Hanzel und Gretyl are an American Industrial Metal band formed by members Kaizer Von Loopy and Vas Kallas in February 1993. In the 1990s their sound was described as a genre-defying blend of sci-fi metal/electronic and experimental, but into the new millennium they adopted a decidedly heavier sound leaning more towards aggressive metal. Due to their heavy use of German lyrics, imagery and German-sounding pseudonyms, they are often mistaken for being a German band and are largely regarded as the only existing American Neue Deutsche Härte band of note, however both Kaizer Von Loopy and Vas Kallas are based in New York City to which they are native and neither of them is German or of German descent.
Machines Good People Bad (1993-1999)
Hanzel und Gretyl formed in early 1993. In April, 1994, they completed a demo entitled “Kindermusik”. Of the 200 cassette tapes manufactured, most were sent to record labels and fanzines and some were sold on consignment at a local music store called Bleeker Bob’s. In January 1995, after refusing offers from at least one major label to resubmit their demo with only English lyrics, they signed with Energy Records, an indie record label based in New York City. HuG recorded and released their first full-length album, Ausgeflippt, in October 1995. With lyrics in five different languages and no two songs sounding alike, the album made a clear statement as deviating from the often predictable and monochromatic themes of many electro and industrial bands of the time. The single “Shine 2001” topped the Alternative Press dance chart at No. 1 shortly after its release. Performing only several local shows on Manhattan’s lower east side, they immediately embarked on two U.S. tours with Marilyn Manson. The first in 1995 with Clutch as direct support and again in 1996 as direct support for Manson themselves.
In 1997, they released their second full-length album, Transmissions From Uranus, that featured a video game in which the object was to transform Loopy and Vas into alien-like insectoid space creatures. The enhanced CD was again cited for its progressive-minded musical stylings and groundbreaking technological advances. This led the band to tour the U.S. extensively with Tommy Victor’s Prong, giving them even broader exposure nationally. In between shows on Prong’s Cold Fusion tour, Hanzel und Gretyl headlined a Halloween show in Des Moines, Iowa with hometown band Slipknot in direct support. During the same year, Hanzel und Gretyl’s song “9D Galactik Center” appeared in New Line Cinema’s Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and was also played at the 1997 MTV Music Awards. Furthermore, the song “Robot Logik” from the same album was used in radio commercials for the Howard Stern Show.
In 1998, clad in custom-made lederhosen, Hanzel und Gretyl toured the U.S. in direct support of Germany’s venerable Rammstein on the band’s first ever headlining tour of the states after meeting and playing with the band at a CMJ Music Marathon show in New York City. HuG also supported Rob Halford’s 2wo in Los Angeles during the Rammstein tour.
In 1999 Hanzel und Gretyl completed a full-length CD entitled Oz Faktor that is currently unreleased by Energy Records. The CD depicts a displaced Hanzel und Gretyl lost in a quasi-“Wizard of Oz” type setting.
Fukken Uber (2002- 2009)
After a long hiatus due to the dissolving of their label, Energy Records, the band signed to Metropolis Records in 2002 and immediately began recording for their long anticipated third album, Über Alles. Described by Kaizer Von Loopy as a “futuristic Wagnerian rock opera” and released in 2003, it marked a distinct stylistic change for the band favoring heavy guitar riffs and Germanic themes over the more genre expanding electro-metal style for which they had become known in the 90s. The CD was met with a fair amount of controversy over its parodic cross-referencing of both German and American stereotypes set against a surreal and spaced-out WWII backdrop but nevertheless attained a four out of five star review in Kerrang! magazine and equally high praise from New York City’s prestigious The Village Voice. Following the release of the album, the band toured the U.S. as a headliner on their aptly named “Fukken Uber Tour” and later in direct support of The Genitorturers in the states and Canada after which they returned to the studio to record a new album.
In September 2004, the band released their fourth album, Scheissmessiah. The album was immediately hailed as required listening for fans of industrial metal alongside Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM and Ministry by Revolver Magazine. Served up devilishly as a “Handel’s Messiah from hell”, HuG continued to grow harder and heavier touring the states in support of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and in direct support of Al Jourgensen’s Ministry for a three-month stint on their “Evil Doer Tour” throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2005, Hanzel und Gretyl headlined North America’s largest goth festival, “Gothicfest 2005”, in Illinois and were featured yet again in Revolver Magazine’s “bands to watch”. In 2006, the band toured across America and Canada as a headliner with label mates Bella Morte in direct support upon the release of the four-song EP “Oktotenfest 2006”. With song titles like “Fukken Uber Death Party” and later “Bavarian Bierhaus Blood”, HuG’s home-brewed putsch soon led to a full-scale U.K. tour in direct support of Cradle of Filth in 2007. Shortly thereafter, they began work on their fifth full-length album, 2012: Zwanzig Zwölf, released in February 2008. Drawing more and more from death metal and black metal sentiments, 2012 is HuG’s heaviest offering thus far. The album’s central motif follows the Mayan theory that the world will end in 2012, and the band posits the subsequent extinction of the human race following one last rock concert to be performed by HuG after which a pyramid will unearth itself and carry the band members and all participants safely into outer space. Upon the release of 2012, the band expanded its growing cult following to both metalheads and rivetheads alike ultimately leading to HuG’s first-ever headlining shows overseas beginning in Moscow, Russia in September 2008.
In January 2009, Hanzel und Gretyl kicked off their extensive headlining “World Fukken Tour 2009” including shows throughout the U.S., Europe, U.K., Scandinavia, Russia, Ukraine, New Zealand and Australia ending with a final show in New York City on December 19, 2009.
More German *87* Than German (2010- Present)
On August 8, 2010, with the number 87 as the numerical representation of the band and the words “More German Than German” found on their backdrop and t-shirts Hanzel und Gretyl performed to a capacity crowd on the main stage at M’era Luna Festival in Hildesheim, Germany. Streamlined to a 2 piece band in October and November 2010, Hanzel und Gretyl capped off the year with their “Bierhaus Blood Tour 2010” which included select dates in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and the U.S. ending with a final show in Chicago on December 30, 2010. Hanzel und Gretyl kicked off 2011 supporting Genitorturers’ “Sexxx U 2 Death Tour” in February and March. And in October through to December, 2011 Hanzel und Gretyl will once again tour North America on their “More German Than German Tour”. Born To Be Heiled, Hanzel und Gretyl’s 7th full length CD and 6th CD release is slated for a November 27, 2012 launch as a debut release for the newly formed Metropolis Metal Records, a subdivision of Metropolis Records that focusses on their more metal based electronic and industrial bands. Born To Be Heiled features an eclectic blend of death metal, black metal, doom metal, classic rock, electronic and industrial elements all tied together with the band’s unmistakable “ersatz” German affect now coupled with strong outlaw biker motifs. Beginning in June 2012, HuG followed up the completion of Born To Be Heiled with multiple extensive headlining tours including Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., Canada, Russia, and Europe. “Hanzel und Gretyl Für Immer” an album comprised entirely of remixes of their previous CD, “Born To Be Heiled”, was completed by “KyzrWölf”, Kaizer Von Loopy’s electronically based solo project, in July of 2013 and slated for worldwide release by Metropolis Records on October 8, 2013.