AFM Records – 15 Years of Metal Addiction
Fifteen years is a long time to be committed to anything. Success and continued growth fot that length of time in something as fickle as the music industry is worth celebrating.
AFM Records’ beginnings are as humble as it gets, with no actual date of birth committed to memory. In the mid-‘90s, Germany-born Andreas Allendörfer began using the AFM Logo on promotional posters for his band SQUEALER, to add a more professional touch to their image. The seed was planted and somewhere along the way Allendörfer decided to take things a step further and create his own house of music. AFM Records officially took root in 1996, boasting releases from SQUEALER, FACTORY OF ART, VOLLRAUSCH and SLEEPING GODS as their official call-to-arms. There was no looking back, except perhaps to watch the cloud of dust stirred up as the label gathered speed and strength.
The label’s impact had long-lasting effects that can still be felt today. In 1997, newcomers EDGUY released their debut album via AFM, and in 2001 it was the launch pad for frontman Tobias Sammet’s metal opera project, AVANTASIA. Former SAVATAGE singer Zak Stevens made his highly anticipated return in 2003 with his own band CIRCLE II CIRCLE- And legendary ACCEPT vocalist Udo Dirkschneider elected to make AFM his home in 2004 for all future U.D.O. attacks.
Sadly, on January 16th, 2005 Andreas Allendörfer was killed in a car accident on an icy road, a victim of fate. It was a tragic blow to the label and the metal community, but calling it quits was never an option. As cliché as it sounds, the AFM crew pushed forward because it’s what Allendörfer would have wanted. They built on and refined the label structure, and the metal scene continued to benefit from their expertise.
Not only some of distortion’s finest made the move to AFM over the years – including DORO, SUIDAKRA, DESTRCUTION; MASTERPLAN, and BRAINSTORM to name a few – the label opened itself up to the likes of THE NEW BLACK, JON OLIVA’s PAIN, SOLUTION.45, STAHLMANN and A LIFE DIVIDED, and veteran rocker comeback “kids” SINNER: As often as they embraced the tried-and-true figureheads of the metal world, there was plenty of room on the AFM widescreen to put the focus on younger bands with something new to offer. Both sides of the coin are at full spin to this day.
AFM Records can be proud; the label has grown up to be bigger and stronger than anyone could have anticipated, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
Author: Carl Begai