"If people knew when they were going to die, I think they
probably wouldn't live at all."
Death, "Reaper Man", Terry Pratchett
Kill your Game Gear Smash your Sega
(AND THIS IS A REVIEW)
by Richard Karsmakers
Everybody must know Peaceville.
OK, well perhaps just about nobody actually does. Let me
therefore tell you that Peaceville is a relatively small British
record label that has prominent bands such as Autopsy, My Dying
Bride, Anathema, Kong and Paradise Lost (at least at the time of
their first two albums) under its umbrella. They even have a band
named Talion, would you believe! Peaceville, one could say,
covers the relatively heavy and doom-ish section of the musical
industry. That immediately tends to make it very interesting to
me, being somewhat of a sucker for that sort of music.
Watch it. I am going to put forward an immortal quote.
You can wake me up every day with music for which Peaceville
paved the way.
That's it. Hope you watched it.
Anyway, all this sort of thing is only of direly limited
interest to most of you. I mean ST NEWS is a computer magazine,
isn't it? It's hardly worth while dedicating an entire chapter to
some company that happens to make nice sortof underground-ish
music, is not?
Peaceville recently launched their very own software label,
"Virusoft". In response to the BPI cracking down on Public Domain
software libraries for disks including sampled sounds of certain
artists, they reckoned it would be a good idea to actually make
soundtracks available to programmers. This way the programmer
could do stuff legally and the band will get some money off it as
well. They even made it licenceware, so that the programmer
would probabably gain a bob or two.
The fact that Peaceville's momentarily leading the record
companies' way into the computer industry is reason enough to
dedicate an entire article to it. Let's hope that more will
follow (like Roadrunner and Earache, which have most major other
metal/doom/death/hardcore/whatever bands that I genuinely get off
on - Entombed, Obituary and Sepultura, being the most important
ones as far as I'm concerned).
Note: I would like to mention, along the line, that I think it's
outrageous for regular ST 8-bit shit-megahertz sampled sound
demos actually to be credited with the decrease of actual album
sales. It's all very nice, but I'd prefer the original recordings
any time and I find it very difficult to believe that Public
Domain libraries selling these sound demos were actually charged
with causing diminished album sales. Don't be ridiculous, BPI!
Only on the Falcon a claim like that can be taken serious.
End of note.
I know all of this will still not have much to do with
computers. Only a small part of this article will be dedicated to
the licenceware titles available so far. If you don't like it,
press F10, UNDO or the RIGHT mouse button. I'm not one to bear a
Autopsy - Acts of the Unspeakable
The first licenceware demo released by Virusoft is "Autopsy -
Acts of the Unspeakable", programmed in STOS by Tony Longworth
(who is himself a Peaceville recording artist in a band called
Morbid Symphony). Autopsy is reported to be the world's sickest
band. The demo includes a soundtrack off their third album with
animated digitized pics of one of their rare live performances
(the video of which, the legends goes, was found somewhere in a
back drawer of Peaceville's managing director, Hammy).
As the demo only runs on an STE (it would have been nice if the
demo would tell you if you weren't running it on an STE and
smoothly return to the desktop instead of resetting), it took
some time for me to get to see what it looked like.
A while ago I got the chance to run the demo on a Falcon at
Atari Benelux when I was programming there. I have to say that
the sound quality is quite OK - even on the Falcon's internal
tiny speaker it sounded equal to or better than the "MDB" demo
below. I have to say that this is only logical, what with the STE
and Falcon having DMA sound. The sample is quite long, with
dramatic changes. The whole thing is ornamented with sequences of
said digi pics, usually resulting in vaguely Atrocious human
shapes banging their heads up and down, that sort of thing. Not
too bad, actually. When the music has finished you get another,
rather stylish digi picture of some surrealistic bit of scenery.
From a programmer's point of view the demo offers nothing
stunning. Musically and principally, however, it's pretty good.
My Dying Bride - Erotic Literature
Of course I had to have this demo. My Dying Bride are my
favourite Peaceville recording artists, together with Paradise
Lost who have in the mean time signed up with Music For Nations
(still, their best album, "Gothic", was released through
The demo, programmed in machine code by Zone Developments,
basically consists of a sampled song off My Dying Bride's recent
"As the Flower Withers" CD by the name of (surprise!) "Erotic
Literature". Graphically, it's supported by digitized pictures
from the "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium" video.
Unfortunately, the sound quality is rather bad during the fast
bits. My Dying Bride is quite an extreme band with low, doomish
and sometimes rather fast music. When you add to that the
severely low grunt of their singer, the fast bits get transformed
in an almost unidentifiable sequence of white noise. The slow
bits are of good enough quality, however.
The problem the programmers have run into, obviously, is to get
the whole song sampled onto one floppy disk (after all, the
original is over five minutes in length). Perhaps, in this case
it would have been better to use more advanced compression
techniques and a somewhat higher sampling frequency. Or perhaps
mixing should have been somewhat more effective.
Once Virusoft gets things like this going on the Falcon with a
lot better sound quality (no CD quality, obviously, for even 1.44
Mb disks will run out of space then), things will really get
Sonic Violence - Catalepsy
The third licenceware demo is called "Catalepsy", and offers
samples off various Sonic Violence albums (Sonic Violence, as you
may have gathered, is another Peaceville recording group of
artists). Programming by Baz Norton, in "STOS".
I was somewhat disappointed with this demo. Graphically it has
less to offer, and the selection of colours (white borders, for
example) isn't brilliant. The sound quality is about identical to
that of the "Erotic Literature" demo, but now we get three
sample sessions of various length, with some loading in-between.
Perhaps it's just because the actual music isn't very good (I
don't really like what I heard, because Sonic Violence is not my
sort of band, apparently) that it didn't make much of an
impression. Of the demos I have seen so far, this one is least
Where to get Peaceville Licenceware
To obtain any of the available Virusoft sound demos, send a
cheque or Postal Order worth £2.00 (per disk) to Virusoft, P.O.
Box 17, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, WF17 8AA, United Kingdom. At
varying prices, the titles are also available at some licensees:
Arrow, Caledonia, Merlin, Nightshift, Stevens, ST Club,
Tumblevane, Warpzone and PD4U (all UK) and LTPD (in Canada). More
licensees worldwide may have been added by the time you read
The prices include postage & packaging. Further demos are
expected featuring music from Kong, At The Gates, Doom, Sonic
Violence, Anathema and G.G.F.H.
They are, by the way, on the lookout for programming talents on
ST, Amiga and PC. They're even interested in doing games. You can
send ideas and examples of work to the above address. MCPS and
programmer's royalties paid.
Disgusting Death Metal Shirts in Customs Seizure Shocker
To illustrate what Peaceville is like, to show you what kind of
company they are, I'd like to mention the fact that, recently,
entire consignments of T-shirts and CDs have been impounded on
grounds of being obscene. Obviously, Peaceville is a company that
doesn't shun away from pressing a few people's buttons. I myself
am a firm believer of a ban on censorship and usually my motto
is "If people think it's obscene they just shouldn't buy it".
Peaceville thinks much the same, obviously.
One of the bands Peaceville has signed up is Autopsy, from
California. In Germany and Australia, customs reckoned the cover
of their LP "Acts of the Unspeakable" and T-shirts of the same as
obscene. They were impounded and are liable to be burned under
From what I understand the cover portrays some vaguely dead-
looking figures doing gory things to each other, with the back of
the T-shirt reading "Vomit on the Nearest Asshole".
Peaceville's press release struck the right chord in me. I
immediately ordered one of the T-shirts. In case you're the kind
of person who isn't afraid of shocking a few Victorian puritans
(they exist everywhere, so success if guarenteed), the address to
order is the same as above. Orders must be endorsed "over 18"
with signature. They cost £7 (or £10 for long-sleeve version),
and this includes postage within the UK. Outside the UK, an
additional £2 should be included.
Personally I think everyone should order one, even if you hate
the music and just want to make a statement against the powers
Way to go, Peaceville! Anarchy rules! OK. Well, sortof.
The Peaceville Collectors Club
Another bit of interesting news for those of you who don't only
like regular ST soundchip music (have I already mentioned that
you also, on general, need to like death-grunt-gothic-doom?) is
that Peaceville also started the Peaceville Collectors Club.
This club is interesting if you're keen on getting rare vinyl
releases of various Peaceville recording artists and is
therefore, logically, of limited interest to CD aficionados.
However, should you not shun vinyl, this is the way to get your
hands on a 1" button badge, a membership card (which entitles you
to discounts on mail order purchases and Peaceville promotions)
and "unbelievably rare and collectable coloured vinyl in various
sizes" every three months. Releases are planned to include My
Dying Bride, Pentagram, Doomed, Anathema and G.G.F.H. as of March
One year membership costs £17.50, two years £32.50. Late
subscriptions will be accepted for the last two releases of each
year at £10.00 if received before August 31st. All cheques and
postal orders payable to Peaceville Collectors Club, and in
pounds sterling only.
The address was mentioned already, above, somewhere.
As soon as programmers let Peaceville know that they're doing
stuff for the Falcon, licenceware releases for this machine will
also be available. This should be something genuinely and quite
On the field of regular music, Peaceville have signed up some
new bands (Final Holocaust in Russia, Cogumelo in Brazil) and
will release other new bands such as Ship of Fools (which is a
bit like Fields of the Nephilim on LSD, and they're British).
It looks like Peaceville is there to stay, and that they will
pave the way for a load more heavy/gothic/doom metal music.
Possibly, more will be heard of them in next issues of ST NEWS.
Thanks to Dinger of Peaceville, without whom...
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.