Speed Metal Swirl
The speed metal swirl logo on the sleeve of the more aggressive releases, was a Michel Meese marketing idea. Put together by in-house Polygram graphic artist Gunther Woschank, and added mostly to the front cover, sometimes the back, or other times both!
It seems that the swirl was actually made of an existing design with the words Speed Metal added.
A similar symbol was found on a Shediac, New Brunswick phone book vinyl cover dating from 1976.
There are 18 Banzai releases that bear the logo. A wide spead belief is that since 6+6+6=18, it would be the reason why it stopped at 18. It remains to be verified!
What is certain, is that many collectors are actively seeking the canadian "speed metal swirl" versions of these albums, making them most of the harder to find Banzai releases.
BAM 1003 Hellhammer - Apocalyptic Raids
BAM 1004 Destruction - Sentence of Death
BAM 1007 Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales
BRC 1925 Voivod - War and Pain
BRC 1926 Thrust - Fist Held High
BRC 1934 Bathory - s/t
BRC 1942 Destruction - Infernal Overkill
BRC 1951 Kreator - Endless Pain
BRC 1952 Warrant - The Enforcer
BRC 1955 Bathory - The Return...
BRC 1958 Running Wild - Branded & Exiled
BRC 1959 Iron Angel - Hellish Crossfire
BRC 1962 Tyrant - Mean Machine
BRC 1965 Possessed - Seven Churches
BRC 1970 Living Death - Metal Revolution
BRC 1972 Kreator - Pleasure to Kill
BRC 1973 Voivod - Rrröööaaarrr
BRC 1986 Cryptic Slaughter - Convicted
By today's standards, those albums would be in different classifications of thrash, cross-over, black and even death metal. It is also not known why a band like Destruction, whose sound was the same on all 3 of their Banzai releases, only had the speed metal swirl on the first 2! Same for Iron Angel and Celtic Frost.
The swirl can also be found on a Celtic Frost bootleg "A Night in the Dark". It was either stolen or borrowed, but it hasn't got anything to do with Banzai.
Many new obscure releases also embrace the swirl. It can be found on several releases by Nuclear War Now Productions, from bands like Blasphemy and Witches Hammer.
Shediac phone book cover.