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Hellhammer

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(1982 – 1984)

Hellhammer was an early-1980s extreme metal band, hailing from Switzerland and popular briefly in Europe in the mid-1980s. They were a vital influence on black metal, death metal and doom metal, although their sound is most accurately described as mid-paced, proto-black metal (with exceptions such as the doom paced “Triumph of Death”). Members went on to form the massively influential band Celtic Frost.

Biography

Guitarist/vocalist Tom Gabriel Fischer (then known as Satanic Slaughter) and bassist/vocalist Steve Warrior formed the band in March 1982, originally naming it “Hammerhead”. They were subsequently joined by drummer Bruce Day. In spite of their rather marginal musical and technical quality, demo tapes called Triumph of Death and Satanic Rites became underground, word-of-mouth hits and the band was eventually picked up by German-based Noise Records (1984). Steve Warrior had been replaced by former Schizo bassist Martin Eric Ain, a change which marked the beginning of a serious and radical transformation in the band’s music and lyrics. These changes were ultimately responsible for Fischer’s and Ain’s increasing feeling of being limited within the confines of the purposely primitive Hellhammer vehicle.

Legacy

A legendary four-track 12” EP, Apocalyptic Raids, was released in March 1984. At the time, it was regarded as one of the heaviest and most extreme records yet produced.

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