Somewhere around 2002 my buddy Jeroen still had his punk/hardcore label called COALITION RECORDS and he was going to a lot of shows bringing his distro. I went over to his house/record warehouse to do some record shopping and he told me that the Belgian kids went kRaAaZeEe for this new lp by a band called ‘Annihilation Time’ he was selling last weekend in Belgium released by DEAD ALIVE RECORDS.
He showed me the record and then played it for me…
The name, the gnarly Pettibon artwork, killer lyrics and most important: RIFFS!
In a time where there were still a lot of straight edge kids (We even had a guy calling himself the ‘Straight Edge President’), pc-warriors, animal rights ambassadors and even people handing out Krishna pamphlets this was just the band I needed.
It was around this same time that GUY TAVARES(head honcho of the legendary Bunker Records and Motorwolf) had this squat in the centre of Den Haag called ‘De Illusie’. The building used to be an office of the Dutch secret services and reminded me of an old school building with lots of hallways, a library and many rooms, it was easy to get lost there. On the ground floor there was a large white room and a small room with SCSI codes on the wall and a balcony called the ’SCSI Cell’
I think Annihilation Time came over to Europe for the first time in 2003, they’d parted ways with their first singer and brought in a new guy called Jimmy and a new 7” (Bad Reputation). I had read some interview and the new singer was asked about Black Flag and he answered something like “mwah,inspired.. inspired… we were always more into the Bl’ast! and Circle Jerks. I saw the band so many times in Den Haag that my memory is rather blurry but what I do know is that everybody that I knew was always there, everybody got terribly drunk, the band always KILLED, and when I got home my clothes would be ruined most of the times. They played the SCSI Cell almost every tour (sometimes more than once per tour I believe) and after a show the floor would be covered with empty crushed tall beer cans and spilled beer probably mixed with sweat and blood. Wild shows for sure and I couldn’t help feeling for the guys for staying in check while touring for months with a freak like Jimmy in a van.
With their Bl’ast!, Thin Lizzy, Black Flag and Deep Purple, beer drenched, smoked out blend of 80’s hardcore they were the perfect band for a city like Den Haag. They felt the same way so after one tour they stayed with Guy Tavares to record their legendary second album simply called ‘II” with him. The band lived with Guy in the building above the SCSI Cell on a diet of LSD, riffs, vintage camps and an occasional cow bell.
‘II” was released on cd through MANIC RIDE RECORDS in 2004 and over a year later on vinyl through SIX WEEKS RECORDS and is luckily still in print. After that they’ve done more touring of course and released a 7” and another lp, which were killer records but nobody could ever blame the band for not releasing another ‘II” because it takes magic to ever do something like that again.
After that it got a bit quiet… I’d heard a fun story about a sponsored show where the singer had a little situation involving feces and the next thing I’d heard was that they were done as a band because Jimmy’d had it playing live.
You can’t talk about Annihilation Time without mentioning lead guitarist Graham, this guy is made for playing guitar so it was and wasn’t a big surprise that I would walk in on him at Dinosaur Jr shows in Europe where he was working as J Mascis’ guitar tech.
Luckily the rest of Annihilation Time formed a new band called ‘Lecherous Gaze’ with a new singer called Lakis Panagiotopulos and their first 12” on TeePee records also had a Pettibon cover. The band came over to Europe with DANAVA and was luckily still killer but their singer wasn’t “dangerous” or “unpredictable” but that was ok.
Then came the first full length called ‘On The Skids’ released through Tee Pee records, with a new singer called Zaryan Zaidiand and this was what I was waiting for. His raspy Beefheartian/Cooper-esque vocal delivery matches this band perfectly. When they came on tour to Europe I felt the same energy as during those earlier Annihilation Time shows. Zaryan creeping around dressed as a burglar that you would see in old cartoons and the band playing the heavy jams it’s still the best possible soundtrack to bang your head to with a warm tall can of cheap beer in your hand.
Lecherous Gaze is touring Europe in june, needless to say you should go see em. Last time they were in Europe was in 2014 and they had just released their 2nd lp on TEE PEE RECORDS called Zeta Reticuli Blues and at their shows in Amsterdam and Leiden a crazy old hesher guy from the audience would join them playing the saxophone unannounced to seal the deal. Click here to see a killer video of a song from their latest lp.