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Sunday Old School: Wolfsbane

It’s nice when a band has a pet name for their fan base. For Slipknot, their fans are "Maggots." For Megadeth, it’s "Droogies" and Wolfsbane, it’s "Howling Mad Shitheads." The creators of this delightful tag came together in 1984 in Tamworth, a town situated in Staffordshire, England and rapidly got to work on building up a loyal fan base, releasing a string of demos along the way. Eventually, after five years slogging it out in the underground, they caught the attention of producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin, who signed them to his Def American record label and produced their debut album, "Live Fast, Die Fast: Wicked Tales Of Booze, Birds and Bad Language." The record was released in 1989 and instantly received favourable feedback from critics and heavy metal fans alike, and spawned two music videos for the songs, "Man Hunt" (which was featured on their first demo in 1985) and "I Like It Hot." The success of the album enabled the band to tour their native Britain with heavy metal giants Iron Maiden, who were supporting their "No Prayer For The Dying" album at the time.

The band achieved further praise from their fan base in 1990, when they released the mini album, "All Hell’s Breaking Loose At Kathy Wilson’s Place," a record named after the 1953 sci-fi film, "Invaders From Mars." Their success continued the next year when their second full length studio album, "Down Fall The Good Guys" was released. The record was notable in that it featured the group’s only charting single to date in the form of the track, "Ezy," which reached number 68 in the British Singles Charts. However, their popularity was not up to scratch across the Atlantic and Def American decided to drop the band from the label, citing poor record sales as the primary reason. Despite the setback however, they retained their popularity in the United Kingdom, and were voted the Unsigned Act Of The Year in 1993.

Wolfsbane then appeared to have found a new home with Bronze Company Records, through which they released a live album entitled, "Massive Noise Injection," which was recorded at London’s famous Marquee club in 1993. Following the release of the live album, the group released it’s eponymous third album in 1994, which to this day is hailed by many fans as their greatest work. Despite the perceived commercial revival however, the band were to suffer a serious blow in 1995, when lead singer Blaze Bayley left the group to become the new vocalist of Iron Maiden, who were searching for a new singer following the departure of Bruce Dickinson, resulting in Wolfsbane disbanding shortly afterwards. Though Blaze was only in Maiden for a four year spell, one which featured disappointing record sales and cancelled shows as a result of his allergic reaction to certain stage effects, the band continued to be laid to rest for some time, with Blaze forming a solo band and the other members involved in a new project called Stretch. Eventually however, a reunion of sorts did occur in 2007, in the form of fleeing performances at festivals, but in 2010, the band announced that they had reunited with more long term goals in mind, announcing plans for a new album amongst other targets. The band’s new record, an EP entitled, "Did It For The Money," will finally be released this month, when it hits shelves on April 9th, with a tour of the United Kingdom supporting fellow British metal veterans Saxon to follow.

Wolfsbane - "Man Hunt"

Wolfsbane - "I Like It Hot"

Wolfsbane - "Killing Machine"

Wolfsbane - "Ezy"

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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4 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Wolfsbane"

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Anonymous Reader
1. R Tenney writes:

Good write up on these guys Oz. I'm unfirmiliar with their work unfortunately. Rubin huh? Usually Rick provides the midas touch! Cult;Danzig;resurrecting Cashs career etc. Surprised I haven't heard their work. Ill have to check it out. Always felt Blazes work with Maiden was unfairly overlooked@ ignored. Tough times those were for conventional metal bands. Thinking Bruces ego has a lot to do with the covering up of Blaze Maiden. Still was some good music to hear considering the times though. Good piece.

# Apr 3, 2011 @ 1:02 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rychemn's avatar


2. Rychemn writes:

Always nice to hear music that is different than the norm or something I have never heard before......once again gentlemen...fine job for the sunday old school....(One of the best formats/articules on the mighty M.U.).....in the words of an old song I recalll....."Knock-em dead kid"....Keep up the awsome work my friends.

# Apr 3, 2011 @ 10:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar


3. hellrat writes:

see Oz, you can always School a crotchety fvckin dipsh!t like me :)

I hate his Maiden vox, but as you've argued before, his vocals do fit this style quite well

Thanks for article, as I never had given em a fair shake, based on my well documented elitist prejudice about his stint in Maiden

once again, Nice Work mate! \m/

# Apr 3, 2011 @ 10:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

4. Diamond Oz writes:

Thank you for the feedback guys, reading positive comments will never get old! I'm really glad to hear that this article has helped you feel that way too hellrat! I think Blaze was just ill-suited for Maiden, but he tried his best which is all anyone can ask for really. Either way, Maiden has Bruce back and now Blaze is back with Wolfsbane, so both are back where they belong!

Thank you once again for the positive feedback, it really does mean alot :)

# Apr 4, 2011 @ 12:14 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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