MELIAH RAGE have changed quite a bit over the years. Many metalheads are fans only of their early period, when the band displayed more untamed aggression in their music. But very few know that before the band officially got their name, they had been composing songs and playing rehearsals with a different line-up, most notably, with another vocalist! You'll get to hear a pre-MELIAH RAGE rehearsal with Mark Mastroianni on vocals: 8 songs, half of which were never re-recorded, and more classic US metal sounding, resembling quite a bit Guy Speranza era of RIOT. This 1986 rehearsal reminds us also of the MERCYFUL FATE demos and, from much younger bands, of MIDNIGHT IDOLS. The pulsating energy and the sheer enthusiasm of these young guys is palpable, and listening to this recording not only takes you on a trip down the memory lane, but makes you feel you're right there in their practice room. At least that's what it does to us. The other half of the compilation features MELIAH RAGE as we all know them, but with some previously unpublished material: the very first demo from 1987, 3 live tracks and the "Kill to Survive" song off the second demo. When Mike Munro joined the band in 1987, he brought a more thrash edge to their sound with his powerful and aggressive vocals, and they started resembling more METAL CHURCH and METALLICA. The booklet features many archival photos and an in-depth interview with the band's founder, Anthony Nichols, focused exclusively on the earliest period of the band's existence. All of the audio has been remastered, but, obviously, this release is not for those who value good recording and production above all else. If you do, stay away from this compilation, as it's as raw and authentic as it gets. This is only for true, old school metalheads who long for that special '80s vibe!
Boston based MELIAH RAGE was founded in 1987 under the leadership of guitarist/songwriter Anthony Nichols. The band, consisting of Mike Munro on vocals, Anthony Nichols on guitar, Jim Koury on guitar, Stuart Dowie on drums and Jesse Johnson on bass, forged a distinct sound of aggressive, heavy rhythm with searing melodies and catchy arrangements. A three-song demo was recorded in 1987.
Although determined in his mission of metal, Nichols had spent a brief tour with the seminal Boston hardcore band, GANG GREEN. The association with the band would eventually pay off however, as it led to MELIAH RAGE's official launch. The manager of GANG GREEN took them in and had two major labels look at them within a month. MELIAH RAGE signed to Epic Records after only 8 shows. A band playing this style of music signing to a major label for their debut was unheard of in 1988.
The group recorded their first album, entitled "Kill to Survive", released in 1988. The debut melded the band's various influences, and was quite different from anything released at the time. Rather than relying on 2-dimensional, lightning riffing, the band used a more melodic, mid-tempo rhythm, injecting haunting lyrical material that revolved around the frailties of humanity, hypocrisy, corruption, abuse. The video for "Beginning of the End" aired on MTV worldwide.
In 1989 the band embarked on a three month US tour with heavyweights METAL CHURCH. The Detroit show was recorded and the live EP "Live Kill" was released later that year. The band also hit the stage with the likes of SLAYER, TESTAMENT, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, MANOWAR, OVERKILL, MEGADETH, MORBID ANGEL and others that and the following year.
In 1990 the band returned to the studio and recorded their second album "Solitary Solitude" which to this day is considered an underrated classic. A video for the song "The Witching" was shot and aired on MTV's Headbangers Ball. A five week European tour soon followed and MELIAH RAGE seemed to be on their way to the top of the heavy metal world.
Unfortunately, the musical tide was changing. The early '90s hit and MELIAH RAGE, like so many other bands of the time, was dropped in favor of the Seattle sound. After some time off the band re-grouped with the addition of then drummer Sully Erna (future GODSMACK vocalist) and bassist Keith Vogele. The new lineup recorded demos, played some shows over a couple of years and searched for a record deal, but it was becoming apparent that there wasn't much room for this style of music in the early '90s. Meanwhile, Nichols also worked on a side project, CACTUS LAND, with Koury and vocalist Paul Souza. Despite not landing a contract, Nichols' collaboration with Souza would prove to be beneficial for the future.
In 1995 MELIAH RAGE reunited with Nichols, Koury and Munro, while drummer Dave Barcos and former WARGASM bassist Bob Mayo were recruited to record "Death Valley Dream". Released on indie Backstreet Records in 1996, the album was well received and laid the groundwork for a full re-emergence for MELIAH RAGE.
In 2002, after a long layoff, Screaming Ferret Wreckords signed the band and released the 1992 demos that had Sully Erna on drums. The record was called "Unfinished Business" and that led Screaming Ferret to ask the band to record some new material.
After the release of "Unfinished Business" Nichols set out to lead MELIAH RAGE into the new millennium. Jesse Johnson, an original member, was brought back on bass, while Barry Spillberg of WARGASM fame took over drumming duties. Munro declined an offer to rejoin the band, opting to spend more time with his family, so the vocal spot was still to be filled. As luck would have it, Nichols knew the man for the job: Paul Souza, his partner from CACTUS LAND.
In 2003 the new line-up recorded "Barely Human", an album that combined the elements of classic MELIAH RAGE with a lean, modern sound. Released in 2004 by Screaming Ferret Wreckords, "Barely Human" was a huge critical success, landing on many top ten lists, and yielded a music video for the title track which was also featured on the TV show "The Shield". The band played some small US festivals and began to build up a new following.
In 2005 Stuart Dowie was brought back into the drumming fold to record "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep", the band's 5th studio album, released in 2006 by Screaming Ferret. The album was a bit of a departure from previous material as it was a little more melodic on the vocal side. Later that year a video for the song "Undefeated" was released.
In 2007 the band added new bassist Darren Lourie to replace Jesse Johnson, who had retired from touring. MELIAH RAGE hit the road with old friends METAL CHURCH for a three week tour of the states. Dates included one-offs with OVERKILL and BELLADONNA, and the tour concluded with a sold-out show at B.B. Kings in New York City with all three of the aforementioned bands. The band also made two appearances at Locobazooka Festival in Massachusetts: still in 2006 opening for ALICE IN CHAINS and in 2007 for HEAVEN AND HELL, QUEENSRYCHE, ALICE COOPER and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY.
Summer 2008 came and the demand for the original vocalist Mike Munro was becoming evident. After some talks, the band reunited with Munro and began to work on a record with producer Rich Spillberg. In 2009 "Masquerade" was released through Screaming Ferret/Metro City Records again. The record has the classic combination of heaviness and hooks that MELIAH RAGE is famous for and also features a guest vocal appearance by METAL CHURCH's Ronny Munroe on the song "Last Rites".
In 2010 MELIAH RAGE hit the stage with ANVIL at the House Of Blues in Boston and then a sold out headlining show just outside of Boston. However Munro became very dedicated to his church and started volunteering in Haiti. He subsequently felt these and other missions of goodwill would not allow him the flexibility of schedule to tour with the band.
In the light of these facts, in late 2010 MELIAH RAGE reunited with Paul Souza for the recording of their next full-length CD "Dead to the World", but also the band's first ever cover song, "Halo of Flies" (originally on ALICE COOPER's 1971 classic "Killer" LP), for which they filmed a video clip.
Still in December 2010 MELIAH RAGE was approached by Metal On Metal Records and the agreement for releasing the band's next album was soon reached. The band continued tracking "Dead to the World" from January to May 2011. Their 7th studio album was released on July 28th and brings some classic US power metal mixed with a dose of thrash, with great melodies and crunchy riffs.
In March 2013 MELIAH RAGE announced the addition of singer Marc Lopes to the group's ranks. This ended the nearly 2 years of downtime for the band, as Paul Souza had been just a hired gun for the recording, and they started working on a new album, "Warrior". Marc Lopes, who hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts, has been involved with a few other projects including DARK DAY SUNDAY, featuring guitarist Frank Aresti (Fates Warning, Arch/Matheos...) and drummer Jason Bittner (Toxik, Shadows Fall...), HELLSPEAK (also with Bittner), and the '80s metal tribute act, METAL:101. The album was supposed to be out the same year, but apart from finding a new vocalist, the band didn't have much luck, in particular due to health problems of Anthony Nichols who underwent 2 surgeries for herniated disc in June, and in December suffered severe wrist injury requiring multiple plates and screws, followed by long-term rehabilitation, which put the band on hold regarding the live activity.
The band's 8th studio full-length "Warrior" was finished in early spring of 2014 and released on April 25th by Metal On Metal Records. It's more in-your-face and aggressive than their last one, but the band's trademark intricate dual guitar harmonies and melodic interludes are still there of course. They have delivered a solid, hook-filled album, and show they can still pack a punch.
One day in the spring of 2014 Anthony Nichols found in his attic a rehearsal tape from 1986, when they still played without a band name and with another vocalist. Upon hearing it, Metal On Metal Records decided it shouldn't stay unheard, even just for the 4 never re-recorded songs, but also because of the energy emanating from this recording, the sheer enthusiasm pouring out with every note, and this special, exciting vibe of a young band playing their first songs (and being very tight at that!). It showed a bit more US power and classic metal face of the band, and it's also interesting to hear the other 4 songs, which later became MELIAH RAGE classics, sung by a different vocalist, a very talented Mark Mastroianni. Anthony kept digging in his boxes and found also the very first MELIAH RAGE demo tape with 4 songs from 1987. The quality was decent enough, so the decision was made to add it to the rehearsal, and the compilation was completed with 3 live tracks and "Kill to Survive" song from the band's 2nd demo. "Before the Kill" CD was out on August 31st 2015, and needless to say, is a must for all collectors who are enthusiasts of US metal from the '80s, but should be avoided by those who value good recording and production above all else.
USA (Boston, MA), 1987
Marc Lopes (vocals)
Anthony Nichols (guitars)
Jim Koury (guitars)
Darren Lourie (bass)
Stuart Dowie (drums)
The US power/thrash veterans from Boston are back with their 8th full-length. They aren't trying to revive their past, so don't expect a nostalgia trip here. "Warrior" is the same vein as the band's most recent offerings so if you're into them, you'll very likely dig this one too. But overall this album is more in-your-face and aggressive, mostly thanks to the new singer Marc Lopes, whose vocals, while being pretty versatile, are less melodic than those of Paul Souza, so for those who didn't like their 2011 album for this reason it's good news. The definite highlights are the riveting arrangements with intricate dual guitar harmonies and melodic interludes that have already become the trademark of Anthony Nichols' songwriting and playing style. They've delivered a solid album with lots of hooks, that should appeal to the fans of METALLICA ("...AJFA" and the black album era), METAL CHURCH, WARGASM, XENTRIX, HERETIC, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM or TESTAMENT, and show that they can still pack a punch.
These US power/thrash veterans probably don't need much introduction... But what can be said about their new album? Well, for sure you can't expect another "Kill to Survive" after 23 years. "Dead to the World" contains more mellow and classic US power metal, but that's how MELIAH RAGE have been playing in the recent years, even though they can still thrash with machine-gun guitar attacks. Mike Munro is gone (however sang on one of the songs) and Paul Souza stepped in again to deliver some of the darkest lyrics in band's history with a voice that showcases a wider range. It's hook-filled album with great melodic lines and with crunchy riffs, played by seasoned musicians delivering their goods with confidence. Still most comparable to METALLICA, but fans of METAL CHURCH, WARGASM and XENTRIX should dig it too!
• "'87 Demo" (1987)
• "Enter the Darkness" (1988)
• "Kill to Survive" (1988)
• "Live Kill" (1989)
EP - live, Epic
• "No Mind" (1990)
• "Solitary Solitude" (1990)
• "'91 Demo" (1991)
• "Death Valley Dream" (1996)
Full-length, Backstreet, Locomotive (2007 re-release)
• "Unfinished Business" (2002)
Compilation, Screaming Ferret
• "Barely Human" (2004)
Full-length, Screaming Ferret
• "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep" (2006)
Full-length, Screaming Ferret
• "Masquerade" (2009)
Full-length, Screaming Ferret/Metro City
• "Dead to the World" (2011)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records
• "Warrior" (2014)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records
• "Before the Kill" (2015)
Full-length (Compilation), Metal On Metal Records