I think, for the fans of the old Metal bands a bad and amateur sounding old recording mean much more, that the newst bands. Profesionalism and clean sound are really nice, but we just like the untuned and dirty sounded music. This belief was for me more stronger, as I made party together with an old bandmember of Fantom at a metal-festival some weeks before. We didn’t care about the fresh bands on the stage, the meeting was so great for us both.
Everybody have to see, that these old bands (also Angel Reaper) are important parts of the Hungarian Metal histroy, so they belong to the highest emperors of the past of Hungarian Metal life, like Pokolgép & Co., although they didn’t make so big career and they worked „just” in the underground. So a nostalgic interview is 100% correct in this case.
Those foreign readers, who don’t know all the little, but important segments of Hungarian Metal history, and they know from the Black/Thrash scene only the mighty Tormentor, will find here lot of interesting facts not only about music and Angel Reaper band, but also about those older times. We hope, our readers will have fancy to get know also other old Hungarian Metal bands. I recommend for every one Angel Reaper, and I hope, you all will enjoy this interview.
Although you did it for me in an e-mail before months, but please Gyula, be so kind, and tell us everything about the history of Angel Reaper! You can also tell us everything about the hobby-projects of the post-Angel Reaper-period.
Some words about Angel Reaper band: the band was formed in 1987, this time I would like to call as period of the first steps with instruments (you can hear it also on the first demo very well). The founders were: Szeghalmi Tibor - bass; Gyurkó Zsolt - drums; Kovács Zsolt - guitars; Czakó József - vocals, Szabó Gyula - guitars. We founded the band in the city Eger, because three of the founders have studied in Eger until 1988 (Czakó József; Szeghalmi Tibor, and me), and the idea of the band was born there. After that also the army „helped” our work, because three of us had to make military service. After the military service Angel Reaper was re-founded with its classic line-up. We had a lot of live-shows with Detonátor, Beyond, Tormentor, and we toured all the cities around us (Mezőkövesd; Füzesabony; Debrecen; Kazincbarcika, etc.). After that there was a new shut-up in the history of the band, as our drumer had enough from the brutal music left the band to make nuptial music, the other guitarist just have married and left the band and the army made again a stop for us. After the army the band came together again with this line-up: Szeghalmi Tibor - bass; Bíró Gábor - guitars; Szabó Gyula - guitars, vocals, and Dudás István – drums (he came from Detonátor, which was split up). Luckily we had a lot of great ideas, so in two years we could make a great demo-material „Exhumált világ” („Exhumed world”). It was a great new beginning, but unfortunately we noticed, that although the fans like our music, but with this brutal style we can’t make to much sucesses in Hungary. With the greatest sadness of mine I had to stop with playing guitar. With some of the old members we are in good contacts, and I have two real great friends inside of the band, with Szeghalmi "Szocsó" Tibor I use to go often to the big river Tisza and we have a common hobby: line-fishing. The topics of the demo „Végzet utolér” were written by Bíró Gábor, but some text were writtem by me. The text of „Exhumált világ” were written by Szeghalmi Tibor, but three songs were written by me and Bíró Gábor together („Exhumált világ”, „Élve eltemetve” and „Kéj birodalma”). All music were written by Bíró Gábor, all other members helped him with some own ideas. (Gyula didn’t tell anithing about their projects, so I do it now. After the disbanding of Angel Reaper in 1992 was founded a new project with the name Herma Florida. In this band played three members of the last Angel Reaper line-up: Szabó Gyula, Bíró Gábor, Szeghalmi Tibor. Herma Florida band hade two demos in 1992 and in 1994. The other project was Don Díno, there play also now two ex-Angel Reaper members: Bíró Gábor and Szeghalmi Tibor, they made a demo in 1998. Herma Florida played loud and dirty Metal, Don Díno plays country / western rock.)
Does anithing to do the bandname with the singer of the mighty Sodom?
I see, you also like the foreign bands… Let’s see the answer… Our first drummer, Gyurkó Zsolt was a mighty Sodomist! It was his idea, that we sould choose this name, but we all liked this name! But as I remember, the singer of Sodom is Angelrippier, not Angel Reaper!
Are you glad to remember back to the old times? Do you like this kind of nostalgic? Haha!
I never dreamd about, that I will have so nice suprises with my old band Angel Reaper, and I just can say thank you for this surprises! Yes, a little bit of nostalgic is good for me, I listen to my old recordings with full of hapiness, also after these long years.
As we see, you founded the band in age of 17 or 18 years. How much were you familiar with this music-style, and did you 100% know, what you play with your instruments? Who were your favorites?
Yes, we knew 100%, what hard metal means, but we didn’t know, which style we follow inside of metal, we just know, that we must play fast and brutal. This music came from our souls, we didn’t define exactly, which stle we want to play. It was important for us, that all the members have to feel the music as his own one! Lucikly every members enjoyed to play this fast and hard kind of music, and it was good to be together along this times.
Before the classic and great demo „Végzet utolér” („The fate catchs you”) you made a three-songs-rpe-demo, which is avaiable ont he CD-R as bonus. If I remembre well, you sent also this shorter recording to the Metallica Hungarica Magazine. Would you tell us some informations about? How was the reception of this rehearsal-demo? Your comments?
As I wrote you in the first question, this time we played really bad, also this recording was primitive, so the meaning of the posting of this first demo to the metal-press was, that we wanted to teach for the freaks a new name inside of metal music. But if you would have ask this in 1987, we would have give you a much more assretive answer. Face to facts: in 1987-1988 there was a so „poor” world here in Hungray, that the metal-heads were hungry for every good metal-activites. It was enough those times to make a small activity with good metal sound and the sucess was unbeliveable. The freaks were so happy about these aciviteis (live-shows, demos etc.), that they supported us very much, but I gess, this support was not 100% deserved. I think, our music wasn’t worthless, but I guess, the freaks didn’t supported the music, but the so called underground feeling and they said: „There are some young boys, who play that kind of music, which is near to the Western-European metal musical life”. As answer for the second part of your question: I guess, the review int he Metallica Hungarica speaks for itself.
What kind of reactions did you get for „Végzet utolér” demo from the prominents of the underground society?
The reactions were neutral, I think. Everibody was busy with their own things, own music, and to be hones, our demo was not 100% their cup of tea… But from the fans w eget also those times really good feedbacks (we couldn’t give back them the support), so I sent the demo to lot of curious people… And I got always positive reactions…
You made in 1989 one of the most important Hungarian metal-recording ever! Allthough the songs were very special, there were some mistakes on the recordings, too. For example untuned guitars, etc. Would you comment this? Would you tell us about the conditions of the recordings?
Thank you for this compliment, but I think, you made an overstatement. So, at those times we were far away from the correct instrumental knowledge. The untuned guitars are also today a sad thing for me. We got the possibility for making the recording very suddenly, and we weren’t 100% aware, so the result was not perfect. But if you mean, the songs were perfect, I agree with you: the songs were really good. They were made by the ideas of our guitarist Bíró „Dínó” Gábor, who have also today a lot of great musiocal ideas. (He plays also now at a band, his band’ name is Don Dino, and they play western-rock.)
I know more people, for whom the „Végzet utolér” demo had a big influence (I also belong to this group), and there are also maniacs, who grown up on this demo-material. In this part of Hungary had the most the metalheads this demo. Your comment?
I’m glat, ho hear, that we could infect some people with our demo, but I can’t do anithing with this kind of eulogistic questions. It’s a big honour for me, becuase at those times there were a lot of bands, who made more professional music than us also in Hungary. And I didn’t mentioned the foreing stars…
Let’s play a little bit with an idea: What would you say, if somebody comes to you and promise, that he pays studio and everithing, you just have to re-record the old demo in a professionel studio with the clasic line-up? What would you answer? And your opinion about a nistalgic mega-live-show in a stadium?
Yes, I also played already with this idea, but we think, nobody have to abuse the old recordings, because they are so worthy, as we made them before couple of years, although they aren’t perfect. They can give for everybody just in the old form good rememberances. A live show in a stadium would be great, haha! But I dont think, that there would be so much curious people…
An unique of your old songs was, that you used 10 years before the trend also proud nationalist / pagan texts. At the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s the Hungarian skinhead bands used this kind of topics like „Ősi dicsőség” („Ancient pride”) or „Magyarok nyilaitól ments meg uram minket” („God, save us from the arrows of Hungarians”). In these songs everybody can feel the nationalist commitment. How much was it conscious? Do you accept also now those topics?
As I listen to this songs also now, I feel the same. In these topics you can feel, that our nation was not always a fawning, like more times in the history. We were great, and I think, many Hungarian people are interested in the national history, so also in the songs, which are orianted to this topics.
If we look at the pop/rock/metal etc. songs worldwide, we won’t find too much ones about Spanish civil war. Why did you write the the song „Condor légió”?
My friend, Dino, liked always the history. He was captued by this topic and he wrote the song.
If we classificate your texts of „Végzet utolér”, there were two groups: nationalist texts and satanist texts. What is your opinion now about your satanist texts?
It is specifical for this part of metal music. We felt ourself to belong to that part of metal, so we couldn’t avoid these texts. I was not too much in to the text-writing, so I would’n comment tose texts now.
The Angel Reaper band recorded its second demo „Exhumált világ” in 1992. We can’t find there any nationalist topics. Why? Were they no more fit for the more brutal music? On the recording „Exhumált világ” there is much more brutal music and vocals. Why did you search for larger borders of brutal music?
You’re right here, bro! After the military service we got a new member, a drumer, Dudás István, who came from Detonátor band. After the disbanding of Detonátor he relaxed a bit, so he had lot of new musical ideas in his mind. We thought, that this more brutal music will be good for us, so we made that kind of death-music.
You didn’t spread toomuch that newer stuf. Why?
We have choosen a new strategy: if we can win the sympathy of the fans with our new music in the live-shows, we will spread that second demo. Immediately after the recording of the second demo we got an invitation from Slovakia for a concert, which had positive and also negative feedbacks. The fans were very good, and we could feel, that the underground death/black metal is very popular there. But in our Hungarian gigs we didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for our style, like abroad and in our older Hungarian shows. It was a negative feedback… After the sucesses of „Végzet utolér” we wanted the same reception also for the new demo. It doesn’t mean, that our second demo was bad, it just meant, that the number of fans of brutal music was small here. It was in the background, why we didn’t spread the second demo and why we didn’t sent itt o the metal-magazines.
You said, you splited up the band, becuase you didn’t get the deserved feedback from the metal scene. What was your expectation?
We wanted more gigs, because we wanted to make a poof about our music for more fans. And of course we awaited somebody, who can help us for bring out our album. But it so happened, that we didn’t find anybody (we can call him also a sponsor) who stood by us to make our name more popular but not only in the brutal scene, but we wanted our deserved place also in the whole Hungarian metal-life. We wanted more acknowledgement, we wanted a tape-album or LP, etc. etc. But I guess, the same things are in the dreams of all amaterur bands…
After the end of the communist regime there were in Hungary a lot of independent labels, and the MC and CD-factories were open for everybody. Not only the communist record label (called MHV) could press LP’s or tapes… There were out also self financied stuffs… Why didn’t you make a self-released MC or something like that?
We didn’t have enough money for bring out the album… But I think, it wouldn’t have any sense…
I like Angel Reaper more better, tahn Tormentor (although Tormentor is also great) but they made a successfuller career, although the music of yours is similar to their music. They are now in the underground meta-life big stars!!! What is the reason of this? Maybe the typical Hungarian opposition between Budapest and countryside?
We also knew Tormentor band (with help of Detonátor). I think, they played more professional. There wasn’t any kind of challenge between the old bands… Maybe one of the the reasons was, that they lived in the capitaly city, and from there they could better make a dominance. As far as I know, Tormentor-members played since together longer time, so their production was better…
Your song „Apokalipszis lovasai” („Knights of Apocalypse”) is very similar to the song „Tormentor I.” from „Anno domini” of Tormentor. The solo but also the structure of your song is very near to the mentioned Tormentor-song. Is it just a hazard?
You can belive it, it just a hazard. As we wrote that song, we didn’t know Tormentor band and their music. And after that we listen to them just in live gigs, I personally don’t have their recordings also now…
Since 2002, more than a decade after its recording, more freaks can enjoy the classic demo „Végzet utolér”. I released this demo on CD-R. How do you think about the re-releasing?
I was angry about you, that you didn’t come earlier. Haha! Of yourse I was very happy about, that there is a man, who recall the old rememberances…
It’s not too known, so I must tell now, that it was not so easy to find you after so much years, so before the re-releasing of „Végzet utolér” demo I had to made a long searching for you. I have asked around in your city at many places about you or about your old band, so at the end you found me! Haha! That’s the reason, why I made aproximative 10-15 examples of the CD-R for some friends before the getting your agreegment in re-releasing. Was it not distrurbing for you, that there was between our first meeting and the re-releasing date aproximative 1-2 months? I just ask it, becuase some motherfuckers spread the rumorus, that the re-releasing of the old demo is 100% bootleg… It would be good, to let everybody see clear about…
I don’t know, who is able to spread such thing, but we are speeking here about very underground releases with small copies, so it’s noth worthy to speak about bootlegging. But if you ask about it, I say now: you have got my permission befoe those 15 examples!!! I just can answer, what I told you in the question before: why not earlier?
Your opinion about the poor lay-out of re-releasing of „Végzet utolér”?
I don’t have any kind of problem with it, it’s not the best, but it’s OK. The music is much more important!
Your opinion about the lay-out of the re-releasing of „Exhumált világ”? It’s very morbid, I guess…
It’s absolutely fit for the music… I just can gratulate….
Some months long there was an idea by a Malayzian label, that they would like to re-release the „Végzet utolér” demo on tape. Unfortunately this idea has not materialized. Your opinion about, that a Malayzian boy is interested in your music?
My feelings are a bit ambivalent. I would have been more happy, that an European label would have make this re-releasing, but otherwise I’m happy, that some Malayzian boys can learn some things about our fatherland with help of our old music. But I think, this co-operation wont be successfull….
We made with Csihar Attila an interview some years before, and he mentioned, that he have got lot of fedback from the side of the scene about their music, that „such kind of music is not worthy to make” etc. etc. Did you also get this kind of feedvbacks?
This musical way is not easy to consume for most of the people, so I guess, it’s „normally”, that some weak people wont be keenly about this kind of music. We also didn’t get too much positive opinions about our music from the metal-scene. But of course the most of the rock-maniacs were happy about this mad style music, too… Unfortunately the Thrash, Speed, Death, Black Metal trends were not so long in Hungary. But of course I’m happy about, that I was young at those time, as these musical styles were in Hungary populair.
Your opinion about the metal music today?
I must give in, I don’t know toomuch the new metal music. If I have freetime, I often listen to my old favorites, for example Helloween, Guns ’n Roses or real Death Metal bands. So, please, don’t let me speak about new trends and bands.
Your opinion about, that after 15 year you just get positive feedbacks for your old music?
I think, I’m not immodest, if I say: it speaks for itself!
The re-released version of „Exhumált világ” contains a bonus-song „Hitler a Messiás” („Hitler the Messiah”). This song was played not by the mighty Angel Reaper, but by Herma Florida, which was your band directly after Angel Reaper, and its first line-up was the same, like the last line-up of Angel Reaper. The style of this song remind me for angel Reaper. Am I right?
This song was born from the historical view fo my freiend Dino again, and it’s not just about hurrah of Adolf Hitler, but also about pure historical facts. It’s a great text, and we made a good music for it, too. You can feel, that this music is not 100% in the old Angel Reaper style, but it’s also not far away from it… But it’s 100% Herma Florida!!! In the most live gigs we played it and the fans were crazy about it!
„Demo 1” (1987), „Végzet utolér” (demo 1989), „Exhumált világ” (demo 1992). Did you ever made an other recording with the band? Maybe also a video-material from a live-show?
We just have that old relearsal-room video, wich you also have. It has unfortunately bad quality. As far as I remember, there was also a concert, where somebody made a video-recording, but those time it was not important for us, to see ourselves back, so I don’t asked that boy about the VHS-tape. But if that boy read this interview, he can contact me somehow… But with Herma Florida I have more videos…
Your city, Mezőköved, is a little, poor one, but there were two great bands in the ’80s-’90s with style black/death/thrash metal: Detonátor and Angel Reaper. Why was it so? Was there also other good bands in your city? How was your scene?
We had a good and united scene here. We all were friends. There was a common puub here in Mezőkövesd, its name was „Mámor” („Intoxication”). All the metalheads from Mezőkövesd used to go there to drink and as the whole group was together, we were 70 persons. We made very big parties. We met eachother with the members of other two bands (Detonátor and Armageddon). I guess, you also know Armageddon, but unfortunately they didn’t have too much sucesses… It was very important, that we weren’t jealous about eachother. We helped eachother with common live shows, or we borrowed our instruments to eachother, etc. etc.
How was an old Angel Reaper live gig? Was it a totally mad thing, or „just” an ordinary metal act? Which was the best concert of Angel Reaper ever?
I don’t think, that our concerts were something special. It was very very important, that the number of the visitors was out of object. It didn’t matter, if 30 persons or 300 persons are there in the shows, we had to play with full faith. The most of the fans were glad about our enthusiasm. But I must give in, that also alcohol was not in the backgrouhnd, haha! We wanted to make a proof, that we are also good in drinking, haha! I have a lot of good remeberances from those times, but the very best one is, as we made a concert in Debrecen, in the big youth park. One day before we made party at the lake Balaton, and after a long night we have travelled with our motor-cycles to Debrecen and we weren’t 100% solber, haha! It was the top of freedom-feeling… I wont never forget it! As we arrived, there was a lot of fans, and it was big surprise for us and it was unbeliveable, that the most of the fans could identify us and they asked us about autographs… As we played, tha fans were totally crazy, and we fel ourselves a good band. I wont really ever forget that day!!!
What do you do in your privat life? Do you have a family? And what do the other old members do?
I don’t want to list everybody for my old members, I hope, they wont be angry about me… So, firstly about myself. I have a family, I have two sons, Roland (7 years old) and Richard (5 years old). I’m living in Mezőkövesd, and I work not far away from the city, in Bükkábrány, in the mine. My job is maintains of conveyor belts. The most of my bandmembers has married, Szocsó and Dínó are living now in Budapest, and they work also at the capital city. Mezei István and Gyurkó Zsolt work in Mezőkövesd at the same company, and as far as I know, the other members, who I didn’t mention, are living and working also in Mezőkövesd.
Your last comments!
I think, I never said thank you for my bandmembers for those fantastic years, which I had with them together in Angel Reaper and Herma Florida bands. These years were unforgetable thngis for me, I have a lot of great remeberances. I’m really happy, that I can meet the most of them also now, and I can make a new hobby with my friend Szocsó. I’m very happy, that I could make such kind of production before our fans, which was made by our own hands, and lot of fans esteemed it. If somebody make hesitation about, if he sould learn to play an instrument and if he sould make a Metal band or not, I just can recommend him: DO IT, IT’S WORTHY!!!
A Tenkes Kapitánya (2003)