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Universally acclaimed for its unequaled profusion of quality death metal bands throughout the 1990s, Sweden curiously yielded very few worthwhile contributions to the thrash metal wave that directly preceded it in the '80s — Hexenhaus being one of those rarities. Formed in Stockholm, in 1987, the group was helmed by guitarist Mike Wead (real name Mikael Wikström) and debuted in 1988 with the highly technical and surprisingly accomplished A Tribute to Insanity album, also featuring vocalist Nicklas Johansson, guitarist Rick Meister (aka Andreas Palm), bassist Jan Blomqvist, and drummer Ralph Raideen. All but the latter had previously been involved with Wead in the speed metal act Maninnya Blade, but none remained by the release of Hexenhaus' 1990 sophomore LP, The Edge of Eternity, being replaced with Marco A. Nicosia (guitar), Marty Marteen (bass), Billy St. John (drums), and Tommie Agrippa (vocals). Wead shook things up again before the release of 1991's Awakening, securing the services of vocalist Thomas Lundin and former Mezzrow bassist Conny Wallin; but these constant changes had slowly compromised the quality of Hexenhaus' output, and they disbanded a short time later, with 1997's Dejavoodoo album being the result of a one-off reunion. In the interim, Mike Wead had founded Memento Mori with ex-Candlemass singer Messiah Marcolin, performed on Candlemass bassist Leif Edling's Abstrakt Algebra project, and would later go on to record and tour with both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond's band — a true axe-hero for hire. Most of the musicians who passed through Hexenhaus also remained active in Sweden's highly incestuous metal scene, most notably guitarist Marco A. Nicosia, who hooked up with melodic techno-metallers Fifth Reason.
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