One of the crown jewels of the Holland heavy metal scene!
We have to go back to the mid 70s to find the origin of EMERALD. At this time the two school friends Bert Kivits and Allard Ekkel decided to start a band and call it WARRIOR. Of course there were later a number of bands called WARRIOR, only in Holland alone there were a few of them. So at the end of ’83, the name is changed into EMERALD, inspired by a song from THIN LIZZY. It takes until ’84 when the band records a four track demo. The songs shows the guys are very much into PICTURE and OZZY OSBOURNE. What everyone directly hears is the extremely high pitched voice from singer Bert Kivits. It’s a love or hate thing and nothing in the middle. A mix between Geddy Lee and Pat Benatar (really!). But besides Bert’s voice also the Randy Rhoads style playing from Allard Ekkel is quite remarkable and gives EMERALD their own unique sound. No wonder the band gets good reviews. Megaton boss Bram Kloos gets interested and so it happens that on the 24th of January 1985 the band signs a deal with Megaton (Thank you Bram!!). When later that year the album is released, EMERALD got a huge live reputation in their region and is called ‘The best heavy metal band from the East’ (of Holland, that is).
Although the LP, called "Down Town", does not have the best production and artwork, the LP still gets a lot of good reviews. It contains the four songs from the demo plus some new songs. Soon after that Megaton gets bankrupt and the band is back on the street again. In the meantime they replaced drummer Gert Slot for Rudy Marissen, who played in REVENGE before. With him they write new songs, but no new demo is released. In ’86 they do a gig in Enschede, which is recorded by Radio East. That recording is the only recording where the songs, written after "Down Town", can be heard. And it proves the band only got better after the album. Songs like "Robin Hood", "Wet Dreams", "Karen" and "Back To The Future" are killers, everyone single one of them!
But the band didn’t got a new deal and at the end of the 80s the band splits up. It takes till 1998, when the guys from the German That’s Metal magazine (and yours truly) do an interview with the band. It puts the band back in the spotlight. One year later "D-Day" from the "Down Town" LP appears on the first HM Maniacs compilation CD. From Germany Iron Glory Records shows interest to put out a CD release of the LP. They change the artwork into something more metal and they change the title into "Iron On Iron". In ’99, the CD gets released and gets very good reviews in several magazines. The band is honoured by all the attention and decides to answer all the begging to do a reunion gig. So it happens that in 2002 EMERALD appears on the HM Maniacs festival playing all their classics. The news reaches Germany and some time later EMERALD hit the German stage for the first time in their history, followed by a number of gigs in Germany. Most memorable gig is the gig in 2005 at the Keep It True festival, when a hall with five hundred people gets totally nuts and sings every song word by word. A proof, that the CD sold very good. Around this time the band added Paul van Rijswijk (ex-HAMMERHAWK) as second guitarist plus a new bass player. Nowadays plans are made for recording those old songs written after "Down Town". So the band is still alive and as soon as we have any news we will post it in the News section of this website.
(text conducted by Stefan van Zijl)
Bert Kivits – vocals
Allard Ekkel – guitars
Paul van Rijswijk – guitars (ex-HAMMERHAWK/AFTERDARK)
Essie Zagers – bass
Gert Slot – drums
Rudy Marissen - drums (ex-REVENGE)
Demo 1 (Demo 1984)
*Down Town (LP Megaton 1985)
*Heavy Metal Maniacs pt. 1 (CD Compilation with "D-day" 1999)
*Iron on Iron (CD release of "Down Town" 1999)