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Damn The Machine: The Story Of Noise Records by David E Gehlke review

It’s the way he tells it

Cover art for Damn The Machine: The Story Of Noise Records by David E Gehlke

The story of Noise Records is the story of its founder, the maverick engineer-turned-anarchist-turned-prison bird-turned-metal impresario Karl Ulrich Walterbach. It’s a story packed with narrativ e ammunition, from the Red Army Faction to Celtic Frost’ s Cold Lake – possibly the most misguided album release in the entire history of rock – and it’s a story full of spite, conflict, recrimination and lawsuits. It’s a story that needs a devoted, unbiased teller, and in journalist David E Gehlke it has that.

It’s a story Gehlke has clearly spent a lot of time on, with 500 densely packed pages of interviews, rare photos and fliers. It’s a story that deserves to be told brilliantly. And while the detail is fascinating and the interviews frank, it’s a story told without any humour or poetry or lightness of touch, and it’s a chore to read.

A story for Noise freaks only.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 35 years in music industry, online for 22. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.