After leaving their previous band METAL GODS (the name was an obvious tribute to Judas Priest), drummer Mike Matthes and bassist Thorsten Lohmann formed a new band together with guitarists Peter Wittke and Sven Strüven in 1983. All of them were friends and even former schoolmates before the band´s formation. Soon after, the band was auditioning singers and their mutual friend Dirk Schröder was also present, although just to hang out. Because none of these singers was fitting into their idea of how the band should sound like, somebody suggested Dirk to give it a try and to everyone´s suprise he blew all his predecessors out of the water. That was the magic moment, in which IRON ANGEL was born.
While the band began to make a name for themselves in the Hamburg City area, one of their demos made it´s way to the office of the newly found label SPV /Steamhammer in late 1984, culminating in the signing of the band and the release of their debutalbum “HELLISH CROSSFIRE”, which became a blueprint for german speed-metal ever since. The following year, the band toured as opening act for King Diamond, right before releasing their second Album “WINDS OF WAR”, which was slightly different in style copared to it´s predecessor. Though more mature and melodic, the lack of fast songs and sinister atmosphere, that were on dispay on the debut album, was quiet noticeable. The reason for that was the bands own debate about their musical direction: One half wanted to become more apealling to the masses, especially to the american market, while the other ones wanted to keep their own way of playing speed-metal. Tensions grew bigger and bigger until in mid 1986, IRON ANGEL decided to call it quits. Peter joined the Thrash-Metal outfit Roots, while Dirk and Mike later joined J.R. Blackmore´s group Superstition.
At the end of the 90s Peter got in touch with Dirk and Mike again, asking them to come along and jam a little. After a couple of sessions they decided to revive IRON ANGEL. In 2000 they intended to enter the studio to record new material, but before that happened, Peter died in a tragic car accident. The recordings were cancelled and the band remained inactive for the next 4 years. In 2004 Dirk and Mike tried to recruit new members for the band and began working on new material, but even 3 years after, they couldn´t find any new suitable members, so they decided to call it quits again. As a sort of parting gift, they presented the EP “BACK FROM HELL”, which was composed of potential material for what was intended to be their comeback album from the early 2000s. A couple of month after the split Sven Strüven died after overdosing on heroin.
It seemed like IRON ANGEL were dead and gone until that one day, when Didy Mackel (ex-Mania, ex-Not fragile) contacted his buddy from back in the day Dirk Schröder via Facebook, that he just witnessed a lot of people wearing IRON ANGEL shirts during a festival. While chatting, the idea of a reunion came to mind. Dirk wrote Mike about it and Didy brought in the two guitarists Jojo Folta and Mitsch Meyer. Everyone met for the first time in September 2014 and the following month it became official: IRON ANGEL were back.
Word got around pretty fast and the band received offers from promoters and festivals all over the world, but before the band played their first show since the 80s, Mike announced his departure in March 2015, since the touring would interfere too much with his everyday work. After considering Mark Cross as a new drummer first, the band ended up recruiting Alexander “Schrotti” Kokatt as Mike´s successor in April of that year. The line-up that played the first live shows since the 1980s was now complete and together they managed to go on tour through south america and beyond. The following year Jojo Folta left IRON ANGEL and was replaced by Robert Altenbach.
2017 was the year the band finally recorded a new studio album. Already back in April 2015 the band wrote the first couple of songs for it and right from the get-go it was set to go back to the band´s speed metal roots. Since Schrotti didn´t commit himself enough to the band anymore, IRON ANGEL decided to look for a new drummer and brought in Maximilian Behr in April. Between June and August 2017 they headed off to Rosenquarz Studios in Lübeck to record their highly anticipated next studio album and in late 2017 the band joined forces with scandinavia´s biggest metal record label Mighty Music. On 4th of May 2018 Iron Angel released their first studio album in 32 years, entitled “HELLBOUND”, and toured throughout Europe, North- and South America, as well as Japan, being the headlining band for most of these shows.
Near the end of that cycle, the band had to undergo yet another change of members with Nino Helfrich replacing Mitsch Meyer. The new incarnation wasted no time and created what would become their fourth album “EMERALD EYES”. Recordings took place between October and December 2019 at DaDaSound Studios near Hamburg and the album is set for release in August of 2020.
Maximilian Behr – Drums
Dirk Schröder – Vocals
Didy Mackel – Bass
Robert Altenbach – Guitars
Nino Helfrich – Guitars
Releases on Mighty Music
Emerald Eyes, coming October 2020