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From the liner notes of the See You In Hell / Fear No Evil 2 on One CD

Grim Reaper came and went after three albums. All were filled with the demonic imagery that marked similar heavy bands of the mid-'80s. But, unlike some of their hard-rocking brethren, this furious foursome managed to chart in the United States with all of their releases.

The group was formed in 1979 in their native Droitwich, England, by guitarist Nick Bowcott, who would also be credited for chants on their albums. He worked with various local players before finally settling on a line-up that included singer Steve Grimmett, bass guitarist Dave Wanklin and various drummers. Building a following around their hometown, they got a big break in 1981 when a track called "The Reaper" (with a singer other than Grimmett) was featured on "Heavy Metal Heroes," a compilation of hard rock bands. Big break two came when they were signed by Darryl Johnston, president of England's Ebony Records. Johnston decided to work with the group after hearing three tracks produced in a marathon 24-hour recording session Grim Reaper had won after besting 100 other competitors in a local "battle of the
bands".

Grim Reaper debuted in the summer of 1984 with the roaring "See You In Hell" (RCA 8038), which was recorded in just four days. It charted in August, peaking at No. 73 on Billboard's pop chart. Their music was too wild to get much Top 40 radio exposure, but a video for the title track did get into heavy rotation on MTV, which helped the album sales, as did a national tour that year. It also received good reviews from critics like Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times, who gave it a first-place rating on his "Heavy Metal Meter".

With the solid success of their debut, Grim Reaper wasted little time on their follow-up to "See You In Hell". "Fear No Evil" (RCA 5431) - which introduced new drummer Marc Simon (was recorded in nine days). It was issued in May 1985 and charted a few weeks later.
Sales of the second album were helped by another tour and a powerful video of "Fear No Evil" directed by Chris Gaberin, who had worked on clips for everyone from John Cougar Mellencamp to Quiet Riot. It was filmed on location west of London, near Heathrow Airport. It introduced the creepy Grim Reaper character featured on their album covers, a half-man, half-wolf whose motto was "Fear The Reaper: No one escapes his evil power." "Fear No Evil" may have been an over-the-top video, but its powerful imagery and the strong performance of the group made it a popular entry on MTV.

In the late summer of 1987 the group was back with what would prove to be their third and final album - "Rock You To Hell" (RCA 625). It was another best-seller. It also introduced another new drummer, Lee Harris. 

Despite their success, there were problems in the band that finally led to their break-up after "Rock You To Hell". Founder Bowcott would become a writer for "Circus" magazine and later work for Marshall Amps in New York City. Grimmett did much better for himself, joining Onslaught, which had been formed in 1983 as a punk-metal hybrid by drummer Steve Grice and guitarist Nige Rockett. Later joined by singer Paul Mahoneyand bassist Jason Stanford, they cut "Power From Hell" for the Cor label in 1985. They then recorded "The Force" for Under One Flag before moving to London Records to work on "In Search Of Sanity". At that point, Grimmett came on as lead singer for the album, which came out in 1989. He would quit a year later, disappointed by critical reaction to the album. 

After Onslaught, Grimmett formed a new group -Lionsheart - that had a more melodic, though still hard-rock feel than some of his past work. He signed with Music For Nations, which issued their self-titled 1993 debut. While England and the U.S. didn't seem to care much for their powerful sound, the album fared better in the rest of Europe and Japan. That led to their second release, "Pride In Tact", which came out in '94.

In 1994, Grim Reaper's video for "See You In Hell" was briefly revived when it was used in an episode of MTV's "Beavis And Butthead". The little cartoon twerps made fun of the dated sound and imagery of the group but when they were at their peak, Grim Reaper was a powerful band that could more than hold their own with any other metallic rockers. This collection of their first two RCA albums makes that clear.

-Mark Marymont


All Music Guide

Formed in 1979, and featuring Steve Grimmett (vocals), Nick Bowcott (guitars), Dave Wanklin (bass) and Lee Hams (drums), Grim Reaper are a typical example of the bands that formed the UK heavy metal revival of the early 80s known as the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. They epitomized most of the movement's strengths (a fresh, down-to-earth approach, enthusiasm, and powerful but melodic guitar riffs), but also the weaknesses that plagued it (bargain-basement production values and daftly melodramatic lyrics delivered in an inappropriate falsetto). In 1994 one of their videos was dragged out of the crates in the MTV cartoon Beavis And Butthead, and was introduced with an incredulous 'Is this Spinal Tap?'. While they flirted with infernal imagery, Grim Reaper were never a Satanic band, as was claimed by some critics (including fundamentalist Christian preachers), and actually suffered from being a little bland. Their debut, See You In Hell, was probably Grim Reaper's finest moment, particularly the catchily anthemic title track, and the band enjoyed some success on both sides of the Atlantic during the mid-80s. Ultimately, they could neither repeat nor build on this success, and in 1988 they broke up. Grimmett joined Onslaught, then Lionsheart.

Grim Reaper was a 1980s British metal band who played in the typical Euro-metal style of melodic vocals and simple riffs. They also had a very strong liking for demonic imagery and over-the-top theatrics. The group is best known to many '90s listeners through an episode of Beavis and Butt-Head in which their video for "See You in Hell" is commented on rather unfavorably. 

Steve Huey, All Music Guide 


Onslaught AMG Profile / Review

This UK thrash quintet, originally conceived as a punk/metal hybrid, was formed in Bristol in 1983 by guitarist Nige Rockett and drummer Steve Grice. With the addition of vocalist Paul Mahoney and bassist Jason Stallord, they recorded Power From Hell on the independent Cor label in 1985. This opened the doors to a contract with Under One Flag, the thrash subsidiary of Music For Nations. The Force saw the band expand to a quintet, with the arrival of new vocalist Sy Keeler; Mahoney was relegated to bass and Stallord switched to rhythm guitar. The album was heavily reliant on the styles of Slayer, Metallica and Anthrax, with little original input. Mahoney was replaced by James Hinder on bass shortly after the album was released. Moving to London Records, In Search Of Sanity was their make-or-break album. Before it was completed, Steve Grimmett (ex- Grim Reaper ) and Rob Trottman replaced Keeler and Stallord, respectively. After a series of delays, the album finally surfaced in early 1989. Producer Stephan Galfas had watered down their aggressive sound in an attempt to court commercial success. Even the cover version of AC/DC 's 'Let There Be Rock' proved less strong than expected, and the material generally lacked distinction. They had moved away from hard-line thrash towards mainstream metal with negative results. The album was slated by the metal media and Grimmett quit in 1990. A replacement was found in the form of Tony O'Hara, but the band were dropped by their label soon after. Disillusioned, the members went their separate ways in 1991, with Grimmett forming Lionsheart.



AMG EXPERT REVIEW: The third Onslaught album to be released on as many labels, In Search of Sanity also featured the band's third vocalist, former Grim Reaper screamer Steve Grimmett. Not that the experienced Grimmett manages to lend any more personality to the band's predictable metal arsenal. "Shellshock" and the title track are competent, if rather long, examples of the band's unbearably average classic/thrash metal hybrid. The blunt riffing of "Blood Upon the Ice" and "Power Play" display a noticeable Exodus crunch and "Welcome to Dying" (clocking in at an absurd 12 minutes) sounds like a Metal Church outtake. Surprises? Well, they do knock out a thrashy take on AC/DCís "Let There Be Rock," but the results are interesting at best. And opener "Asylum" is the kind of generic not-as-creepy-as-you-think instrumental that gives metal a bad name. 

- Ed Rivadavia

 

   

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