At over 500 pages, Damn the Machine tackles the complicated history of Germany’s Noise Records, the most influential European independent heavy metal record company of the 1980’s. The creation of Karl-Ulrich Walterbach, Noise was responsible for signing and developing the likes of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Coroner, Gamma Ray, Grave Digger, Helloween, Kamelot, Kreator, Rage, Running Wild, Skyclad, Tankard, and many more, assembling a roster whose impact reverberates throughout the metal scene today.
For the first time, Walterbach goes into elaborate detail on his experiences in the music industry. A self-proclaimed anarchist with no musical background to speak of, Walterbach rose from the violent Berlin punk rock scene to the forefront of European metal after launching Noise in 1983. Walterbach‘s gut instinct for signing new talent made him one of metal’s first true label impresarios, but his abrasive personality and unwillingness to conform to industry standards made him an outsider in a business he grew to despise.
Damn the Machine takes the reader through Walterbach‘s early days of getting Noise off the ground, as the metal scene rallied around black/death metal progenitors Celtic Frost, power metal torchbearers Helloween, and Teutonic thrash upstarts Kreator. The book chronicles Walterbach‘s A&R triumphs and failures, frustrating experiences with the era’s major labels, and the social climate of running a record company stationed 15 minutes away from the Berlin Wall. And, it contains Walterbach‘s no-holds-barred commentary on the bands and industry counterparts he did business with during his time running Noise until 2001.