The Hand of Doom

Poisonoise

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Originally pressed in a limited run of 500 vinyl copies, in the year of our lord 1979, Poisonoise is the only recorded will and testament begotten by an extremely obscure German band named the Hand of Doom. No one would ever confuse this disheveled and somewhat desperate-looking group of young men (never mind their decidedly lo-fi recordings) for a professional ensemble with even the remotest commercial potential. Still, there's an altogether weird, if not completely alien, confluence of proto-metal and early punk informing the Hand of Doom's unhinged songwriting and wild-eyed delivery -- not to mention the chronological and geographical anomalies (probably a time warp and intra-dimensional travel, respectively) that somehow placed Poisonoise in 1979 instead of 1969, and near the border between East and West Germany, rather than the empty wastes between Sirius and Andromeda. If any parallel can be drawn with the regular order of the rock & roll universe, one could say that the Hand of Doom's Bizarro-world interpretation of heavy metal resembles how Cleveland's Rocket from the Tombs related to the broader punk rock scene -- which is to say, remotely at best. And so, after mystifying any doom enthusiasts misled by the band's moniker and its obvious Black Sabbath connotations with urgent numbers like "There Ain't No Running Away," "The Hound," and the title song; then contradicting those central European roots with magnificently groovy cuts like "They Who'll Creep in the Night" and "Heavy Metal Head," Poisonoise proceeded to visit everything from gothic psychobilly ("Rock'n'Roll Close to the End of the World") and deranged '50s rock ("Deadman's Dream"), to lysergic psych-pop ("The Lights of Blind") and a veritable retread of Iggy & the Stooges' "Raw Power" ("Doom Power"). Indeed, the only unifying thread to this twisted musical melange was singer Andreas Rößner -- a real character who was seemingly part Iggy, part Elvis, and part Beefheart, while penning lyrics that could have interchangeably been inspired by Ozzy or Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Legend even has it that his bandmates -- led by versatile guitarist Uwe Ellenberger, whose orchestrated savagery is second only to Ron Asheton's -- demanded that Rößner tone down his larger-than-life persona before agreeing to re-form and record Poisonoise. But if this was truly the case, then one can only imagine what might have been, since it's unquestionably the singer's possessed performance that ensured this album's survival throughout the years. [The CD reissue of Poisonoise was augmented with a ten-track bonus disc featuring live and demo recordings assembled from Rößner's personal collection.]

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