DARK AGE BIOGRAPHY
Dark Age is a German melodic death metal band formed in 1995 in Hamburg. Everything began sometime in the year 1994, when Eike Freese, André Schumann and Olli Fliegel rotted themselves together to found a Metal band and maybe someday release an album. André had to take the drumsticks, meanwhile Eike played guitar and shared the vocals with bass-player Olli. Name-giver were the mighty Metallica with the track DYER`S EVE. The style of the music was in the direction of Grindcore/Death Metal and sounded towards bands like CARCASS, BRUTAL TRUTH and CANNIBAL CORPSE. The rehearsal-room was the Music classroom in their school. The band tried to record a three-track-demo, but the sound and the skills of the musicians weren’t satisfying at all.DARK AGE GENRES
In the year of 1995 the band was re-named and again they stole the name from a song title of another group. The video for the song DARK AGE by Poland’s VADER impressed Eike so much that they changed the name from DYER`S EVE to DARK AGE. The reason for that was simple, the sound was now more in the direction of Doom/Death: old KATATONIA and the slomo-parts of HYPOCRISY.
In Autumn 1995 the first official demo tape DOUBTFUL EXISTENCE had to be recorded. In Eike’s cellar the three songs “Doubtful Existence”, “Insomnia” (the only song left from the DYER`S EVE-era) and “Eternal Lead” where played into a four-track recording machine. André added the Intro “Tears”. Finn Dierks, a good friend of the band, helped during the recording process. Due to bad sound and many faults during the recordings the band decided not to release the demo.
In December Martin Reichert joined DARK AGE to make the sound of the band more atmospherically with the help of a synthesizer.
In January 1996 DOUBTFUL EXISTENCE was re-recorded, again in Eike’s cellar, again with the same four-tracker. One song was added to the demo: ”Doom Like Lady”. Eike added the Intro “Naenia (Grabeslied)”. Again the sound was not quite satisfying, but nevertheless good enough to be release on tape. The issue with 100 copies was sold very slow, because nobody knew DARK AGE, but it was sold…today many people are looking for the tape.
Shortly after the recordings Finn Dierks joined the band on Lead Guitar to bring more diversity to the music.
In April the first gig was performed with the mates of A.O.P. (Annihilation of Power), where a guy called Jörn Schubert played the Lead Guitar very fast and precise. Even in that time all DARK AGE members where fascinated by this guitar player who’s idol was and still is Yngwie Malmsteen.
After three gigs with A.O.P. DARK AGE decided to part from Olli, because he was more inspired by Hip Hop then by Metal.
After that, the maniacs decide to record DOUBTFUL EXISTENCE for a third time, because they had found a cheap studio and the current demo tape still had some parts the band didn’t like. DARK AGE entered the “Under Pressure Studio” in Hamburg. Even this recording process was joined by little problems, but in the end they had a professional drum-sound on DOUBTFUL EXISTENCE `97. The bass was played by Finn. With the demo-songs also two new songs were recorded for a promo tape which should show the progress of DARK AGE. “Angelheart” and “The Soul Eclipse” were faster, which was a trademark for the band in the following time. During the live gigs DARK AGE were joined by the violin player Sonja, who played the lead melody for “The Soul Eclipse”.
A temporary help-out on the bass was found in Hendrik Brückner, but he never played at any concert or on any demo. After Hendrik left Torsten Eggert was found in the depth of the Hamburgian Musicians pool, a very good bass-player who played with local bands like ETERNAL BLISS or INTO OBLIVION before.
The first meeting with him left an impression on the band, on the one hand because of his style in playing, on the second hand because of his non-conform Rock’n’Roll -attitude. Directly after the first rehearsal day with the band, Torsten quit his job…DARK AGE for life.
In June 1997, the 5th gig of the band, DARK AGE was put to the test for the first time.
In Glückstadt the band played together with TOTENMOND, POSTMORTEM, DIMPLE MINDS and others. The gig was quite good, but only few listeners were present and the local promoter could not pay any money to the band. It was heared that he had to sell his car to bear the costs…
In summer of that year Finn left off to America. The band was not willing to take a break during that time, so Jörn Schubert from the braking-off A.O.P. joined DARK AGE as a replacement.
Gigs followed with the mates of NORTHERN RAGE and the follow-up band STORMWARRIOR. Again the band was put to the test in January 1998. A gig with THE CROWN and SACRILEGE from Sweden was booked. DARK AGE (together with Finn again) graded with an “A” in their hometown Hamburg and were wildly cheered at.
Shortly after that, the band had a dispute with Finn, who was not willing to go the musical way of the others any longer. DARK AGE wanted to go faster while Finn was more into the slower tunes. In February they played the last gig together…
DARK AGE had arranged very good with Jörn, so they asked him to join the band. The guitarist did not hesitate and got into the band. In the end this line-up turned out to be the most stable and best one the band ever had. The SUICIDE CREW was born!
DARK AGE decided to record an album and was able to realize that in Schrödey’s (TEMPLE OF THE ABSURD) “Absurd Studio”. The self-financed album THE FALL, recorded in summer 1998, featured 7 tracks (``Dark Age``, ``Tears of Rancour``, ``The Awakening``, ``Nighttime Heroes``, ``Storm``, ``Black Evergate``, ``The Fall``). The style now consisted out of older (slower) material and high-speed parts.
In the following time the north lights tired to get a deal for the album and toured their asses off. What happened was, that the band was able to get some good contacts and e.g. played together with DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER. The Hamburg-based label REMEDY RECORDS began to gain interest in the band.
In summer 1999 the hammer was put to the nails: THE FALL was released on REMEDY RECORDS. With that the Dark Metalheads were, beside the “Label”-band TORMENT, the first signing on REMEDY. Both partners had big hope and wanted to create something together. With the ideas of “Value for money” & “Quality instead of quantity” they are even today very alone in the business. Today bands like STORMWARRIOR, PARAGON, BURDEN OF GRIEF or NEGATOR are signed to REMEDY RECORDS.
The reactions of the press were not that enthusiastic as the band hoped to, but interviews and good words followed. The album was sold slowly, but compared to the bad possibilities it was not that bad. Without a “real” distribution and just via mail-order about 1000 copies are sold until today.
Even in the visual way the band memorized themselves: A clip for the song “The Fall” was shot, it appears on this DVD for the first time. It was never shown anywhere else before. Also the Animal-protection organisation “Vier Pfoten” noticed DARK AGE and their lyrics about the sick humanity. In a spot for “Vier Pfoten” cuts from “The Fall” were used as background music.
In the following time DARK AGE tried hard to tour the whole republic of Germany. After an opening-slot for Germany’s sickos EISREGEN, a 3-day-tour through East-Germany with TEMPLE OF THE ABSURD and NIEDERSCHLAG followed in the beginning of 2000. A gig with PRIMORDIAL and THYRFING in the Headbanger´s Ballroom (Hamburg) was proof enough for the quality of the band. DARK AGE was booked and present at the famous WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN 2000 - disaster . The festival was cancelled on Sunday after the promoter stole the money. DARK AGE were planned to play on monday…
In the meantime the band had written enough new material to record the next album. The plan was realized from April to June 2000 in the new “Absurd Studio” of Schrödey. INSURRECTION was born: 8 DARK AGE songs (``Trial by Fire``, ``Killing Crises``, ``Fearing Tomorrow``, ``Terror to the Masses``, ``Heartfall``, ``Chaos of the Gods``, ``Break of the Elements`` & ``Eden Calling``), plus the METALLICA cover song “For whom the Bell tolls”, which was released on the DigiPak. In addition the MOTÖRHEAD song “Burner” was recorded, released on the MOTÖRHEAD Tribute Sampler “Motörmorphöses” in autumn 2000. The material on the new album was heavier and more melodic at the same time then it was on THE FALL.
Like for THE FALL, André did the artwork for the album, who graded his skills to a higher level on this field of art. The cover shows a city in the bull’s-eye of destruction. The photo was taken by André himself. At that time nobody could imagine that exactly this city was the victim of a terrible act of terror in 2001, the city on the cover is New York.
Shortly before the release of INSURRECTION DARK AGE played the WACKEN OPEN AIR for the first time in August 2000. Even though the band had a very early stage time (10 a.m.), they were able to wake up a lot of people and get them in front of the stage. At the end of August the release party with the alcoholics of EVERTICUM (R.I.P.) and the drunk-heads of MEPHISTOPHELES followed.
With the new album the band got more positive reactions, interviews in Germany’s big Metal Mags ROCK HARD (Top 20 soundcheck) and LEGACY (Top 10 soundcheck) followed. An edited version of “Killing Crises” was on a LEGACY-sampler.
In 2001 the band just toured (e.g. with CRACK UP (R.I.P.), NIGHT IN GALES & ADORNED BROOD) and wrote songs for album no.3.
In April 2002 it was time for the next chapter in the history of DARK AGE. Within two weeks the album THE SILENT REPUBLIC was recorded in the green halls of the STAGE ONE studio together with mastermind Andi Classen. For the first time DARK AGE had not as much time as they wished to, what did not disturb the band to record a product of high quality. The 10 own songs (``Introduction``, ``The Silent Republic``, ``Daily Combat``, ``Know me strong``, ``Suicide Crew``, ``Cut the Flesh``, ``Return``, ``Last Words``, ``Now or never``, ``We who suffer``) and the AC/DC cover “Hells Bells” found their way on the luxurious DigiPak. The cover song is just available on the limited pressing. “Hells Bells” was recorded and produced by Eike Freese in his own studio, the EIKEY STUDIO.
Again, the artwork was designed by André, which showed that the visual side of DARK AGE is very important. The DigiPak is completely black with a silver print on it. The cd is black from the top AND from the bottom. The pictures in the booklet show the band members as a strong personality with a broken “shadow”.
The release party for “The Silent Republic“ at the Headbanger´s Ballroom in Hamburg made the club “sold-out”, even though there was no other band playing that evening. And also the reactions coming from the press were pretty go, again DARK AGE climbed some steps up in the soundcheck rankings. In Germany’s “Legacy” it was the 4th rank and the 14th in “Rock Hard”. The song “Suicide Crew” made it on the sampler of “Legacy”. In 2003 Eike did interviews for magazines worldwide.
In January 2003 the 50th band career gig was made, which was celebrated with a lot of friends and a special show in the hometown Pinneberg. Beside others the setlist consisted of old demo classics like “Doom Like Lady”, which the band hadn’t played since the “demo-days”.
In spring 2003 the band decided to re-record the old demo-classics, because the old demo tapes “Doubtful Existence”, “Doubtful Existence ‘97” and the “Winter Promo ‘96/’97” were hardly known to anyone. The tapes were originally release in a stock of 100 items per issue. DARK AGE choose the following songs for the recording:
„Angel Heart“, „Doom Like Lady“, „Insomnia“, „The Soul Eclipse“ & „Doubtful Existence“. The only demo song that was not recorded again was “Eternal Lead”, because this song has definitely very bad song-writing…
Additionally the song “Tears of Rancour” from the debut “The Fall” was recorded again, because the album-version is very disappointing concerning the sound-quality.
For the recording process DARK AGE decided to use the new “EiKey Studio” of Eike for the first time. This way of recording guaranteed the band an independent way of working. As a special bonus the original recordings of the demo tracks were put on the EP too. In the end the EP had a playing time of over 50 minutes.
Finally a name for the cd had to be found, and one ended up with the title REMONSTRATIONS, a combination of the words “renovation” and “demonstrations”.
The band pictures for REMONSTRATIONS were made by the ambitious photographer Patrick Debus, who shot very moody pictures of DARK AGE.
In the summer diverse festivals and glorious club gigs followed, besides others on the WACKEN OPEN AIR. DARK AGE rocked the “Party Stage” in front of about 5000 people. The gig was the biggest so far in the band’s career and as a follow up the track “Know me strong” made it on this years “Armageddon over Wacken” Live cd.
During 2003 “The Silent Republic” was released in many different European and non-European countries. To the Japanese version another bonus track (“The Soul Eclipse” – Violin Version) was added. The release in Japan lead to a 2-page interview in Japan’s legendary “BURRRN!”-magazine and “The Silent Republic” made it into the reader’s charts.
Now it’s 2004 and you may have bought (if not, do so!) the newest DARK AGE output, simply entitled DARK AGE. The title was chosen because the band did everything on this record by themselves for the first time. Besides the song writing also the production was made by Eike in his “EiKey Studio” with the assistance of Steve Quellmalz.
Feel with you ears and eyes! ENJOY!
See you on tour!!!
We raise our beers to you!!!
EDIT: The band released their first live dvd called "Live, so far".
DVD 1: Complete Dark Age gig filmed by Steve Q. for Qiu-Media at the Markthalle
Hamburg on 3 September 2005. Track 1-17.
DVD 2: The complete and uncut history of Dark Age from 1995 to 2005 with unseen
live performances, studio diaries from all recordings, raging backstage parties,
and so on... also feat. the never before released song "Her Eve". Movie cut and
edited by Eike.
There's Also Another band called DARK AGE existed back in 80s.This one played Heavy/Power Metal and released Self Titled EP in 1984. DARK AGE(U.S.A)
Yet another one called Dark Age from Switzerland, an underground band in the '80s. They appear on the "AVALANCHE Swiss Underground" compilation with the tracks "Cityepidemie", and "Face Of Death".
Power metal, Gothenburg
DARK AGE ORIGIN
Germany (Hamburg), formed in 1995
DARK AGE CURRENT RECORD LABEL
DARK AGE STATUS
DARK AGE CURRENT LINE-UP
Eike Freese - vocals, guitar (Guest in Truth Kills)
Jörn Schubert - lead guitar (ex-Holy Moses)
Alex - bass (Philiae)
André Schumann - drums (ex-Stormwarrior)
Martin Reichert - keyboards
DARK AGE PREVIOUS LINE-UP
Olli Fliegel - bass
Torsten Eggert - bass
Finn Dierks - lead guitar
Hendrik Bruckner - bass
Sonja - session violin