The History Of The Band

(Note: The following text is an extended version of the text that i wrote for Wikipedia - W.v.M.)


GORE was a Dutch Hardcore / Metal / Noise Rock Band from the city of Venlo.


They played instrumental avant-garde hardcore that was influenced by Metal just as much as by Industrial Music and combined the darkest and heaviest moments of Black Sabbath, Black Flag and Big Black. They obtained an excellent live reputation in the hardcore scene of the late 80´s and received predominantly positive reviews. Nevertheless they remained unknown to the vast majority of the public and never gained commercial success.


Today a lot of reviewers consider GORE as seminal and highly influential. Especially the early works of the band were groundbreaking for several sub-genres, such as Sludge Metal, Stoner Rock and Drone. The later GORE are considered predecessors of Math Rock.


GORE I: Frey / Lommen / de Swart 1985-1988


After Pieter de Swart (guitar, playing a 12 string guitar in GORE) and Martin van Kleef (bass) left their band Disgust, they started a new outfit with Danny Arnold Lommen (drums) who previously had played with Pandemonium. The Band played a couple of small gigs and some recordings from that very early stage of the Band were released in 1986 on the compilation tape Trash Till Death #1. But very soon Van Kleef left the band and was replaced by Rob Frey (bass) who works under the pen name Marij Hel. While playing in GORE, Pieter de Swart used the pseudonym Pieter de Sury and Danny Arnold Lommen used several variations of his name, such as Danny A. Lome and Danny Arnold.

De Swart / Lommen / Frey
Frey joining the band might be considered the actual starting point of GORE, and Frey is the only band member of the early days staying in the band until their final breakup in 1997. Although particularly de Swart wrote a lot of the early GORE songs, and some fans consider him the true genius behind GORE, it's mostly Frey who is seen as the creative mastermind behind the band. Especially after the bands regrouping in 1991 this position of Frey was undisputed.

On December 31st De Swart, Lommen and Frey played their first gig at a small New Year´s Eve party at "Mariadal", an arts center in Venlo.


GORE played their first real show on February 26th at the  "Effenaar Club" in Amsterdam opening up for the Swans.

In March the band's first album Hart Gore was recorded at Tango Studios in Eindhoven. The record was published by the Dutch label Eksakt Records. In just about six month after forming GORE, the band already had played  forty shows, recorded an album and a live session for the Dutch radio station V.P.R.O. and signed a record deal.

Hart Gore was recorded live in the studio, no overdubs or additional recordings were added. Producer Theo van Eenbergen excellently captured the band's sound that shows a flagrant disregard for any kind of sonic restrained. Hart Gore was the first collaboration of GORE and van Eenbergen who produced several albums of the band in the following years.

The cover of the album shows a photograph of a raw pig´s heart pierced by a samurai sword. The picture is a work of Dutch photographer Egon Notermans.

Hart Gore consists of 10 extremely reduced, repetitive, rhythmical and riff-dominated songs. The tracks lack almost all melody but are interspersed by tempo and rhythm changes. Feedback and distortions replace harmonies and volume is an essential element of the music. Hart Gore  is anarchic and archaic, primitive and ecstatic like a ritual of a neolitic shaman.  GORE on their debut are violent, loud, dirty and sexy. They break metal down to its essence, its pulsating, vibrant heart that then lies before us naked, just like the pig´s
heart on the cover of the record. 

Although Hart Gore is an instrumental record, lyrics to the songs are included. GORE included lyric sheets to their following albums too. The controversial lyrics are no less radical and raw as the music of GORE. The vulgar outbreaks of violent images and obscenities give insight into the negative, pessimist world view of the band.  The lyrics are signed with „Val Hard“ which is yet another pseudonym of Frey. 


GORE live in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, 1987

Mean Man´s Dream, the follow up album, was recorded in Tango Studios in January 1987. Again the album recorded live in studio, produced by van Eenbergen and released on Eksakt Records.

Mean Man´s Dream was an even more monotone, minimal, metallic, metric machine than Hart Gore had been. There are no adornments on Mean Man´s Dream, there are no charismatic reference points such as vocals or solos. There´s only the naked, screaming riff and the mercilessly pounding rhythm in manic intensity.

The iconic cover shows a crude butcher´s knife on a scratched metal surface. (The knife depicted is a Knife No. 348 produced by the German manufacturer Dick. Dick is producing blades since 1778  and Knife No. 348 can still be obtained via Dick´s homepage). The stark, direct photo, again taken by Notermans, visualizes perfectly the hard and cold aggression that fuels the music on the record.

The album received predominantly positive reviews internationally, sold fairly well and is seen by many fans as the essential GORE record.

GORE performing Mean Man´s Dream in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1987

GORE live in Bremen, Germany, 1987

In the summer GORE tours Europe with Henry Rollins who just had left Black Flag. Recordings made on this tour later appear on a GORE / Henry Rollins split LP. After that Frey spent several weeks in the USA trying to find a record deal there. Among others he negotiated with SST Records, but finally they didn´t come to terms and no contract was signed.

The GORE / Henry Rollins split LP is released in autumn 1987. It contains four live songs by GORE, which were recorded at a show at „De Bakkerij“ in Eindhoven. Three of the four songs are taken from the first two albums, but the song „Arena“ is exclusively released on this record. GORE / Henry Rollins Live is the last GORE record released by Eksakt Records.

On October 27th GORE record the first of three Peel Sessions for British DJ legend John Peel. The session is aired on November 4th.

The recordings for the first Peel Session are the last studio recordings done in the original line up of Frey / Lommen / de Swart. In the short time of only 2 years GORE had written numerous songs, played way over 150 shows all over Europe, recorded and released three records and a Peel Session. GORE used their potential to the fullest, but the short, massive eruption of creative work had exhausted the band. Also the members of the band hat disputes over the musical, artistic and economic future of GORE that they didn't manage to solve. Pieter de Swart left the band by the End of 1987..

Full Metal Jacket a unreleased track from the Mean Man´s Dream Era, live in London 1987

GORE II: Frey / Lommen / Stroobants / Benli 1988-1989


Lommen / Frey / Stroobants / Benli
After de Swart left GORE, two new guitar players, Frank Stroobants (using the pseudonym Frankie Stroo) and Yussef Benli (using the pseudonym Joes Bentley) joined in. 

The band was invited to play at the New Music Seminar in New York and so they did. It was there that they signed a contract with the bigger label Megadisc Records to release the next album.

Wrede (The Cruel Peace) was recorded in August 1988 at „As The Grass Is Two Asses High“ studios in Weesp, NL. It was produced by van Eenbergen and Steve Albini and released as a double album by Megadisc. Wrede was the last collaboration of GORE and Theo van Eenbergen, who would work closely with Henry Rollins in the following years. Under the pseudonym Theo van Rock he went on to produce all records of the Rollins Band until their disbandment in 2001.

The title Wrede is a mixture of the two Dutch words "wreed" (cruel) and "vrede" (peace). There are only 4 tracks on the album, one on each side of the double album. The epic compositions, running between 15 and 25 minutes, are more mature, melodic and differentiated than those on the earlier albums. The crystalline, sharp aggression gave way to a doomy atmosphere. Van Eenbergen and Albini provided the album with a sound, that almost seems orchestral. While Hart Gore and Mean Man´s Dream were quick, hard punches in the face, Wrede is a steamroller that slowly crushes the listener. The album contains Death Has Come, the first song GORE had ever written and that was part of their program up until their final break up. By 1988 the originally three minutes long track had grown into a fifteen minutes long mammoth. Wrede is a heavy, deep behemoth of an album and GORE reach their stylistic climax with it.

The Cover of Wrede was another photograph taken by Egon Notermanns. The image shows a green forest with a path leading through it. On the forest path there lies a butcher knife. Again it conveyed fairly well, what is expressed musically on the album. Wrede is more organic and eerie than its predecessors, the sharp Aggression is still there but not as dominant as it was before.

Considered by many fans and critics to be GORE´s opus magnum and the most influential album of the band, the monolithic, idiosyncratic album failed in achieving wider recognition, and the responses in listeners and critics fell short of expectations.

In summer GORE toured Europe with Negazione from Italy.

 Concert poster, Switzerland

GORE performing Wrede in Fribourg, Switzerland, 1988

A second Peel Session was recorded on November 29th 1988. It contained two tracks from Wrede and was aired December 6th.

GORE officially disbanded in early 1989.

Drummer Danny Arnold Lommen joined Caspar Brötzmann Massaker and stayed with them until they broke up in 1995. Lommen went on to work with Dee Dee Ramone in later years. Guitarist Frank Stroobants played in several bands after GORE and releases solo projects up until today.

The Circle, a unreleased track from the Wrede Era, live in London 1988

In 1990 a compilation called "Out Of Nowhere" was released by the French label of the same name. It contained one GORE song, Messback, that is not a song by the band but a solo-production by Rob Frey.

GORE III: Frey / van Reede / Koolen 1991-1997


Van Reede / Koolen / Knife / Frey
After a hiatus of two years, Frey brought GORE back to life with a new line up. With Johan van Reede (guitar) and Bardo Koolen (using the pen name Bardo Maria, drums) he re-established the band.

The first recordings of that outfit were done on July 9th. For the third Peel Session GORE recorded five songs from their next album. The session was broadcast in Peel´s show on September 21st 1991 


Lifelong Deadline, GORE´s fourth studio album is recorded August / September 1992 and released by Armageddon Records / Barooni Records that winter as a two CD´s set. In contrast to previous albums all material was written between 1989 and 1992 by Rob Frey alone, and he also produced the album himself.

The songs on Lifelong Deadline are more complex, composed and controlled than those on the earlier releases. The sound is clearer and cleaner. The new GORE are more technical and less noisy. With its atypical, complex rhythmic structures and odd time signatures Lifelong Deadline is just as much a predecessor of Math Rock as the earlier recordings had been precursors of Stoner Rock and Sludge Metal.

The Album also is distinctly more experimental, and the first GORE album that is not entirely instrumental. There is still no singing but the songs are riddled with numerous samples of absurd spoken scenes in several languages and sounds of nature.  The spoken scenes were recorded with a twenty person ensemble called The United Voices From The House Of Suspicion. For the first time there is a guest musician, piano player Bart Spaan plays the song Waiting Time.

The label Pemis De Construire Deutschland released the compilation Mortar in 1992. It contained the two songs None and Stroke and the artist name was given as Gore/Hoer. Again these are no GORE recordings but a side project of Rob Frey.

The German band Bohren & the Club of Gore name their band after GORE.


In June 1993 GORE play at the New Music Seminar in New York again. The show is recorded and partially released on Slow Death in 1997.

GORE live in Hannover, Germany, 1993

In 1994 Frey founded his own record label, Messback Music, that solely released albums by GORE and Frey´s side projects. Messback´s first releases are re-issues of Hart Gore and Mean Man´s Dream on CD in cooperation with Barooni Records, and a compilation  casette titled In The Name Of Rotten, Evil & Gore. The tape consisted of live and demo recordings taken in the years 1985-1987. Most of the material was re-released on Southern Lords re-issues of Hart Gore and Mean Man´s Dream in 2008, but the song Cracking Walls was exclusively released on In The Name Of Rotten, Evil & Gore. GORE toured Europe to promote the releases.


The next GORE release might be considered to be the most peculiar GORE record. It´s the only GORE production with actual singing. With Dutch pop singer Henk Westbroek four songs for an EP were recorded in June and December 1995. Westbroek had several mainstream hits with his band Het Goede Doel in the 80´s and was regarded as one of the Netherlands´ most successful musicians.

The EP was recorded at NOB Audio Studios. Messback releases the CD as GORE & Henk: Voor Nu De Eeuwigheid in early 1996. GORE drummer Bardo Koolen only performs one of the songs, the others were recorded with drummer Johnbert Dijker.

To the Fans of Westbroek as well as to the fans of GORE the collaboration might have seemed odd and disconcerting. The most interesting song for GORE fans is probably the instrumental Door Schaduw en Stilte. The obscure EP completely fell through with the critics and the fans. 


In February Messback Music released a new GORE album. Mest 694’3 – The 10 Ultimate Hart Gore Rhythm Tracks contains material that Frey had written already in 1994. GORE recorded the material in the Frey / van Reede / Koolen line up in January and December 1995 at Total Recall Studios in Venlo. Additional material was recorded December 1996 at Trauma III Studios in Het Brook. The recordings were produced by Frey and producer Remko Schouten.

The Cover of Mest 694'3 was yet another photograph by Egon Notermans. It shows a red-hot screw. There is also a warning printed on the CD cover: "Warning! This CD is not suitable for Radio Air Play! It is mastered at 10 dB overhead! If radio broadcasted: dear DJ - take all Limiters off!"

Just as on Lifelong Deadline, the songs on Mest 694’3 are interspersed with samples and absurd voice recordings. The Song In The Name Of Rotten, Evil & Gore was accompanied by guest musicians R. Yen (keyboards) and Gino Taihuttu (mouth harp).

GORE released their last album Slow Death in May 1997. In a limited edition of 6000 the CD came with issue #27 of the Dutch  Gonzo Circus Magazine.

There is only one new song on the CD. Beyond The Black Hole PT. III, a sound collage of electronic noises. Slow Death also contains three songs from Mest 694’3 remixed by Frey (“Deranged Slow-Death Remix”), and live versions of four songs from Lifelong Deadline. The live songs were recorded June 27th 1993 at “Knitting Factory”, New York, when GORE performed there for the New Music Seminar.

Furthermore there is a Version of In The Name Of Rotten, Evil & Gore performed by the renowned Metropole Orkest, that was recorded live in February 1997. The last Track on Slow Death consists of a 11 seconds spoken intro which is followed by 10 minutes of silence.

“Play Loud On Lousy Equipment” is written on the CD.

After the release of Slow Death GORE disbanded.

Concert poster, Switzerland

After the break up:

Rob Frey joins Dutch folk rock band De Nieuwe Blijdschap in which he plays guitar. In 2017 Frey started a new project called [sic] and released the digital album Welcome to the Error Zone.

Guitarist Johan van Reede and Dutch singer Annemiek van Gründling formed the band Super Spade and play classic rock cover versions.

In 2008 the American label Southern Lord re-issued Hart Gore and Mean Man´s Dream. Each record contains the ten songs from the original LP and each song in a live or demo version recorded 1986 & 1987. The re-issue of Hart Gore contains three additional songs. A studio left over of the otherwise unpublished The Hunt; a quite interesting very early version of Death Has Come, recorded live with Pieter de Swart on guitar in 1987; and a practice room recording of GORE destroying David Bowies Station to Station. Each album was issued as a double vinyl LP including a booklet with lyrics, rare pictures and detailed liner notes by Rob Frey. A two  CDs set with both albums and a 32 pages booklet was also released.

In 2011 the American band Mean Man´s Dream named themselves after GORE´s second album.


* 1986: Hart Gore (Eksakt Records)
* 1987: Mean Man´s Dream (Eksakt Records)
* 1987: Gore / Henry Rollins Live (Eksakt Records)
* 1988: Wrede (The Cruel Peace) (Megadisc Records)
* 1992: Lifelong Deadline (Armageddon Records)
* 1997: Mest 694'3 - The 10 Ultimate Hart Gore Rhythm Tracks (Messback Music)
* 2019: Revanche (Exile on Mainstream)

* 1996: Gore & Henk: Voor Nu De Eeuwigheid (Messback Music)

Compilation Albums
* 1994: In the Name Of Rotten, Evil & Gore (Messback Music, casette tape
* 1997: Slow Death (Messback Music, limited to 6000 copys)
* 2008: Hart Gore / Mean Man´s Dream (Southern Lord Records)

VA Compilations
* 1986: Trash Till Death #1 (Juul, casette tape) tracks: The Hunt / Out For Blood
* 1987: Alle Dagen Beest  (De Zwarte Zaag, casette tape) tracks: Mean Man´s Dream / Death Is Coming
* 1988: New Music  (Radio Nederland) track: Mean Man´s Dream
* 1989: 3 Countries For Sale (Megadisc Records) track: A Cruel Peace
* 1990: Out Of Nowhere (Out Of Nowhere Records) track: Messback
* 1992: Mortar (Pemis De Construire Deutschland) tracks: Stroke / None
* 2008: Invocation of Sacred Resonance I  (Southern Lord Records) tracks: Search / Love

all music written & performed by
NOTE: This blog is NOT an official GORE site. It is not affiliated with GORE in any way!
All music, pictures & video is copyright with the respective owners.

Text & layout by Violess waR / Wahnfried von Mannteufel

 To get in touch with GORE directly please visit the bands homepage or contact
Sam Frijhof for AUC Bookings at www.aucbookings.com

GORE on Bandcamp

Many thanks to Rob Frey / MessBack Music, Pieter de Swart, Frank Stroobants  and Bardo Koolen for the kind support and the permission to use the GORE releases on this page!
Thanks to Bardo for the GORE-Shirt!

Many thanks to Roland Spekle / Barooni Records for the kind support and the permission to use their GORE releases on this page!

Many thanks to (((unartig))) for the kind support and the permission to use their material on this page!

Many thanks to Southern Lord Records for their kind support and the permission
to use their GORE releases on this site!