Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International
Country: Hollywood, CA (White Zombie = New York)
Released: August 25th, 1998
Producer: Scott Humphrey
Studio: Chop Shop, Hollywood, California (Humphry’s home studio)
Artwork: Basil Gogos
Rob Zombie – vocals, lyrics, music, production
[Mike] Riggs – guitar
[Rob Nicholson] Blasko – bass
[John] Tempesta – drums
Recording of the album began while White Zombie was on a hiatus of sorts. While the band was officially “broken up” they had the intention of reconvening after a year to see if they could make things work
Jay Yuenger (Guitar) and Sean Yseult (Bass) had been toying with some riffs and ideas, but Rob didn’t seem interested, a little over a day after the band was supposed to discuss their future, Hellbilly Deluxe dropped.
Sean & Jay have both expressed some contempt for this fact. They seem to have been pessimistic about the reunion really happening, so their irritation seems to be directed at Rob dangling a small hope of a reunion for a year, while he reccorded his solo album.
Jay has stated that he believes John Tempesta replacing Ivan de Prume on drums was the beginning of the end for White Zombie, a fact that Rob disputes.
Rob has been somewhat silent on the issue since the break up, he usually tactfully answers that he wanted the band to end on a high note, however he has also stated he has “many legit reasons” for not wanting to reunite with the band, even for a one off show, which would possibly indicate some sort of personal dispute. He has also made some offhand comments about everyone in White Zombie feeding off each others misery, and he seems to regard the solo albums as more “fun” than those experiences.
The album would be preceded by two songs, the 1996 Alice Cooper collaboration Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn) from Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by the X-Files in 1996 and the song “The Great American Nightmare” for the Private Parts soundtrack in 1997.
John Tempesta came with Rob from the White Zombie days.
Riggs was introduced to Rob through mutual friend Danny Lohner (NIN Guitarist). Mike was an Austin based musician who had played with Danny in his band Skrew. Prior to this he had his own band Demiltry, who recorded a four track demo called Artist of Misery around 1990.
There are stories out there stating that Rob met Mike at a WWF event, or that they had been childhood friends or even cousins, but the most consistent story seems to be that he auditioned after Rob cold called him.
Blasko was arguably the most seasoned musician of the bunch, he had played in Cryptic Slaughter from 1984-1988, then playing in two one release bands Drown, and Suffer. He also contributed guest vocals for the debut album Terror From Beyond Space by Killing Spree, which featured members of Sickening Gore, and future members of Body Count. Finally he joined Danzig in 1997, but was gone by 1998. He does not appear on any albums.
Also worth noting is that both Riggs and Blasko were both briefly in Prong, but not at the same time, Riggs in 1996 and Blasko in 1997.
Recording began in 1997. Initially Charlie Clouser, who people may remember from the Saw Soundtrack in the Listener Picks episode. was involved heavily with the project. Clouser had worked with White Zombie in their final years, was still a member of NIN, and was working with Marilyn Manson at the time. Clouser had to leave the project early on due to other commitments, though he is still credited as a producer on “Superbeast”
On Clouser’s recommendation Rob began working with Scott Humphrey. Humphrey already had an impressive resume, his credits at this point being:
Triumph – The Sport of Kings (1986) Keyboards
Julian Lennon – Help Yourself (1991) Keyboards, Programming
Metallica – Metallica (The Black Album) (1991) Keyboards
The Melvins – Stoner Witch (1994) Programming
The Cult – The Cult (1994) Keyboards, Programming
Mötley Crüe – Generation Swine (1997) Co-Producer, Synthesizer, Computer programming, Backing vocals, Co-Writer
Powerman 5000 – Tonight the Stars Revolt! (1997)
The last two credits may be the most relevent, Powerman, because Mike Cumming’s is Rob Zombie’s little brother, but also Motley Crue, because it is where Scott met Tommy Lee. Tommy Lee was at a low point, having just been released from jail and as a result was actually living above the studio at the time. Rob asked him to play, which he agreed to, calling it “therapeutic” and is credited on drums on “Meet the Creeper” and “The Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore.”
“Meet the Creeper” also features additional guitar work by the previously mentioned Danny Lohner
Behind the boards we have two prominent figures Chris Lord-Alge and Frank Gryner both did additional mixing and engineering. Frank is a long time collaborator with Scott Humphrey and Chris is a prominent 80’s producer who is best known for his extensive use of dynamic range compression in both hardware and software plug-in versions. He seems to have worked on an increasing amount of metal after this album, including a solo album by Doro.
Basil Gogos did the cover painting. Basil is best known for his paintings of classic monster’s that were featured on the covers of Famous Monsters of Filmland. Rob had reached out to him directly. It’s worth noting that this was right at the peak of Basil’s return to horror art in the 1990s, as he had stepped away from the genre in the late 70’s and had been working in watercolors and various media formats since then, working on ad copy and movie posters for movie studios to make a living. Rob sent him a photo and a description of himself. He also suggested some colors, Basil has noted this as unusual, as he likes to pick the colors himself, but has stated in this instance it was helpful. He had done the Misfit’s American Psycho cover a year prior. Basil passed away September of this year
The interior artwork featured work by marvel comics artist Gene Colan (Daredevil, Howard the Duck, Tomb of Dracula, and was the co-creator of Blade, and the Falcon) and Dan Brereton (Nocturnals, various batman and superman titles). The interior is also notable for featuring photos of Rob’s future wife Sherri Moon and the replica of the monster from The Phantom Creeps which is also featured on the back cover and Rob has continuously used throughout his career. Most of the other interior art, including the monsters on the actual disc, were desinged and drawn by Zombie.
The album was the subject of a small controversy when Wal-Mart refused to carry the album unless an edited version was made, which was initially fought by Rob, who changed his mind when he realized this would be the only way for some kids to have access to it. The only song that actually features profanity is “The Ballad of Ressurection Joe and Rose Whore” which was changed to just “The Ballad of Ressurection Joe” for the Wal-Mart release, which is the version I apparently had.
End with a Mike Riggs quote:
“Rob tries to play it off like he’s a normal, well-adjusted guy but he’s not. He’s f—ing insane,” Riggs said. “He burned a f—ing ‘X’ in my forehead….You see him in a magazine wearing a giant robot suit with freaky eyes looking all crazy. And he’s able to pull it off like, ‘Oh, this is just an act. It’s nothing.’ But it’s not nothing. He f—ing walks around like that at home in a big robot suit with giant claws. Then in a magazine he’ll say, ‘Oh, the robot, monster thing. It’s no big deal.’ But that’s really how he lives. He’s nuts.”
King Diamond – The Eye
Country: Copenhagen, Denmark
Released: October 30th 1990
Producer: Roberto Falcao, Andy LaRocque, King Diamond
Studio: Sweet Silence Studio
Artwork: Thomas Holm, Thorbjörn Jörgenson
King Diamond (Kim Bendix Petersen) – Vocals, Keyboards
Andy LaRocque – Guitars (lead)
Pete Blakk – Guitars (lead)
Hal Patino – Bass
Snowy Shaw – Drums
The album marked a few notable changes from past albums. The most notable being that this was the first album to not feature Mikkey Dee on drums. Mikkey had technically left the band prior the the recording of their last album, The Conspiracy but was hired on as a session player for that album
Mikkey cites the band going from being a true “band” to backing musicians for King Diamond’s character as the main reason he had left, stating he was uncomfortable with King being the only one photographed for magazine shoots, answering all questions during interviews etc.
King Diamond made some remarks about the split being due to Mikkey demanding more money, which led to the two having a falling out. Mikkey calling him a “Danish motherfucker” during their last conversation. They are amicable now.
Mikkey was replaced by newcomer Snowy Shaw, who at the time would have been a virtual unknown. Despite popular belief, Snowy Shaw did not program a drum machine for the album, however he did play on drum pads as opposed to an actual kit
The album also saw a shift in studios, as this was the first time King Diamond had recorded at Sweet Silence Studios (Metallica’s Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, Later period Rainbow, Blind Guardian, Pretty Maids)
Roberto Falcao returned to produce. He began working with King Diamond on Fatal Portrait as an engineer, moving to production as well on Them. He has never worked in metal outside of King Diamond however he has worked for Danish synth pop duo Laban. He is also credited as the keyboard player on his Diamond releases.
The album was engineered by Flemming Hansson, this is his only Diamond release. He has a few other notable metal credits, Saturnus being probably the most notable. He has however mixed, mastered, engineered and produced several Danish bands outside of metal.
The artwork team of Thomas Holm, Thorbjörn Jörgenson are also returning collaborators, Thor working on every album since Fatal Portrait, and Thomas since Abigail, though it should be noted Thomas had an earlier link to King Diamond, having dont the artwork for Melissa & Don’t Break the Oath, both would work with the reformed Mercyful Fate later on.
The album was, like those that preceded it, a concept album. The concept is somewhat looser than previous efforts, having more of a resemblance to Cat’s Eye or Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders, in that, there is a central object tying the stories together.
The item in question is The Eye, a necklace that allows the person who has it to see the other events The Eye has witnessed throughout history.
Most of the principal figures in the story are real people who lived in 17th century france, exceptions being the nameless narrator and the subjects of “two little girls” :
Jeanne Dibasson & Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie are both real people, however their interaction as it takes place in “The Trial” is historically inaccurate
Jeanne is mentioned in Pierre de Lancre’s On the Inconstancy of Witches. This was a memoir/guide/”historical” record Pierre wrote to justify his actions during the Basque Witch trials, the largest witch hunt in history that led to the death’s of 70 people (Pierre believed there were approximately 3,000 witches remaining in the region post-hunts, led by a devil in the shape of a goat).
However this is where the accuracy falls apart. If Jeanne was a witch during Pierre’s time, then her accuser in the trial , Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie could not have been present (he was approx. 6 years old at the time of Pierre’s death, and non-existent at the time of the Basque Witch trials).
Reynie was involved in witch trials in his own right, presiding over the burning chamber or Chambre Ardente, a special french court reserved for heretics, so named because it had no sunlight and was only lit with torches.
Side Note, Reynie is also considered the inventor of the system on which all modern police forces are based.
The second half of the story is based on the Louviers Possession incident. The album takes some liberties with the story however. The main antagonist Father Pierre David was a Chaplain at the Louviers commun up until his death in 1628. This was around 15 years prior to the events of that took place. His name was later connected to the story as it became more folkloric.
The actual events are as follows:
In 1647 the deceased nunnery director Mathurin Picard, as well as the current vicar Father Thomas Boulle were accused by a nun named Madeline Bavent of having abducted her, taken her to a witch’s sabbath where she was married to a devil (She called it Dagon) and two men were crucified and disemboweled as sacrifice. She then joined the convent.
This led to an investigation by french inquisitors. The inquisitors found that the other nuns at the convent were also exhibiting signs of possession, and the nuns further accused Boulle and Picard of being in league with the devil. With more stories of secret sabbath’s and sex with Dagon
The nun’s all exhibited the classic signs of possession, a la the Exorcist with one nun in particular claiming to be possessed by a demon called Ancitif. The inquisitors also claimed that Satan himself was visiting the convent in the form of a beautiful angel, and debating the nuns in theology to try to lead them down a path of heresy.
The nun’s were forced to undergo exorcism rituals and Boulle was tortured to try to elicit a confession. The screams of all parties involved echoing outwards are attributed to causing a minor mass hysteria in the surrounding town.
In the end, Boulle and the corpse of Picard were burned at the stake, while Madeline was imprisoned for life in the church basement.
The mind altering wine seems to be a wholly original creation of Diamond, as is the implied infant crucifixion
This would be Hal Patino’s last album with King Diamond until 2002’s sequel to Abigail. There was evidently some issues with Hal during the recording, with the band reporting hours spent in the studio just waiting for him to show up. His relationship with Diamond seems to have always been semi contentious, he made a very public exit over pay in 2014.
This would also be the last album for Pete Black, who had been a member since Them.
There was no tour to support The Eye because the label seemed disinterested in it (probably why Diamond would sign to Metal Blade for the next album)
Hal & Pete were replaced by Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy, Spiritual Beggars, Witchery, Sinergy) and Mike Wead (Hexenhaus, Memento Mori) but this lineup never recorded anything due to the Mercyful Fate reunion, though Diamond would later operate both bands simultaneously.
Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Country: Stockholm, Sweden
Formed: 1982 (As Nemesis) 1984
Disbanded: N/A (took breaks from ‘94-’97, and ‘02-’04)
Released: June 10th, 1986
Label: Black Dragon Records
Producer: Candlemass, Ragne “Valhalla Warrior” Wahlquist
Studio: Thunderload Studios
Artwork: Candlesmass, Eric Larnoy (Back Cover)
Mats “Mappe” Björkman – Guitars (rhythm)
Leif Edling – Bass, Songwriting, Lyrics
Mats Ekström – Drums
Klas Bergwall – Guitars (lead)
Johan Längquist – Vocals
The band Nemesis was forced to change their name in 1984 because a chain electronics store from South Sweden threatened to sue them.
Nemesis is notable for being signed to Fingerprint Records, who we mentioned when discussing Gotham City in episode II, and who released several early Swedish metal releases. Their only EP The Day of Retribution was released in 1984. An independent demo called Tales of Creation preceded it.
Some additional demo material was released in 2002 on a compilation called The Black Heart of Candlemass.
The band continued on after the release of the EP. I’m unsure if they left Fingerprint or the label was already dissolving (their last release was Axe Witch’s Hooked on High Heels in 1985) recording 3 demos, the third of which led to a signing with small french label Black Dragon (Manilla Road, Chastain, Savage Grace)
The band had no lead guitar player at the time of the recording, the spot had been in flux for the past two years, the band stating that though Sweden was full of amazing guitar players, none of them were interested in doom metal (still a very young genre), eventually they found Klas and convinced him to join the band.
The vocals at the time were being handled by Leif, and the label wanted him to continue on, but he was uncomfortable with this. The band got in touch with Johan who was well known in Sweden for the band Jonah Quizz.
The band was sent to Thunderload Studios to record, the studio founded by Styrbjörn & Ragne Wahlquist of Heavy Load fame, they operated a record label of the same name. Ragne would also co-produce the album.
The band had wanted to work there because they heard a Yngwie Malmsteen demo that was recorded at the studio that they loved.
The studio was three floors underground beneath the University of Stockholm, had broken radiators, and the band was there in January.
Because of this the band was forced to record in fur coats, woollen gloves and long johns. The conditions were especially hard on Johan, who was forced to jump up and down as he sang in an attempt to raise his body temperature, the band stating they could actually see steam rising off of him as he sang.
Despite the harsh conditions the band left the studio 5 days later believing they had created a masterwork.
The back cover artwork was designed by Eric Larnoy who was a staff artist at Black Dragon, Candlemass themselves designing and creating the cover art. Engineering and other behind the boards work were handled by Ragne, and the album was released about 6 months after recording.
There hopes for the album were dashed almost immediately after the release was dropped. Other than some praise in some small fanzines, the release was panned by major press outlets (a position they would all backpedal on in years to come) and did not sell well.
The band was dropped by Black Dragon almost immediately, and Johan and Klas left the band. Johan allegedly to work on a pop project he was involved which doesn’t seem to have ever recorded anything, and Klas would join rock group Grace which had a major hit in Sweden in ‘88 whose name we have no business trying to pronounce.
Johan would try out for vocals again for Chapter VI but did not get the position, however he has joined the band on stage to perform Epicus many times throughout the years. He is currently in hard rock band Impulsia
The album eventually did pick up heat in the underground, and Black Dragon was forced to do several additional pressings, and seemed to want the band back (but simultaneously claimed they weren’t owed any royalties) but by this time they were already recording their second album Nightfall for Active Records,
Prior to the recording of Nightfall Lars “Lasse” Johansson had joined the band on leads and Messiah Marcolin had joined the band after auditioning by having his mom call the band and singing “Solitude” to Leif a cappella into the phone, and the band was ready to move forward
Black Sabbath – Headless Cross
Country: Aston, Birmingham, England
Disbanded: ‘06, reformed in ‘11, broke up in ‘17
Released: April 24th 1989
Label: I.R.S. Records
Production:Tony Iommi, Cozy Powell (Producer), Sean Lynch (engineer, mixing)
Studio: Woodcray studios, Berkshire
Artwork: Kevin Wimlett
Tony Iommi – guitars
Cozy Powell – drums, percussion
Geoff Nicholls – keyboards
Tony Martin – lead vocals
Laurence Cottle – bass
The album is the second of the Tony Martin era, he had joined Sabbath earlier during the tumultuous Eternal Idol sessions, re-recording the vocals that Ray Gillian originally performed.
Despite Eternal Idols retroactive praise, at the time of its release it was a major flop, it led to the band being dropped from both Warner Brothers and Vertigo.
Most of the other players from the Eternal Idol sessions were gone by this point too. Both actual bassist Dave Spitz, and Bob Baisley who he had filled in for him after an injury on the album, were gone, as was drummer Eric Singer (KISS) and percussionist Bev Bevan. While Eric and Bob were hired hands who left because the job was done, Bev had left over controversy surrounding Sabbath playing in South Africa during apartheid.
Soon after being dropped, Iommi was approached by I.R.S. head Miles Copeland who basically said “You’re Black Sabbath, you know what you’re doing, we’ll leave you alone” which convinced him to sign with them.
Despite Martin’s work on the previous album, Iommi was originally considering trying to reunite with Dio (Believe this is a good indicator of Martin’s overall treatment by the band) but this fell through. There were also talks with Geezer Butler to rejoin, but this fell through too when Geezer opted to join Ozzy on his No Rest for The Wicked Tour.
The Tony’s were joined by legendary drummer Cozy Powell (MSG, Whitesnake, Rainbow) who also helped write the album, and Laurence Cottle was hired as a session bassist
During recording they were also joined by Brian May from Queen who contributed the guitar solo on “When Death Calls”
This would be engineer Sean Lynch’s first album with the band, but he would return for the Tyr sessions. He is also noted as working with Glen Tipton’s solo work in the late 90’s.
Cover artist Kevin doesn’t appear to have any other credits.
The album marks the first time the satanic and occult themes would be featured for a full album as opposed to certain songs.
The album would be a slight upswing for the band the album was praised by the press and sold reasonably well, though there seem to have been some distribution issues that hurt sales. The band did a prominent tour of Russia in support of the album, one of the first bands to tour the country after Gorbachev opened the country to Western acts.
Slayer – Hell Awaits
Country: Huntington Park, Los Angeles County, California
Released: September 16th, 1985
Label: Metal Blade
Production: Brian Slagel (Producer), Carolyn Collins (Engineering), Ron Fair & Bill Metoyer (Engineering, Recording), Bernie Grundman (Mastering), Eddy Schreyer (Remastering)
Studio: Eldorado Studios
Artwork: Albert Cuellar (No Other Credits)
Kerry King – Guitars
Jeff Hanneman – Guitars
Tom Araya – Vocals, Bass
Dave Lombardo – Drums
Slayer’s debut Show No Mercy was released in 1983 and quickly became Metal Blade’s best selling album. The release of Haunting the Chapel and Live Undead had also been a success
Slayer was coming off a successful tour with Venom, and Exodus, which is infamous for an incident involving Tom Arya and Cronos. While on the tour bus Tom asked Cronos where the bathroom was, Cronos replied jokingly “right here” pointing to his mouth, which Tom took literally and began pissing on his head. Cronos understandably was enraged. Began beating on Tom and as a result Tom played the rest of the tour with a severely blackened eye.
Because of these successes, producer and Metal Blade founder Brian Slagel was able to pull together a small recording budget for the follow up album. SNM was famously financed by Tom Arya’s savings from his respiratory therapy job and a loan from Kerry King’s father. (Remember that Metal Blade had only existed for about 3 years at this point).
Brian contacted famed pop producer Ron Fair who had previously seen the band live and become a fan, also behind the boards was Metal Blade VP and in-house producer Bill Metoyer, Carolyn Collins who had worked on Omen’s debut, prominent masters Bernie Grundman (Judas Priest, Loudness, Mr. Bungle, Stryper, Suicidal Tendencies), and Eddy Schreyer who we’ve mentioned many times before.
The album marks a more progressive direction which Hanneman has directly attributed to Mercyful Fate.
Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Country: Ski & later Oslo, Norway
Formed: 1984 (as Musta)
Released: May 24th, 1994
Label: Deathlike Silence Productions
Production: Pytten, Euronymous, Hellhammer
Studio: The Grieg Memorial Hall
Euronymous – Guitars
Hellhammer – Drums
Attila Csihar – Vocals
Count Grishnackh – Bass
Essentially putting a pin in this, mention we are going to discuss at length in February
Talk about the Death on vocals version that floats around, personal thoughts, etc.
Cannibal Corpse – Butchered at Birth
Country: Buffalo, New York (early)/Tampa, Florida (later)
Released: June 30th, 1991
Label: Metal Blade Records
Production: Scott Burns (Producer), Eddy Schreyer (mastering)
Studio: Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida
Artwork: Vincent Locke
Chris Barnes – Vocals, Lyrics
Jack Owen – Guitars
Bob Rusay – Guitars
Alex Webster – Bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – Drums
Cannibal Corpse was founded in Buffalo, NY. It is essentially an amalgam of two previous bands, Chris, Bob and Paul were all in Death/Thrash band Tirant Sin and Jack and Alex were in thrash band Beyond Death. (Chris was also in a death/thrash band called Leviathan)
The Thrash roots of the members are probably why Eaten has more of a thrash sound than later releases.
The album marks a return from basically all the principal players from Eaten Back to Life. the lineup remained the same, as did the label, cover artist, and producer Scott Burns. Even background vocalist Glen Benton (Deicide) would return.
Despite this the album marks a change in sound, becoming more of a pure death metal release, a move widely attributed to Chris Barnes.
Note the presence of Eddy Schreyer again
Mention Scott Burns and Morrissound again returning, note the small trivia fact of Burns being the person on the back cover of Mayhem’s DeathCrush min-lp that featured Burns in a no symbol surrounded by Euronymous’ “ no fun, no core, no mosh, no trends” motto
Vincent Locke is primarily a comic artist who has worked on Deadworld and A History of Violence as well as several Wizards of the Coast RPGs.
Talk about the controversy surrounding the band, maybe just the general thoughts on the 90s being the last time this really happened.
Mercyful Fate – Mercyful Fate EP
Country: Copenhagen, Denmark
Disbanded: ‘85 reformed ‘92-’99, brief reunion in 2009
Released: September 25th, 1982
Label: Rave-On Records
Production: Jac Hustinx (Producer, Mixing), Willem Steentjes (Engineering)
Studio: Stone Studio
Artwork: Cole Hamilton
King Diamond – Vocals
Hank Shermann – Guitar
Michael Denner – Guitar
Tim Grabber – Bass
Kim Ruzz – Drums
Prior to Mercyful Fate, Hank Sherman and Michael Denner were in the band Brats. Brats began as a punk rock band called Brats, Brats was somewhat notable as a punk band, at least enough to be included on a couple early Danish punk comps. They had morphed into slightly more of a NWOBHM influenced metal band by the time their only album 1980 was released.
Shortly after the album dropped Michael, who was the vocalist as well as guitarist in Brats, left the band to form his own metal band, Danger Zone.
When Michael left he was replaced by King Diamond, who had been in the band Black Rose prior to this. The Black Rose material was never released while the band was active, but a compilation of a 1981 rehearsal they did was released in 2001 called 20 Years Ago: A Night of Rehearsal.
Shortly after King joined Brats he and Hank began putting together Mercyful Fate. Around this time, they were called by Michael, who asked that they help him record the Danger Zone demos. Danger Zone also consisted of Tim Grabber and drummer “Old” Nick Smith. These sessions went so well that the bands essentially merged. There is some material “pre-merger” that was released on the Return of the Vampire compilation.
Nick Smith was replaced by Kim shortly after the two first demo recordings.
It appears based on some of the material on “Return…” that the band was in talks with Ebony Records, as they recorded some demos for the label but they eventually signed with Rave-On for the demo.
Rave-On was founded by Jac Hustinx and Stefan Rooyackers from “Aardschok” a Danish heavy metal magazine that’s still in print.
The album was recorded over the span of two days and was released the same month.
Artist Cole Hamilton is the guitarist from trad band Witch Cross.
Soon after the release of the album Mercyful Fate would sign with Roadrunner, Melissa would be recorded less than 9 months later.
Type O Negative – Bloody Kisses
Country: New York City, New York
Formed: 1990. Existed as New Minority, & Sub Zero from ‘89 to ‘90
Disbanded: ‘10 (Steele’s death)
Released: August 17th, 1993
Label: Roadrunner Records
Production: Josh Silver, Peter Steele (Producer), George Marino (Mastering)
Studio: Systems Two (Additional Recording at Sty In The Sky)
Sal Abruscato – Drums
Peter Steele – Vocals, Bass
Kenny Hickey – Guitars, Vocals (additional)
Josh Silver – Keyboards, Vocals (backing)
The album was technically the band’s third album, however an argument could be made that this is truly the first Type O Negative album, as Slow, Deep, & Hard was essentially a rearranged demo from the band’s Repulsion days (then titled None More Negative) and the The Origin of Feces was really just a fake live recording of songs from SD&H.
The album featured the same lineup as the first two records, but marks an evolution in sound, moving closer to the goth metal sound they were known for.
Paul Bento performed Sitar and Tambura on the album, in addition to later work for Type O Negative Paul is notable for being the guitar player for the reformed Carnivore from 2006-2010.
The album is also notable for containing virtually every member (at the time) of Life of Agony, who were virtual unknowns at the time, their debut album would be released 2 months after Bloody Kisses.
Sal Abruscato would actually leave to join Life of Agony after the recording of the album. In classic fashion, he was replaced with his drum tech Johnny Kelly
The album was a major success for Roadrunner Records, and was actually their first platinum album. This was helped by major play from MTV and VH1, attention from the music press and a solid two years of touring to promote the album.
Recently a demo version of “Summer Breeze” titled “Summer Girl” has surfaced, this version had different, more vulgar lyrics, which were apparently changed due to Seals & Crofts finding the changes distasteful. Cool that they followed the Weird Al rule with a parody
Masterer George Marino is set to become the next guy we bring up every episode, because he’s been mastering albums since the 70’s and has an insane resume.
Tribulation – Children of the Night
Country: Arvika, Sweden
Formed: 2001 (As Hazard) 2004
Released: April 20th, 2015
Label: Century Media Records
Production: Ola Ersfjord (Recording, Engineering, Producer, Mixing)
Artwork: Jonathan Hultén
Johannes Andersson – Bass, Vocals (lead)
Adam Zaars – Guitars, Vibraphone, Xylophone
Jonathan Hultén – Guitars
Jakob Ljungberg – Drums, Percussion
Martin Borgh Additional instruments
Tribulation began life as the thrash band Hazard, and recorded two demos under that name. In addition to Jonatan, Adam, and Johannes starting Tribulation, they also went on with their Hazard band mates to form Enforcer, who were mentioned last episode.
They were joined by newcomer Jakob, who had previously released a demo with the death/grind band Sars in 2003
Martin Borgh has no other metal credits of note, but has appeared on a few other Swedish bands releases.
The album marks a notable change in sound, as the band had previously been a straight ahead death metal band, though their second album had a few indications of where they would be going on this album.
The album featured guest lyrics on Laudanum Dreams by Andrés Furukawa, lead singer of Mexican death/doom band Darkcreed.
Possessed – Seven Churches
Country: San Francisco, California
Disbanded: 1987, Reformed ‘90-’93, 07-Present
Released: October 16th, 1985
Label: Combat Records
Production: Randy Burns (Producer), Barry Kobrin (Executive Producer)
Artwork: Vince Stevenson (Logo), Donald J. Munz (Design, Layout)
Jeff Becerra – Vocals, Bass
Mike Torrao – Guitars
Larry LaLonde – Guitars
Mike Sus – Drums
Possessed formed in 1983 With Mike T. & Mike S being joined by Jeff Andrews on Bass and Barry Fisk on vocals. This iteration of the band was tragically broken up when Barry Fisk committed suicide, and Jeff no longer wanted to continue with the band.
Andrews is notable for having played on Exodus’ 1982 demo prior to his involvement in Possessed.
The vocals and bass duties would be taken over by Jeff Becerra who was recruited from another local band, Blizzard. Guitarist Brian Montana would also be recruited at this time.
This lineup would record the Death Metal demo in 1984, this demo drew Metal Blade’s attention and they included the track “Swing of the Axe” on the sixth Metal Massacre Comp. However Metal Blade would not offer the band a recording contract
After the comp was released, Brian would leave the band, being replaced by Jeff’s former Blizzard bandmate Larry LaLonde.
The comp drew the attention of Combat Records and label founder Barry Kobrin, the metal sub-label of Relatively media. They’ve distributed a few albums we’ve mentioned before, and will come up again as we dig more into Thrash.
Around this time, Larry was dating Julie Abono. Her mother is Debbie Abano, heir to the Mechanics Bank fortune. Debbie was already a grandmother in her fifties at this time. She began managing the band, despite knowing virtually nothing about heavy metal. Debbie was taken aback and a bit offended when she eventually learned of the blasphemous content of Seven Churches but she agreed to continue managing the band until their dissolution and would go on to manage Exodus, Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Broken Hope, Cynic, Obituary, Sepultura, & Skinlab.
The album was recorded during the spring break of ‘85, and important fact considering Jeff and Larry were still juniors in high school.
The band worked with Randy Burns in the studio, this was an early release for him, but he would go on to produce for Uncle Slam, Nuclear Assault, Megadeth, Lizzy Borden, Kreator, Agent Steel, DBC, Crumbsuckers and more.
Talk about the “first” death metal controversy. Some people claim Possessed was the first death metal band. I disagree with this. There were multiple other bands, including Death, that had demos and rehearsals floating around tape trading circles. Other’s claim Seven Churches is the first death metal album. This may be a more accurate point. If we concede that this is a death metal album, or at least proto-death metal album, then yes this is probably the first Death Metal full length. I can find no full lengths released prior to this. In addition to this pretty much every band that could make a claim to being the first death metal band, Chuck from Death, dudes from Master, Vader, Pestilence, etc. have conceded the title to Possessed. I think if nothing else we have to concede that Possessed pushed death metal in a more recognizable direction
Hallows Eve – Tales of Terror
Country: Atlanta, Georgia
Disbanded: 1993, reformed ‘04-’13
Released: July 12th, 1985
Label: Metal Blade Records
Production: Eddy Schreyer (Mastering), Nick Jameson, Chuck Fedonczak (Engineers), Brian Slagel (ExecPro)
Artwork: Randi Hamburg
Tommy Stewart – Bass, Songwriting
Stacy Andersen – Vocals
David Stuart – Guitars
Skullator [Steve Shoemaker] – Guitars
Ronny Appoldt – Drums
Tym Helton – Drums (tracks 7, 8)
Hallows Eve has it’s origins in 1982, with Tommy and Stacy’s band Warrior. They existed only very briefly, the band split, with Tommy and Stacy forming Hallows Eve, and other members of Warrior going on to form power metal band Sinister Angel.
Ronny had been in a band called Conspiracy, which had independently released a S/T debut in 1982
The band was allegedly formed on Halloween night.
They recorded a two track demo, also called Tales of of Terror in 1984. The demo caught the attention of Metal Blade, who included the song “Metal Merchants” on Metal Massacre VI (Same as Possessed). Unlike Possessed, this led to a signing with Metal Blade.
Much like we’ve mentioned with other Metal Blade releases, the album was recorded on a shoestring production budget in extremely short time. The recording was made even more difficult by Ronny Appoldt’s hand being broken at some point during the recording process, hence the presence of the second drummer on the final tracks.
The engineering team have no other extreme metal credits. Chuck worked on a couple AOR albums including the seminal debut by Streets and the Whitford/St. Holmes album (Brad Whiteford from Aerosmith and Derek St. Homes of Ted Nugent fame) and Nick Jameson, is a noted rock producer, working prominently with Foghat & Singer Songwriter Tim Moore (who is worth looking into, connections to Zappa, Steely Dan, Hall and Oates) he was also Foghat’s bassist for a time. He is probably best known as an voice & TV actor. He had a prominent role in 24 but his voice acting work includes some 90’s staples and many video games.
After this album the band would almost immediately begin work on their sophomore effort, Death & Insanity which I am putting a pin in for now because it may be used for the next concepts album episode, and 80’s thrash episode or next years Halloween episode.
This would be be Steve’s last album with Hallow’s Eve (they would work as a single guitar band after this) However he seems to have remained on good terms with Tommy at least, as they would both be in the vampire themed black/death band Lestregus Nosferatus though I’m unsure if Tommy actually appeared on any of their recordings.
Death SS – …in Death of Steve Sylvester
Country: Pesaro, Marche (early)/Florence, Tuscany (later)
Disbanded: No, but several breaks
Label: Metal Master Records
Production: Steve Sylvester (Producer), Bernardo Baldassarri (Engineer)
Studio: Much More Studios
Steve Sylvester – Vocals (lead)
Erik Landley – Bass
Christian Wise – Guitars
Kurt Templar – Guitars
Boris Hunter – Drums
Death SS was formed in 1977 by Paul Chain (Guitars) and Steve Sylvester (real names Paolo Catena and Stefano Silvestri). Prior to his time in Death SS, Steve was in a band called Smooth. The other “members” during the 1977-1982 were Danny Hughes (bass), & Tommy Chaste (drums), however there were multiple Dannys and Tommys. The rotating cast of drummers and bassists adopting the name to create a sense of consistency and stability.
This was made possible because of the members early adoption of their stage costumes/characters Paul was The Death , Steve was The Vampire, Danny the The Mummy and Tommy was The Werewolf.
The bass and drum positions would eventually be filled on a more permanent basis by Thomas Hand Chaste (drums) and Claud Galley (bass)
Steve would actually only be in the band until 1982. He can be heard on vocals on their debut demo The Horned God of the Witches and an untitled second demo, but left the band soon after this.
He was replaced by Sanctis Ghoram, and this lineup recorded the original incarnation of the band’s only official release Evil Metal in 1982.
The band would continue on for about two more years. This lineup never really broke up, they just turned into Paul Chain Violet Theatre.
In 1987 two compilations of the band’s early material called The Story of Death SS were released. Either by coincidence or design, Steve Sylvester put together a new version of the band the same year. He would be the only original member to return
The band members would be relative newcomers at the time, other than Andy who had been in the moderately successful thrash band Sabotage, and Boris who had been in a speed metal band called Masterstroke, who would record a few demos concurrent to the first two years of his time in Death SS.
Most of the songs featured on the album would be re-recordings of early works of the band, the first side of the album being basically story songs for the band member’s stage personas.
A few tracks feature drum work from Andy’s old band mate Dario Caroli from Sabotage. It should be noted that Sabotage did not cease to be during Andy’s Death SS days. The Engineer Bernardo Baldassari was also a hold over from Sabotage, having produced a single for them shortly before the recording of the album.
After this album the band would tour, but almost immediately began working on their follow up Black Mass.
Worth mentioning that the bands 70’s work sounds remarkably consistent with this material. They’re a band that’s hard to call “influential” considering they were unknown outside of Italy for the first 11 years of their career, but I do have to wonder how much influence they had on underclassman Bulldozer, and Italian metal in general. It’s a region I don’t know much about, so I’m curious to dig into this idea a little more in the future
Haunted Garage – Possession Park
Country: Los Angeles, California
Disbanded: 1992, sporadic reunions before reforming in 2013
Released: August 27th, 1991
Label: Metal Blade Records
Production: Ronnie S. Champagne (Producer), Eddie Shreyer (Mastering)
Studio: Dodge City Sound & Eldorado Studios
Dukey Flyswatter – Vocals
Stiff Slug – Drums
King Dinosaur – Bass, Backing Vocals
Gaby Godhead – Guitars (lead)
Johnny Ho – Guitars (rhythm)
The band started under Dukey Flyswatter’s leadership in 1985. Dukey, real name Michael Sonye is a popular B-Horror actor. In his early days he worked primarily with directors Fred Olen Ray, and David DeCoteau. Fred is well known among fans of grindhouse cinema, and David, in addition to working on some of the later day Puppet Master films, is best known to me as the director of A Talking Cat?!?!?!
Beyond this a few choice selections from his filmography are a prominent role in Surf Nazi’s Must Die, the 1999 adaptation of Cool Air, and a role in the Clive Barker film Lord of Illusion. He also wrote the screenplay for the cult classic Blood Diner.
The early music of the band was a psychobilly style, performing covers from 50’s horror movies. Eventually the band started working originals into their set as well.
Along with this move to originals came the addition of Gaby and Stiff Slug, who are credited with taking the band in more of a horror punk/metal direction.
The band released a few songs as part of horror movie soundtracks prior to anything else. One of these films, Cyclone actually features a performance by the band doing an unreleased song called “Devil Metal”
Their first official release would be the 1989 Mother’s Day EP which I’m assuming was named for the Troma film. This was followed by two singles in 1991 before the release of Possession Park
Producer Ron has a good number of credits, though it’s a little hard to track given the multiple spellings of his name, he’s done engineering work for Excel, Helstar and Alice and Chains among others across multiple genres. Eddie we’ve mentioned probably 10 times already.
The band was famous for their wild live shows, though to be honest they seem to pale in comparison to the elaborateness of the Death SS costumes or the Violence of Kettle Cadaver. Mousetraps on the face just aren’t as impressive when you’ve seen someone nail their ballsack to a chair.
The band would continue on for a few years before finally breaking up. They would do sporadic reunion shows throughout the years before Dukey finally put together a new lineup in 2013. They released their second EP Slenderman & Other Tales in 2016.
None of the members have any post-Haunted Garage credits.
Kettle Cadaver – Halloween
Country: Temecula, California
Disbanded: 2017 (Edwin’s Death in June)
Label: Horror Rock
Production: Unknown, assumably Edwin
Studio: Unknown, probably the Mower Shack
Edwin Borsheim (R.I.P. 2017) – Vocals, Keyboards
Joey Cauldron – Guitars
Danny – Drums
Dallas Poythress – Bass
Eric Fry – Keyboards
Very little info on the early history of the band. Edwin and Danny (his brother) seem to be the two constant members, with a rotating lineup of guitarists, bassists and keyboard players.
Before Kettle Cadaver really took off Edwin was somewhat known in the local area for staging backyard wrestling matches and eventually became an amatuer wrestler to some degree.
There was a single that pre-dated the release of the album
No info on the way the album was produced, the documentary shows the venue and recording space Edwin built, and Horror Rock was his label, so it’s reasonable to assume all of this was handled in house
The band is probably best known for the video A Taste of Blood that would be released in 2002, which showed the brutal footage of Edwin on stage.
The band would release another albums worth of material in video form in 2008 under the title Among the Damned, and two singles in 2011.
Edwin lived in isolation, the filmmakers searched for him for months before finding his house, and it took even longer to contact him because his guard dogs prevented them from entering the property.
Talk about the film, particularly:
Relationship with Eva O
The torture for hire thing
The venue, the filmmaking, etc
The Dead hands dig deep comment
My thoughts on Edwin