Intro

 

Quartz correction – Tony Iommi was the producer of Quartz debut, not Martin Birch, which provides a more clear link between Geoff Nichols and Sabbath.

 

R.I.P Warrel Dane

 

Other Bands

 

Accursed – Satanic Ritual (Demo) – NY based band formed in 1988 that released this and a less widely available demo called Cries of Blasphemy in 1990. Notable for being far more Satanic than a bulk of tech death bands at the time. Broke up at an unknown point sometimes after

 

Necrotic Mutation – Another Quebec band, active as Disaster from 89-91, released demos in 1992 and 1993, and two EP’s, The Realm of Human Illusions, & a S/T in ‘95 and ‘99. Vocalist Sébastien Croteau is the only constant member, notable for his more comprehensible take on Demilich style vocals. The later EP featured René Lacharité & Éric Jarrin of prog band Heaven’s Cry. Eric later formed Despised Icon in 2002.

 

Enthroned/Inthroned – Illinois based tech death band formed in 1993. Released two demos in ‘94 and ‘96. Band members Pat O’Keefe (Drums), Joe DeGroot (Vocals, Bass), & Steve Stell (Guitars) would later form the acclaimed melo-death band Enforsaken

 

Dark Seraf – a Texas based Death/Thrash outfit active from Approximately ‘94-’97 with a posthumous compilation being released in ‘99. Little info on the band’s sound, and can’t find a digital representation of their sound and the members did little after save for the bassist Mike DiQuinzio who showed up in a Southern band called Proofed in the early aughts.

 

Chapter – Pittsburgh based band that was probably the first band to combine metalcore with Technical Death Metal, and a rare mix of the two that wasn’t Deathcore. They existed from 1995-1997, releasing a few splits and an EP titled Sins of Our Fathers in 1995. The band would change names to Creation Is Crucifixion which released several albums in the early aughts. A compilation of their Chapter material was released in 1998.

 

Elements – Another Montreal based project, active from 1994-1998. Featured Martin Fergusson post-Cryptopsy, released a single demo in 1997 before breaking up. Drummer Martin Auger, was a live member of Necronomicon and was a member of Neuraxis, among several other local problems.

 

Sympathy – technically should be listed in the bands with no studio recordings in the period I feel like we have to mention this project for the fact that it is a one man Christian symphonic/tech death band that existed in 1991. Sole member Dharok did release two demos in Age of Darkness in 1995 and Realms of Chaos in 1996, before finally releasing a full length in 2002.

 

Carnivorous Cadaver – a NJ based band, no real info on them, they released a full length independently in 1997 called Necrophile and Under a Bleeding Moon in 2001

 

Primeval –  a Houston based band active from approximately 1996-1998. They released 500 copies of a full length titled Temptation in 1997, a demo preceded this the year before and a final EP was released in 1998, one of the first Technical death bands to feature members of hispanic descent.

 

Neuraxis – one of the more prominent bands we’re not discussing in depth, mainly because there really isn’t much in the way of releases prior to their debut Imagery being released by small Canadian label Neoblast in 1997. The album was recorded in Peter Pan Studios which will also be talked about later. Their more prominent members show up elsewhere in the notes. They were active until 2015 and have released a total of 6 full lengths.  

 

Enthroned/Psypheria – separate from the other Enthroned and the “big” Enthroned, this was a death metal band active from 1992-approximately 1998. Their first major release Thy Flesh Consumed in 1996 is a more straight ahead old school death release, but follow up, 1998’s Gothic Disturbance marks an uptick in the technicality, and is also noted for mixing said technical ability with a Cradle of Filth-esque sense of melody. They would change their name to Psypheria in 1998 and re-release Gothic Disturbance under that name. A further EP and album would follow before the band split in approx. 2002. Lyle Livingston, later of Dragonlord was a member. They have since reformed but no material has surfaced.

 

Bands Active But With No Recordings Until After ‘97

 

Solitude (First Mexican Tech Death)

Spasme

Wetwork

Disembarkation

Divine Syndrome

Unhuman

Cephalic Carnage

Malignancy

Death of Millions

Burning Inside

Psypheria

Biolich

Controlled Chaos

Crutch (now known as Aletheian, Christian Tech Death from Leabonon PA)

Lecherous Nocturne (Known for it’s multiple Nile connections)

Origin

Winter Bestowed

 

Atheist – Piece Of Time

 

Country: Sarasota, Florida
Years Active: 1984-1985 (as Oblivion), 1985-1988    (as R.A.V.A.G.E.), 1988-1994, 2006-present
Released: August 30, 1989 (Europe), Nov. 1990 (America)
Label: Active Records
Studio: Morrisound Recording
Lineup:
Kelly Shaefer – Guitars (lead), Vocals, Music, Lyrics
Rand Burkey – Guitars (lead), Music
Roger Patterson (R.I.P. 1991) – Bass, Music
Steve Flynn – Drums, Music
Production:
Mike Fuller – Mastering
Scott Burns – Producer, Engineering
Borivoj Krgin – Executive producer
Artwork:
Ed Repka – Cover art, Logo
Tim Hubbard – Photography
Mark Weinberg – Art direction, Design

 

  • Background Info
    • Atheist began as the thrash band Oblivion back in 1984. The lineup was shaky at first, and only Kelly Shaefer survived from the earliest lineups, however Steve Flynn would join within the first year of their existence and Roger Patterson became a member near the start of 1985.
    • That same year, the band changed its name to R.A.V.A.G.E., an acronym that didn’t actually mean anything until the band was pressed at which point they half jokingly stated it stood for “Raging Atheists Vowing a Gory End.”
    • As R.A.V.A.G.E. the band released a series of 3 demos, 1 in 1985 and 2 in 1987. They also appeared on a five way split called Raging Death in ‘87. The band slowly got some buzz within the tape trading circuit which lead up to a signing with the small label Mean Machine Records, and recording for what would become Piece of Time began in November of 1988 at Morrissound.
    • Mean Machine was a small European start up, but it apparently went bankrupt almost as soon as it was founded, only releasing 2 albums, one by UK thrashers Hydra Vein, and the other by German traditional band Not Fragile before falling apart.
    • This left Atheist with a completed record but no label. They were eventually picked up by Music for Nations subsidiary Active Records, who released the album in Europe about halfway through 1989.
    • The band still had no distribution deal in their native America, and had to wait over 6 months, while Active hammered out a contract with Metal Blade, before the album was finally released in 1990.
    • This would be the last album featuring founding bassist Roger Patterson, who was killed in a car accident Feb 12th, 1991. He was still credited as a songwriter on their next album Unquestionable Presence but the bass parts would be handled by former Cynic bassist Tony Choy.
    • In an interview with Metal Crypt, Kelly attributed the band’s fiery passion, and the arguments that caused, combined with a lack of time (the album was recorded in less than a month) as the primary factors behind the sound. He is quick to mention that the time constraints did also mean the band wasn’t able to do everything they wanted to do musically

 

  • Behind the Boards
    • Scott Burns – Producer, Engineering
      • Same as usual, worth noting for a few reasons:
        • Scott only had  four credits that pre-date it, Ticket to Mayhem by Whiplash, and Agent Steel’s Unstoppable Force, both in 1987. These were followed by Crimson Glory’s Transcendence & Death’s Leprosy, which was recorded a few months prior to Piece of Time.
        • All of these credits are Engineering and Mixing, so this appears to be the first time Scott was credited as a producer
    • Mike Fuller – Mastering
      • Mike founded Fuller Sound studios in Miami a few years prior to this in 1986.
      • He was already an established engineer before this, having worked at QCA Custom Division from 1971 -1978, then Criteria Recording Studios up until the founding of his namesake studio.
      • It looks like Fuller was a preferred choice among artists recording at Morrissound, as there’s some crossover between his credits and Scott’s early years, notably the Whiplash, Death & Agent Steel albums.
      • Some other early credits include Toxik World Circus, Sepultura’s     Beneath the Remains, Savatage’s Sirens Crimson Glory’s S/T, Nasty Savage’s final release Penetration Point & Obituary’s Slowly We Rot.
      • 90’s work includes some material by Suffocation, Poltergeist, Malevolent Creation, Exhorder,Broken Hope, Belial, and Deicide
    • Borivoj Krgin – Executive producer
      • Was Atheists manager at the time. He was also the founder of the small label Godly Records, which released that split R.A.V.A.G.E. contributed to.
      • He’s probably better known as a metal journalist, writing for Violent Noize, Metal Maniacs, Metal Forces in the 80’s.
      • In 2001 he founded Blabbermouth.net which he still operates today
    • Active Records
      • Originally known as Axis Records, it was founded by David Constable and Bernard Doe, writers of Metal Forces magazine, in 1986. They changed their name to avoid confusion with another label of the same name
      • They aren’t super prominent, but they’re worth mentioning for their willingness to sign bands from burgeoning genres of music, rescuing Candlemass after their post Epicus label drop.
      • Other noted examples of Active’s risk taking signings are fellow doom metalers Count Raven & Nemesis, tech thrash band Hexenhaus, Death/Thrash band Merciless,  fellow tech deathers Obliveon, and Therion.
    • Ed Repka – Cover art, Logo
      • An American Graphic Designer, a favorite of early Death & Thrash artists in the mid to late 80’s and thrash revivalists looking to capture that vibe. He’s probably best known for his frequent collaborations with Megadeth and on the first 3 Death albums.
      • Some other notable works include Vio-Lence Eternal Nightmare, Uncle Slam Say Uncle, both Toxik albums, Sanctuary Refuge Denied, Possessed Beyond the Gates, Nuclear Assault Game Over, Massacre From Beyond, and both of Evildead’s albums.

 

Gorguts – Considered Dead

 

Country: Montreal, Quebec
Years Active: 1989-2005, 2008-present
Released: October 8th, 1991
Label: R/C Records
Studio: Morrisound Recording
Lineup:
Luc Lemay – Guitars (lead, acoustic), Vocals, Lyrics
Sylvain Marcoux – Guitars (lead)
Eric Giguere – Bass
Stéphane Provencher – Drums
Production:
Scott Burns – Producer, Engineering, Mixing

Michael Sarsfield – Mastering
Artwork:

Dan Seagrave    – Cover art

Luc Lemay – Cover concept, Logo
Patricia Mooney – Art direction

Jean Pierre Dubois – Photography

 

  • Background Info
    • Gorguts earliest lineup still included Luc Lemay & Stéphane Provencher, however the guitars were handled by Gary Chouinard and the bass was played by Carlo Gozzi
    • Carl had previously played in a local thrash band called Blaylök. I’m assuming he left to join Gorguts, but either way he was gone by that bands second demo.
    • Stéphane also had some prior experience in a band called Damaged, playing on their only demo. That band broke up when it’s other members moved to a different city and continued on as another tech death band called Psychicthrob who released a few demos in the 90’s worth hearing. The move doesn’t seem to have been made with any ill will, since one of the members Steve Cloutier, would be Gorguts bassist from 1993-2004
    • This lineup of Gary, Luc, Stephane and Gary lasted for the band’s first demo, referred to as Demo ‘89 before Carlo was replaced by Eric Giguere. Carlo would show up in a power metal band called Insanity in 1995, but has no other credits outside of this.
    • The specifics of Carlos’ leaving haven’t been fully elaborated on, however in an interview with Toughriffs, Stephan stated that “Carlos left because we couldn’t agree on few things…actually on everything. He was a pain in the ass for me and Luc.”
    • This new lineup would then go on to record …and Then Comes Lividity in 1990.
    • While the demo was certainly well received, and generated some buzz among death metal fans, this is not what led the band to get signed.
    • On the day the demo was recorded to tape the band gave 10 or 20 copies to Obliveon’s manager Nancy Charland to hand out to her industry friends. She stated she was going to call R/C Records and ship the demo the next day, which she did, and a deal was signed within 2 weeks of the tape’s production.  
    • R/C Records, was a small subsidiary of Roadracer Records. Roadracer is better known as Roadrunner, this name being a temporary one while the company squared away any potential legal conflicts that could arise from sharing the name with the  Looney Tunes character.
    • Despite the signing, the band was not fully satisfied with their lineup, and according to Stephan the group consensus was that Gary was not committed to the job.
    • He was fired and replaced by Sylvain, who the band had known from the local band Deadly Manover, and the album era lineup was now complete
    • Roadracer Sent the band to Florida to record, though the band took a 10 day vacation before entering the booth with Scott.
    • According to Stephen the recording process was quick, fun, and only took about 5-7 days to record and mix. He does note though that the band couldn’t get their instruments through customs, so everything heard on the album was a rental.
  • Guest Musicians
    • Chris Barnes of Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under provides backing vocals on several tracks on the album, while James Murphy, who would have been wrapping up his time in Obituary at the time, provides the guitar solo on “Inoculated Life.”
    • Stephan credits Luc for their presence, he had evidently been corresponding with them for a few months prior to the band heading to Florida.
  • Behind the Boards
    • Michael Sarsfield – Mastering
      • Started his career as a mixer for Jazz artists at the Blue Note in New York before starting to master a variety of rock acts in the 80’s such as Jesus Jones,  & Sonic Youth, and a small sampling of Punk such as SFA, and Biohazard.
      • He’s probably better known for his 90’s work when he started working with R&B and hip hop artists Fat Joe, Common, The Lost Boyz, Erykah Badu and Mary J. Blige, and even more recently for his work with electronica and dance artists.
      • Despite this he does have a few other metal credits, namely crossover band Rorschach, doom metal band Sorrow, and Invictus by Virgin Steele. He also re-mastered Sepultura’s Morbid Visions album, but I’m not sure when this took place
    • Dan Seagrave – Cover art
      • Somehow never mentioned before, but he’s a famous death metal cover artist, working with Suffocation, Decrepit Birth, Devourment, Gorguts, Entombed, Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Vader, Malevolent Creation, Lawnmower Death, Entombed, Edge of Sanity and most importantly Metal Duck
  • After Recording
    • The band would go on the Blood, Guts and Gore tour with Cannibal Corpse and Atheist in 1992, and go on to record the follow up The Erosion of Sanity, their final with Roadrunner.

 

Death – Human

 

Country: Altamonte Springs, Florida
Years Active: 1983-1984 (as Mantas), 1984-2001
Released: October 22nd, 1991
Label: Relativity Records
Studio: Morrisound Recording
bLineup:
Sean Reinert – Drums
Chuck Schuldiner – Guitars, Vocals, Songwriting, Lyrics
Paul Masvidal – Guitars
Steve DiGiorgio – Bass
Production:
Chuck Schuldiner – Producer, Logo
Scott Burns – Producer, Recording, Mixing
Michael Fuller – Mastering
Artwork:

René Miville – Artwork

Tim Hubbard – Photography

David Bett – Art direction

 

  • Background Info
    • Another complete change in lineup for Death. Spiritual Healing had featured James Murphy on guitar, and Massacre members Terry Butler and Bill Andrews on bass and drums respectively.
    • Why Terry and Bill left isn’t entirely clear, it is known that Chuck, after some money issues, contractual disputes and poorly organized tours, made a conscious decision to make Death’s lineup a rotating one. On the other hand James Murphy, who left approximately at the same time as Bill and Terry made it clear that the differences with Chuck were personal in nature, so we can’t rule that out either.  In fact this is the more likely scenario given the “going on tour without Chuck” incident that occurred after that album
    • Paul Masvidal & Sean Reinert’s time with the band is discussed in Cynic section. Just note this is first album to feature them, but not their first interactions with Chuck.
    • This marks the first album to feature Steve DiGiorgio, who was basically on loan from the band Sadus, which is why he was not featured on the subsequent tour. This is the second time he was involved in Death, having briefly been involved with the band in 1986. This is discussed more in Sadus’ section
    • Most credit Paul & Sean for opening Chuck’s mind to bringing a jazz influence and progressive elements into Death. Atheist vocalist Kelly Shaefer recalls that when the band was starting out Chuck “would say things about us like that we were so noisy that we sounded like a train station….I think he just didn’t understand what we were doing. At the time, he didn’t think that jazz should have a place in metal. He even said that jazz shouldn’t have a place in metal on many occasions”
  • Guest Musicians
    • Scott Carino played bass on Cosmic Sea. Considering that he took over the bass duties when Steve went back to Sadus on a European tour, I’m assuming this track may have been the last recorded, possibly after Steve left.
  • Behind the Boards
    • René Miville – Artwork
      • His first work with Death, mentioned last week for his work on Individual Thought Patterns, he also worked on Symbolic. His only non-death credit is photography for Obiturary on The End Complete.
  • After the album Sean & Paul again returned to work with Cynic, which we’ll discuss later today. And Steve had to return to his commitment in Sadus, though he would return again for Individual Thought Patterns

 

Suffocation – Effigy Of The Forgotten

 

Country: Long Island, New York
Years Active: 1988-1998, 2002-present
Released: October 8th, 1991
Label: R/C Records
Studio: Morrisound Recording
Lineup:
Frank Mullen – Vocals
Terrance Hobbs – Guitars
Doug Cerrito – Guitars
Josh Barohn – Bass
Mike Smith – Drums
Production:
Eddy Schreyer – Mastering
Scott Burns – Producer, Engineering, Mixing
Artwork:

Doug Cerrito – Logo
Dan SeaGrave – Cover art

Tom Greenwood – Art direction

Ira Rosenson – Photography

 

  • Background Info
    • Suffocation was formed with a radically different lineup in 1988.  Frank & Josh were founding members, but at that time were joined by the guitar team of Todd German and Guy Marchais. The original drummer’s name seems to have been lost, or deliberately kept out of the band’s history, but it is mentioned that he was a friend of Josh Barohn.
    • The line up as it appears on Effigy came to be when this early version of Suffocation, absorbed most of the lineup of a band called Mortuary, which contained Mike, Doug and Terrence, though it should be noted that Frank and Mike had already known each other prior to this, being schoolmates, and had played in various basement level projects with each other.
    • The mystery drummer and Todd German appear to have disappeared from the music scene after this, however Guy Marchais would go on to play in death metal band Pyrexia, playing on their debut Sermon of Mockery and the follow up EP. He appears to have left the band at some point after this, presumably in ‘95, but definitely prior to 1997, when he joined Internal Bleeding. Guy would actually later rejoin Suffocation shortly after their reactivation in 2003, a postion he maintained until 2016.
    • The band began working on the material that would ultimately become the Reincremated demo in 1990, and once released the demo quickly started making its rounds in the tape trading circles.
    • This lead to a deal with Relapse, who were still an extremely new label at the time, and the band would quickly release the Human Waste EP which was actually the first official release Relapse ever put out.
    • This in turn drew the attention of Roadrunner, and after signing the band was quickly sent down to Morrisound to record.
    • It’s worth mentioning that Mike mentioned in an interview that the material for the demo, Human Waste, and Effigy was all written within that initial period of ‘89-’90, hence the fast pace that the band was able to record and put the material out.
    • As per usual the band seems to have enjoyed their time at Morrisound studios, in fact the fact that they were not permitted by the label to record their follow up album, Breeding the Spawn with Scott, and the reception that album received because of noted downgrade in production value, is a major reason behind Mike Smith leaving the band.
    • This was evidently some sort of across the board policy Roadrunner had instated.  According to Mike, the label heads had a fundamental misunderstanding of how important the Burns/Morrissound combo was to these early tech death metal albums, and were simply attempting to cut costs. This situation is mirrored by Malevolent Creation’s experience with Stillborn.
    • Unlike Malevolent Creation, Suffocation was not dropped from the label, and Roadrunner eventually course corrected and allowed Suffocation to record at Morrissound for their third album.

 

  • Guest Musicians
    • There’s only one guest musician on the album, future Cannibal Corpse and then current Monstrosity vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, who can be heard singing backing vocals on tracks Reincremation & Mass Obliteration.
    • George apparently had asked to contribute after hearing the sounds of the recording through the walls of Morrissound.
    • Presumably he was there working on Monstrosity’s Imperial Doom album.
  • Behind the Boards
    • Scott Burns – discussed at length elsewhere
    • Eddy Schreyer – discussed multiple times in the past, but note this is one of the first times we’ve mentioned him outside a Metal Blade release.
    • Dan Seagrave – Cover Artist – discussed elsewhere

 

Immolation – Dawn Of Possession

 

Country: Yonkers, New York
Years Active: 1986-1988 (as Rigor Mortis),    1988-present
Released: July 19th, 1991
Label: R/C Records
Studio: Musiclab Studios
Lineup:
Ross Dolan – Vocals, Bass, Songwriting
Robert Vigna    – Guitars, Songwriting
Tom Wilkinson    – Guitars, Songwriting
Craig Smilowski – Drums
Production:
Harris Johns – Producer, Engineering, Mixing
Artwork:

Andreas Marschall – Cover illustration

Patricia Mooney – Art direction

Mark Mastro – Logo
Renato Gallina – Logo (original concept)

Carole Segal – Photography (band)

 

  • Background Info
    • As mentioned, the band has its roots in yet another band called Rigor Mortis. Rigor Mortis was founded in 1986 as Deathcon, and recorded a demo in 1986, but didn’t really have an Immolation connection until Tom & Robert joined the band until 1987.
    • The band was led by a bassist/vocalist named Andrew Sakowicz. This lineup of Tom, Robert, Andrew and various drummers recorded two further demos before Andrew left the band to be replaced by Ross Dolan, and the name change to Immolation occurred soon after.
    • A single, containing two earlier demo tracks of Rigor Mortis material was released in 1990 by the infamous Seraphic Decay Records, which is notorious for having never paid any of it’s signees. Will Rahmer of Mortician once stating that he would murder label founder Stephen O’Bannon if he ever saw him in person. I’m unsure if this was even authorized given the year and the subsequent Immolation releases being independent, but either way I’m sure the band never saw a cent from it.
    • The renamed band continued on, the drum position for their initial batch of 2 demos being filled by newcomer Neal Boback.
    • There doesn’t seem to be any official word on why Neal was replaced, but I’m assuming it sort of mirrors some of the other band’s we’ve talked about, and his technical abilities weren’t up to snuff with where the band was going.
    • Craig would replace him in 1991, shortly before the release of the A Day of Death in 1991. Craig has a bit of a pedigree already having played in the Philadelphia bands Violemosh, and Goreaphobia (which he would later rejoin after leaving Immolation in ‘96)
    • The early demos had led to the band’s signing with R/C Records, which again, is a Roadrunner subsidiary.
    • The band was then shipped off to Musiclab in Germany which seems to be an odd choice considering these were peak Morrissound/Roadrunner days and also because Roadrunner was still a very new label and considering Harris Johns was already a well established producer, I can’t imagine he was cheaper than the comparatively newer Morrissound.
    • I can say with about 95% certainty that this is the first full on death metal album Harris Johns worked on.
  •     Behind The Boards
    • Harris Johns
      • We discussed more in depth in the german speed/power metal scene and in germany for his earlier work in the Berlin punk scene. He’s probably best remembered for his work in teutonic thrash and ,and in particular the Noise records stable of artists. He founded Musiclab in 1978, and has recorded around 350 albums over his career.  
    • Andreas Marschall – Cover Artist
      • A prominent German born cover artist, and later director and comic artist. He’s worked with a lot of bands we’ve talked about or mentioned in passing, but the only album we’ve actually discussed in depth was Skyclad’s A Burnt Offering for the Bone Idol.
      • He exploded into the scene around 1990, and worked prominently with Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Hammerfall, In Flames, Kreator, Obituary, Rage, Running Wild, Sodom and U.D.O. among other acts, as implied he works most predominantly with German Artists.
      • He also worked with Immolation on future albums.
    • Patricia Mooney
      • Mentioned with Gorguts  
    • Mark Mastro (Logo) & Renato Gallina (Logo concept)
      • Renato Gallina
        • Is the guitarist & vocalist in Corpse Molestation and more famously disEMBOWELMENT
      • Mark Mastro
        • Is the guitarist vocalist from early PA death metal band Rottrevore and later Eviscium.
        • He’d design the logos for Derkéta, Chaotic Plague, Exit-13, Funerus, and Abominator as well.

 

Obliveon – From This Day Forward

 

Country: Longueuil/Montréal, Quebec
Years Active: 1987 (as Oblivion), 1987-2002, 2008, 2014-present
Released: 1990
Label: Active Records
Studio: Peter Pan Studios (Mixed)
Lineup:
Stéphane Picard – Vocals, Bass
Martin Gagné – Guitars
Pierre Rémillard – Guitars
Alain Demers – Drums
Production:
Jeff Nystrom – Mixing
Jean-François Nolin – Mixing
Michel Lachance -Recording
Claude Laguë – Executive producer
Maxwell Anandappa – Mastering
Artwork:

Unknown- Cover Art

Jacques Dubey – Design

Laurent Boutéraon – Photography

Martin Gagné – Logo

 

  • Background info
    • Not a whole lot to go on here. In classic Canadian fashion they formed as a power trio in 1987 with Stéphane Picard, and Martin Gagné being joined by a drummer named Francis Giguère.
    • This lineup put out a series of 3 demos in 1987 at which point the band seems to have taken a two year hiatus. When they returned Francis had been replaced by Alan Demers and Pierre Remillard was brought in as a secondary guitarist.
    • This lineup then recorded 3 additional demos, the second of which Fiction of Veracity got a good deal of attention in tape trading circles, and was a favorite of several European fanzines, which I imagine is probably what brought them to the attention of the UK based Active Records.
  • Behind The Boards
    • Mixers Jeff Nystrom & Jean-François Nolin
      • Jeff was the bassist in Fist from 1974-1984 and this is his only metal mixing cred though he has since worked with Canadian Country singer Adam Gregory
      • Jean-Francois also has limited production credits working on albums for bands Anonymus, Disembarkation,Kralizec & Morbid Pain mostly in 1999 before possibly becoming a voice actor (assuming it’s the same Jea-Francois)
    • Recorder Michel Lachance
      • Previously worked with the band for the Fiction of Veracity demo, his only other metal credit. Assuming this was early in his career, he has worked with several other french-canadian artists outside of metal
    • Claude Laguë – Executive producer
      • No real info, assuming he’s the band’s manager since he’s not an Active executive.
    • Maxwell Anandappa – Mastering
      • Primarily worked as a plate engineer doing metal work for various UK based record companies. Only a few metal mastering credits, some singles by NWOBHM bands Limelight and Witchfynde and a Plasmastics single.
    • Peter Pan Studios
      • Where the album was mixed is a prominent studio in the Canadian Death Metal scene. This was actually the first release accredited to them. Some work around the same time would include Mid-Evil, Pyschicthrob, Apocalyptic Fear,
    • The Design/Photography team have no other credits
  • After From This Day….
    • Band would head in an even more death oriented direction for the follow up Nemesis, lineup remaining stable through the years.

 

Dominion – Soul’s Redemption

 

Country: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Years Active: 1993-1998, 1998-present (as Demonicon)
Released: July 23rd, 1996
Label: None
Studio: Unknown
Lineup:
Bill Hedal – Bass, Vocals

Scott Ellingboe – Guitars

Possible Members?

Chad Ludwig or Mike Curran  – Drums
Brian Owens or Corey Jones – Guitars
Production:
Unknown
Artwork:

Unknown

 

  • As the stats would imply barely any information on this band. The album is their first and only release before changing their name to Demonicon which released 4 albums from 2001-2011 but even that band’s lineup is not well recorded, and these dudes have such generic white guy names I can’t track them and those I THINK I found on facebook have private profiles and don’t look like metal dudes in their late 40’s so I didn’t put out any feelers.
  • Bill was also involved in a death band called West Wall in the mid-00’s, along with several other Monessota based bands
  • Chad Ludwig was previously in Cryogen who will probably be discussed on the eventual Early Mid-Western Death episode.
  • Corey Jones may be the most prominent of the people involved, having previously been in a local thrash band called Contagion but later going on to black metal bands Teratism and Theatre of the Macabre
  • Scott Ellingboe, the only 100% verifiable member would later be in the death band Incinerate

 

Deeds of Flesh – Trading Pieces

 

Country: Los Osos, California
Years Active: 1993-present
Released: July 1996
Label: Repulse Records
Studio: Moon Productions Studio
Lineup:
Erik Lindmark – Guitars, Vocals
Joey Heaslet – Drums
Jacoby Kingston – Bass, Vocals
Production:
Deeds of Flesh – Producer

Thomas E. Gingell – Engineering
Artwork:
Jackie – Cover art
Chad Land – Logo art
Peter Mounier – Photography
Jonah Jesse – Artwork
Jacoby Kingston – Layout

 

  • Background Info
    • Not much to say with these guys either. They formed in 1993, their official bio mentions that the trio had all been in other bands previously that they felt creatively stifled in, but no word on what those bands were, though we can confirm whatever they were had no official releases.
    • The band wrote the material that would become their debut EP, 1995’s Gradually Melted over the course of 6 months, this album being released on small California specialty label Wild Rags Records which is honestly probably one of the earliest Death and Grind specialty labels, especially on the West Coast. The company also consisted of a fanzine and a store of the same name.
    • The press from this release led to offers from several companies, and the band ended up signing a two record deal with Repulse
    • Repulse is another specialty label dealing primarily in death metal. Founded by legendary Spanish metal musician  Dave Rotten of Avulsed, Christ Denied, Putrevore, Holycide and others, it is the successor to his earlier attempt at a record company, Drowned Productions.
    • After signing Trading Pieces would be recorded over the span of a few days in March of 1996. The album follows an extremely loose concept based around murder and mayhem
    • There wasn’t much of a tour behind the album because drummer Joey Heaslet returned to college. Which is why he would not be present on the bands follow up, 1998’s Inbreeding the Anthropophagi.
    • Also in the gap between albums the band members would form their own specialty label, the still operating Unique Leader Records, which is actually now one of the larger of Death specialty labels.
  • Behind The Boards
    • Thomas E. Gingell – Engineering
      • Is also the owner operator of Moon Productions Studio.
      • Thomas would work with the band for several further albums.
      • Credits beyond this are similar in genre but not too numerous, prior to this he was the producer for a band called Mutilation’s 1992 demo, some work with  Deprecated, Disgorge and Karma in the late 90’s early 00’s
      • A few non-genre releases were put out by the studio up until about ‘04, it appears to now be defunct.

 

Oppressor – Solstice of Oppression

 

Country: Chicago, IL
Years Active: 1990-1999
Released: 1994
Label: Red Light Records
Studio: Break Through Audio
Lineup:
Tim King – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Tom Schofield – Drums
Jim Stopper – Guitars (12-string acoustic), Guitars
Adam Zadel – Guitars (lead), Guitars (acoustic)
Production:
Ron Reid – Engineering, Producer, Mixing
Jim Harvey -Engineering, Producer, Mixing
Artwork:

SV Bell – Cover art

Nick Sinnaeve –  Layout, Art direction

Brad Hall – Photography

 

  • Background Info
    • The band was formed in 1991 by Adam and Tim, though Tom and Jim would join within the first month of the band’s existence. No word on previous credits for any involved.
    • The band would then quickly record their World Abomination demo that same year, however it was the follow up As Blood Flows that was released in 1993 that led to the signing with Red Light Records.
    • Red Light was a small Illinois based label that had existed since about 1989.
    • They only released a small number of albums, including works by Diamond Rexx, Coven (now Coven 6669) Post Mortem, Zoetrope, Solitude (The Thrash One), Cianide, Gutted   and The Mentors.
    • The recording studio, Breakthrough, was a Chicago based studio, assumedly either owned and operated or at least the employer of the production team.
    • The album was recorded and mixed over the course of a few days in November of ‘93.
    • The album was released and almost immediately the label went Bankrupt, leading the band to scramble to find another one, settling on another small label called Megalithic Records, which then also proceeded to go bankrupt.
    • They’d eventually go on to sign with Danish label Diehard Music, and record their second album Agony in 1996, a self titled EP would also be released that year.
    • The biggest event in Oppressors history would be in 1997 when Tim, Tom and Adam would form alt-metal band Soil with Shaun Glass of Broken Hope and future Drowning Pool singer Ryan McCombs.
    • A final album would be released in 1998, titled Elements of Corrosion but Soil quickly became the more profitable project and the band parted ways.
    • Drummer Jim the only member not to sell his soul to the nu metal devil, would later show up in the prog thrash band Twelfth Gate, appearing on their second album in 2007 Threshold of Revelation.
  • Behind the Boards
    • Jim Harvey & Ron Reid
      • Again, appear to be staff of Breakthrough, which is primarily a manufacturing facility.
      • Their only real credit of super important note would be the debut Amid Its Hallowed Mirth by Novembers Doom which I think we’ve incorrectly identified as a Finnish or Danish band in the past.
    • SV Bell – Cover art
      • Canadian artist most active in the 90’s to very early Aughts. Some works include Quo Vadis, Rotting Christ, Severance, Suffer, Torturer, Wombath, Misery Kataklysm, Impaled Nazerene, Imagika, Obliveon, Gutted, Blasphemy, and Amorphis.

 

Lethargy  – It’s Hard to Write with a Little Hand

 

Country: Rochester, New York
Years Active: 1992-1999
Released: 1994
Label: Dirty Girl
Studio: Watchmen Studios
Lineup:
Adam Routier – Bass
Brann Dailor – Drums
Bill Kelliher – Guitars
Erik Burke – Guitars, vocals
Production:
Doug White – Producer, Engineer
Artwork:

Unknown

 

  • Lethargy was formed from the ashes of several NY bands.
  • Founding guitarist Steve Nedwedsky had come from blackened death metal band Buried Beneath, who are notable for having also contained demo period Mastodon singer Eric Saner. Various other members  went on to other projects as well but the Mastadon link is the most relevent to today’s discussion
  • Guitarist/Vocalist Erik Burke had been in the death metal band Matrikhore, playing on their hilariously titled 1991 demo I Want to Go Where Jesus Is and Fuck His Rotting Corpse.
  • Bran & Adam had both been in the band Evisceration, which had released a single demo in 1992.
  • Steve’s time with the band would be short lived, and he was not present on any recordings. The band recorded their first demo Lost in This Existence without a second guitarist before the position was filled by the equally unknown Brian Steltz who then in turn replaced by album era guitarist Bill Kelliher. This lineup would record two subsequent demos ‘94’s Tainted, and ‘95’s Humor Me, as well as a ‘94 split with alt-punk group Big Hair
  • The band would then begin work on their sole studio album at Doug White’s newly opened Watchmen Studios
  • Doug has also worked with Convulsion, and Brutal Truth (a band guitarist Erik Burke would later join) among other bands.
  • The band continued on up until about 1999, playing their last show on Christmas Eve of that year, before  Brann and Bill would move onto their much more well known project Mastodon.
  • Erik would go on to play with a slew of bands, one of the first being Brutal Death/Grind band Kalibas, then later the previously mentioned Brutal Truth as well as two seperate runs with Nuclear Assault.
  • Adam disappeared from the music scene for a good while but recently showed up in relatively unknown but long running NY death/doom band Elusive Travel, beginning in 2014, though he does not appear to still be with them.

 

Cynic – Focus

 

Country: Miami, Florida
Years Active: 1987-1994,  2006-2015, 2017-present
Released: September 13th, 1993
Label: Roadrunner Records
Studio: Morrissound Studios
Lineup:

Jason Gobel – Guitars, Guitars (synth)

Paul Masvidal – Vocals, Guitars, Guitars (synth)

Sean Reinert  – Drums, Drums (electronic), Keyboards

Sean Malone – Bass, Chapman stick
Production:

Scott Burns – Producer, Engineering, Mixing

Mike Fuller – Mastering
Artwork:

Robert Venosa (R.I.P. 2011) –    Cover art, Logo, Design

 

  • Background Info
    • Cynic was formed by Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal, after they both left the short lived thrash band Seaweed. The earliest members to join them were vocalist Jack Kelly & bassist Mark van Erp, who was in Malevolent Creation around this time as well.
    • This lineup recorded the bands debut demo in 1988, shortly after this Jack was let go with Paul Masvidal taking on vocal duties and second guitarist Jason Gobel joining, and this lineup recorded the second demo, Reflections of a Dying World in 1989. Future Atheist bassist Tony Choy would join the band the same year.
    • These early demos would gain some traction in the Florida death metal world, which would lead to Paul appearing on Chuck schuldiner’s radar, and ultimatlet a Mexican tour with Death, which also took place in 1989. He would famously turn down an opportunity to join the band which as we discussed last week. This decision would eventually lead to James Murphy getting the opportunity to join the band for Spiritual Healing.
    • The Jason, Paul, Tony and Sean Reinhert lineup of Cynic would record two further demo’s in 1990 and 1991, the first on small Canadian label Epidemic, and then the final one on Roadrunner.
    • Between albums, Paul would again join Death, replacing James Murphy on an International tour for Spiritual Healing, and eventually Sean Reinert would replace Bill Andrews on drums, and Death’s Human would follow in 1991.
    • Paul would also work with Master for their On the Seventh Day God Created… Master, replacing their founding guitarist Chris Mittleburn.
    • Sean and Paul would leave Death after a world tour in 1992. But the tour would not end easily.
    • Death had hit a serious financial snag during the tour and the end result of this was that the bands gear was confiscated and held hostage for about 6 months by a UK promoter.
    • While the band waited for their gear Tony Choy would leave the band, joining Atheist full time, and jazz player Sean Malone, who had been an engineering assistant at the studio they planned on recording in, was brought in as a new member
    • The recording also did not go as planned, as the recording studio, guitarist Jason’s home and the band’s rehearsal space, was destroyed during Hurricane Andrew in August of 1992.
    • What followed was a year of rebuilding both in the physical sense and the musical, the members basically scrapped the entirety of what their first album was going to be, and retooled their sound from Death/Thrash with some jazzy technical bits, into the sound we hear on Focus.
    • Tony Teegarden, who had previously performed with the local Death/Thrash band Epitaph and gusted on a Solstice demo also auditioned around this time, though he was never made an official member.
    • This brings us to the vocals discussion. Paul’s death growl had been slowly developing and improving throughout the demo years, however prior to recording Focus he was told by a physician that he was at the cusp of causing permanent damage to his vocal cords.
    • Paul’s vocoder vocals, created  using the  TC-Helicon VoiceLive 2, came about for two reasons, First, because Paul was insecure about his abilities as a clean singer, and two, because of how their robotic inhuman sound helped explore Paul’s lifelong love of science fiction.
  • Guest Musicians
    • In addition to Tony, some backing vocals are provided by Steve Gruber, who had previously worked with Coroner on Mental Vortex. Sonia Otey provides the narration on Sentiment along with some additional vocal work throughout.
  • Behind the Boards
    • Scott Burns
      • is not a new name, but it worth mentioning because despite working with the band in their demo days he apparently did not really understand what the band were going for, and this lack of understanding put all parties on edge.
      • Masvidal said of the experience “He did not understand what we were doing, Scott isn’t a musician—he’s a scientist, a computer guy—and he didn’t really understand where we were coming from. There was so much tension and discomfort in the studio. Scott was saying, ‘Wait till [Roadrunner Records’] Monte Conner hears this, he’s gonna freak out! And now there’s this computer vocal!’
    • Robert Venosa (R.I.P. 2011) –    Cover art, Logo, Design
      • A NY based artist, he doesn’t normally work as a cover artist however Cynic has consistently used his work for future releases
  • After Focus
    • Things did not get much easier for Cynic as they toured the album. They received a warm response during a European tour with Pestilence but the response was hampered by the audience’s response to Pestilence Spheres material.
    • A misguided US tour with Cannibal Corpse and Sinister came next, with the band being booed and hearing screams of “you suck!” nightly. The presence of live member Dana Cosley (previously in Miami band Demonomacy) on keyboards and harsh vocals raised particular ire among some purists. As did the headless guitars, and the band’s generally serene jazz like stage presence.  
    • Again quoting Masvidal on the experience “We didn’t get a lot of love on that tour,” Not being mean, but it’s meatheaded. It’s that kind of primal fan that doesn’t want to think too much. We love the guys in Cannibal Corpse and they were cool, but their music is so visceral and more about something else.”
    • Work on a second album began but musical and personal differences, and I assume the stress of touring and the years that preceded it, had also taken their toll, and the band broke up.
    • Despite this Sean R, Paul and Jason all ended up playing with bassist  Chris Kringal and vocalist Aruna Abrams in Portal but this project fell apart and most of the material recorded wound up integrated into the Cynic live repertoire.
    • Sean Malone would form Gordion Knot soon after, which has featured his Cynic band mates over the years. Aeon Spoke would also arise from the ashes of Cynics first breakup before the band would eventually reunite.

 

Timeghoul – Tumultuous Travelings & Panaramic Twilight

 

Country: Foristell, Missouri
Years Active: 1987-1991 (as Doom’s Lyre),    1991-???
Released: 1992/1994
Label: N/A
Studio:  Music Masters (Tumultuous), Icon Recording Studio (Panaramic)
Lineup:

Tumultuous

Tony Holman – Drums
Jeff Hayden – Guitars, Vocals
Chad McNeely – Bass
Mike Stevens – Guitars

 

Panaramic
Tony Holman – Drums
T.J. Oldani – Guitars
Gordon Blodgett – Guitars
Jeff Hayden – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass, Songwriting, Lyrics
Production:

Jack Petracek  – Engineering, Mixing (Tumultuous)

Mark Biehl – Engineering (Panaramic)
Artwork:

Tony Holman (Tumultuous & assumedly Panaramic)

 

  • Background Info
    • Most information taken from an interview from Gordon w/ Heidenlarm ‘zine in 2007, and 1994 interview in OCCULT GRINDER ZINE #4 from 1994
    • The band started out as just Jeff and Mike, and had trouble getting off the ground due to a lack of interest in progressive death metal in small town Missouri
    • Chad & Tony weren’t actually recruited until just before the name change from Doom’s Lyre in ‘90, and the band continued to practice and tour locally for a year or so before recording Tumultuous.
    • Shortly after that demo was released Mike left to form a Christian metal band, but this never seems to have gotten off the ground, or at least never recorded anything
    • Gordon had noticed some Timeghoul tryouts posters around town, auditioned and got the gig. Jeff had decided he wanted to go with a Triple guitar sound, so Gordon was able to bring in his childhood friend T.J. as the third guitarist.
    • Gordon and TJ had played together for years in basements and garages, but similar to the problem Jeff & Mike faced, could never seem to get a full band together to take it to the next level.
    • Chad left shortly after this for unknown reasons, essentially leaving the band as a studio project for the rest of their existence, as Jeff would have to take over bass duties. And this lineup recorded the second demo.
    • The band then stumbled to make their next move. As Gordon elaborates: “The problem back then was that nobody had any money, and the technology wasn’t there to record at home on the computer, so without some support we could never record any songs. And the labels weren’t calling us because we just weren’t out there enough for them to know who we were. Plus, we could never keep a full lineup in tact. We virtually had no bass player for the final three years. Eventually Jeff and Tony had kids, T.J. moved to Florida, and I joined another band.”
    • Before the end, there was some interest from french label Holy Records, who had released early works by Misanthrope, Nightfall, Godsend & Septicflesh at approximately the same time, but they wanted to hear what the band did next as they thought the ‘94 demo “sounded similar to Immolation with too much grinding” but newer material would not come to pass and the band would disintegrate shortly after.
    • The members mostly went quiet after this, Gordon mentions being in a band called Gate 7 but I can’t find any info on them because there’s a manga of the same name that floods the search results. Tony Holman would later show up in Missouri Death/Grind band Drag The Dead which released an album in 2012 and former guitarist Mike showed up in an early aughts thrash band called Caustic and a project called Grevlar that never took off.
  • Jack Petracek  – Engineering, Mixing (Tumultuous)
    • Is the only of the two engineers to have any other credits, he’s a musician himself in a country rock band called Grandpa’s Ghost and a more pop oriented project called Painkillers.
    • In metal he was only really active from 1991-1994. He worked with a thrash band called Darkend Fate on their final demo in 1991, and also worked on Psychopath’s only album Making the Transition which we’ll probably talk about whenever we do the prog version of this episode and then finally death/thrash band Corrosive’s only album I’m Bleeding in ‘94

 

Cryptopsy – Blasphemy Made Flesh

 

Country: Montreal, Quebec
Years Active: 1988-1992 (as Necrosis), 1992-present
Released: November 25th, 1994
Label: Invasion Records
Studio:  Piranha Studio
Lineup:

Lord Worm (Dan Greening) – Vocals
Jon Levasseur – Guitars
Steve Thibault – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Martin Fergusson – Bass
Flo Mounier – Drums, Vocals (backing)
Production:

Rod “The God” Shearer – Engineering
Artwork:
François Quévillon – Artwork, Design (Original)
Kevin Weagle – Design

Flo Mounier – Photography, Logo art

Jacky Mounier – Photography

 

    • Background Info
      • Necrosis was formed by Lord Worm, Steve, and their original drummer Mike “Moose” Atkin. Their original bassist John Todd would join soon after this. This lineup would last for two demos Mastication and Heterodontism in 1989 and Masticating on Pathogenia in 1990. A Self released full length would follow in 1991 titled Realms of Pathogenia. Which would be the last release by this earliest incarnation of the band

 

  • Their next release, a self titled demo in 1992 had Moose replaced by Flo who had been a friend of John Todds, and Dave Galea was added as a second guitarist. Dave had previously played in a local crust/thrash band called Reactor which had released a few demos in the years prior.

 

      • 1992 was also the first time the band would play live, and shortly after they began playing shows. The name change came soon after this.
      • It should be noted that the name Necrosis was never exactly stable. The band was actually originally called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in it’s conceptual stages, then later the name was briefly changed to Gomorra until they saw another band was using that name, ironically there were approximately 15 other bands called Necrosis active in the late 80’s-early 90’s.
      • John would leave the band around this time, deciding to focus on family (asshole) and was replaced by a bassist named Kevin Weagle who played on the the band’s first demo as Cryptopsy, 1993’s Ungentle Exhumation. Initially released independently, it got the attention of a small subsidiary of Nuclear Blast called Gore Records that had released early demos for Incubus and some EPs by Brutality, and Macabre.
      • The demo also marks the first time the band worked with Engineer Rod Shearer, who normally works in more rock oriented bands, though he did work with some other Montreal death metal locals such as Living Impaired and Eulogy.  
      • Shortly after the demo’s release Kevin and Dave both decided to leave the band, and were replaced by John and Martin and the Blasphemy lineup would be complete.
      • Similar to the demo, Blasphemy was initially released independently but was eventually picked up by Invasion Records, which then preceded to enter a period of financial collapse as it’s day to day operations were essentially abandoned by the label founder after a divorce.

 

  • Blasphemy featured two guest vocalists, an Elvis S. Presley which I’m assuming is a stage name, and Maynard Moore who was later the vocalist in Tech death band Neuraxis who we mentioned in the intro

 

    • Because of this, despite the albums good reception it’s distribution would be stifled and the band were unable to tour.
    • The album was eventually re-released by Displeased records in 1997, but at this point the band’s second album had already been released.
    • The album would mark the last appearance of Steve and Martin. Steve left because of a career opportunity he couldn’t pass up, while Martin was let go when he was having trouble keeping up with the increasingly complex material and couldn’t tour with the band.
  • Artwork Team
    • Francois Quevillon only seems to work with Cryptopsy, and a single album by Paroxysm

 

Hellwitch –  Syzygial Miscreancy


Country: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Years Active: 1984-1998, 2004-present
Released: December 1990
Label: Wild Rags Records
Studio:  Morrissound Studio
Lineup:

Patrick Ranieri – Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics
Joe “Witch” Schnessel – Drums
Tommy Mouser – Bass
Production:

Scott Burns – Engineering
Artwork:

Brett Caiati – Artwork
David Waroff – Photography

 

  • Background Info
    • Hellwitch was formed relatively early in the death scene, and far removed from the cornerstone cities of the thrash scene so they came at the tech death/thrash thing from a radically different approach than most bands.
    • The lineup was never stable save for Patrick, and at various times contained the guitar/drum team of Andy Adcock & Dave “Silverthrash” Silverstein later of Gardy-Loo and Precipice, Frank Watkins of Obituary and later Gorgoroth, and Alex Marquez of Malevolent Creation, late period Demolition Hammer and about half a dozen other bands.
    • The band in it’s various incarnations recorded a series of demos, some of which were released by Wild Rags, which got the band some recognition in tape trading circles and Wild Rags, by all accounts did an admirable job of distributing the label.
    • Joe & Tommy had both been in the band for a little less than a year prior to the recording of Syzygial Miscreancy. Tommy had previously played in Vacant Grave during their demo days, Joe Schnessel was involved in Malevolent Creation at some point. I’m ASSUMING it was early on since he’s from Scranton and their from Buffalo, but I can’t confirm this 100%.
    • When the album was eventually released it too got a positive reception, though the band now had issues with Wild Rags. They were initially told the album had sold 10,000 units, but when they went to get their royalties check, Wild Rags label head Ricardo Campos told them it had actually only sold 2,000 and the rest had been returned to the distributor, which did not match up with the band’s constant stream of letters they received from fans telling them how the record couldn’t stay on the shelves.
    • The label issues along with further lineup shifts stifled the bands  development, they released a follow up EP titled Terraasymmetry in 1993 sputtering along for a few years before breaking up, though it should be noted that some of the material that would ultimately be performed on their 2009 album Omnipotent Convocation would be written around this time.

 

Quo Vadis – Forever….

 

Country: Amos/Abitibi, Quebec
Years Active: 1993-?
Released: April 10th, 1996
Label: VomiT
Studio:  Peter Pan Studios
Lineup:

Bart Frydrychowicz – Vocals, Guitars, Guitars (acoustic)

Rémy Beauchamp – Bass

Yanic Bercier – Drums, Vocals (backing)

Arie Itman – Vocals, Guitars, Violin
Production:

Pierre Rémillard – Producer, Mixing, Mastering
Robert Grimand – Producer, Mastering
Artwork:

Bart Frydrychowicz – Artwork, Cover concept

 

  • Background Info
    • The band was formed by Bart Yanic and Arie, with an unknown presumably playing bass during these initial years. The band began, like many often do, as a covers band, playing Metallica and Megadeth songs.
    • As they continued to play they began integrating originals into their sets and reached a point where they felt that they were ready to record a demo, and began holding auditions for a bassist, which is when Remy entered the band, the female soprano vocalist Sebrina Lipari was also recruited around this time, though she was always considered a guest vocalist.
    • The first demo, a S/T was released in 1995, their first release with VomiT which I think is probably the band’s own production company seeing as how they’ve only ever released the demo and Forever.
    • The lineup remained stable for the recording of Forever. As mentioned Sebrina returned as a guest vocalist for final track Sans Abris, and Steven Henry later of Neuraxis provides additional vocals on Legions of the Betrayed
    • The album was eventually picked up by the small German label Earth A.D. Records.
    • The band would continue on as a live act for years before eventually signing to the slightly more well known label Hypnotic Records, for their follow up album Day into Night in 2000, a label known for releases by Voivod, Razor, Anvil, Infernal Majesty, several other albums by Canadian metal bands, and strangely Crowbar’s second album.
  • Behind the Boards
    • Pierre Rémillard
      • Should be familiar as Obliveon’s guitarist. His production credits weren’t mentioned at the time, but he is a semi-prolific producer in Canada working with Anvil, Cryptopsy, Gorguts, Infernäl Mäjesty, Kataklysm, A Perfect Murder (which he is also a member of), Necronomicon, Beneath The Massacre, Misery Index, Krisiun and Voivoid in the mid-90’s though it goes without saying his Cryptopsy and Gorguts credits come after their works discussed today.
    • Robert Grimand
      • No other credits

 

Martyr – Hopeless Hope

 

Country: Trois-Rivières, Quebec
Years Active: 1994-2012

Released: November 7th, 1997
Label: N/A
Studio:  Cap-de-la-Madeleine
Lineup:

François Mongrain – Bass, Vocals
Daniel Mongrain – Guitars, Vocals
François Richard – Drums
Pier-Luc Lampron – Guitars
Production:

Miguel Sanchez – Producer, Mixing, Engineering
Sébastien Bussières – Engineering
Renee Marc – Aurele    Mastering
Daniel Cote – Recording
Artwork:

François Mongrain – Cover concept, Logo
Marc Tremblay – Artwork, Cover concept
Martin Laliberté – Layout
Philippe Papirakis – Logo design
Sylvain Carpentier – Photography

 

  • Background Info
    • Martyr moved a lot faster than some of the other bands in todays list. Their lineup at their onset matching that of the album. It was the members first project with the exception of drummer François Richard, who had previously been in the Cult Classic Canadian thrash band Chronical Disturbance, who released their only album in 1990.
    • The band recorded their debut demo in 1995, it was titled Ostrogoth which contained early versions of many of the songs on Hopeless.
    • Unlike many of the other bands today, the band didn’t sign to a major, and released Hopleless Hope independently, which makes the beefier than normal production credits odd, though these were not industry heavies.
    • After the album was released Francois Richard would step away from the band being replaced by future Quo Vadis drummer and current Gorguts member Patrice Hamelin.
  • Behind the Boards
    • Sébastien Bussières is the only member of the production staff to have any other real credits having been the drummer of a death metal band called Apocalyptic Fear from 1991-1994, a band that is also important because their guitarist/vocalist Jean-Francois Houle was Martyr’s manager for a time.
  • Artwork
    • Similar to the production team. Most of the staff have no other credits, save for layout artist Martin & logo designer Phillippe who are credited on some future Martyr albums

 

Capharnaum – Reality Only Fantasized

 

Country:  Avon, Connecticut (early), Sanford, Florida (later)
Years Active: 1993-1999, 2003-?

Released: 1997
Label: N/A
Studio:  Tritricon Studios
Lineup:
Jason Suecof – Guitars (lead), Vocals
Tony Espinoza – Vocals, Lyrics
Ryan Adams – Guitars (rhythm)
Shawn Greenlaw – Bass
Jordan Suecof    – Drums
Production:
Jason Suecof – Producer
Artwork:

Ryan Adams – Layout

Chris Angileri – Photography

  • Not much info on the early days of the band, save that the lineup was shakey for the first few years of its existence, the lineup, save for the bass part semi-stabilizing by around 1995 before the album era lineup would finally come to be early in 1997.
  • The album was self released and as the credits show, was essentially self made, even the studio is actually Jason’s basement. And the band fractured pretty much immediately after this. Rhythm guitarist Ryan would leave at this point, being replaced with newcomer Kevin Schremmer,.
  • Shortly after this Jason, Kevin, and Shawn Greenlaw all moved to Florida in 1998 leaving Jordon and Tony in Connecticut.
  • There was an attempt to keep the band going in Florida, with a demo being released in 1999 called Plague of Spirits, but this attempt did not last.
  • Kevin would soon move back to CT and formed a band called Catalyst (not that one) with Tony, and the man he had replaced in Capharnaum, Ryan Adams.
  • Jason would go on to form Audio Hammer studios, which we discussed a bit with The Black Dahlia Murder as a prominent studio in the bro metal scene, while Jordon would become a pop producer under the stage name Infinity.
  • The band would later regroup in Florida under Jordan and Jason’s leadership with a new lineup in 2003, releasing a follow up album called Fractured before seemingly going back onto a hiatus.  

 

Sadus – A Vision of Misery/Elements of Anger

 

Country:  Antioch, California
Years Active: 1984-2015, 2017-present

Released: March 27th, 1992/September 29th, 1997
Label: Roadracer Records/Mascot Records
Studio:  Unknown/Bayview
Lineup:
Darren Travis – Vocals, Guitars
Steve DiGiorgio – Bass, Bass (fretless)
Jon Allen – Drums
Rob Moore – Guitars (A Vision of Misery Only)
Production:

AVoM
Bill Metoyer – Producer, Recording, Engineering, Mixing
Eddy Schreyer – Mastering

 

EoA

Scott Burns – Producer, Recording, Mastering, Mixing

Chris Dugan – Recording

Mark Slagle – Mixing (assistant), Mastering (assistant)
Artwork:

AVoM

Jason Garvin – Cover art

 

EoA

Travis Smith – Cover art, Layout

 

  • Sadus had arose from the California thrash scene, and released two albums along that vein prior to their transition to a tech death/thrash band, Illusions in 1988, and Swallowed in Black in 1990.
  • Death put the band on hold in 1991 when Steve Digiorgio would leave to perform the bass duties for Human. This was actually more of a boon for Sadus at first, it led to the re-release of Illusions under the title Chemical Exposure by Roadrunner which according to Darren had its name changed because the original name was part of the original artwork, which Roadrunner (then still Roadracer) hated. Why they couldn’t put the word “Illusions” on new artwork is beyond me, but whatever. In any case Steve returned for a summer tour opening for Morbid Angel in 1992.
  • The hype train led itself into the recording of A Vision of Misery in 1992 which would end up being their final album for Roadrunner, though the band did not know it at the time.
  • One has to wonder if the fact that Roadrunner kept the band in California, away from Morrissound, and Scott Burns was a sign of things to come. It’s also likely they over estimated the draw a Death connection would bring the band
  • The band worked with two Metal Blade alumni, Bill Metoyer who had become an independent producer in 1987 and Eddie Scryer, Metal Blade’s frequent Masterer.
  • Bill was a prominent figure in Metal Blade and beyond for several years prior to this having engineered a significant chunk of the 80’s metal scene with albums by Trouble, Tyrant, Slayer, Sacred Reich, Omen, Mentors, Laaz Rockit, Lizzy Borden, Hirax, Helstar, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fates Warning, D.R.I., Dark Angel, Cryptic Slaughter, Cirith Ungol, Bitch, Armored Saint, and dozens of others.
  • The band was sent out on a headlining tour of Europe, and upon their return were told by the label that the album was not selling to expectations, which opened an old wound about unpaid royalties for the Illusions reissue, and Darren told the label to go fuck themselves which led to the band being dropped, though that was probably their intent even without the telling off.
  • Soon after this Steve was lured back to Death for Individual Thought Patterns and this time committed to the subsequent tour, which put the band out of commision for the entirety of 1993.
  • Steve did return in ‘94 for a club tour to and to record a demo, which was eventually known as the Red demo. But the band’s momentum was again cut short when Rob Moore was let go. The specifics behind Rob’s firing are listed as a “private issue” on the archived Sadus website.
  • Steve said in an interview that Rob just reached a point in his life where he started hanging out with different people, and drifted away not only from his bandmates but from the quartets mutual high school friends as well. Something I think we can probably all relate to.
  • The band, still labeless, had to shop the demo around, which took up the rest of ‘94, ‘95 and into ‘96 before the band finally signed to the relatively new Mascot Records based in the Neatherlands.
  • This led up to the recording of Elements of Anger, which is notable for being remotely mixed by Scott Burns, at least I assume, as I don’t think he actually traveled out to CA for the recording.
  • The album was released to decent press but it did little to Catapult the band to the top of the Death Metal scene.
  • Steve’s journeyman status, and to a lesser extent Jon’s seemed to have taken precedence. Within a year Steve would be featured on James Murphy’s second solo album, was back with Chuck working on Control Denied, joining Testament along with Jon and working with Jon, Eric Peterson from Testament and Lyle Livingston from Psypheria on the first Dragonlord album. A stint in Iced Earth would also follow.
  • The trio remained friends, Steve and Darren would work in the tour only project Suicide Shift with Testament vocalist Chuck Billy, Per Moller Jensen of The Haunted and James Murphy.
  • A reunion album would eventually follow in 2006, titled Out for Blood.

 

Nile – Early Works

 

Country:  Greenville, South Carolina
Years Active: 1983-1993 (as Morriah), 1993-present

Released: 1994-1998
Label: Independent/Relapse
Studio:  Sanctuary Studios (Pre-Among), Sound Lab
Lineup:
Karl Sanders – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
John Ehlers – Guitars (Ramses Bringer of War EP only)
Chief Spires – Bass, Vocals
Pete Hammoura – Drums, Vocals
Production:
Discussed below
Artwork:

Discussed below

 

  • Early History
    • Nile began as Morriah, a thrash band that existed sporadically between 1983-1993 and consisted of the original Nile lineup of Karl, Chief, and Pete with vocalist Sonny Stafford. Karl describes the sound of the band as a combination of Slayer, good guitar solos, and Queensryche-esque vocals, similar to the sound of Nevermore.
    • The band was continually held back by singer singer Sonny Stafford, who never seemed to want to commit to the band. The pivotal moment came when the band was scheduled to play a gig and Sonny said he “didn’t feel like it and was really tired that day.” The rest of the band went to the gig anyway, with Chief and Karl splitting vocals, at which point the necessity of having Sonny in the band came into question.
    • Karl mentioned in a separate interview that Sonny had a serious drinking problem and the band had tried to help him through the years without success, and there had been several incidents of missed gigs, and even an entire tour opportunity missed because Sonny ignored their phone calls for days on end.
    • The trio continued on unnamed for a bit, finding their newsound, and developing their middle eastern influenced sound, when a mutual friend of the band suggested the name Nile.
  • Nile EP
    • The bands first recordings came in 1994, it marked the first time the band worked with the production team of Earl Sanders and Jimmy Morris. Earl is of some relation to Karl and Jimmy was a local musician who had briefly been in the traditional heavy metal band New York in the early 80’s.
    • This recording is also notable since Chief Spires handles all the vocals in a style radically different than later recordings .
    • The EP was later re-released as Worship the Animal: 1994 the Lost Recordings. It’s release is a little odd as Karl had stated at one point that he had no intention of releasing it, and in the same interview seemed semi hesitant to even admit it existed, but this interview was from 2001, so you know, hindsight is 20/20 and stuff.
    • The album does feature the last contribution Sonny made to the band, being credited for lyrics on track 5 “Mecca”
    • The album also features the first contribution of artwork from Andy “Tapeworm” Kneer
  • Festivals of Atonement EP
    • The next release of the band, and probably the most significant of their early work. The vocals from Chief are more in line with traditional death metal vocals, though the album does feature Karl on vocals as well.
    • The album was still released independently, but this time under the Anubis Records banner, which appears to have been an abandoned effort by the band to form their own indie label, only the cassette release of the follow up demo would be released under this banner
    • The album launched the band on a major touring effort with spots opening for Obituary, Deicide, and Broken Hope throughout the American southwest, which lead to the band being signed to the small Ohio based death/grind label Visceral.
  • Ramses Bringer of War
    • Recorded in 1996, a demo recordings of 3 songs that would eventually be re-recorded for Amongst. This demo is notable for a few reasons. And represents several transition points for the band.
    • It is the last release to be under the Anubis Records banner, though this was only the cassette version. It is also the last album to be engineered by Jimmy Ennis, and appears to be his last appearance in the world of metal.
    • It was the first Nile album to be released by a major label, the previously mentioned Visceral Productions, as promotion for the upcoming release of Nile’s debut album.
    • Visceral was founded by Craig Rowe, who was also the drummer death/grind band Hemdale, and also featured Exit-13 and Exumed among it’s small roster.
    • This release is also the first Nile recording to feature two guitarists, with the addition of John Ehlers. While John’s time in Nile was limited to this album, he would go on to play with Chief Spires in Shaitan Mazar, shortly after the latter’s departure from Nile in the early aughts.
  •   Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka
    • The lineup was back down to a trio by the time the recording began. Ehlers was out of the band by ‘97, for apparently undisclosed reasons, though it was confirmed by Chief that the decision was John’s. I assume it was issues between he and Karl given his later involvement with Chief, but this is just speculation.
    • The album marked a slight change in production staff. Earl Sanders was still featured but the production team was beefed up with the inclusion of Bob Moore (who’s worked on every Nile album since).
    • Note that Relapse Records founders Bill Yurkiewicz & Matthew Jacobson are credited as Executive Producers but would have had little to no involvement in the recording process. The album was actually recorded while the band was still on Visceral, but the label went bankrupt. It’s stock was bought by Relapse and even label founder Craig Rowe’s band Hemdale would find themselves signed  to Relapse after the buyout.
    • This is the first Nile recording to not be done at Sanctuary Studios, though the band remained in the Greensboro based Sound City.
    • The albums cover art was now handled by Adam Peterson, which is a bit of an Outlier for him as he works primarily in layouts and design.
    • The album was a success and the band again toured, but the band found themselves declaring bankruptcy at tours end, and Pete had to leave the band due to hand injuries he sustained during tour during the early days of the recording of follow up Black Seeds of Vengeance.
    • The post-Among period would also mark an uptick in the speed and technicality of the band, a factor that Chief Spires would site as his reason for leaving the band in the early 2000’s. Chief casts some aspursions that had the band not gone in this direction Pete may have been able to remain in the band, but Pete has never confirmed this.