It was great to be a young head banger in the early 80’s. Almost every week a new metal band would appear on the horizon, putting out a great demo, single or album. It all began around 1980 in the with British bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Vardis, Diamond Head, Girlschool, Tank, Raven, Angel Witch and many, many others. These newcomers toured almost non-stop and set many stages alight, not the least in the Netherlands. Their exciting shows and releases left a huge impression on the Dutch audience. In a matter of months countless young and aspiring musicians locked themselves into the bedroom or garage and started practicing. For other, already existing bands the untamable roar of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was the last push they needed to find their proper direction. The music climate was in their favor as well.
Inspired by the do-it-yourself mentality of the late 70’s punk movement most bands didn’t wait for that big, fat, juicy major record deal to land on their door step. The bands took matters in their own hands. They recorded and sold their own demos, thus creating a flourishing tape trading circuit. Tracks were also spread via independently released singles, EP’s and compilations. Band like Picture, Sword, Frankenstein, Vault, Highway Chile, Impact, Allied Forces and many others played the clubs, appeared on festivals and all created a dedicated following. Although most bands were heavily inspired by the heavy metal mayhem from across the North Sea, each had their own style, drawing influences from Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest, Motörhead and others. The classic metal sound of bands like Highway Chile and Picture co-existed very peacefully next to the brutal power of Hammerhawk and Aggressor, the breakneck guitar madness of Sword, the punk-flavored fury of The Vopo’s, the proggy delicacy of Lady or the sword-waving Manowar-worship of Valkyrie. It all lasted ‘til the mid to late 80’s.
In recent years an amazing number of bands reunited, giving their career a well-deserved second youth: Highway Chile, Picture, Elise, Frankenstein, Vortex, Ear Danger, Gilgamesj, Emerald, Martyr and various others. They lost some hair, gained some pounds, but lost none of their dedication, which inspired many fans – both old and new, from all over the world – to check out the original recordings. Music journalist and incurable collector Robert Haagsma starting digging in his own vinyl and tape collection, started toying with tracks and made some cd-r’s to check how a compilation would sound like, focussing on old school heavy metal. Trash-, death- and black metal of later years were entirely different beasts. To create an even more cohesive collection Robert Haagsma decided to concentrate on the cultish kind of bands. Dutch Steel is a document – a monument if you will – for all these bands that were part of a great, exciting, creative era in Holland and released as a 2CD box complete with 24-page booklet (limited to 1000 copies), and a 180 grams 3LP box set – available as a limited edition of 666 copies of red, white and blue vinyl, plus a regular edition on black vinyl.