Witchburner – Witchburner
Country: Fulda, Hesse (Ger)
Simon Seegel – Guitars
Tankred Best – Vocals, Drums
Florian Schmidt – Guitars
Tony Skudlarek – Bass
The band was formed by Tankred Bess and Florian Schmidt in 1992. They recorded their first demo Future Tales in 1994, however it was never officially released due to the band’s dissatisfaction with the production quality.
After “Future Tales” the band took what would be the first of many hiatuses as Tankred decided to help out the band Drunken Devil. This commitment ended in 1996
This led to Tankred and Florian reconvening with Simon and Tony, Tony had been in Drunken Devil with Tankred, and Simon was simultaneously in the Thrash band Dangerous Force, who also released their only split “Thrash Fire / Skullcrushing Savagery” w/ Solitude in 1996.
The album was limited to 500 copies when first released. While not on a label, it does appear the band utilized some of the facilities and possibly the staff of Scare Records
Florian had to leave the band after a few gigs post-album, and does not appear to have returned to the music industry. He was replaced by Christoph Ungemach, who would remain for their next album
This solidified lineup recorded follow-up “Blasphemic Assault” in 1998, but after this the lineup was constantly in flux, with Simon being the only constant member.
Tony and Tankred would reunite in the Death/Thrash band Conspirator almost immediately after the dissolution of the Blasphemic Assault lineup, releasing their first album in 2001
As mentioned Simon continued on with Witchburner with a rotating lineup of musicians. Tankred has been a guest guitarist on the third album, so I’m assuming the split was amicable.
Simon started a Death/Thrash band of his own called Cadaveric Poison w/ Paul Speckmann from Master. Felix Darnieder, who was Tankred’s eventual replacement in Witchburner and his bandmate in Dangerous Force.
The Mist – The Hangman Tree
Country: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (Braz)
Formed: 1989 (1986-1989 as Mayhem)
Label: Cogumelo Records
Producer: Marcos Gauguin (Recording, Mixing)
Artwork: Kelson Frost
Marcelo Diaz – Bass, Keyboards
Christiano Salles – Drums
Jairo Guedz – Guitars
Vladimir Korg – Vocals
The Earliest version of The Mist was known as Mayhem, Mayhem released two demos and were featured on a split released between 1986-1988. They also recorded a full length Violence is the Game but this was never released. The band took the name The Mist after parting ways w/ vocalist Gentil, and bassist Renato “Pururuca.
The Mist/Mayhem’s original guitarists who were present on the 1989 Phantasmagoria album were Roberto Lima and Reinaldo “Cavalão” Bedran.
Renildo was also involved in a Thrash band called Gothic Vox, which is notable for being cover artist Kelson Frost’s band (he does vocals)
Renildo committed suicide in 1991, and Roberto left around the same time. Roberto has not returned to the music scene.
Jario Guedz took over guitar work, Jario had begun his career in Thrash/Death band Guerrilha, but he is best known as the first guitarist in Sepultura, having left after Morbid Visions.
This was Marcelo’s first major band, while Vladimir had come from thrash band Chakal, which he remained a part of while he was in The Mist.
The band would record an EP Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, in 1993 and another full length album Gottverlassen in 1995, both with a more industrial tinge that came out in 1995. This seems to be an indicator of where the members would be going
Mixer/Masterer Marcos Gauguin has worked with several Brazilian metal bands. Including the early works of Sarcófago and Sepultura. He had also worked on The Mist’s debut
Vladimir continued w/ Chakal, but in 2009 started The Unabomber Files, a groove metal band
Marcello would end up in Soulfly in 1997 but left in 2003, he is currently in thrash metal band Agony since 2006.
Jairo would join Death/Thrash/Groove band Eminence in 1999, and power/thrash band Overdose from 2002-2007 but is not featured on any albums. Though not super well known state side, Overdose was a Brazilian institution since the early 80s. I’ve seen at least one source credit Jairo joining Overdose as the motivator behind the dissolution of the Mist
Antidote – Total
Country: Helsinki, Finland
Disbanded: Speculatively 1996
Label: Shark Records
Producer: Tim Buktu & Axel Thubeauville
Pete Peltonen – Bass
Nino Laurenne- Vocals, Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Mika Arnkil – Drums, Vocals (backing)
Pete Eloranta – Guitars
Antidote formed in 1986 and had their first two demos Epoch of Insanity & Spaced released in 1990 and 1991. There is mention on MetalArchives that there were other demos released between 1989-1991, but they don’t seem to have been released. Mika was briefly in Abhorrence in 1990, and Pete P. was in a band called Defection. They seem to have made Antidote their main focus after 1990 however, and they released a full length in 1992 called The Truth. This lead to touring gigs with Accuser (A personal Zach fav) and Headhunter
The early period of the band featured Antti Kuittinen on Bass, who left after the demos, and Tuomo Louhio was on Guitar for Spaced & The Truth. Tuomo was actually a guest guitarist on several tracks on Total implying his leaving from the band was amicable. Tuomo will re-enter the picture later
After Total the band recorded one further album, Mind Alive in 1995, before going their separate ways.
Nino went on to form still active power metal band Thunderstone w/ later period Antidote bassist Titus Hjelm (who joined in the interim between Mind Alive and the band breaking up), and is also a member of the dinosaur themed kids power metal band Hevisaurus, under the name Riffi Raffi. The band is currently going by the name SauruXet due to a record label dispute. The band performs in full dinosaur costume.
He is also a prominent mixer, engineer, and recorder, working w/ an impressive range of Finnish artists
Mika went on to join black metal band Impaled Nazerene in 2000 and still plays with them, former guitarist Tuomo also joined the band in 2003
Pete E is currently in Dienecia, a traditional metal band that has released several
Producers Timo, is most prominently known for Stratovarious, and Axel is also the founder of Shark Records, and has extensive Behind the Boards credits, as does Timo.
Crionic – Different
Country: Přelouč, Czech Republic
Disbanded: Still Active
Label: M.A.B. Records
Producer: Zdeněk Šikýř
Marcel Školník – Guitars
Petr “Medd” Michálek – Guitars
Martin “Catman” Kočí – Vocals
Petr “Bínis” Bína – Bass
Zdeněk “Ambo” Vamberský – Drums
Band’s website lists their formation as 1991, however metal archives lists 1987. There is mention of a demo being recorded in 1989, but this doesn’t appear to have been officially released.
Two official demo’s are listed as being released in 1991 and 1992, the first of which appears to be sung entirely in their native Czech, with the second having English titles at least.
Crionic existed concurrently with a Death/Thrash band called Mortuary that Petr Bina, Zdenek, and early Crionic member Šimon Petr Baštecký were all members of this band. Zdenek remains a member.
Crionic has never broken up, however the appear to have ditched thrash almost immediately after this release, though the line up remained relatively stable throught the years, their next demo in 1994 Big Bug contained some more melodic elements, and a slowly creeping grunge influence
This trend seems to have continued because in reviews I found for subsequent demos, I can make out the words “post-grunge” but I can’t get the files hosted on their site to play, so I have no experience w/ this mid-period work, and the reviews are all in Czech
This seems to be backed up by what is available though, as their 2010 album and subsequent releases are very much “modern rock” and the band’s influences listed on their site, i.e. Nicklback, Papa Roach, Seether, definitely indicate the band’s tastes changed.
Petr B. has joined Polymetal, a long running underground Czech HM band that has existed since the early 80s.
Iceland – Iceland
Country: Plaisir, Île-de-France
Label: Melody (Label’s only release is this album)
Producer: Didier Chesneau
Artwork: Frack C.
Manu Hontaas – Bass
Fred Moreau – Drums
Christophe Avelange -Guitars
Philippe Roux – Guitars, Vocals
Iceland was formed in 1988. Chris and Phillipe had both been in an early thrash band called Black Ghost that started in 1981. This band later changed their names to Ixion, but this was after they left. Neither version of the band recorded any non-demo material
Fred had previously played drums in a trad metal band called Silk Gloves that released a single in 1986. Manu has no previous credits listed.
The band put out a demo in 1990, there is some speculation, apparently based on liner notes, that this debut may have been recorded in 1990, which would be a shame if true, because it may have gotten some more attention if it was released around that time
The band was joined by Sebastian Rolan on keyboards for this release, this was his earliest project as well
The band released another split w/ Death/Thrash band Droÿs in 1995.
The band continued continued to tour, playing over 200 shows together, including a supporting slot for Cradle of Filth, at some point they changed their name to EZ28U (Easy to hate you) but eventually disbanded.
Chris has stated that being a metal band in France made it difficult, but I think it’s about time as well as place.
Post Iceland Manu & Chris seem to have retired from actively playing music.
Philippe joined Goth/Industrial band Xianosys in the mid 2000s, he is currently involved in a rock band called Ego Miss Blinded.
Fred joined power metal band Headline almost immediately after Iceland, for their debut album and follow up EP, and is currently involved in a band called Maryline
Sebastian went on to be a member of french dark symphonic band Elend, he also worked with Headline briefly for a single called “Never Let Me Down”
Tankard – The Tankard
Country: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Label: Noise Records (Last Release on this label)
Producer: Harris Johns & Karl-U. Walterbach
Gerre – Vocals
Frank Thorwarth – Bass
Andy Boulgaropoulos – Guitars
Olaf Zissel – Drums
Considered one of the Tetutonic “Big 4” Tankard has existed in some form since 1982, though they were originally known as Avenger (have to wonder if they changed names because of Rage, who were also known as Avenger at this time) and then as Vortex, before finally settling on Tankard in 1983
Gerre, Frank and Andy have been members of Tankard since the formation of the band. However this album represents a transitional period of the band
Prior to this Axel Katzmann was a second guitarist, but he had to leave the band due to severe arthritis, He was involved in one post Tankard project, a speed/thrash band that released one album in 1997.
Former drummer Adrian Hahn also left prior to this album. He seems to at least have been on good terms with Axel, as he also was involved in the Nemesis project.
Adrian was replaced by Olaf, formerly of Death/Thrash band Autopsia, that released a demo in 1989 called Alosia.
This lineup of the band is also the one responsible for the Tankwart side project, a punk/metal/german traditional cover band that released two albums, one if 1994 and the second in 1996
The band was also involved in The X-Mas Project in 1995, Adrian Hahn of Grinder and Capricorn fame, was also involved in this project, he was the singer of Nemesis. Possible this is where he met Adrian.
Producers Harris Johns & Karl U. both had incredible credits, Karl is the founder of Noise (which will probably be an episode in it’s own right), and Harris could be considered one of the most important figures in Heavy Metal (Voivoid, Sodom, Helloween, Kreator, as well as early Tankard) and had his own one man Power metal project called Charn that released a single album Blasts Off in 1994
Sven Conquest mastered the project, he was involved with several big name metal bands 90’s work, doing his part to keep the classic sound alive, perhaps most notably with Messiah,Rage, Coroner, and Death SS.
After this album, the lineup remained stable with the exception of Andy, who left the band in 1998 after getting married, whoever he still contributes a bulk of the lyrics to the band. He was replaced by Andy Gutjahr, formerly of Christian metal bands Lightmare and Creed (not that one)
Slayer – Divine Intervention
Country: Huntington Park,Los Angeles County, California
Disbanded: N/A 🙁
Label: American Recordings (Universal subsidiary)
Studio: Oceanway, LA & Sound City, Van Nuys(SC is a fav of Rubin)
Producer: Toby Wright & Rick Rubin (ExecPro)
Artwork: Wes Benscoter
Tom Araya – Vocals, Bass
Jeff Hanneman – Guitars
Kerry King – Guitars
Paul Bostaph – Drums
Divine Intervention is Slayer’s first album in 4 years, being preceded by Seasons in the Abyss. It represents the first change in the band’s lineup, at least on record, as Dave Lombardo had left the band in 1992.
Dave had left (briefly) before in 1987 due to low pay and was replaced by Tony Scaglione from Whiplash, but returned after some begging from Rick Rubin, who was unhappy with the change. Whatever personal grievances he had seem to have lingered however, and Dave has stated that he felt limited by Slayer’s music.
The final straw for Dave was when he told Slayer at the onset of his wife’s pregnancy that we would be unavailable to tour at the end of September 1992 so he could see his child born, but he received a call from tour manager Rick Sales informing him they were booked for a festival in September. Not explicitly stated, but seems like this was an attempt to “muscle” him into touring, but he remained firm and decided to leave the band
Post Slayer Dave was involved in a project w/ Bobby Gutafson (Overkill) that fell through, but by the time Divine Intervention was out had moved onto Grip Inc
Dave was initially replaced by his drum tech, but his skills were not up to snuff to be a full time member. Kerry King’s guitar tech at the time was friends with John Tempesta (Exodus, Testament and White/Rob Zombie), who recommended Paul Bostaph, best known at the time for his work in Forbidden.
Initially Slayer was hesitant to consider Paul, because of Forbidden’s more melodic play style, but Paul had a near perfect rendition of Angel of Death in his audition. He got the position, but had to begin a rigorous training routine to improve his leg and hand strength to be able to play Dave’s material. In total he was in the band for about a year & ½ .
Talk about the increased intensity of this album. Tom Mentions that the band had been “slacking off” thoughts on this, true statement or were they rejecting the slightly less raw sounds of season.
Tom also mentions that Kerry’s more prominent songwriting role as in influence, because of “punk” style of his songs.
Tom refers to the album as a connection to the past with new elements, is this fair?
Mentions of the album being faster sort of coming about organically, but have to wonder if part of it was to spite Dave, who was outspoken in his desires to sound more like Reign.
Tom says this is first time they’ve been a band and “not 3 guys and a drummer”
Discuss the increase in intensity between Seasons and this album. Changing lyrical themes, and the risks in taking a step back from the accessibility of the previous album
Lack of Satanic lyrics
Dittohead & Rush Limbaugh
213 – Jeff Dahmer
SS-3 & Nazism
Cover Artist Wes Benscooter is a very prominent artist, who works primarily in airbrush style. The bands he’s done the most work for are probably Cattle Decapitation, Mortition, and Defiled. He also may be a local, living in the Hburg area.
Mastered by Stephen Marcussen who also worked on Exodus’s Impact album from today as well as some other mid-90’s releases by some metal legends. Perhaps the most “classic” album is So Far, So Good… So What!
Sepultura – Arise
Country: Belo Horizonte (early)/São Paulo (Later)
Label: Roadrunner Records
Studio: Morrisound Studio
Producer: Scott Burns
Artwork: Michael Whelan
Max Cavalera – Vocals, Guitars (rhythm)
Andreas Kisser – Guitars (lead), Lyrics
Igor Cavalera – Drums
Paulo Jr. – Bass
Talk about the changes that occurred between Beneath The Remains. That album seems to be the album where Sepultura seems to have “found themselves” whereas Arise represents their first steps in adding different musical influences to their formula
Scott Burns and Michael Whelan are both returning for their sophomore Sepultura efforts, both having worked on Beneath the Remains.
This was the first time Sepultura had recorded stateside at Burn’s home studio in Tampa, Morrisound Recording, which he’s operated since 1981, and has been a major force in the rise of Death Metal. He had worked with Sepultura before relatively cheaply because of his curiosity in Brazil.
Michael Whelen is a renowned fantasy and sci-fi artists known for several Del Ray editions of classic stories by Burroughs, and Lovecraft, Stephen King stories, and many rock and metal covers, Including personal fav’s Cirith Ungol (Also Did Demolition Hammer from today)
The new influences present on the album, the industrial touches, the slightly “groovier” drumming, and the first examples of the latin/brazilian traditional music. Why do these elements work here, but don’t work on later releases
Talk about the band post-recording, the major press boost they got from major music press, and the sudden rise of interest from stateside and worldwide listeners and the interest from MTV for the videos for “Dead Embryonic Cells” and the banned video for “Arise”
The band’s touring after the release of this album also aiding their rise to popularity, Rock in Rio 2, a tour w/ Sacred Reich and Heathen, a U.S tour w/ Napalm Death and Sick of it All, German tour w/ Motorhead and Morbid Angel, and probably most crucial to their mainstream popularity, opening for Ozzy on the No More Tears tour.
Talk about the controversial at Praça Charles Miller in Sao Paulo, the expected 10,000 fans, the 30,000 that actually showed up, the subsequent brawl between metalheads and skinheads, which escalated into a Riot. This incident, combined w/ a stabbing at a Ramone’s concert a month prior led to a major backlash against Rock & Metal in Brazil.
Testament – Demonic
Country: Oakland, CA
Formed: 1986 (Existed as Legacy from ‘83-’86)
Label: Music by Nations
Studio: Driftwood Studios, Oakland CA
Producer: Douglas Hall, Eric Peterson, James Murphy
Artwork: Dave McKean
Chuck Billy – Vocals
Eric Peterson – Guitars
Gene Hoglan – Drums
Derrick Ramirez – Bass
Demonic represents the second genre shift in the same number of albums, Low was met with mixed critical reactions, and little fanfare, the band was not embraced by alt metal fans and long term fans were disappointed by the change in style. The groove metal sound was dropped (for the most part) and death metal integrated into the sound.
There was also some major changes to the lineup with this release. The most notable is absence of founding bassist Greg Christian. He and relatively newer members John Tempesta, and James Murphy all left after a 1996 club tour.
Can’t find specific info on why all 3 left, Greg’s issues seem to be strictly personal, Tempesta went on to a more lucrative position in White Zombie, and James Murphy was working on a solo album at the time, and has always been sort of nomadic anyway, but as mentioned he really just dropped to a supporting role rather than truly “leaving.”
Worth mentioning that Paul B. had played in Testament briefly before John, leaving for the Slayer role and Dave Lombardo would join in 1998.
Eric’s cousin Derrick replaced Greg on Bass, he was actually (sorta) a member of Testament before, having played in the band while they were still Legacy, the lineup was rounded out by Gene Hoglan.
At the time Hoglan would have been known for Death & Dark Angel. He would have just come from his first Strapping Young Lad album as well.
Glen Alvelais from Forbidden guested on guitar leads on “New Eyes of Old.” This would actually be his second performance on a Testament album, having done leads for a track on 1993’s Return to the Apocalyptic City EP
A few of the people behind the boards were Testament Alumni as well.
Michael Wagner, who mixed the album had also been there for the Low sessions, he is a well known producer with insane credits, he was also a VERY early member of Accept when they were called Band X
Masterer George Marino had previously worked on The Ritual
Cover artist Dave McKeen had also previously worked on Low he is also very renowned for his work in comics, concept art in movies, and illustrations for well known scifi and horror novels. He has worked probably most significantly with Fear Factory, but relevant to past episodes did some design work for a 2012 Single by Talanas called Corpseflower
Discussion about what elements work, what doesn’t?
Do we agree with the notion that Lombardo’s influence on later album The Gathering makes this sound work better?
Could this be the first sign that MAYBE there’s something to be redeemed in groove metal?
Is this possibly Testament’s most underrated release?
Discussion about Eric Peterson’s under appreciated role as a songwriter.
Overkill – Horrorscope
Country: New York, NY/ Jersey
Formed: 1980 (Existed briefly that year as Virgin Killer)
Studio: Carriage House Studios, Stamford, Connecticut
Producer: Terry Date, Executive Producers Jon & Marsha Zazula
Artwork: Bob Defrin (Art Direction)
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth – Vocals
D.D. Verni – Bass
Sid Falck – Drums
Merritt Gant – Guitars
Rob Cannavino – Guitars
Similar to other bands this week Horrorscope features a major lineup shift. Founding guitarist Bobby Gustafson had left the band shortly after the Year of Decay tour. This stemmed from a fight he had with D.D. Verni over what he saw as a money grab. They were booked to play a Halloween show (I assume doing covers) and were planning on charging full rates which Bobby didn’t like.
He didn’t speak to D.D. for two weeks and in the interum found out D.D. had been speaking to management, trying to get Bobby booted, and questioning his writing abilities.
This lead to Bobby presenting a “him or me” situation to Blitz. Initially D.D. had actually left, but came back, Bobby remained firm that he had no intention of playing w/ D.D. but Blitz had a longer relationship w/ D.D. and wanted to continue playing with him, so Bobby left the band. Blitz has confirmed this, or at least the “him or me” situation
Worth mentioning that Bobby stated finances have always been a problem for the band, particularly with paying their guitarists. This is hearsay, but worth noting that Merrit and Rob would both leave the band 5 years later, and their replacements would also leave after a few albums.
Merrit had played in a hard rock band called Drastic Measures from 1988-1990, the band supposedly released a full length before calling it quits (can find no record of it on Discogs) and then briefly played in Jersey metal band Faith or Fear
Rob had actually known Overkill since 1987. He had “lied his way” into their guitar tech position, and at some point their sound guy Kerry Wittig had told him to “just learn like, four or five of those songs because sooner or later the guitar player’s gonna fuck up and they’re gonna need you to sound check or something.” which would end up being prophetic
At the time of Bobby’s departure, Rob was working as a bass tech for White Lion, and was involved in a band with another future Overkill member, and former M.O.D. Drummer Tim Mallare, when he got the call from D.D. Some of the work he had done with Tim was integrated into the music of Horroscope.
Blitz has stated that the switch to a two guitar lineup was in part to avoid being compared to their past work.
Despite the band’s successes with past albums, Megaforce was unsure if they wanted to keep the band on their roster, and the band was actually forced to “audition” the album live to a bunch of Megaforce reps to prove they were still a marketable band. No confirmation, but wondering if this is part of the reason that this would be the last Megaforce release. (they would still stay w/ Atlantic, the parent company.)
ExecPro Jon & Marsha Zazula are the founders of Megaforce records, they had released the debuts of Overkill, Anthrax, Metallica, S.O.D, and more. Also quick trivia, Jon MIGHT be the guy behind Lone Rager, a single only project that contained the hilarious “Metal Rap”
Producer Terry Date, returned from The Year of Decay album. Outside his Overkill work he is known for producing Metal Church, Slipknot, Pantera, Soulfly, White Zombie, Deftones, Dark Angel, Dream Theater, Slayer, Soundgarden
Howie Weinberg, who mastered the album, is also returning from The Year of Decay he also has an extensive carrer, covering a lot of the same ground as Terry. Most relevent to today’s episode is that he also mastered the Demolition Hammer album.
Bob Defrin is actually the art director for Atlantic Records, the logo design was by original drummer Rat Skates.
The studio Carriage House, in addition to being a favorite of Overkill and other bands, is relevant to fans of horror movies, as many many orchestral parts of horror soundtracks were recorded here in the 1980s.
As alluded to earlier, this would be Sid Falck’s last Overkill album. He left about 4 months into the tour to be replaced by Tim Mallure. He had never really been a huge fan of Thrash, but had wanted to play this style of music to test himself. Evidently he got fed up with it, and reached a breaking point, admittedly at an inopportune time. He states that this is a decision he regrets, and the band resented him for it, but they’ve reconnected.
Aspid – Extravasation
Country: Volgodonsk, Rostov Region of Russia
Disbanded: 1997 (Reformed in 2010, but listed as disbanded)
Label: Ritonis (Label’s only Release)
Studio: SNC Studio
Producer: Aspid, Evgeniy Trushin (Engineer)
Aleksander Sidorchik – Guitars
Vasily Shapovalov – Drums
Vitaliy Holopov – Vocals
Vladimir Pyzhenkov – Bass
Very little info on the band. I can find no info on their earliest years, there are some extensive interviews and some concert footage of them playing in ‘92 on youtube.
This album was recorded at SNC studios, a studio founded by Stas Namin, a prominent Russian musician who had performed in the Russian equivalent of The Beatles, Flowers.
Engineer Evgeniy is also a very well known Russian record producer, who was heavily involved in the first wave of late and post-soviet era metal.
It should be noted however that this was still early days for both the studio and Engineer Evgeniy would have been in their earlier stages.
This could be why the band, could not get signed to a major Russian label. The album was initially limited to 1000 copies, a mix of vinyl and cassettes.
The band then toured, most prominently they opened for Master in 1994-1995. Before finally calling it quits in 1997
I’ve seen some anecdotal evidence from some fans that one of the reasons the album was met with such little fanfare, is changing tastes in Russia. Though thrash had been a feature for a while, with the collapse of the USSR, Russian had access to death metal and the burgeoning black metal scenes, and much like the rest of the world, thrash was no longer a priority in Russia
The band got back together to celebrate the re-release of the album in 2007, recording a song entitled “War” that appeared on the Monsters of Rock USSR: XX Years Later compilation, but apparently the song was released and titled by Vasily without input from the band members.
The band is dissatisfied with this 2007 release from Stigmartyr, stating that the recording was sped up as though it was ripped from a 45. The album got a proper re-release in 2014 from Metal Race Records.
Other than the reunion track, the band members have no other credits Vasily was briefly in Russian metal band Cruise in 2015, but appeared on no albums.
Demolition Hammer – Epidemic of Violence
Country: New York City, New York
Disbanded: 1995 (Reformed in 2016)
Label: f Media Records
Studio: Normandy Sound, Warren, Rhode Island
Producer: Tom Soares, Robert Kampf (ExecPro)
Artwork: Michael Whelan
James Reilly – Guitars
Derek Sykes – Guitars
Steve Reynolds – Bass, Vocals
Vinny “Daze” Civitano- Drums
Demolition Hammer had a fast moving career that was probably hurt by being a few years too late. The band was formed in 1986 as a 3 piece. This lineup featured John Salerno on drums, and only James Reily on guitar.
Dennis Munoz (Solstice) was briefly a guitarist in 1987, implying the second guitarist was always something they wanted, but regardless it was back to the original trio when they recorded the Skull Fucking Nightmare demo in 1988.
Necrology their second demo was released with Derek & Vinny in the band in 1989. Shortly after this Robert Kampf saw them at America for the Foundations Forum w/ Prime Evil and signed them to Century Media.
Debut Tortured Existence was released in 1990, and the band started recording Epidemic of Violence almost immediately after the debut tour.
The album was released to critical acclaim and featured a more balanced production, Tom Soares had taken over for Scott Burns (Sepultura) and the recording was moved from Scott’s Morrisound Studio, to Normandy Sound.
Tom is a cult-thrash master, having produced Forced Entry, Leeway, Meliah Rage, Wargasm, and Scatterbrain. He also worked w/ Cro-Mags.
Robert Kampf, EP and man who found the band is formerly the vocalist of thrash band Despair, and founder of Century Media.
Michael Whelan, cover artist, either will be, or has been discussed more at length in the Sepultura section.
Though the album was met with critical acclaim, the band saw the writing on the walls and Steve & Derrick wanted to take things in a more *shudder* Machine Head direction.
Vinny & James did not share this vision and they left the band in 1993 to form their own thrash band Deviate NY
The groove metal album Time Bomb, which was released in 1994 with Malevolent Creation drummer Alex Marquez and went nowhere. Soon after, Reynolds and Marquez were offered positions in former member Deniis Munoz’s band Solsitice, effectively ending Demolition Hammer.
Deviate NY would release a demo in 1995, however their chances at success were tragically cut short when Vinny died from Globefish poisoning while on vacation in Africa.
The band would reunite in 2016 w/ Angel Cotte on drums
Invocator – Excursion Demise
Country: Esbjerg, Denmark
Formed: 1986 As Black Creed, 1987
Disbanded: 1995 (Reformed in 2000)
Label: Black Mark Productions
Studio: Montezuma Studios, Stockholm, Sweden
Producer: Stig “Boss” Forsberg
Artwork: Vibeke Johansson
Jacob Hansen – Vocals, Guitars
Jesper M. Jensen – Bass
Per M. Jensen – Drums
Jakob Schultz – Guitars
The band was formed in 1986, their first release was a live demo in 1987, followed by a studio demo called Genetic Confusion in 1988, and a second studio demo called Alterations This demo was met with a lot of fanfare, selling over 2000 copies and securing their signing w/ Black Mark Productions.
It should be noted that despite this early success, for a time Invocator was not the band members only project, the members were also involved in some projects before Invocator:
Jacob Hansen recorded a one-man death metal demo in 1988, and was involved in a death metal project called Maceration w/ Jakob, and Dan Swano that had released a demo at this point, and released their debut shortly after this in 1992
Jesper & Peter had been in Death Axe, and their second incarnation Graff Spee, which released 3 demos in 1985. They would have just ended a run w/ Thrash band Extreme Feedback, who released 3 demos, the last one being in 1990, and were in Crossover band Geronimo, concurrent w/ his time in Invocator.
Black Mark Productions, is best known for its connection to Quorthon. The label started as a fictitious entity that Quorthon had invented, for early Bathory releases. However in 1991 it became a real entity. While it’s often assumed that Quorthon founded the label, it was actually his father “Boss” though it can be safely assumed that he did this in tribute to or at least because of his son.
As mentioned Black Mark was founded in reality in 1991, so Invocator would have been one of the first bands signed to the label.
Montezuma Studios was also well regarded by the metal scene at the time, having been a prefered spot for Candlemass, Therion, Edge of Sanity and more.
The album was met with rave reviews, especially in their native Denmark where it won Best Heavy Metal album at their equivalent of the Grammy’s.
The band went on to play several major gigs with prominent bands of the period, booking some festival spots, and doing a european tour with Dark Angel, and most relevant to this episode supported Sepultura on their “Arise” show in Copenhagen.
While Invocator would continue on under Jacob Hansen’s leadership for two further albums, this is essentially the only album by this “band” as Jesper, Per, and Jakob all left prior to the recording of the sophomore album.
The members who left went onto other projects
Per went on to do a crap load of session work in 1999 for Artillery, death metal band Konkhra, and the Konkhra/Entombed side project Daemon, before landing what is probably his best known role as the drummer for The Haunted.
Jesper would be a prominent member of prog/power band Anubis Gate, Jacob Hansen would also join the band in 2006, so assuming they remained on good terms.
Jakob seems to have retired from music or at least performing, having only one other credit, working on the layout of power/prog band Catharsis’s 1995 album Pathways to Wholeness.
Epidemic – Decameron
Country: San Francisco, California
Formed: 1986 (As Death) 1987
Label: Metal Blade Records
Studio: HOS Studios, Palo Alto, California.
Artwork: Dave McKean
Carl Fulli – Vocals
Guy Higbey – Guitars
Erik Moggridge – Guitars
Mark Bodine – Bass
Bob Cochran – Drums
Epidemic was formed by Mark, Guy, and Erik in 1986 under the name Death, playing their first show as part of the members senior talent show. They chose the name Epidemic in 1987, most likely because a debut by a certain Florida band was making waves. The name coming from a Slayer song.
This early version of the band quickly recruited their first drummer Geoff Bruce and Carl and only about a week after recruiting Carl entered and won a battle of the bands at Mountain View Theater.
This secured them an opening slot on a small tour w/ Death Angel, and also gave them the clout to open essentially every thrash show at Mountain View Theater.
This lineup recorded their first demo Immortal Minority which was recorded in 1987, released in 1988
As the band began to branch out they felt they needed a drummer with better double kick skills, and Bruce agreed to leave the band, being replaced by Bob Cochran who had previously been in a band called Punisher.
Shortly after this the band recorded Demo ‘89. They immediately began self promoting the, demo, giving out 300 copies at an opening slot for Vio-lence, and sending it to as many magazines, radio stations, and labels. This generated enough hype to allow them to start headlining shows.
Around this time they also reached an agreement w/ future Century Media head Marco Barbieri to become their manager, and secured a deal with european label Metalcore to re-release Demo ‘89 as The Truth of What Will Be… Though this was really just a repressing of their demo, and was a European only release, it is now sometimes considered their debut.
As the band’s older material was being released in Europe they were still at work trying to land a deal Stateside, and did this when their next demo Extremities ’91 landed them a contract w/ Metal Blade.
Decameron sees an increase in Death metal influences as compared to their earlier demos. As death metal was something that was gaining popularity concurrently w/ the band, it’s reasonable to assume they were absorbing the influence as it became available to them.
Some interesting connections to our past episodes behind the boards:
Engineer Jonathan Burnside worked on Snail’s debut album. He is also known for his 90’s Melvin’s work and
The album was mastered by Eddy Schreyer, who mastered Acid Bath’s When the Kite String Pops, and Coroner’s Grin, but those are far from his most impressive credits.
Artist Dave Mckean was or will be discussed more in depth in the Testament section
After this album was released the band went out tour w/ Malevolent Creation, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, and Unleashed. I have to wonder if the company they kept on this tour influenced them because of what happened on the next album.
After this tour Guy Higbey was asked to leave the band. The band would return to the studio for the far more death influenced album Exit Paradise. The album was not embraced by the death metal community, and and the thrash scene was non-existent by this point in 1994. The absence of Higbey, is often mentioned as part of this album’s lackluster reception.
Shortly after this w/ internal tensions bubbling and Metal Blade no longer willing to push the band or see where they were going, Epidemic broke up.
Erik went on to form stoner band Old Grandad in 1997. This would also be Erik’s renuion w/ Guy, who has worked as a producer engineer, mixer, and cover artist for the band.
Old Grandad has a more atmospheric traditional psych rock splinter group called Drift of a Curse that appears to be inactive. Erik also has a one man ritualistic acoustic project called Aerial Ruin
Guy also produced the first and long overdue debut by Bay area thrash band Potential Threat in 2009
Exodus – Impact is Imminent
Country: San Francisco, California
Disbanded: 1994 (Reunited 1997-1998, 2001-Present)
Label: Capitol Records
Studio: Music Grinder and Two Mendocino Studios.
Producer: Gary Holt & Rick Hunolt (The H-Team)
Artwork: Stan Watts
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Vocals
Gary Holt – Guitars
Rick Hunolt – Guitars
Rob McKillop – Bass
John Tempesta – Drums
This album represents a change for Exodus’s always shaky lineup, long term drummer Tom Bunting had left the band in 1989 for personal reasons. At the time of this recording, Tom would have been working with Angel Witch on their demo Twist of the Knife.
The album also represented a change in label, the success of Fabulous Disaster on Combat Records had landed them a deal with Capitol.
This would have been John Tempesta’s first major role as a drummer, pre-dating his work w/ Testament, but after his time as Charlie Benante from Anthrax’s drum tech.
This album does not seem to be highly regarded by the band (or at least Gary Holt) and wasn’t exactly lauded by the press
Discussion about why this is
Stan Watts, has extensive credits as a cover artist, but hasn’t worked in metal all that often, having only done Black Sabbath’s Live Evil, Suicidal Tendencies The Art of Rebellion, and the Metal Health single for Quiet Riot.
Stephen Marcussen mastered the album, he will be or has been mentioned in the Slayer segment.
Csaba “The Hut” Petocz who recorded the album also worked as an engineer on Garage Inc.
John Bush from Armored Saint and Anthrax actually worked as an engineering assistant on this album.
Despite the label change Exodus did bring back previous producer Marc Senasac who had produced their last two albums. He did the mixing on this album, and the band had done some additional recording at Alpha & Omega studios, a studio space he is often associated with. We would continue to work with them on Force of Habit & Bonded by Blood
This would be Rob McKillop’s last Exodus album. It would also be the last traditional thrash album from their original run, Force of Habit adopting a Groove influence.
The band toured extensively to promote the album, but in what is probably the most symbolic act in all of 90’s thrash, were dropped from Judas Priest’s 1991 European tour at the last minute to be replaced by Pantera.