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Sunday Old School: Swiss Black Metal Pioneers Hellhammer

Very few bands are able to amass a cult following having never released a proper album. Fewer still can be credited with being a key influence in not one, but two genres. No ordinary metal band could achieve such praise, but then Hellhammer were not an ordinary band. The band formed under the name Hammerhead in the Swiss capital of Zurich by guitarist and vocalist Tom G. Fischer (aka Tom Warrior) and bassist Urs Sprenger (aka Steve Warrior,) along with drummer Pete Stratton and took influence from many British bands such as Black Sabbath, Venom, Angel Witch and Raven. Before long, Stratton had left the band, to be replaced by drummer Jörg Neubart (a.k.a. "Bruce Day") and the group changed their name to Hellhammer. This lineup of the band recorded two demos, "Death Fiend" and "Triumph Of Death," but only released the latter initially, sending it to record labels and magazines, finding little to no positive feedback at first.

After the recording of the first two demos, bassist Urs Sprenger left the group to be replaced by former Schizo bass player Martin Eric Ain. Ain and Fischer began working together to break away from the confines that they felt Hellhammer imposed on them, taking the band in a more radical direction and recording one more demo entitled, "Satanic Rites," before their first commercial release, the "Apocalyptic Raids" EP. The release was not very successful initially, but ultimately proved to be a huge influence on many metal bands, especially in the black and death metal genres. The band decided to call it a day three months after this release, with Fischer and Ain resurfacing in Celtic Frost, another hugely influential band.

Although Hellhammer was widely slated in their time, they have since been regarded as one of the most important bands in the history of extreme metal. Many bands have covered Hellhammer in the past, including such big names as Sepultura and Napalm Death, as well as Tom Fischer himself during his time with Apollyon Sun, the band he formed after the first Celtic Frost breakup and in 2008, a compilation album was released entitled, "Demon Entrails" which featured all three demos.

Hellhammer - "Messiah"

Hellhammer - "Revelations of Doom"

Hellhammer - "Angel Of Destruction"

Hellhammer - "Maniac"

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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7 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Hellhammer"

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hellrat's avatar


1. hellrat writes:

Fvck Yeah Oz---fvckin HELLHAMMER!!

this sh!t is SO primitive, its fvcking awesome....an incredible influence on the evolution of METAL

too bad martin had to gape out lately....what the fvck is that dude even doing? swiss yarded out, eh

good work oz man!

# Jul 25, 2010 @ 7:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

2. Cynic writes:

Always astounds me how much of an impact Hellhammer had without a full length. "Triumph Of Death", great song, such an interesting sound.

# Jul 25, 2010 @ 8:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. spiral_architect writes:

hellhammer and celtic frost are black metal legends! this stuff is pure evil.

# Aug 1, 2010 @ 3:51 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Jenny's avatar


4. Jenny writes:

Well done Oz.
The first song I ever heard from these guys was "Crucifixion." I love filthy sounding bands! :)

# Aug 1, 2010 @ 9:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar


5. Rychemn writes:

Never having released a proper album ( or any air play for that matter) is probably why I don't recall this band.....but leave it up to the mighty "MU" to have it hear and now for my listening pleasure........thanks Oz....nothing like hearing good ( true old school, hence the name of this format) metal music that I have never heard before......\M/ \M/.....

# Aug 1, 2010 @ 11:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

6. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers for the feedback guys!

# Aug 2, 2010 @ 11:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
OlafBerzerker's avatar


7. OlafBerzerker writes:

sunday old school HH . beauty! always freaks my neighbors out when i blast this at 4 am

# Aug 9, 2010 @ 4:32 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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