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Sunday Old School: Black Metal History Month Part 1 - Bulldozer

Black Metal History Month has returned for a fourth instalment! This year will see our special time analyze some of the roots of the genre, as well as some of the bleakest and obscene bands to fly the flag of darkness.

We’re kicking off this year’s Black Metal History Month with a band which was a massive influence on the genre, but perhaps don’t always get the credit and respect they deserve. They certainly don’t get mentioned in the same breath as Celtic Frost and Mercyful Fate too often by entry level self-proclaimed experts very much. It also marks the first time Sunday Old School has looked at an Italian band, and who better to represent the beautiful country than one of the heaviest bands of their time, Bulldozer?

Bulldozer was formed in the famous city of Milan in 1980 by bassist Dario Carria and guitarist Andy Panigada, followed shortly by drummer Erminio Galli. The group was forced to disband a year later owing to national service duties, but in 1983, Panigada reformed Bulldozer, being joined in the venture by singing bassist Alberto Contini and drummer Don Andras. They released a demo entitled, "Fallen Angel," which circulated enough around the underground to earn them a deal with Roadrunner Records, who released the band’s first full length album, "The Day of Wrath" in 1985. The record was notable for having its production duties handled by Tank frontman, Algy Ward and was an underground success boasting a primitive style which some thought earned them a place as the successors to British black metal fathers, Venom.

They followed "The Day of Wrath" a year later with their sophomore effort, "The Final Separation," the title of which would be somewhat prophetic as it was their last to be released through Roadrunner. The label seemed to be interfering a little too much for Bulldozer’s comfort, choosing a different picture than the one the band put forward for the album’s front cover, which was subsequently ridiculed for being too cartoonish. Despite this and perceived poor production values, the record proved quite popular amongst fans who made particular mention of the album’s title track, "Don’t Trust the Saint" and "The Cave" as some of the highlights.

After leaving Roadrunner, Bulldozer stayed local by signing with an Italian label called Metalmagic, through which the band released a third album entitled, "XI" (known by some as, "XI: Circle of Hell." This record also marked their first change in personnel, with new drummer Rob Cabrini stepping in behind the kit. "XI" was better received than "The Final Separation," with fans pointing to better production, an increasing thrash influence and stand out songs such as "The Vision Never Fades," "Desert!" and "The Derby," (whose chanting of “Hatred! Hatred! Hatred!” leads this reviewer and football fan to believe that the song is about the famous derby in Bulldozer’s home city between A.C. Milan and Internazionale.

Following only one release through Metalmagic, the band signed with Metal Master Records and recorded their fourth album, "Neurodeliri." Once again, it impressed fans by continuing where "XI" left off, increasing the thrash metal sound but also bringing back some more black metal elements. It was followed two years later by their first live album, "Alive... in Poland," which contained a cover of the Motorhead staple, "Overkill." Shortly after the album’s release however, Bulldozer decided to call it a day, though an EP, "Dance Got Sick!" was released after their dissolution has a joke, it found surprising success in Japan.

During their absence, hearts did indeed grow fonder of Bulldozer, whose contribution to black metal was noted Darkthrone drummer, Fenriz’s compilation album, "Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal." Their back catalogue was also re-released by Metal Mind Productions as a box set, which contained a thirty two page booklet and bonus tracks. After appearing as a guest of Labyrinth in Japan, performing Bulldozer material, Contini began considering bringing the group back and one year later, he confirmed that he and Andy Panigada had reunited and were working on new music under the Bulldozer name. In 2009, they released, "Unexpected Fate," the first studio album in twenty one years, with another, "Antorcha" following suit two years later. Where the band goes from here remains to be seen, but their place as early peddlers of black metal is becoming more recognised the longer they can continue, as is their stunning back catalogue.

Bulldozer - "Cut-Throat"

Bulldozer - "Whiskey Time"

Bulldozer - "Ride Hard Die Fast"

Bulldozer - "The Derby"

Bulldozer - "Impotence"

Bulldozer - "Bastards"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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