Way back in 1980, four then teenage lads formed the Classic British Metal band Rekuiem (in those days spelt 'Requiem') right at the very dawn of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement in the U.K. The band were pioneers in this new genre of rock amongst others such as Witchfinder General, Diamond Head, Jameson Raid, Angel witch and of course the great Iron Maiden. Only Rekuiem though would pursue their very own style of new wave metal which would later become known as Doom Metal.
The Midlands area of the U.K. was rife with great metal bands and had a proud history of producing the best acts in rock from the early days of Led Zeppelin through to Sabbath and later Judas Priest. Rekuiem would stage their early rehearsals in the very rooms that these monsters of rock once occupied themselves.
After working together on other lighter projects, Steve Slater and Gordon Denny were to be the first two parts of the jigsaw put together that would become Rekuiem. This time they wanted to create something that was heavier than anything they had even tried before. The Sabbath influence was so strong and writing and auditioning soon got underway in earnest.
The first drummer to rehearse some of the early tunes with Steve and Gordon was Yatta Yates who was a well known and respected muzo having played with the Possessed. It was only by chance that Steve would meet Karl at a local jamming session. Karl liked the early tunes and was soon invited to join full time. Steve had also met a singer, namely Mike Reid at an audition some months earlier and when Mike applied to the bands ad in a local paper for the Rekuiem front man, the jigsaw was finally complete.
The new foursome rehearsed regularly and with Steve's riffs and Mikes mournful lyrics the band soon created the sound that would much later become known as Doom Metal. As mentioned earlier, these early rehearsals took place at an old Church school building nicknamed 'Holy Joes'. The names of previous occupants such as Judas Priest were scratched on the walls and this helped create a great atmosphere in which to work. The vicar was a great character, only visiting the bands once a night to collect the hire fees before disappearing into the local pub for the evening; God bless him.
After many rehearsals the band stepped out at first into the Midlands vibrant music environment and began to play local gigs at venues such as Cannock Forum (no longer in existence) and the famous Lafayette club in Wolverhampton where just about anybody famous had played in their early days. The band soon built up a strong local following and began to spread their wings further afield. This period also produced some early demos recorded at M.R.S. studios in Walsall which are an exceptionally rare find today. (if you have one, it's probably worth a small fortune). These sold well at gigs, to the extent that eventually the pressure for a vinyl release became too much to resist.
The fad at the time was for bands to release 7" eps and to finance these themselves just as bands such as Def Leppard had done, So with no hesitation in 1980 the band went away to Wales to record the now famous double A-sided single 'Angel of Sin/Sacrificial Wanderer. Recorded at Foel studios and mixed by Dave Anderson of Hawkwind fame, the single gained rave reviews in local and National press and is no doubt the reason for the new World-wide underground interest in Rekuiem some twenty five years after its release. The single is also very collectable and the tracks are viewed as amongst the finest and heaviest to come out of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement.
Two years into the bands development saw the departure of front man Mike Reid, this being mainly due to musical differences. The rest of the band wanted to move towards a more mainstream sound and needed a more gritty style vocal that Mike just didn't do. The replacement was Steve Mills, previously with Trespass (one of these days). This period saw the band forge ahead with three further studio demos and gigs all over the U.K. both as headline act and as support act to big names such as Budgie on their European tour. Things seemed to be going very well with an album release immanent which it was hoped would see the band break out of the underground N.W.O.B.H.M. movement just as such bands as Iron Maiden, Saxon and Def Leppard had done. However, unknown to Rekuiem at the time, the music scene was changing rapidly. Classic metal bands were falling from favour to be replaced by the glam rockers of the mid 80's (recall what Van Halen nearly did to Black Sabbath whilst supporting them on tour). Even Ozzy split from Sabbath shortly after this. The planned Rekuiem album would not make release!
Rekuiem, faced with adversity, continued to gig around the U.K. but by 1984 the strain was beginning to show. The first to leave was bass player Gordon who went on to form Midlands A.O.R. band Rough Justice. He was replaced by Tim Harris and gigs soon resumed. The band tried to reshape again but commercial rock was never Rekuiems strength. Some good songs were written and a new image and concept discussed (Guardians of the New Age) but times were hard and eventually at the General Wolfe in Coventry, Rekuiem came to an end. A very sad day for all concerned!
Steve Mills and Tim Harris went on to work with Dave Brock of Hawkwind Fame. Steve Slater and Karl Wilcox briefly joined forces to join Broken English and studio recordings were made entitled 'Makin out' and 'Two time love'. Karl then went on to join progressive rock band chase before joining N.W.O.B.H.M. legends Diamond Head with whom he has recorded several albums. Steve Slater went on to form metal heads Predator who toured the U.K. extensively. Predator also recorded four studio tracks and a live video which Steve hopes to make available to fans later in the year.
And so the Rekuiem story came to an end, or so we thought! With a new worldwide interest in metal, specifically the underground N.W.O.B.H.M. movement, Rekuiem are back. Countless enquiries from all over the world have come in asking whether past recordings would be made available; whether the band would ever reform; whether the band would ever record again. It's happening!
For the past three years, Rekuiem have been writing and recording the promised album that was never delivered twenty years ago. Three original members, Steve Slater, Karl Wilcox and Gordon Denny are back, this time accompanied by Paul Parry formerly with Tredegar. Paul's voice is simply stunning and really gives the band the edge they always needed. A while ago, the band released a taster ep cd for the rock press and a handful of collectors. This ep featured five demo tracks for the anticipated album, 'Steelbreeze', 'Angel of Sin', 'Nightmare', 'The Black Death' and 'Outro'. All of these are different versions to those that appear on the finished album and in fact two of these songs don't appear on the album at all, making this a highly collectable piece if you can get your hands on one. The taster ep entitled 'The Black Death' received rave reviews in the metal press throughout Europe and this was when it was only a promo cd!
The album will feature 10 original tracks (11 on the Japanese edition) and one cover of the metal classic 'Paranoid' as you've never heard it before. The band hope to release this as the first single from the album. The style of the band has gone back to its roots, back to the sounds of the original single but with a lead vocal sound to die for! The album also has a great production handled by Steve Slater and Karl Wilcox. The record is mixed by Mark Stuart (who mixed the last Magnum album) again along with Steve and Karl. The album also features newly recorded versions of the classic Rekuiem tracks from the original single 'Angel of Sin' and 'Sacrificial Wanderer'.
It's been a long and hard process; starting mixing with Andy Scarth who has mixed/produced for bands such as Foreigner and Love Hate. Changing studios from Mad Hat in Wolverhampton, to Conk (owned by Ray Davis from the Kinks) in London, only to end back in the midlands to finish mixing. The band also changed studio engineers choosing in the end to work with Mark Stuart ( Magnum's engineer). It's been a long, long journey but the band feel it's been well worth it. The album sounds great! There is a guest appearance on track 5, 'Werewolf', by Brian Tatler of Diamond Head. The band also benefited from the advise of Tony Clarkin from Magnum who was in and out of the studio all of the time. The album, to be entitled 'Time Will Tell' will be released Worldwide April 24th 2006 and live dates are planned for summer 2006 onwards.
Will Rekuiem finally fulfill it's true potential? 'Time Will Tell'.