HANDS OF MERCY were a young and talented hard rock outfit from Lennik. The origins of this band go back to 1981, when guitarist Stef Hermans (aka Steve Angel) and drummer Marc De Meutter (aka Marc Morgan) first hooked up with eachother. The two of them went on to form a project called WODAN, which eventually morphed into KREATION. By the end of 1982 KREATION was over and done with and Steve and Marc joined a band called KILLROY, teaming up with vocalist P.G. Haggerty and an unknown bassist. The bandname was soon changed to HANDS OF MERCY.

By 1985 this first incarnation of HANDS OF MERCY called it quits, since several members weren't able to combine their dayjobs with being in a band. P.G. then joined ROCK IN PEACE (aka R.I.P.) , but by early 1986 that band was history as well. Subsequently P.G., Stef and Marc decided to resurrect HANDS OF MERCY, and they asked former ROCK IN PEACE bassist Michel 'Mich' Hautier to join them. An offer that he gladly accepted, and this new incarnation started to write new songs right away. A support slot to AXEL on April 11th 1986 was the first result of this new collaboration.

The next step on the ladder was to record a demo. On May 20th 1986 the band headed for the Adams 8-track studio to record four tunes. Engineered by Willy Adams and produced by the band itself these four songs were mixed three days later, and released as the band's selftitled debut demo.

The band participated in the Vakature 1987 talent contest in Bree, advanced to the final and came out second. Not bad, knowing that they were the only hard rock band. As a result they received favourable reviews in national newspapers such as Het Belang Van Limburg and Het Volk, as well as Backstage Magazine. The band, together with manager Didier De Man, tried to find a record deal on the evidence of these achievements, but to no avail.

In mid 1987 vocalist P.G. left due to the usual musical differences (P.G. wanted to incorporate keyboards) as well as personal matters, since HANDS OF MERCY was only a hobby to him. P.G. was replaced by Patrick 'Pat' D'Hauwe, who used to play together with bassist Michel in ROCK IN PEACE before. Patrick had only three weeks to learn the band's repertoire (including all four demo songs plus the likes of Lonely In The Night, To The Limit, Heartbreaker, Straight To The Heart and Mistreated), since the first gig of the revamped HANDS OF MERCY was one supporting Holland's HELLOISE in Roosdaal-Strijtem on July 31st 1987.

More live shows followed in August and September (including support slots to VENGEANCE and HELLOISE) and a HANDS OF MERCY fanclub was created around this time as well. The first issue of the fanclub's magazine was released in September 1987. Up next was to record another demo, which was primarily intended for promotional use. On September 28th and 29th 1987 Running Straight To Your Heart and Lonely In The Night were recorded at Joe's Garage studio in Waalwijk, Holland, engineered by Lats Varga and produced by (at that time) VENGEANCE guitarist Arjen Lucassen.

This promo tape didn't attract any real label interest either, and thus the band decided to release both songs from said promo (although the title of Running … was shortened to just Straight To Your Heart) plus a new tune (Fallen Angel) on an independently released 12" in early February 1988. On February 6th 1988 VICIOUS RUMORS guitarist Geoff Thorpe joined HANDS OF MERCY on stage at Biebob in Vosselaar and jammed with them on a couple of songs. The official release party for the Fallen Angel 12" took place in Kester three weeks later, on February 27th 1988, supported by Holland's hard rock outfit MOVER.

More live performances followed, especially in May of 1988, when HANDS OF MERCY shared stages with the likes of ENFORCER, OSTROGOTH, HELLFIRE and CROSSHEAD in such obscure places as Pepingen, Lokeren and, again, Kester.

During the second half of 1988 guitarist Stef Hermans and vocalist Pat D'Hauwe also showed up in a metal cover band called the METAL FOR ALL BAND, in which they joined forces with guitarist Eddy Scheire (BATTERING RAM), vocalist Guy De Graeve (TARGET), drummer Christ Braems (TARGET), guitarist Hans Putteman (ALBION, ex TRIAL), bassist Gerrit Van Bellingen (ALBION, ex ENFORCER), . Rehearsals for the METAL FOR ALL BAND were at TARGET's practice spot in Balegem, near Zottegem.

The METAL FOR ALL BAND proceeded to play live at 't Jagershof in Kester (alongside AXEL, LODGER and HANDS OF MERCY) on January 14th 1989. And on February 25th 1989 the METAL FOR ALL BAND invaded the T-Klub in Lokeren. On that occasion the band performed the likes of Here I Go Again (WHITESNAKE), Ain't Talking 'Bout Love (VAN HALEN), Because The Night (KEEL), Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC), Some Kinda Wonderful (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD), Born To Be Wild (STEPPENWOLF), Rainbow In The Dark (DIO), Twilight Zone (GOLDEN EARRING), Strong Arm Of The Law (SAXON), Doctor, Doctor (UFO) and Fight For Your Right (BEASTIE BOYS), but also HANDS OF MERCY's We'll Meet Again. Plus a Rock 'n' Roll version of Kleine Café Aan De Haven, as well as a medley of Dutch Carnival classics. HELLFIRE guitarist Tony De Block was the sound engineer on that occasion, and he even joined the band on stage for a couple of songs. Shortly after this second gig the METAL FOR ALL BAND fell apart again already, due to internal differences.

After the demise of HANDS OF MERCY drummer Marc De Meutter joined RAMSES in 1990, as their vocalist!


1986 : Hands Of Mercy (demo) {Genocide, Chained On Rock, Back To Believe, Nightmare}

1987 : Promo (demo) {Running Straight To Your Heart, Lonely In The Night}

1988 : Fallen Angel (12", independent) {Fallen Angel, Straight To Your Heart, Lonely In The Night}

Consulted people


First posted

July 11th 2007

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