many waves come and go, so many great bands form and die, I absolutely wanted to take a bigger part this time than just being a mere consumer, and so I offered Euronymous (who at that time was, still is and ever should be the ultimate ideal for running an underground label!) the financial participation in DEATHLIKE SILENCE PRODUCTIONS. I'm still wondering how things would've developed in case that ever would've happened....
 
Yet we all know how things ended and now I was here, with an idea and alot of cash. So I just decided to go on by myself. To continue, even in the face of death is the way of the warrior!
 
In June 1993 CE the guys of DAWNFALL had gathered in order to record a 7" as a follow up to their "Mysterial Darkness" Demo but in the rush of power they ended up with 40 minutes of music at the end of the weekend. I already got to hear that at my birthday party and after their plans of a 7" had fallen apart for various reasons and they had also more or less discarded the idea of putting the recording out as a second demo, I approached them with the idea of putting "Dominance Of Darkness" out as the first release of a new label bound to follow the path of uncommercialism and untrendiness.
 
From the day of deciding that I and DAWNFALL were going together it still took us over 9 month of arranging, finding a printing plant and various other things. Inexperienced as we were, we also had to skip the use of the original cover and alot of other ideas along the way. Yet on the 1st of July 1994 CE we finally held my first release in our hands and we felt rather proud about it. The only other german label dealing with Black Metal at that time was MERCILESS RECORDS who had released the first UNGOD CD just a few weeks previous...
 
The CD was limited to 500 copies which Targod himself did number by hand and we spent a whole afternoon in his appartment in Munich putting these stickers he had prepared into the CD... A dreadful job, but still we both felt great about it...
 
The CD itself got rather mixed responses and alot of people didn't understand the concept of this extremly basic and rude approach to music and the very crude 4-track recording (that however was necessary to complete the picture) didn't exactly make things easier and the reviews ranged from irritation to downright verbal hatred. However, over the years since the CD was released, I received many reactions from people who took the time it takes to get into it and who think that DAWNFALLs' first album is a masterpiece. If you have a copy and hate it, I'd know alot of people who would give their right arm for getting one...
 
Whatever one may think about this release, however, it did serve it's purpose of putting NAZGUL'S EYRIE PRODUCTIONS on the map very well. Negative comments are always better than none at all and the discussions about DAWNFALL stirred up quite some attention. And I certainly had made my point....
 
Act II: Raising the Demon
 
Behemoth - ... From the Pagan Vastlands Countess - The Return of the Horned One
 
I had (and still have) some sort of competitive comradship with MERCILESS RECORDS and it first came into the open when the question arose of what to release as a follow up to "Dominance of Darkness". Although not even that one was out at that time, I already sent out some offers to bands I knew from demo tapes I had gotten through tape trading (usually from Targod...). The band I intended to put out next was MARTYRIUM, another German act I got to know through flyers. I had met them in December 1993 CE at their first concert in the then famous "Chicago" in Annaberg-Buchholz (the black heart of East Germany...) where they played with EMINENZ and DESASTER who had just put out their first demo. Times were very exciting back then and ultimately both MARTYRIUM and DESASTER ended up on MERCILESS RECORDS...
 
I was pretty pissed off about that at first yet still eager to go on of course. By mid 1993 CE I already had tried to get in contact with two acts from Poland but neither GRAVELAND nor BEHEMOTH replied to my proposals at that time... I got in contact with GRAVELAND's Darken a while later and am still in good contact while amazingly enough I never exchanged a single word with the guys of BEHEMOTH...
 
Alas, who replied was Tomasz Krajewski of PAGAN RECORDS. He had put out two demos of BEHEMOTH and now offered me a licencing deal to release "... From The Pagan Vastlands" on CD. What I didn't know at that time and what led to alot of trouble and confusion was the fact that WILD RAGS got the same deal for North America that I had signed for Europe and we kept getting in each others way for years to come.
 
Getting my money across to Poland and the DAT with the recording safely in my hands was quite an adventure, but with the help of BETHLEHEM's Jürgen Bartsch who played a show in Poland at right that time everything turned out well and after a surprisingly short time of preparation the CD came out on September 15th of 1994 CE.
 
In the years since I have been criticised for ever releasing such a "commercial band", but seen in the light of early 1994 CE BEHEMOTH was far from being a kiddies fave. Although I have to admit they resemble a certain band from Bergen every now and then, I think the songs on "... From The Pagan Vastlands" are far more epic and far more metal. Although it might seem strange to some, given the development of the band in more recent years, I still stand 100 % behind the release of this CD and I doubt very much that will ever change.
 
In January 1994 CE I also got in touch with Orlok and COUNTESS and this encounter proved rather fateful for the both of us. Again it was Targod of DAWNFALL (with whom I was confering almost daily, usually over lay-out problems of his CD) who innocently put me on the trail by mentioning on the phone to have received an advance tape of a dutch band who played even more primitive than BATHORYs first album. Needless to mention he liked it alot, both the advance tape and early BATHORY... And, needless to say as well, I packed the money for this fabulous CD ("The Gospel Of The Horned One") the very same day and a week or so later, I received the only CD in the history of metal that might be a match for DAWNFALLs first album when it comes to uncompromising rawness and merciless untrendiness...
 
I was completely smashed to pieces by "The Gospel..." and so regular letters were followed by regular phone calls. In late May 1994 CE I finally made a trip to the Netherlands to hoist some beers together and that first evening in Orloks filthy den in Leiden laid the foundations for a co-operation that still goes further than just music. It did start with music though and I'll never forget his utter astonishment when he put on that MANILLA ROAD tape, I started singing along and he realized he wasn't the only one listening to this kind of music after all... In those days we forged quite a friendship...
 
I also saw COUNTESS play live in a strange bar called "LVP" (it was more like a public rehearsal...) and despite the rather strange circumstances I liked it alot. So I was not too surprised when one evening in September the phone rang and Orlok told me he had gotten rid of his line-up (a process that happens fairly often...) and he was about to record a second album and wanted to know if I was interested in releasing it via NAZGUL'S EYRIE. It was a matter of saying "yes"...
 
Act III: First Flight
 
Bifrost - Pagan Reality Cruachan - Tuatha na Gael Barathrum - Hailstorm
 
In late October 1994 CE he came to visit Regensburg and then we also undertook our pilgrimage to the castle of Erszebeth Nadásdy, otherwise known as Countess Bathory. Located in the very southeastern part of Austria ("Burgenland") that used to be part of Hungary until 1918 CE, the castle is still in perfect shape and hosts a museum and a hotel now. All the pictures that are to be seen in the booklet of "The Return..." have been taken by me at that very location. Walking through the place wearing warpaint was quite something to remember, hahaha...
 
When he came along, he already had the mastertape with him and in order to hold our release date (Winter Solstice) we all had to work rather swiftly and so of course the first printing had some mistakes done during the mastering and had to be redone on account of the factory to be releasable. Of course these minor inconveniances though bothering us didn't keep us for long...
 
We were aware of the fact that this CD would be another one of these love 'em or hate 'em releases and so the reactions to the CD were rather polarized. Being either praised as a masterpiece by small independent zines like WARHAMMER or TALES OF THE MACABRE or ripped to pieces by big commercial newspapers such as AARDSHOCK or ROCK HARD were the extremes. There was not a single mellow review, so I probably hit yet another sore spot, didn't I ?
 
While I was still just writing to Orlok, I already received the first flyers of yet another dutch band, BIFROST. I thought that Orlok would do something with them through his own label THURISAZ PRODUCTIONS at first, but after that fell apart due to the usual shortage of cash, I went into action. My first personal contact with Hammerheart was at a gig in a village near Maastricht (Stein I think) and though the gig was quite crappy, I liked what I heard and thus it wasn't long until we agreed on releasing an album through my label. Previous to that album they had released a promo ("Western Magick" which was enginered by Orlok by the way) and an official live tape.
 
BIFROST always was heavily inspired by Thrash Metal acts from the 80s and Hammerheart used to throw around names (like SABBAT from the UK) that had been forgotten for years in his interviews. Now it's fucking trendy to like that kind of music again, but in Mid 1994 CE you were a pariah when you as much as admitted that you liked Thrash Metal....
 
In November 1994 CE they nailed down their album "Pagan Reality" in a small studio near Maastricht and I released it on January 15th of 1995 CE. It was quite a financial effort, after all it was my first real studio production, but I still feel it was worth the action. The lay-out was done by the band and I, trusting in their abilities to present themselves properly gave them a free hand and only saw the final result when it was just that, the final result, the ready CD. I freely admit that I wasn't too happy about the cover as well and we received alot of criticism for it over the years. I made peace with it after a short while though. After all BIFROST played in the vein of 80s Thrash Metal and such it was only fitting to use a cover like this, as cliche as it may seem to many. In a way it only added to the picture the band intended to create... And most of the people who criticised band and cover back then are true followers of the Retro-Thrash trend today. They were too young to remember so they laughed about something that was new to them.
 
In Fall 1994 CE I first read about CRUACHAN in the zine the PRIMORDIAL guys did at that time and that I had been writing a special on the german scene for. I had been trying to sign PRIMORDIAL earlier in the year and got turned down but I still remained in quite close contact until much later when Ciaran decided he was too lazy to do mail anymore. The first pages featured a CRUACHAN interview and immediately I was very interested. There was a demo ("Celtica") which wasn't even out by the time I ordered it, and in just a few weeks time we had hammered out a deal and I even flew to Eire in order to see them and PRIMORDIAL on stage. The night of the show their drummer got sick and had to go to hospital (Wether because of my unholy presence or the rather bad air in the place is a question that probably will remain unanswered....) and so Keith sat down behind the kit and sang from there while they "reactivated" their old guitarist who happened to be in the audience. It was a terrible mess and Keith still blushes when we talk about it, but being able to improvise is the way of Rock'n'Roll, so I didn't mind.
 
In February 1995 CE they recorded "Tuatha Na Gael" (= "The Tribes Of Ireland") in an utterly stressy five-night shift (we had to safe money after all...) and though we received criticism for the sound afterwards (usually by people who are used to listen to recordings that take 5 days to set up a drum kit...) things turned out rather well for a band that had not even seen the inside of a real studio until then. There's always room for improvement of course, but given the circumstances everything was fine and it turned out rather successful as for some bizarre reason literally everyone seemed to like it when it came out on Belthane 1995 CE. We even got 9 out of 10 in ROCK HARD magazine who already had made a tradition out of ripping apart all of my releases... and they kept that ever after... We literally had started a new trend by introducing a cross of irish Folk and Thrash Metal into the BM scene.... Hundreds of "Pagan Metal" bands were to follow... Of course it had been done earlier by SKYCLAD but they never did it to such an extent and with such levels of brutality. And after their first two albums (which were very good...) they were on the verge of wimping out so I guess we picked up alot of their frustrated fans along the way...
 
A tour through Germany, although sheduled a couple of times, never worked out due to financial problems that I never managed to overcome. Sure, they were successful, but for the seven bandmembers one would need a complete nightliner and that never would have paid off... So they never played outside Ireland and became rather frustrated about it for obvious reasons. When I approached them about a second album in early 1996 CE I got turned down in favour of several other, presumably better offers from labels such as CENTURY MEDIA, NUCLEAR BLAST or HAMMERHEART RECORDS. And so things never came to pass... A major role in this drama was also played by the manager they had gotten themselves by then who quite obviously suffered from megalomania. He managed to scare off all interested labels by demanding some 30000,-DM just for recording and alot of other things... So in Summer 1997 CE, after also having suffered alot of line-up changes in the meantime, they gave up to reemerge in 1998 CE and sign a new deal with HAMMERHEART RECORDS who bootleged "Tuatha Na Gael" in 2001 CE but more about that later...
 
In November 1994 CE, during Orlok's stay in my unholy castle, I first encountered the music of BARATHRUM. He kept bitching at me that I should sign more real bands instead of some he didn't like that much.... I gave BARATHRUM a try and found it much to my liking so I wrote to Demonos in order to get their older demos. After having received those rather swiftly (Demonos is quite famous for his snail-like speed of answering mail...) one afternoon the phone in my office rang and it was.. HIM. No, not Satan, although that's rather close... In this phonecall (which was followed up by several others and caused quite a bill) we hammered out all details necessary and in an amazingly short time "Hailstorm" was recorded. I still remember that one dreary Monday morning in early January 1995 CE... The phone rang and Demonos told me he just had recorded an album and after not having slept since Thor's Day the week before he'd go to bed now... That's the fire real Black Metal is forged in!!!
 
He even decided to bring the mastertape of "Hailstorm" himself and so I had to pick him up at the airport in Frankfurt. I was on the way to the Netherlands to witness the record release party of BIFROST (I just put out "Pagan Reality") and to be part of the recordings of the next COUNTESS album... When I arrived in Frankfurt it proved to be rather easy to find him. I had never even seen a picture of him before, but that guy in filthy denims and leather, surrounded by a surprising amount of empty beer cans, sprawled on one of the benches in the arrival hall had to be him. He was just trying to convince a really nervous business woman to give him a blowjob or something when I interrupted him... On the motorway between Frankfurt and Köln I first heard "Hailstorm" over my car stereo and even I (though used to alot) was shocked by the extreme songs... it was a massacre!!!
 
So was the BIFROST show later that night as far as I remember... They still talk about the crazy Finny in Meerssen. Though he had been drinking the past 48 hours without a noticable break, he still was trying to gulp down anything containing alcohol on sight... And he was also trying to fuck anything female from four years up... No female ass was safe from him that night. What an animal!!!! I'm fucking proud I call him a friend!!!
 
His presence at the recording of COUNTESS' "Ad Maiorem..." CD can also be heard in the intro where he's howling "Illum adora" on one channel while I occupy the other... Try to figure out who's on which channel, hahaha.
 
"Hailstorm" got the usual ripping reviews all around the globe of course and it was even banned in South Korea due to the rather challenging photo of Christ on a cross. Everyone lucky enough to have a copy of the CD will know what I mean...
 
Act IV: First Sorrow
 
Tha-Norr - Wolfenzeitalter Amon Goeth - Call the Master
 
The first thing I heard about THA-NORR was a flyer I found in my mail around the end of 1994 CE and I immediately ordered the demo ("Assault on Aerie") that was announced. Back then almost all tapes that were put out still had something to offer and although most of them were crappy basement recordings, at least the spirit was there... Something that has noticably changed in the years since.
 
We stayed in contact after I received the demo (which I thought to be slightly above average with „Weltschmerz“ standing out) and after I had received another recording they had done for some sampler project, I was convinced that THA-NORR had the potential to release a CD as well. We agreed on a studio budget (around 700,-DM) and then somehow lost contact until almost May 1995 CE when one of my letters was answered by a DAT tape and a studio invoice of almost 2700,-DM. Now one can imagine I wasn't really happy about that and for a while the whole project was hanging by a thread...
 
In May 1995 CE the first (well, sort of) tour of NAZGUL'S EYRIE bands featuring COUNTESS, MORTUARY DRAPE, MAYHEMIC TRUTH and DROWNED took place and THA-NORR played the "local" opener (They had to drive around 400 kilometers but still were more or less local...) at the show in Annaberg-Buchholz. There I actually got to meet those guys for the first time... From that point on, we rapidly solved all misunderstandings that had hindered us so far and on September 15th "Wolfenzeitalter" (= "Wolf Age") finally was released as NEP oo7.
 
Since then THA-NORR has developed to quite a seller in the NEP catalogue (after CRUACHAN and BEHEMOTH) and they regularly appear as guests on NEP tours. Last time they played was at the show of SABBAT, COUNTESS and BARATHRUM in May 1997 CE near Osnabrück (actually in Bramsche...) where they also presented new material. However if these songs will ever be recorded is questionable as they're all fucking lazy bastards... Obviously having played with such masters as SABBAT, MORTUARY DRAPE, COUNTESS and BARATHRUM has satisfied them so they no longer see the necessity of carrying on... which is kinda sad...
 
Yet another band I got to know through DAWNFALL's Targod is Czechia's one and only AMON. I had taped their third demo "Call the Master" along with some other eastern european stuff at his place during mid 1994 CE and wanted to get to know those guys better. My letter (ordering all three demos as originals) was answered weeks and weeks later and it was very hard to establish contact as the band was more or less not existing anymore. Some members had to do their military service and it was quite uncertain if AMON would be able to go on at all...
 
At that time, AMON was already going since 1989 CE when Dr. Fe was kicked out of ROOT, another well known act from Brno where he had been vocalist for two years and three demos. Obviously Big Boss (who was drummer back then and is known as vocalist since the first CD of ROOT) wanted to be an even bigger boss... So Dr. Fe (= Dr. DEATH) had to get a new line up together and recorded three more demos, "Black Metal" in 1990 CE, "Book of the Dead" in 1991 CE and the aforementioned "Call The Master" in 1993 CE before things started falling apart...
 
In Spring 1995 CE my phone rang, and after not having heard from Dr. Fe for about half a year, it was him announcing they were now ready to go on. So in August 1995 CE I went to Czechia to see them live and talk to them in person. Yet another legendary trip, so to say... Already on the first day, after having arrived in Brno, we all ended up in some sort of beer garden (it was a hot August day after all...) and the Czechian beer (which is very good in my opinion) flowed rather freely. So after a couple of hours (and an even greater number of beers) I ended up puking down the balcony of Dr. Fe's apartment at around 3 am... It was rather noisy and messy as far as I can recall...
 
During that trip, we also decided that it would be too long to wait for the recording of new material (although that was written already) and that it would be a nice idea to use the recording of the last demo as a first CD since Dr. Fe had the master DAT lying around anyways. And in order to avoid problems with a crappy Death Metal band from Switzerland (which already is buried and forgotten by the time I'm writing this) that got alot of attention in 1995 CE, Dr. Fe decided to add the infamous "GOETH" to the original band name.
 
That concert I attended was rather legendary as well as both AMON (GOETH) and ROOT played among numerous other bands from the region. It was some sort of outdoor festival and there were at least 2500 people, most of them coming on foot... As a nice effect it started raining briefly when Dr. Fe cursed up to the heavens during "In Love with Satan"... And of course it was also great to see ROOT live, Big Boss is such an unbelievably filthy pervert...
 
It wasn't before early 1996 CE when "Call The Master" was finally out and of course most reviews put it down again. But there were also some reasonable reviews like the one in the first issue of BLACK MASS zine who actually liked it without having been bribed up-front. I was really amazed by that... AMON GOETH are the last existing band that still play that very typical eastern style of Black Metal (other bands would be MASTER'S HAMMER (CZ), ROOT (CZ), TORMENTOR (HUN) or TARANIS and IMPERATOR from Poland...) that has been very popular in the first years of the 90s but is almost extinct due to the Norsecore invasion by now...
 
After Orlok had gone back home after our trip to Austria, he obviously had one of his creative fits. I received tapes with new songs about every week and so it wasn't long until it was recording time again... This time he wanted to record in a real studio (after two albums on 4-track recorders...) and so we booked three days in that little place where BIFROST had already recorded "Pagan Reality" in.
 
The album featured a lyric that was written in Regensburg over several tankards of beer and a large pan of Paela by the both of us ("The Wrath Of Satan's Whore") and two more that had been written by myself ("Sheltered under the Claw" and "Ere A Bitter End") plus a cover from cult doom band SAINT VITUS ("Born Too Late").
 
Act V: In Full Force
 
Countess - Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam Barathrum - Eerie Bifrost - The Wildest Fire!
 
Only few weeks after the recordings he got himself some musicans to be able to play live again. At that time I was busy organizing some gigs for MORTUARY DRAPE from Italy and I wanted him to be along. Even before that, he completed another recording ("Spherien") which we used as a cassette EP to sell during the tour. Two of those songs appear only on this tape ("The Godslayer" and "So I Am Damned") which makes it quite a rarity... Even more rare is yet another song ("Returned Favours") which was cut out from the "Ad Maiorem..." recording afterwards. Maybe some of these titles will be featured on "Jubileum"... Who knows...
 
Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam was put out on Samhain 1995 CE as NEP oo9 along with BARATHRUMs "Eerie" album. The double release was meant as yet another tribute to the friendship Orlok and Demonos shared and still share. In retrospect it's probably the most successful album of COUNTESS so far as all the later releases are not very well-known and thus sold fucking bad... Putting out yet another BARATHRUM CD only 6 month after "Hailstorm" was quite a risk yet it proved to be successful when it came out. Already back then there was talk of a tour together but it took until May 1997 CE to finally realize that.
 
The thing I remember about "Eerie" most is the extreme stress we all had in putting everything together. I received the material for the lay-out just one week before the planned release date and it's still a miracle to me how everything worked out in time. A great deal of credit for this must go to Ted Vreman of CYBER MUSIC who really took alot of trouble (and faxes and phonecalls and and and...) in order to achieve our goal.
 
Due to it's less extreme sound it received quite well reviews in fanzines and the first edition of 500 was sold even before I received the actual parcels with the ready CD. The same happened with COUNTESS' "Ad Maiorem..." CD by the way. Those were the high times of NAZGUL'S EYRIE...
 
In the meantime the BIFROST guys had finished another CD with "The Wildest Fire". Recorded in December 1995 CE it's release in February 1996 CE was rather unspectacular. In a way this release marked the end of the good times of NAZGUL'S EYRIE. From that point, everything went down.... Which is not BIROSTs fault of course. Still the album was less successful than it could've been, mostly because the band split up some 3 month after the release. Most of the copies of "Pagan Reality" had been sold at shows and now they quit playing live for over half a year... They reformed as CONQUERED MY FEARS later on and switched back to BIFROST for the recording of their 3rd CD "Mythistory" in 1998 CE... Too late for „The Wildest Fire" to get the attention it would have deserved...
 
Back to AMON GOETH, the recording of "The Worship" originally was planned as the fourth demo, but things developed differently. It took the band until November 1995 CE to rehearse everything in a satisfactory way and record it. In late November I went to Czechia again in order to bring the mastered version of "Call The Master" and to pick up the DAT of "The Worship". We didn't really trust the Czech mail service back then...
 
A release of "The Worship" was planned for Fall 1996 CE but alot of things went wrong and it took another almost two years until July 1998 CE to finally put the CD out... In reviews "The Worship" had done rather well. While ABLAZE refused to review it at all due to the fact that I still was not willing to bribe them by giving them an add (which would've been a waste of money anyway as ads in magazines are an effort in futility without shop distribution...), it received 13 out of 15 in DEFTONE (still without bribery...) and was among the "soon-to-be-classics" in TALES OF THE MACABRE. Even ROCK HARD reviewed it (after having ignored my releases for the past 3 years) and it received 4 out of 10 points. Considering their taste that's almost insultingly good...
 
Act VI: Heading For Trouble
 
Amon Goeth - The Worship Mortuary Drape - Secret Sudaria
 
Now we come to the chapter of MORTUARY DRAPE and it has a rather complicated genesis and an even worse ending... I had known about the band even before I started the label and I've been in very loose contact since sometime in 1993 CE. I had ordered demos, videos and the like from Walter and always received my stuff in proper time. In early 1995 CE I was still expanding widely and so I approached the band with a proposal of putting out another album. They had just released "All The Witches Dance" via UNISOUND from Hellas and though musically it's a great album, it suffered alot from the dreadful lay-out job the greek did...
 
As they were a bit uncertain about whether to sign in on NAZGUL'S EYRIE or not, I organized three live dates (Stetten near Ulm, Berlin and Annaberg-Buchholz) in Germany so we would meet and get to know us better. Everything worked out fine although communication was a problem from the start as only one out of five Italians (Paulo, one of the guitarists) spoke halfway decent english (not even to mention german...) and everything fell back on him. But we managed because we all helped together and though there weren't really that many people at those shows, the whole thing paid off and despite all the stress I remember it rather fondly.
 
Shortly after the tour MORTUARY DRAPE signed to NEP and started preparing those songs that ultimately wound up on "Secret Sudaria". Recorded in Spring 1996 CE it took until June 1997 CE to be released. I had alot of problems organizing and solving all lay-out problems as I of course didn't want to do such a lousy job on MORTUARY DRAPE as had been done before. In the meantime there was another release, a four song MiniCD on SHIVADARSHANA RECORDS from the Netherlands...
 
Around March 1997 CE I started asking for prices at printing plants and chose one not too long after. They gave me a very nasty surprise after they got the job however as the printing of 500 CDs didn't cost 3500,-DM as we had agreed on but almost 5000,-DM... which I didn't have at that time. In the same month I also released "Infernal", the third album of BARATHRUM so I didn't really have alot of spare cash... I was fucking pissed off as everyone can imagine...
 
The release happened in a pretty bad time as I had just ended my relation with one distributor and had not really started business with the new one yet, so it fell short in a way. From my point of view it would've been alot more clever to wait until Fall and then release it with the help of a professional distributor. But that wasn't really possible as in May 1997 CE MORTUARY DRAPE had split up in two parties, one forming a new band called THE MAGIK WAY and Paulo who had handled all the communication between label and band so far, played there as well. Walter recruited new members right away to continue under the name MORTUARY DRAPE, some of them had played in the band already back in the 80s. Due to that situation Walter put alot of pressure on me in order to get the album out and "out of the way"... He also wanted to replace all photos of the (now) old bandmembers with new ones but that wasn't possible anymore as the films for the lay-out had been done already. I thought that would've been a rather unfair action anyways...
 
So it wasn't really under a lucky star that the album was finally out. Our communication deteriorated rapidly due to the fact that Walter doesn't really speak english at all (read any given MORTUARY DRAPE interview to verify that) and so (sadly) we were heading for trouble. Walter had received 150 free copies of the CD right away and it wasn't long until he demanded more. But given the economical situation of this CD it wasn't justified to give out more free stuff, I just had to sell those remaining copies for myself in order to make back my vast investments.
 
Walter also bullied me in accepting a distribution deal with some friends of his that were working under the label WHITE & BLACK, but after an initial sending of 100 CDs I never heard from them again... Well, not until early 1998 CE when I had to find out that my former comrade Walter Maini had played false on me and that WHITE & BLACK, these fucking traitors had put out the NEP recording of "Secret Sudaria" in a bootleg version... Of course I went into legal action right away and I'd like to warn everyone out there to distribute this bootleg as I will take immediate legal action in that case.
 
Act VII: Conquistador Records
 
During the hiatus in releases I had to give in to in order to get rid of my cousin in 1996 CE, CONQUISTADOR proved to be both the culmination and the fate of the NAZGUL... But read for yourself if you care. The idea behind CONQUISTADOR was to give a forum to worthy bands from Latin America. Later I also signed bands from the US that fit the picture but as fate wills, I never saw the release of any of these albums. All releases occured when I already had passed on the label and most probably also because I had passed it on. Still, I had pulled the strings to make all this happen and it's an important part of the past couple of years, so I shall write about it here. I know Alex, the new owner of CONQUISTADOR RECORDS doesn't want the label associated with me anymore since he considers it "bad promotion", but I don't really care. I created it, so here it is...
 
When I was starting to contact possible bands for CONQUISTADOR RECORDS around the beginning of 1996 CE, I didn't even have BEWITCHED on my records... Instead there were HELLWITCH, HADEZ (who both ultimately signed to CONREX in the end), INNER SANCTUM from Uruguay and ASARADEL from Brasil. I'm not sure what ever happened to INNER SANCTUM (I've lost contact with them around Mid 1997 CE) but ASARADEL sadly had mutated into a rather feeble SISTERS OF MERCY rip off... Unfortunately they also didn´t leave any "presentable" recordings so I cannot even keep their legacy here...
 
My first brief encounter with BEWITCHED was in May 1996 CE when I heard their first album in the FOLTER RECORDS store in Berlin where I and COUNTESS were for our yearly appearance in the capital of the Reich..... I found it rather weird back then and didn't bother to investigate closer... At about early 1997 I got the chance to more than flick through this CD at the place of a friend who happened to own the CD and had turned into quite a BEWITCHED fanatic by then. It took me only two or three listenings of the full CD to understand and share his attitude and from this to actually getting in contact with Aldo was but a short step. I first reached him right in the middle of recording a second album and his deal with some small chilean label had just fallen apart so they were stuck with a more or less finished recording they couldn't even get out of studio because they lacked the funds to pay off the hours they had used. I took steps rather immediately at that point and saved the "Dragonflight" session from being overtaped by some ignorant engineer.
 
SATHANAS is a band I knew for years via tapetrading before I actually got in contact with them. Founded in 1987 CE they released a demo, split, reformed as BATHYM, recorded a 7", split again, reformed.... It's the usual ups and downs. In the early 90s, still untouched by any trends that kept raging throughout these years, they finally got a stable line-up together and recorded their first album "Black Earth". Details on this can be found further down the text... I got in contact with Paul after having heard some sort of an outtake of "Black Earth" and signed them more or less immediately after. "Armies Of Charon" was recorded in mid 1997 CE and apart from my personal dilema everything went surprisingly unspectacular for a change, so there aren't really any stories I could amuse you with...
 
Though they lurked in the mexican underground since 1986 CE, I had not heard the name of SARGATANAS until early 1996 CE when they sent me their demo and asked for a deal. Though that may be the standard procedure to others, I so far had not ever signed a band after having received their demo. I usually only sign bands that I followed in secret for a while. But here I just had to make an exception (I made another one with WIZZARD a year later...) as I was very impressed with what I heard. Lengthy negotiations finally led to a signing and it was yet another challenge to get the recording budget to Mexico without too much danger of losing it through some dark channels... I finally managed to do so with the help of a spanish bank from San Sebastian that has offices all over Latin America. They helped again with BEWITCHED by the way... "The Enlightenment" has been recorded in Spring 1997 CE and then the usual releasing problems set in....
 
Signing HADEZ was one of my top priorities when I came up with the idea of forming a sub-label for bands from Latin America. I had known them even before the release of their infamous "Aquelarre" CD and when it came out I was in contact with their label BRUTAL RECORDS for a short time. But then our line of communication went dead and it took until I came in contact with Fernán of MORTEM that I heard about HADEZ again. Fernán, who at that time had just signed to MERCILESS RECORDS with his band, was a great help not only in locating John Capcha (who ever was the mainman behind HADEZ) but also convincing him to continue his band. As I have heard then, HADEZ had fallen apart shortly after the release of "Aquelarre" as Edgar (their vocalist and bass player at that time) had moved to Scandinavia to join some feeble Norsecore act and they just weren't able to complete their line up again... It took well over a year until it was finally clear that HADEZ would continue and though things are still going slow, everything seems to be more organized than all those years before... Since then, "Even If You Die A Thousand Times" has been recorded and been released by the band themselves.
 
DOOMSTONE is a name that more or less came out of nowhere in 1992 CE. After the release of a first album in 1993 CE the veil of obscurity was lifted and King Fowley presented himself as the evil soul behind the band. King, who also does vocals and bangs drums in US underground Death Metal legend DECEASED (one of the very very few REAL Death Metal bands...) presents a more Heavy Metal like approach here that's crowned with a cover version of GRIM REAPER's classic "See You In Hell". Unfortunately the album ("Those Whom Satan Hath Joined") was released by Italian rip off specialists NOSFERATU so it's quite a rarity by now but if you manage to dig up a copy, get it right away! You won't regret it unless you're a trendy Norsecore faggot.. I got in contact with King in late 1995 CE when I was wondering about whether the band would still exist and if there ever would be a new album. I had bought the first CD almost by accident in late 1993 and the album had been growing on me ever since so I was eager to hear more. When I first approached King, DOOMSTONE more or less lay dormant, but there already were songs for a second album though no line-up to record them. But King swiftly called up some friends and over the course of Fall and Winter 1997 CE "Church Of Nightmares" was completed. There were some major interruptions in the process as there also were recordings for his mainband DECEASED and for another sideproject, OCTOBER 31, as well. The CD features 54 minutes of rather bizarre Black Heavy Metal that more often reminds of the black bands of the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" such as WITCHFYNDE, DEMON, ANGEL WITCH than of what is currently understood as Black Metal. Those few who really are familiar with this musical period will also discover the resurrection of two dear old friends. Both german CUTTY SARK ("Die Tonight") and Belgiums very own ACID ("Prince of Hell and Fire") have been covered this time... Again, due to SUPERNAL MUSIC it was not released until King lost his temper and released it himself in late 99 CE. I cannot blame him for taking action but I would´ve preferred to hear about it from him, not from third parties.... But after having met at Wacken that´s settled now once and for all.
 
Yet another name everybody should be familiar with is Pat Ranieri and his cursed band HELLWITCH from Florida. Around since 1985 CE approximately they have always been searching for the deal and only found WILD RAGS ("Syzygial Miscreancy") or LETHAL RECORDS ("Terraasymmetry") instead. It shames me to admit that my attempt to sign them almost led to the demise of one of the best Thrash bands on Earth... But let me start at the beginning. I got in contact when I saw an add for their (so far last) "Anthropophagii" demo from 1993 CE. Ordering it (in around late 1995 CE) led to more regular letters and one day Pat told me they were searching for a label. That was when I was about to start off the sub-label. So HELLWITCH actually became the first band to sign with CONQUISTADOR. At that time it was still possible for me to get hold of the sum Pat wanted as recording budget. 4000 US$ may sound little when you talk to METAL BLADE... For me it was (and still is) alot! However, they had to find a new drummer and when they finally had worked him in, I sent the money per cheque just as I already had to SARGATANAS and BEWITCHED. But this time it didn't arrive and though it obviously was registered and insured it took the US mail over a year to admit they lost it... The insurance company wasn't willing to pay earlier and this kind of cheque you pay for up front since it wasn't a bank draft.... You can imagine I didn't take this devastating blow too well... It happened about at the same time as the printing of MORTUARY DRAPE and BARATHRUM for NEP so my finances were stretched to the max then... Things were dragging on and slowly started falling apart. I'm still talking to Pat every now and then but I'm afraid there won't be an album anymore.... At least Pat told me he picked up his guitar again after he had given up completely in mid-1998 CE...
 
BEWITCHED have their 3rd CD ready since January 2000 CE and finally the CD is sheduled for release in September 2001 CE on CONQUISTADOR RECORDS. SARGATANAS are back on BARBARIAN WRATH (new CD in September 2001 CE) and SATHANAS signed to BLACKMETAL.COM for a new MCD and the release of the "Black Earth" CD from 1996 CE as I´m writing this Autumn 2001 CE.
 
Act VIII: Oriental Eruptions
 
This was to be the third part of the Unholy Trinity I wanted my label to grow into. Many people don't even know about it, but I already had 3 bands signed in order to get it off ground. Unfortunately it never happened and since it was less developed than CONQUISTADOR, SUPERNAL MUSIC were not interested in persuing the idea any further. The bands in question here are the almighty SABBAT from Japan who were to rerelease their albums through ORIENTAL ERUPTIONS plus two acts from Malaysia with SIL KHANNAZ and LANGSUYR... SABBAT are with IRON PEGAZUS RECORDS now and both malay bands are on NEBIULA PRODUCTIONS. The albums I was to release are out now, so no permanent harm is done... May ORIENTAL ERUPTIONS rest as so many other great ideas....
 
Act IX: Rearguard Fighting
 
Countess - The Book of the Heretic Barathrum - Infernal
 
In early 1996 CE I was relocating to my hometown Regensburg and switching jobs, moving and everything involved cost me alot of time and nerves. A lot of things didn't go as planned and things culminated in the problem that I had to get rid of my cousin who had been involved in the business side of NEP for the past two years. And now I had all this shit on my heels while at the same time the label demanded more attention than ever.... I was doomed to fail in this situation while I was struggling to carry on. With COUNTESS' "The Book Of The Heretic" CD I only released one more album out of several which were planned and with this break, as much necessary as it was for me as a person, I hurt NAZGUL'S EYRIE beyond healing.
 
Still I refused giving up and there were several more attempts to breath back life in the carcass the NAZGUL was slowly turning into... In the beginning of 1997 CE I had my private shit settled to a certain extent and went to realize this BARATHRUM / COUNTESS tour we were talking about since early 1995 CE. It was an utter mess so to speak... As an additional teaser I had SABBAT coming over from Japan. They were such nice guys but give them a stage and a plug and they raise Hell on the very spot. The tour turned out as 7 gigs in total (THE SEVEN DATES OF HELL REVISITED) which took place during May and June 1997 CE in Geleen (NL), Rotterdam (NL), Berlin (D), Osnabrück (D), Jena (D), Regensburg (D) and Stuttgart (D)... To give a full review of what happened there would probably take me yet another 12 pages, but maybe I'll sit down and type all those memories one day, who knows...?
 
Right during this time I also put out two CDs with the above mentioned MORTUARY DRAPE and the 3rd BARATHRUM CD "Infernal". Both CDs were planned to arrive well before the tour (as was COUNTESS' MCD "Hell's Rock'n'Roll") so there would be some financial security and some extra cash due to sales during the shows but of course God did not look the other way and decided to fuck with us once again... So all three CDs arrived well after the tour and all hopes for a promotional push were naught... Life is Hell, isn't it?
 
Act X: The Final Stand
 
Decayed - The Conjuration of the Southern Circle Zemial - For the Glory of UR Mayhemic Truth - In Memoriam
 
And thus, after many a struggle with myself I decided giving up NAZGUL'S EYRIE and CONQUISTADOR... It had just grown way to big, there were too many bands, projects and interests jammed together for one man to handle. You mustn't forget that during all these events (in fact since 1992 CE) I also had a full time "civil" job. So, whatever I did had to be done after I had come home from work...
 
There were still many releases planned, but I didn't have any strength left anymore... So in Summer 1998 CE I gave up to concentrate on my private life and Alex Kurtagic of SUPERNAL MUSIC who had been my distributor since sometime in 1997 CE took over the whole affair... Once I had made that decision it was my task to get everything done in a way that wouldn't hurt "my" bands... With DECAYED (to DRAKKAR), CRUACHAN (to HAMMERHEART), ZEMIAL and MAYHEMIC TRUTH (both to IRON PEGAZUS) some of the planned releases and bands have found new havens. As a last act of loyalty I have funded the two remaining CDs of AMON GOETH and WIZZARD.
 
A little over 5 and a half years (66.6 months so to speak) and many an up and down my part with NAZGUL'S EYRIE is over now. It was both a great time and Hell incarnate and I've learned alot about this wretched business... I have released 16 CDs over those years (and laid the foundations for some more) and even though I wasn't overly successful on the commercial side of things I feel I have succeded in getting my point across. Even as I write this I'm getting response from all over the planet about the cult label NAZGUL'S EYRIE PRODUCTIONS... So I left my mark on music and the Black / Death Metal scene and that was always my goal in the first place...
 
Act XI: Aftermath Of Betrayal
 
Wizzard - Wizzard Dawnfall - Drei Raume
 
When in 1997 CE the situation was beyond bleak I was clutching at straws. One of these straws was SUPERNAL MUSIC. Teemu of WIZZARD introduced us in an attempt to help me getting distribution again. Well, that worked out and SUPERNAL MUSIC sold about 3500 NEP CDs under a distribution contract we had. Soon after SUPERNAL MUSIC also took over CONQUISTADOR RECORDS since it was developed pretty well already with several releases ready to be put out. The deal was that he´d pay me back the recording money I had forwarded to receive the rights for the releases. Since Fall 2000 CE our "collaboration" is officially ended. I´m still waiting for the larger part of the distribution money but it seems things are starting to work out now.
Once this matter as well as the legal battle with my cousin are finally closed I can put the past to rest....