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Originally formed in 1984, Virginia-based heavy metal trio At War featured Paul Arnold (vocals/bass), Shawn Helsel (guitar), and Dave Stone (drums). After circulating their Eat Lead demo, they recorded two albums of raw, visceral speed metal: 1986's Ordered to Kill and 1988's Retaliatory Strike. Released by the tiny New Renaissance label and suffering from somewhat dicey production quality, these quickly got lost amid the glut of thrash metal bands doing the rounds back then — despite some rather good songwriting. Discouraged, At War broke up shortly thereafter, when Helsel reportedly moved on to a funk-metal-fusion direction.