If you ask for those German Metal Band who reached the least of all regarding their potential, talents and abilities there has to be mentioned, in the honest personal opinion of the author, the name of “Warrant” first. For god’s sake there’s nobody dealing in this publication with golden records or record sales but just by the word of: Pure Metal!
And in this genre “Warrant” has to be placed among others at the top of the bill. It starts in 1984 when Head of Noise Records Karl Walterbach, one of the most successful metal trend scouts, was searching for fresh young musicians and got aware of an early band demo. He was amazed and travelled immediately to Düsseldorf, Germany keeping an eye on this talented new group. Shortly a record deal for a Mini-LP followed right after visiting without inspecting any further demos or live gigs from “Warrant”.
“Of course Karl Walterbach had an excellent instinct to see the upcoming Speed-Metal invasion. For us everything rushes from 0-100 km/h at a blink of an eye and we were taken by surprise what started right after that”. (Authority: That’s It! Nr.9, Page 50). Also fans seeking for powerful speed songs were taken by surprise as they were confronted with the band’s Mini-LP and bone crushing tracks like “Scavenger’s Daughter”. In a mighty and powerful manner, that reminds only of an unleashed 20 tons truck pounding it’s way through the night, the band created a true Speed Metal Hell.
Holy Shit, the songs remain their sheer power and thrill even after a dozen of years. Which “true-e” metal head can resist the spell of the early lyrics of “Satan” not starting rotating and headbanging straight away:
“I’m a New Satan
I kill them all
I’m a New Satan
Most important, not only the speed tracks kicked ass. That’s another matter of fact. Variations of mid tempo compositions mixed into the highspeed fire turned out to be real highlights. Works like “Send Ya’to Hell” or “Die Young”, released on the first long player, attracted those magical flair of potential evergreens. Above all the fullsize LP, simple called “The Enforcer”, stands as an unmistakeable kick in the ass and will stick into it forever. Impressed by the mighty “A” and “B” side opener “The Rack” and “The Enforcer” I will justify the brave and bold hypothesis: “Warrant” could have been the German Metallica!
Comparing the band with Metallica and their early stages milestone of “Ride the Lightning”. The amazing clear and powerful production combined with the mass compatible charismatic voice of singer Jörg Juraschek. Guitarist and die hard eyeliner user Thomas Klein and the LP’s new discovery the technical and visual perfect match of guitar wizard Oliver May, who completed the line-up, made the record steaming and pounding in a perfect way.
Even the humble titled track “Nun’s have no Fun” is a damn classic! The songs of “Warrant” stay alive! Such high class material guaranties superb value over the times. Despite of such great preconditions “Warrant” failed in getting a good start. The band was easily overturned from sloppy competitors and bands who never could compare to their class.
Typical therefore exist the anecdote of the “Warlock” management demanding a 12.000 DM fee for a common headliner tour in 1985. Even knowing that they were rehearsal room neighbours and “Warrant” also had two successful records placed in the market. It talks for itself: Who could ever accomplish that in the beginning days of a young band? After numerous unfortunate circumstances and mismanagement “Warrant” break-up. They fired their management and presented a new line-up on a festival gig in Belgium. Jörg concentrates himself on vocals and quit bass playing, Oliver May plays guitars as usual, Frank Hellenbroich was the new bass player and Uwe Deges completed on drums.
Lothar Wieners, who didn’t played drums on the records due to health problems (they were played by friend and session drummer Thomas Franke from Stallion and later U.D.O.) and Thomas Klein founded “Monroxe”. They released an EP in 1987 but failed to reach attention. The same happened to Juraschek and May who launched “Punchline”. An additional last chance of composing and presenting new songs on the 1986 band’s demo, featuring the overwhelming tracks “Flame of the Show” and the mighty “When the sirens call”, were rejected from Noise Records. The justification from the label: The songmaterial isn’t extreme enough and therefore not having the potential of a successful new recording.
That seemed to be ridiculous. Regarding those things, one question has to be allowed: Was it the same company giving two years later a forum for bands like NadirDPriest and approves the strange concepts of Celtic Frost without complaining?
It’s for sure that this gloomy story illustrates a wasted chance not being able to establish an international icon in the name of German Metal. The guy who takes care over the years and kept the band’s sense of solidarity, Jörg Juraschek, perceives it with mixed emotions now. Meanwhile playing together with Oliver in their actual band “Punchline” creating a very different kind of metal music. But deep in his heart a real metal head he would love to see a kind of “Warrant” remembrance instead of a real reunion.
Not to mention for one big reason: That metal fans all over the world don’t confuse the name of the German “Warrant” with the U.S. based “Cherry Pie” clones and keeping the claim “Düsseldorf’s Stainless Steel at it’s Best” in people’s minds. Some veterans might be lucky enough of their early birth and therefore remembering the band’s first steps. If having a heart for “real” metal they will never forget the two vigorous records. Unfortunately younger fans don’t have the chance to convince themselves. On one hand the vinyl-versions of “Warrant”, despite of selling a fine amount of records, are rare to get. On the other hand there are no chances to get actual CD releases of the band’s classic recordings for people not used to record players anymore.
Unbelievable but true, the huge major independent record label Noise Records wasn’t willing to publish the works of “First Strike” and “The Enforcer” on CD. Although they didn’t hesitate starting reissues from their back catalogue featuring all kind of junk. Even license transfers were not allowed by Noise Records. Warrant fans have to quit all their hopes in this case. Karl Walterbach was pleased to broadcast the rights but all warm words and efforts made from High Voltage records, That’s It and last but not least Jörg Juraschek himself didn’t manage to make this step possible. What a shame for a quality – conscious and traditional orientated label. It seemed to be self-evident and without a doubt: “Warrant” Songs have to be publicized on CD!
From my subjective point of view: Sorrowful the works of the best ever band signing a deal with Noise Records where lost in time. Arguments like “Hey Karl, we will take the work for you and bring out this gems again” failed by bizarre but visionary concepts of the owner’s rights. There were plans to re-release the tracks via internet. Everyone should have the possible chance to download the masterpieces one day. “For the upcoming years we have to wait if time is right to do so” (Authority: Interview Arno Hoffmann, August 1997). Yeah … we will expect masses of “Warrant” addicted youngsters standing in front of computer shops waiting for the “Year 2025″ when it will might happen!?
Just make your own judgement regarding those statements. That’s the way it is … “Warrant” is history now. Failed to early and unnoticed by most of the people. Hopefully in the near future there will be a CD bootlegger anywhere in the world who’s tired of releasing ancient bands from England or America and ready to feature this amazing guys on CD.
This band history was written by Arno Hoffmann for the book “Heavy Metal – Made in Germany”. It was published from Iron Pages Publishing House, Berlin, in the year 1998. The book “Heavy Metal – Made in Germany” is sold out. You may have the chance to buy it at some rare book portals.
Translation: Oliver May