The history of the band Battering Ram from Belgium goes back a long way! Guitarist Eddy "The Vampire" Scheire started the band in 1982, together with drummer Walter "The Hammer" Baeyens. Walter was 18 at the time, Eddy even two years younger. In those early days they just tried out cover versions by their favourite bands: "Diamonds and Rust" (Judas Priest), "The Number of the Beast" (Iron Maiden) and "747 (Strangers in the Night)" from Saxon. Fast forward to 2009 and the band's debut six-track-CD "Atlantis: Remembrance of a lost Future", available from the band's own wesbite. During those nearly three decades Battering Ram just released two demo tapes and one 7" single. A baffling band history indeed, as guitarist Eddy Scheire surely agrees? "Yes and no. Twenty seven years is indeed a very long period but I can give you an explanation. When Walter and myself started the group back in 1982 we just wanted to play some music and have fun. But after a few weeks another friend (Dirk Parmentier) joined us on guitar and later on Jo Luyckx on vocals. All of a sudden this bunch of young guys almost made a band. When Wim joined the band on bass, I started writing some original songs and that was big fun! We enjoyed this and started dreaming of recording albums and international tours etc. Eventually, we played some gigs and recorded two demos but at the end of the eighties after some changes in the line-up Battering Ram fell apart. Some got married, some got divorced and in 2005 both founders started talking about 'those days' and plans were made to reanimate Battering Ram. As we had been following the Metal scene which had changed thoroughly over the years, we decided to play Power Metal. And that's were it started all over again to get us to this new release." We are talking about "Atlantis: Remembrance of a lost Future" of course, which Eddy describes as following: "Symphonic Power Metal fits best. I use a lot of symphonic instruments (strings, brass, choirs, timpani, flutes, horns) and the melodies are from time to time, especially on the upcoming full CD, very catchy which is very typical for Power Metal."
Parallel to the new studio CD we have just talked about, High Roller Records is proud to announce the limited edition vinyl-only release of "Breaking through the main Gate" (HRR 045). Eddy has fond memories of laying down the tracks for the first demo at the Top Studio in Sint-Amandsberg, a small town near Ghent, in March 1987: "There were two songs from the early years: 'I Came For You' and 'Black Knight'. The other three were already influenced by the upcoming Speed and Trash scene. 'Power of Evil' in the first place and shortly after 'Behind The Styx' and 'Condemned To The Gallow'. As you can notice, most of the lyrics were based on medieval history and of course hell and witchcraft." The remaing four tracks on side B of the vinyl, namely "Killing Fields", "One More Beer", "Towerghost" and "The Fighters From Shaolin", all stem from Battering Ram's second demo entitled "Intruder" (released in 1989). How would Eddy compare this material in relation to the first demo "Breaking through the main Gate"? "First of all, there was a second guitar player, Bart Schaillée, who joined the band fairly shortly after the first demo. Secondly, we had a new singer, Alex Fifi, who had his roots in the Punk scene and in the third place Metal music itself kept changing. The songs were even more influenced by bands like Metallica, Slayer, Destruction, Megadeath, Anthrax et al. Although we wouldn't dare to compare ourselves with these bands."
As we have seen, the style of Battering Ram has changed quite a bit over the past 27 years: from traditional Metal to Speed/Thrash and finally Symphonic Power Metal. Mr. Scheire sees a simple reason for that: "That depended mostly on the personal taste of every member (even though I wrote the music on my own). In the beginning it was bands like Priest, Maiden, Saxon, Rainbow, Purple and Sabbath. After some time this changed to Metallica, Slayer, Metal Church, Destruction, Megadeath, Testament and Anthrax. And nowadays I'd say Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, Symphony X, Sabaton but again, we don't want to compare ourselves with these bands! We're just talking about influences here."
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)