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Though they ultimately achieved far less notoriety (both good and bad) than cross-town rivals Venom, Newcastle's Atomkraft were actually formed even earlier than the fearsome black metal pioneers -- way back in 1979, as a matter of fact. Part of the first surge of New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands to arise from the northeast of England, they underwent numerous lineup changes before settling on Tony Dolan (bass/vocals), Rob Matthews (guitar), and former Tyson Dog drummer Ged Wolfe. After working on several demos, this trio eventually signed to Neat Records (who else?) and cut their debut, Future Warriors, in 1985. A fine example of the era's crazed, British-bred speed metal, it fared quite well within the metal underground, subsequently earning them the opening slot for Slayer's first U.K. show at London's Marquee Club. 1986's Queen of Death EP saw Dolan momentarily ousted to make way for Ian Swift (vocals) and D.C. Rage (bass) -- but he soon resumed his four-string duties when the latter departed before the next year's Conductors of Noise LP. Unfortunately, the mini-album only proved that Atomkraft were running out of ideas and, sure enough, they split shortly thereafter. Ironically (and perhaps inevitably), Dolan would become a member of a re-formed Venom in 1989, later finding work as an actor and even briefly reuniting Atomkraft in the early 2000s. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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1979 in Newcastle, England

Years Active:

'70s, '80s