1987 – 1990 (3 years)
Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
Unseen Terror was a Mince Grindcore band formed in mid 1986 in Broseley, Shropshire, England by Shane Embury and Mitch Dickinson who had played together previously in death metal band, Warhammer.
After having recorded their demo, 'Abattoir of Death' Warhammer broke up during the early part of 1986 but It was not long until they both agreed that they needed to pursue a much faster and heavier direction. Warhammer were fast and was certainly very fast, but they both wanted a complete change. They had both been involved in the underground tape trading circuit for some time and had also become regular faces on the UK Hardcore / Punk scene. Being exposed to such cutting edge music from all corners of the globe had a massive effect. At this time only those involved on a deep underground level knew of such bands as: Genocide (Later Repulsion), Insanity, Heresy, Siege, Napalm Death, F.C.D.N. Tormentor, Deep Wound etc.
Ideas were discussed and Unseen Terror was formed. The first rehearsals took place in the summer of 1986. The main goal was to play as fast as humanly possible combining bludgeoning riffs with technicality and lots of tempo changes. The band rehearsed as a two piece in Mitch's fathers house for months as they could not find a suitable bass player. This was before they could drive and the internet was years away in the future. Despite the rural location and lack of transport, this did not deter the band from distributing their rehearsal tapes worldwide. The lack of a bass player was, at times, very disheartening. During the winter of 1986 Mitch was asked to join Heresy as guitarist. The position was agreed, but with the clause that Unseen Terror was a priority. Mitch played with Heresy, but continued to write and rehearse with Shane. During July 1987 Shane and Mitch entered the studio for the first time and recorded two tracks for the compilation 'Diminished Responsibility'. These two tracks have since been re-released on the reissue of 'Human Error'.
During the same summer they met Pete Giles (Now of Flyblown) who had heard the band via the underground. Pete lived 180 miles away in Essex, but this did not seem to matter! Pete was in. Undeterred, the band rehearsed as often as possible and the line up seemed to work well despite the difficulties.
Meanwhile, Digby Pearson (Founder of Earache Records), who had become good friends with Shane and Mitch after meeting them at a show at the legendary 'Mermaid' pub in Birmingham in March 1986, was showing a lot of interest in the band. After hearing a few rehearsal tapes he offered the band a recording contract. Prior to recording their debut album, the involvement with Pete Giles came to an end. The distance between the band and Pete had become a problem in the end. Pete still got his photo on the sleeve though. Shane and Mitch recorded 'Human Error' as a two piece with Mitch handling all guitars and vocals.
The album was recorded prematurely in the bands opinion. Digby really wanted an album and the band entered the studio knowing that they should have waited a while longer. The sessions went well despite the pressures and the band recorded 20 songs (Their entire repertoire at the time). Some of these songs have since become Grindcore classics. 'Burned Beyond Recognition', 'Oblivion Descends' and 'Charred Remains' being examples. The "Garfield" songs were recorded purely for humour purposes. It was common during these times of crossover for bands to have a couple of non serious songs. In hindsight, four songs was probably too many! The album sold well worldwide which was great for a vinyl only release with virtually no marketing. CD releases in the USA and Japan also fared well. It has since been selling steadily on CD again as Earache finally released the album in Europe as a remastered version in early 2002 with extra tracks and liner notes/photos etc. Basically "Human Error" is an album with a few flaws (like most albums from that era) that continues to be highly influential to many bands and musicians. The album (along with other classics such as Napalm Death's 'Scum', and 'From Enslavement to Obliteration' and the Carcass album 'Reek of Putrifaction') was very groundbreaking at the time.
Around the time of the release of 'Human Error' Shane was asked to Join Napalm Death. Mitch gave him his full support and still does. Around the same time, Mitch felt he could no longer carry on as guitarist for Heresy.
The band continued as Shane and Mitch still lived in the same village. During early 1988 the band was joined by Mick Harris (Then of Napalm Death) on vocals and Wayne Aston (Ex Warhammer) on Bass Guitar. A stable line up at last! The band played their debut (and one and only show!) in Nottingham during March 1988. This line up was then invited to record a session for the legendary 'John Peel Show' on BBC Radio One. Wayne Aston could not make the session due to work commitments. The session went extremely well. The band was firing on all cylinders. Most notably, the vocals were way more aggressive and much more confident. Upon the bands return from the recording session they were informed that they were without a bass player again!
The session was aired three times and was later released as a 'Peel Sessions' 12" EP. A massive achievement. The 12" series was very exclusive. One of the tracks was even chosen to appear on a Radio One anniversary compilation that featured artists as diverse as Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, and The Police among others . Parents everywhere now had Unseen Terror in their collection…and no doubt hated it.
Despite the constant setbacks and bad luck, the band continued to write and rehearse until mid 1990. More bass players were involved during these times, but for many reasons it never quite worked out. One person who played with the band during these times deserves an honourable mention here. It was none other than Carl Stokes (Ex Cancer) who played bass for a while. The line up worked well and Carl's bass playing was surprisingly good considering he was (and still is) a drummer. For reasons that are clouded by time, this line up dissolved. A few more rehearsals took place, but eventually the band was finished.
It has always been discussed that a second album should happen one day. It is still in the blood! The band continues to receive a surprising amount of support from fans and musicians worldwide.
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