Tales from the Jugular

Looking Back At Andreas "Henner" Allendörfer

By: Eric Compton
Published: Monday, January 17, 2005
It was just over a month ago that the metal community suffered an enormous loss with the murder of Dimebag Darrell. Dimebag is still in our thoughts and prayers and we wish everyone connected with the terrible tragedy in Ohio the best of wishes for this new year. Unfortunately with our wound still healing we are saddened to learn that Squealer frontman and AFM Records label boss Andreas "Henner" Allendorfer has been taken from us. Allendorfer died on January 16, 2005 when his car veered off the road due to icy conditions. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. His loss is devastating to the metal community and I for one would like to bring everyone up to speed on the life and times of Andreas Allendorfer.

I remember when I first heard Allendorfer's charismatic voice, bringing to life a little known band called Squealer back in 1995. At that time Alldendorfer and company had just released their third album "Wrong Time, Wrong Place" on an up and coming indy label called AFM Records. Allendorfer's vision of German power metal crossed over the 80's bay area sounds with Germany's backbone of traditional speed and power. Think of Testament crossed with Helloween and Gamma Ray. It was far heavier than anything coming out of the German power scene and at that time really sparked a whole host of newer acts. While Andreas spent most of his nights playing clubs with Squealer, he spent most of his day trying to push his record label AFM Records.

Allendorfer helped kick start AFM Records, the future home of marquee groups like Doro, UDO, Destruction, and Annihilator. But back in the mid-90s things weren't always so glorious. At that time the label was completely in the underground trying to find decent talent to fill up it's roster. A young group of Germans calling themselves Edguy were one of the first bands to sign to the label. Allendorfer and AFM Records immediately saw the potential and talent within Edguy and released the group's first five albums before the band went on to a larger label. Allendorfer took chances on other up and coming metal bands also, releasing early albums from Steel Attack and Nostradameus to Tarantuala and Rawhead Rexx. A lot of the success of the German power metal movement can be credited directly to the AFM label. They were the power plant that really did their homework and scouted out all of the young talent. By 2000 the label had emerged as one of the top labels in the metal world.

Allendorfer didn't completely give up focus on his band however. While continuing to recruit newer bands, Squealer went on to record three more magnificent albums. In '99 the group released their first real successful album in "The Prophecy", a modern power metal album that saw a release in North America. They followed that up with their best work, "Made For Eternity" in 2000. By 2002 the band had changed their style somewhat, releasing a diverse, more gothic work with "Under The Cross". Squealer had gained a faithful audience through their short career, playing and touring all over Europe with the likes of Blind Guardian and Edguy.

As AFM Records continued to grow in reputation, their roster began to incorporate plenty of metal legends. The label signed former Warlock singer Doro, former Accept frontman UDO, Canadian thrash legends Annihilator, former Impellitteri and Axel Rudi Pell vocalist Rob Rock, beer thrashers Tankard, German thrash pioneers Destruction, and former Savatage vocalist Zak Stevens' Circle II Circle among others. The label also picked up worldwide distribution through Canada's The End Records and even enjoyed a brief stint with the legendary Metal Blade Records. Just shortly before Allendorfer's death he told Germany's Rock Hard magazine his simple goals and intentions with his label. Below is an excerpt from his statement to Rock Hard:

"There are only 12 people that work at the label, and we don't have a big company with tons of money backing us up. We only bring out 12 or 13 titles a year, which is much different from the big labels that employ 65 people and release 50 or 60 titles a year. Our strength is that we don't try to do too much; we really concentrate on our bands. Also, the people at AFM are fans of the bands they're promoting. I believe that the best way to sell something is actually liking the product yourself. With this policy of not trying to do too much and concentrating on quality, we're doing quite well."

Andreas "Henner" Allendorfer will be missed by many and his legacy will live on through the music he has left behind. From his extraordinary work with Squealer to the fantastic label he has created, Allendorfer will be in our thoughts forever. He was committed to bringing the world the very best of heavy metal music and during his short life span he did exactly that. Andreas, thank you for the memories, the music, and most importantly your creative vision.

"The eternity of a day, You have to go your final way, Your fate isn't in your hand, Just a trace in the sand" - lyrics by Andreas Allendorfer from the song "The Eternity Of A Day"

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