September 13, 2022

Well! This was such hard work tracking anything down about a band that have been around for 30+ years, I was beginning to think I was being “wound up” by someone who knows my weakness for Dutch music! The band’s own Facebook page is remarkable in its opacity, I had given up hope of gleaning anything until, courtesy of a German e-zine called Crossfire I got some material (my grateful thanks to you guys!); and I then finally managed to crack the code of IMPACT’s Facebook site. Phew!

Back to the plot! IMPACT was formed in 1981 by lead singer Thierry Plisson. At that time, there were only a handful of Hard Rock bands in The Netherlands, such as Highway Chile, Picture and Bodine. Their classic open song structure and relatively sophisticated sound, combined with a raw but unique voice, meant things evolved fast. In 1982, they were asked by the prestigious “Aardschok” magazine to feature on their “Metal Clogs” compilation album, then in 1983, the band released their first full-length album “Never Too Young To Rock”, on the BMR record label. The title track is still considered as a Dutch Hard Rock Classic and, due to this success, IMPACT was touring intensively in Dutch clubs for years. The showmanship of frontman Thierry turned live shows turned into a real party experience, with the audiences going bonkers!

They then got to work on the next album, rehearsing in the attic of a church in Rotterdam, courtesy of the priest himself, a keen fan! The Flag saw the light of day in 1987, again on BMR records, again followed by extensive touring. The band’s lie-up became quite variable at this time, held together by lead singer Thierry Plisson and bass player Rob Schoof. In the nineties, the Dutch Grunge scene rather overshowed classic hard rock and apart from a couple of contributions to another compilation album Metaltrax Part II released by PMF Records in 1994, the band essentially broke up. In the late 90’s Thierry, with collaboration of old mate guitarist J.J. de Werk and Drummer Ernst van Ee (Highway Chile, Helloise), made a new attempt with a full-length album with the working title The Calm Before The Storm. Although never officially released, this album turned out heavier in style, as heard in songs like “On The Rampage”.

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Fast forward to 2013. IMPACT gained many new followers after releasing the YouTube single “You And I”, a more modern and melodic production that led to the band being asked to contribute to the “Dutch Steel” compilation album (released in 2014). This album is considered as invaluable for fans of Dutch 80’s Hard Rock. On the back of this, in 2016 IMPACT was persuaded to do a reunion concert, their first live show in years. It only took two rehearsals to prepare. The resultant set at the “Rotterdam Rocks” festival revealed a band full of enthusiastic and energy, and a live album Live At Rotterdam Rocks! was released in 2017 to rave reviews.

IMPACT doing what thy do best – gigging!

This led the re-release of the first two albums on CD in 2020. This new release, titled The Lost Tapes actually features their unreleased The Calm Before The Storm, plus six tracks from the vaults. And the band plays on! – IMPACTs fourth studio album “Ten Songs Till… Impact” is now in the course of creation, courtesy of Headbangers Records and Big Bad Wolf Records.

And so to the music itself: The first impression I got, cold, was a glorious blend of Saxon, UFO and Golden Earring – with Ozzy Osbourne on lead vocals! – plus a dash of the late (and occasionally great Herman Brood). The riffs and guitar work crackle, bass and drums are “bang on” (huh!), and Thierry howls for Holland! Think “Bark at The Moon, and you’re close! I have to assume most if not all of the riffing and scorching lead licks are courtesy of J.J. de Werk, he’s definitely from the Kerrang school of playing!

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the tracks!

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Ten “new” tracks from (I think) 1999, and another six from…sometime spread over the 80’s? The nature of this release is by definition a bit of a Curate’s Egg, some tracks do sound a little dated (possibly form the mix?), others sound amazingly fresh! There are crisp riffs, a nicely uncomplicated but beef rhythm section and suitably up-front powerful vocals. Much is simply great 80’s style Heavy Metal that sounds the way it ought to! The ten songs from 1999 offer classic, timeless, old-school rock heavy metal, with rocking riffs, driving rhythms, anthemic refrains, melodic vocals in medium to high pitch, wild solos – what’s not to like!

All in all, great fun, made me pine for my long-vanished shoulder-length hair of old!

And here’s a “Shout Out” for Headbangers Records and Big Bad Wolf Records – together they are “For The Passion Not The Fashion”. Both labels are mainly promoting forgotten Benelux hard-rock / metal-hard core acts but are also hungry for fresh new talent and lost worldwide treasures (a bit like the UK’s BTO Records). The prime example here is IMPACT’s The Flag, recorded in 1987 but remastered and rereleased in June, 2020, bless ’em!

IMPACT’s 1987 tour-de-force, now re-mastered




The track that started it all?!