AGGRESSOR was basicly one of the shortest-running Dutch metal bands. But still, there's a good story behind the band.
Holland based outfit AGGRESSOR never got to the vinyl stage and their short-lived career only counts but one outlet, the “Don’t You Dare” three song demo. For the time, this demo portrayed quite a heavy, Speed-oriented sound with a strong blend of classic NWOBHM, but the band never further snowballed their concept, as its members drifted off to other acts, one of whom would gain the ‘Hall Of Fame’ status with prime Deathsters GOREFEST. Bassist Wim Den Boer takes us back in time....
When we talk obscure 80’s Metal, then AGGRESSOR surely fits the description; even within the boundaries of the Dutch hardrock / metal scene, there’s only little known about the band or its existence. Back to where it all started, what year does one date back to then??
Wim: We incepted in April ’82, in a line-up comprised of; Ed Warby (drums), Remko de Winter (guitar), Andre Loeve (vocals) and myself on bass. In this line-up we did one show only in June of the very same year.
As for that initial line-up; there must have been backgrounds in previous bands; could you name a few?
Wim: Well, to be honest, there wasn’t any! Don’t forget that, at that time, we were youngsters; Ed was 15 and the rest of us 17. We had a bit of experience in the band-thing, but basically, this was rather practice than it was a real ‘show’.
As the band got together, was there a specific musical direction one opted for or did that emerge from playing hardrock/metal covers for starters?
Wim: From day one, we focused on writing originals. This came easy, but whenever we played live, we always threw in a few covers for good measure.
Then, out of the blue, there’s this AGGRESSOR demo, taped on a D-46 cassette; exactly how many dubs were made from that tape?
Wim: To complete the story first; the line-up that recorded the demo came to completion in August ’82, as Andre Loeve had left the band, and got replaced by Rene Debets, as well as we enrolled another guitarist, Jan Zwager. At the tail-end of 1982 we recorded that demo under the productional guidance of Martin Mens (HIGHTWAY CHILE) and Thierry Plisson (IMPACT). The tape duplicated, roughly, about 300 copies which had all been sold.
Referring to that demo; was that the very first material the band produced in its brief existence, or was there already a considerable set of songs to choose from?
Wim: These weren’t the first songs we did. As I recall, these numbers were specifically written to be released as a demo. At that time, we boasted some 25 originals.
For that time, the demo displayed a pretty intense and heavy concept / sound, crossing borders with the SpeedMetal thing in its developing stages? when it comes to that, Holland was quite ahead of its competition on European levels, how does this occur to you?
Wim: Well, looking back, that is a yes referring to the demo. At that time, however, we simply weren’t aware of that?We all loved fast metal, if there was any back then, as mostly, that was accelerated hardrock. On top of that, we had a most talented drummer, that didn’t have the slightest problem, whatsoever, to keep up with the pace. This made things a lot easier on us.
That aside, the demo does reflect a considerable NWOBHM flavour, including the likes of Holocaust (“The House Of Horror”); talking inspirational sources; what’s been the ones to fundament the AGGRESSOR sound?
Wim: Well, you’ve just mentioned one. Holocaust was a big time favourite among us all, but additionally, there was IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW, JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON, PICTURE, LED ZEPPELIN, VENOM, MOTORHEAD, etc. A pretty diverse palette of influences I’d say.
Was there serious intentions with AGGRESSOR with regard to landing a record-deal, and to what extend has the tape been shopped around for promotional purposes?
Wim: There was indeed. One of the labels that had been approached was Neat records, and they did respond but they weren’t too keen on us, but then again, they must have gotten about a 100 tapes a day or so? In the promotional field, there’s been copies send to various fanzines in Holland and beyond, aswell as several radio shows were provided a copy. I recall the song “Profession Of Violence” topping the charts at a number one position for weeks in a row at some Belgian rock show, the name of which just slips my mind. It triggered a few hundred letters from listeners!
So, as a final count, how many originals were there spanning the band’s career, and is there any plans to possibly release any of those one way or another, particularly in view of the fact that 80’s metal is back again in full force...
Wim: Altogether, there’s been about 25-30 originals. However, what’s left of that, are some dodgy live recordings and the demo that meanwhile sounds pretty blurry. Maybe, we should join forces again one day, just for the sake of re-recording some originals? who knows?
The musical career of AGRRESSOR was a short-term happening; what was it that made the band call it a day, and when was that?
Wim: The first occasion that triggered the end of AGGRESSOR was the departure of Jan Zwager and Rene Debets, April 1983. We did find another guitarist (Hans Kuurstra) but we did not succeed to find a replacement for Rene, there simply wasn’t any for some odd reason. There’s been about 20 (including female singers), but no match. Then, the young age comes into play, as we simply could not sit back and wait for things to happen. It was then, that the absence of a singer, sparked the formation of a new band, ABYSS, initiated by me, Hans Kuurstra, and others. This made AGGRESSOR come to an end, period. That was in August ’83.
So, after the split, where did its members drift off to, and is there any active in the music scene at present?
Wim: Ed Warby became a very successful drummer (including stints with AYREON, and GOREFEST). Remko de Winter did a few things, but nothing overly serious though. Rene Debets sung in Vulture for a while, but have never seen or spoken to afterwards. Jan Zwager called it a day as a guitarist. As for me, as said earlier, I initiated the band ABYSS and continued for some 12 years! 1995 is when we called it quits. Afterwards, I had been involved in few things - including CD recordings with JEFF & CO; native tongue Rock on the Dino label - Then, in 2000, I formed SILVER DOLLAR, along with Robert Soeterbroek and Ed Warby (re-appearing again). This was purely entertainment aimed; 70/80’s covers. Ed did one gig with us, only to join GOREFEST again afterwards. Right now, we play on and off, wherever with this band.
Anything else to add?
Wim: Thanks for bringing back memories!
(interview conducted by Paul v/d Burcht)
Andre Loeve - vocals
Rene Debets - vocals (ex-VULTURE)
Jan Zwager - guitar (ex-TEMPTER, ex-VULTURE)
Hans Kuurstra - guitar (ex-ABYSS)
Remko de Winter - guitar
Wim den Boer - bass (ex-ABYSS)
Ed Warby - drums (ex-TEMPTER, ex-VALKYRIE)
*Don't you dare (Demo 1982)