Galloping Coroners (native Hungarian name: Vágtázó Halottkémek, also as VHK) is a cultic Hungarian underground music group (1975-2001, refounded 2009 and 2013) associated to etno-punk, shaman-punk, psychedelic hardcore musical style. Galloping Coroners plays repetitive still melodious music, combined ancient nomad shamans' repetitive tribal music with modern electronic guitar and drum sound into a unique pulsating, obsessive performance using ritualistic improvisations. VHK is regarded one of the most important band of the 80'th alternative scene, emerged from East-European block. Western music critics compare its importance to American experimental rock band Sonic Youth or Big Black.
"This band is equal in spirit and grit to faves like SONIC YOUTH or BIG BLACK but with an identity all its own."
Maximum Rock'N Roll (USA), July 1991, #98
VHK is admired as higly important band by Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins,Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Einstürzende Neubauten.
From 2005 Attila Grandpierre continued VHK's musical concept in neotraditional Vágtázó Csodaszarvas ("Galloping Wonder Stag"), changing eletronic instruments into traditional Hungarian acoustic instruments, developed a clear, modern still ancient style.
VHK was formed on 1975 in Budapest by Attila Grandpierre (astronomer, singer) and his friends. Initial lineup: Attila Grandpierre (vocal), Sándor Czakó (guitar), László Ipacs(drums), Tamás Pócs (bassguitar), Molnár György (solo guitar).
Underground years in late Hungarian communist era:
VHK's ecstatic music was an extremely scandalous sound vs. Hungarian state controlled music scene. Debut of VHK was scandalous: Authorities sent agents to VHK's concerts, and interrupted the first 8 concerts. After that the band was officially banished in Hungary for 11 years, not allowed to make concerts legally. Still VHK continuously found ways to play underground concerts at various scenes. Vágtázó Halottkémek was helped to the stage by the fans of other bands, or there were concert-organizers taking the risk to be kicked out because of allowing them play. They used fake names, played as guest musicians of other bands without revelealing themselves as VHK at the concert. Due to this concerts, VHK's fame spread rapidly among youth communities in Budapest. Experimental film director Gábor Bódy recognised VHK for his film "Dog's Night Song" featuring the band and lead howler Attila Grandpierre as an actor. From 1984 VHK played regularly in West_Europe, while Hungarian authorities tried to obstruct giving passport to VHK's members to get concerts in Western-Europe. In 1986 VHK was invited to that years "cultural capital of Europe", Amsterdam. Dutch Queen, Beatrix should have personally pressure Hungarian authorities in order to allow the guest performance of the band. The same happened in 1987 with Austrian chancellor, Fred Sinowatz and the "Mythen, Monstren and Mutationen" festival in Berlin. 1988 Einstürzende Neubauten, Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra and Iggy Pop regarded VHK as one of the most important bands. In the last years before the collapse of communist soft regime in Hungary, VHK played with Rollins Band in Hungary. Rollins Band invited VHK for a tour in England in 1989. In 1992, "Hammering on the Gates of Nothingness" song reached 2nd position on the Top-list of a Belgian Radio Station, and VHK's CD's were played in numerous US college radios.
First international manager of the band was Dietmar Lupfer. VHK released records with him "Teach Death a Lesson" (1988), "Jump Out the World-Instinct"(1990), "Hammering on the Gates of Nothingness" (1992).
Vágtázó Halottkémek describes its music as "an instinctive primeval music liberating the elementary powers of nature creating ourselves and revolting to its high completion in a free spontaneity and overwhelming energy." The VHK music is not a simple improvisation but a completely free creation of music born on stage, liberating the deepest musical creative power. VHK also plays more or less pre-written songs. VHK's music referred to by many as shamanistic ethno or psychedelic hardcore, Band leader Attila Grandpierre explain this as "an unrestricted outburst of life energy" that is not only a music but an attitude to grasp the essence of life with our deepest nature and let it grow by its own laws. The group says: "it is a magical folk-music, a cosmic vision about the role of earthly life on the destination of the Universe." On concerts they often danced in neo-primitive costumes of leather and feathers, using backdrops like an Inuit designs they copied from Siberian art.