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Sunday Old School: Grim Reaper

Sunday Old School has examined many bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. From the South West in Jaguar to the North East in bands like Raven and Venom, but it’s been quite some time since we’ve looked at the movement, so let’s return to it this week shall we? One band that’s been well overdue a look is Grim Reaper, who unlike many other bands from the movement, found success in a time when many of their peers did not. Formed in the West Midlands town of Droitwich, in Worcestershire back in 1979, Grim Reaper first gained noticed by winning a Battle Of The Bands contest which featured no less than one hundred groups, which ultimately led to a deal with Ebony Records, but their debut full length album, "See You In Hell" was distributed through RCA Records in 1984. The album was quite successful, finding a place on the Billboard album charts (where it peaked at number 73) and subsequently seeing the title track appear in a number of TV shows including Beavis and Butthead and Jackass. Touring for the album also went well, and the band found themselves performing to over twenty thousand fans in Texas at one particular show.

Success continued to stay with Grim Reaper when they released their sophomore album, "Fear No Evil" in 1985. Though not quite as acclaimed as "See You In Hell," the record once again proved popular amongst heavy metal fans on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the most notable things about this album in a more modern sense, is that the music video for the title track was to resurface twenty years later, though this time used by the alternative rock band Weezer as the initial video for their song, "We Are All On Drugs." Following the success of “Fear No Evil,” the band found themselves away from the stage and in the courtroom, battling a case against Ebony Records which took up two years of the bands existence, resulting in their third album, "Rock You To Hell" being delayed by such time, not finding a place on the shelves until 1987, by which point they discovered that a lot of heavy metal fans and turned away from the safer sounds of traditional heavy metal and more towards the likes of thrash metal. Even though the music video for the title track received regular airplay and the record itself was released through a major label, the album was considered something of a commercial failure. The failure of the album, coupled with another legal battle with Ebony Records, took its toll on the group and they decided to call it a day in 1988, right before they were supposed to work on their fourth album.

The band members all went on to do other projects, most notably vocalist Steve Grimmett, who spent some time with British thrash metal outfit Onslaught, with whom he recorded the album, "In Search Of Sanity," which proved to be their last album for eighteen years, as well as going on to form the bands Lionsheart in 1992. Eventually in 2006, Grim Reaper confirmed that they were reforming, in a lineup which featured most of the original members, bar guitarist Nick Bowcott. Since reforming they have mostly been performing at European festivals and with other New Wave Of British Heavy Metal veterans such as Diamond Head, Girlschool and Angel Witch. They will soon be releasing a live album and plan to tour the United States this Spring.

Grim Reaper - "See You In Hell"

Grim Reaper - "Fear No Evil"

Grim Reaper - "Rock You To Hell"

Grim Reaper - "Lust For Freedom"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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4 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Grim Reaper"

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ssdd_13's avatar

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1. ssdd_13 writes:

Cool article, never was a big fan of "GR" I had already crossed over in '84, so there stuff was weak by comparison. Their sound lacked the drive my teenage brain needed to survive. \m/ \m/

# Mar 19, 2012 @ 1:16 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

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2. R10 writes:

Well done Oz. Had these guys first two albums;on cassette of course. Got quite a few plays in the boom box. Always love the cover art of the first two records. Good stuff. If i remember right,Bowcott wrote a monthly article in Guitar World. Still break out Grim Reaper,Raven,etc. every now and then for good ol' times sakes.

# Mar 19, 2012 @ 3:10 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
spiral_architect's avatar

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3. spiral_architect writes:

i first discovered grim reaper in the 80's as a teenager. i was in the local supermarket, flipping through heavy metal magazines (as i always did), and found a flexi-disc of the single "see you in hell" that you had to tape a quarter onto to properly play it on your record player. i am ashamed to say i stole the flexi-disc out of the magazine instead of paying for the magazine and its contents. however, i have never been ashamed of being a fan of GRIM REAPER! :D

# Mar 19, 2012 @ 3:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rex_84's avatar

Writer

4. Rex_84 writes:

I saw Spellcaster do a great cover of "See You In Hell" as part of a backwoods edition of SXSW. Deathbringer was there.

# Mar 29, 2012 @ 2:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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