Dutch Steel: 1980s metal from the Netherlands


Ancient Mariner
Lately I bought a really nice collection of songs from an era, and a scene that I'd hardly thought of before. Albums by these bands are hard to find, and to be honest, metal magazines hardly write about them as well.

That's why I find this such a cool starting point. By no means I am trying to sell this collection -aptly called Dutch Steel- in a blatant manner, but I thought it could be nice to post songs from Dutch bands from this era, every once in a while.

I still would like to quote the text that goes with the release because it explains the scene so well:

It was great to be a young head banger in the early 80’s. Almost every week a new metal band would appear on the horizon, putting out a great demo, single or album. It all began around 1980 in the with British bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon, Vardis, Diamond Head, Girlschool, Tank, Raven, Angel Witch and many, many others. These newcomers toured almost non-stop and set many stages alight, not the least in the Netherlands. Their exciting shows and releases left a huge impression on the Dutch audience.

In a matter of months countless young and aspiring musicians locked themselves into the bedroom or garage and started practicing. For other, already existing bands the untamable roar of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was the last push they needed to find their proper direction. The music climate was in their favor as well. Inspired by the do-it-yourself mentality of the late 70’s punk movement most bands didn’t wait for that big, fat, juicy major record deal to land on their door step. The bands took matters in their own hands. They recorded and sold their own demos, thus creating a flourishing tape trading circuit. Tracks were also spread via independently released singles, EP’s and compilations.

Band like Picture, Sword, Frankenstein, Vault, Highway Chile, Impact, Allied Forces and many others played the clubs, appeared on festivals and all created a dedicated following. Although most bands were heavily inspired by the heavy metal mayhem from across the North Sea, each had their own style, drawing influences from Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest, Motörhead and others. The classic metal sound of bands like Highway Chile and Picture co-existed very peacefully next to the brutal power of Hammerhawk and Aggressor, the breakneck guitar madness of Sword, the punk-flavored fury of The Vopo’s, the proggy delicacy of Lady or the sword-waving Manowar-worship of Valkyrie. It all lasted ‘til the mid to late 80’s.

In recent years an amazing number of bands reunited, giving their career a well-deserved second youth: Highway Chile, Picture, Elise, Frankenstein, Vortex, Ear Danger, Gilgamesj, Emerald, Martyr and various others. They lost some hair, gained some pounds, but lost none of their dedication, which inspired many fans - both old and new, from all over the world – to check out the original recordings. Music journalist and incurable collector Robert Haagsma starting digging in his own vinyl and tape collection, started toying with tracks and made some cd-r’s to check how a compilation would sound like, focussing on old school heavy metal. Trash-, death- and black metal of later years were entirely different beasts. To create an even more cohesive collection Robert Haagsma decided to concentrate on the cultish kind of bands.

Dutch Steel is a document – a monument if you will – for all these bands that were part of a great, exciting, creative era in Holland.

I'll start with:

Martyr - Speed of Samurai (from the album For the Universe, 1985)
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Staff member
There it is, folks: what Killers-era Steve Harris would have sounded like if he played with a pick.

Seriously: while clearly derivative of Maiden and others, good playing here.


Ancient Mariner
Yes, this song surely sounds like some people heard Purgatory. ;)

The bass playing is very melodic. An approach that reminds me of bassist Markus Grosskopf who waves his bass patterns though all the guitar and drum madness in a distinctive manner, since the earliest beginnings of Helloween (without pick!).


Ancient Mariner
That was a good song, the vocals certainly date it a bit (not a bad thing, but it is clearly a mid 80s metal vocal style)


Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
Another one with a real NWOBHM sound to it.
Raw but a nice riff and composition.
Needs a chorus, but another thumbs up.

Dityn DJ James

A coma stole my name.
Check out the striped shirt on the right. That is pure 80s. Gotta be the drummer. I bet a color photo would reveal it to be black and yellow too.

Enjoyed the music but not a fan of the voice. Could be a production issue, it's only a demo.

If that's the same singer, he sounds much better here, and I credit production for most of the difference.

According to the metal archives, there are in fact two bands called Savage that played NWOBHM in the 80's. I thought they were the same band, I'll just see myself out.


Ancient Mariner
There are many Savages. Dityn's is a different one. The Dutch one never came further than their second demo. Their bass player died suddenly afterwards, and it marked the end of the band. Most members would continue in Horizon, perhaps I can find and post some stuff of theirs later on. In the song I posted, I really like that lengthy solo break, with those double bass drums underneath. Quite like the rough voice as well.
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Dominus et deus
Staff member
Dityn posted the NWOBHM Savage. I'm 100% certain of that, as I have the album.


Ancient Mariner
Thank you Knick!

I read that Picture is regarded as the ultimate godfather of the Dutch heavy metal scene. They are still active. Still the same rhythm section and they have Pete Lovell on vocals who sang on Eternal Dark (the 4th album) and a few later records.

As a bonus, here's a re-recording of the song from 2011. Plus another vid from 2013.
To say that these videoclips are epic, that's an understatement. :)