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Terri23
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 7:50 am 
 

Unconfirmed by the band, but news has broken that Warlord's Bill Tsamis has passed away. I'm not even sure he was 60 years old. He Delivered Us some amazing music, and that debut EP will always live on in Metal immortality. RIP Bill.
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aloof
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 9:43 am 
 

a very unique composer... I was hoping we'd get some more music from him still :/ rip :(

Spoiler: show
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BackInTheVillage
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2002 8:46 pm
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 10:05 am 
 

Shit! Was hopeful for more new Warlord. Very unfortunate! Gone too soon!

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LordStenhammar
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:46 am
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Location: The 9th Circle of Hollola
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 12:19 pm 
 

Very sad. One of the most important bands from USA to me. Deliver Us EP and The Cannons of Destruction album are gold. Even Rising Out of the Ashes has some good songs.

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Zodijackyl
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 12:23 pm 
 

Warlord was a great band. Sad to hear. RIP

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Thiestru
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:18 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 12:47 pm 
 

This is terrible! I hadn't talked to Bill in years, but we chatted a few times on Facebook and he was very nice. Moreover, I was friends with his wife Julia and we used to chat a lot. After she married Bill we eventually lost touch because she was so busy, but I've always kept them in heart and mind. I just reached out to her to give my condolences, but aside from saying thank you, she is understandably not up for much talking right now. Any word how Bill died? Very sad. :(
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MDL
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:12 pm
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 12:51 pm 
 

We've now lost both founding and unique members of Lordian Guard and (former) husband and wife.
RIP

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MetlaNZ
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 1:25 pm 
 

Gone too soon. Bill was a great musician and composer. Your music will live on and continue to inspire. RIP Bill. Warlord rules!

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Oxenkiller
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 2:09 pm 
 

I have really fond memories of listening to the tracks from Warlord's "Deliver US" album on the radio back when it was out in the early 80's, and really, really digging the band. They had a ton of momentum, but I always thought it was weird that they never achieved any lasting fame after that. They had the songs, the chops, and were a really unique band and it's sad that they weren't remembered more than they were. So yeah, I had always hoped for a comeback. Best wishes to Bill's family, friends and fans.

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Terri23
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 7:18 pm 
 

aloof wrote:
a very unique composer... I was hoping we'd get some more music from him still :/ rip :(

Spoiler: show


I get the impression he had a lot of unreleased music hidden away. He was a prolific writer in the 80s, with a lot of his music ending up on other projects that surfaced after Warlord broke up the first time. Even the 2000's releases were largely written during the 80's. I don't know how much he's written since the mid 90s, as I believe his family and career took precedence over his art.
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aloof
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 7:57 pm 
 

there's a half finished Warlord album, post-Empire, unreleased LG demos, a second "solo" album, too many demos with different singers... but I don't know if/when/how we might get to hear it... is his last wife the director of his estate? Mark Zonder? who knows? :/
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Slater922
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:24 pm
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 8:28 pm 
 

With Bill Tsamis passing away, I decided to revisit their debut album "And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun...", and it was actually a lot better than I remembered it to be. Sad to see him go :(
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Terri23
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2021 11:14 pm 
 

aloof wrote:
there's a half finished Warlord album, post-Empire, unreleased LG demos, a second "solo" album, too many demos with different singers... but I don't know if/when/how we might get to hear it...

Exactly. And this is just the stuff we know about.
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MetlaNZ
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2021 2:37 am 
 

Oxenkiller wrote:
I have really fond memories of listening to the tracks from Warlord's "Deliver US" album on the radio back when it was out in the early 80's, and really, really digging the band. They had a ton of momentum, but I always thought it was weird that they never achieved any lasting fame after that. They had the songs, the chops, and were a really unique band and it's sad that they weren't remembered more than they were. So yeah, I had always hoped for a comeback. Best wishes to Bill's family, friends and fans.

Damn Ox, you must be ancient.

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Dungeon_Vic
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:00 am
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Location: Greece
PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2021 3:15 am 
 

edit: forgot, the cause of death from what I saw was heart attack.

Sad news and especially sad for the greek audience. Bill Tsamis was a legendary figure here since the mid-eighties. A very prominent editor in the only metal publication (and essentially source of news for most people) was a HUGE Warlord and Manowar fan and he really established both names in Greece, as well as the whole true/epic metal thing (long story, but a big reason why Greece is so big on epic heavy metal - shame the guy was a fucking white supremacist).

Anyway, Warlord's stuff have always been essential listening to anyone into heavy metal here and most fell in love with the band right away. I mean, if you do get across Warlord and you like melodic, special metal, it's kinda hard not to love them. The fact that Bill Tsamis was Greek was also a huge deal, in a time where it was almost impossible to be a metal musician in Greece (and completely impossible to record decently). Conversely, Jim Matheos is also a legend here. Personally, I knew of Warlord years before I actually listened to them and amazingly, the music held up to the hype. Deliver Us from Evil, Aliens, Black Mass are my favorite Warlord songs but really anything from the first era is just beautiful and unique music.

After Warlord had disbanded and become a legend, some people got in touch with Tsamis (this is before the internet) and got to listen to some of the demos that would later be Lordian Guard or new Warlord stuff. This stuff was only circulated among very few, after SWEARING they would never let anyone "unworthy" listen to it. A real cult! Then Lordian Guard came out and again, a lot of Greeks supported that, despite the obvious flaws in production. It is true that Tsamis has a very unique songwriting style. I know some people who value Lordian Guard more than Warlord.

Of course in 2002 a lot of the front row was occupied by Greeks but that was NOTHING compared to what happened when they finally came to play in Greece for the first time. I think the video speaks for itself. The DVD is great but you won't really feel the audience as much as when you see it raw:


That's the intro to the concert but the vibe was the same 9 songs in:


What you cannot see in the video is the amount of people CRYING. Literally, breaking down and crying. You just cannot imagine how much Greeks love Warlord. A very special relationship. I only had the pleasure of seeing them live once and it was AMAZING. One of the best rhythm sections I have ever seen, what they say about Zonder is very true, he elevates the material he plays and he is one of the most musical drummers, if that makes sense. I only spoke to Bill for a couple of minutes, he was relaxing before the show and he seemed very frail, so I did not bother him much. What I remember was how soft-spoken he was, so quiet, very kind and polite.

A man who had a terribly difficult life, full of illness and sorrow, I am happy that at least he got to experience some love from his fans up close... Since yesterday the greek metal community is in mourning. R.I.P.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2021 9:32 am 
 

This was always a band that was a gap in my metal knowledge. Fixing it now and it sucks it has to be under these circumstances.

Very cool stuff. Has a nice groove that fits with the Crimson Glory I've been listening to but there's a lot else going on - stellar riffs and the writing is very sharp.
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Terri23
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:53 am
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2021 10:30 pm 
 

Dungeon_Vic wrote:
edit: forgot, the cause of death from what I saw was heart attack.

Sad news and especially sad for the greek audience. Bill Tsamis was a legendary figure here since the mid-eighties. A very prominent editor in the only metal publication (and essentially source of news for most people) was a HUGE Warlord and Manowar fan and he really established both names in Greece, as well as the whole true/epic metal thing (long story, but a big reason why Greece is so big on epic heavy metal - shame the guy was a fucking white supremacist).

Anyway, Warlord's stuff have always been essential listening to anyone into heavy metal here and most fell in love with the band right away. I mean, if you do get across Warlord and you like melodic, special metal, it's kinda hard not to love them. The fact that Bill Tsamis was Greek was also a huge deal, in a time where it was almost impossible to be a metal musician in Greece (and completely impossible to record decently). Conversely, Jim Matheos is also a legend here. Personally, I knew of Warlord years before I actually listened to them and amazingly, the music held up to the hype. Deliver Us from Evil, Aliens, Black Mass are my favorite Warlord songs but really anything from the first era is just beautiful and unique music.

After Warlord had disbanded and become a legend, some people got in touch with Tsamis (this is before the internet) and got to listen to some of the demos that would later be Lordian Guard or new Warlord stuff. This stuff was only circulated among very few, after SWEARING they would never let anyone "unworthy" listen to it. A real cult! Then Lordian Guard came out and again, a lot of Greeks supported that, despite the obvious flaws in production. It is true that Tsamis has a very unique songwriting style. I know some people who value Lordian Guard more than Warlord.

Of course in 2002 a lot of the front row was occupied by Greeks but that was NOTHING compared to what happened when they finally came to play in Greece for the first time. I think the video speaks for itself. The DVD is great but you won't really feel the audience as much as when you see it raw:


That's the intro to the concert but the vibe was the same 9 songs in:


What you cannot see in the video is the amount of people CRYING. Literally, breaking down and crying. You just cannot imagine how much Greeks love Warlord. A very special relationship. I only had the pleasure of seeing them live once and it was AMAZING. One of the best rhythm sections I have ever seen, what they say about Zonder is very true, he elevates the material he plays and he is one of the most musical drummers, if that makes sense. I only spoke to Bill for a couple of minutes, he was relaxing before the show and he seemed very frail, so I did not bother him much. What I remember was how soft-spoken he was, so quiet, very kind and polite.

A man who had a terribly difficult life, full of illness and sorrow, I am happy that at least he got to experience some love from his fans up close... Since yesterday the greek metal community is in mourning. R.I.P.


I never understood why Warlord was so revered in Greece. I follow a fan page, and it is full of Greeks. I remember when they released a DVD 10 or so years back, and the Greeks were all complaining how they could not hear themselves enough, which I thought was one of the most hilarious criticisms of a live record I had heard. Especially when you CAN hear the crowd.
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Dungeon_Vic
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 11:00 am
Posts: 1097
Location: Greece
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 6:42 am 
 

Well, if you play the video above you can hear what they expected to hear :P

Like I said, the worship of Tsamis and Warlord is due to that editor in Heavy Metal magazine (later Metal Hammer). Haris "Warlord" Prasoulas. He used to write with a more gifted prose than most other editors (who were all amateurs) and with a more intellectual air, he got a lot of people into romantic literature and art (featuring paintings in his column, even poetry), fantasy, the Conan comics, Manowar and epic metal and that whole perspective.

I think 1987 was the year Warlord exploded in Greece (after Thy Kingdom Come was released that is, with commentary like "better than Maiden"), and being the sole publication in Greece dealing with heavy metal and the editor's influence and most importantly how fucking good Warlord is, a band with a GREEK leader, it caught on. That never ceased. Others learnt Warlord through the radio or some friend or even Hammerfall's cover but they would eventually come across the Warlord religion and its fanatics. Inevitable.

There really was something almost like a cult surrounding Warlord (and Manowar) and it really boils down to that one editor. I personally did not like him because he shat on thrash (not metal, it's punk disguised as metal, it's false, metal should talk about swords and axes etc) but growing up I realized he was doing way worse than that. Anyway.

Fanzines in the 90s going against everything mainstream (articles about Cirith Ungol, Brocas Helm and Manilla Road and curses to grunge, pantera and metal hammer, that sort of thing!) can be considered his offspring and from those come the later store/label (Eat Metal), then fests (Up the Hammers), the whole deal. Now, most have grown up and have abdicated their loyalty and admiration of Prasoulas (he has a blog where he doesn't hide his racist and misogynistic views, golden dawn assholes creeping in the comments) but the influence regarding true metal, gatekeeping, "bastard" music (thrash in the 80s, noisy music like Venom-Bathory-Voivod etc, then funk metal/FNM, then Pantera/Chaos AD, then Roots and so on) prevail still.

I digress. The point is that during all these years, Warlord became a myth and basically a band that most traditional metalheads love and acknowledge as very special. We are also quite aware that this is a very Greek thing and Warlord is nowhere near popular in the rest of the world. But that's actually a shame because I think they are indeed a very, very unique band. By the way, we also have a Greek Tsamis-worship band! Black Sword Thunder Attack!
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Dungeon_Vic
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 10:01 am 
 

Mark Zonder on facebook wrote:
Mr. Tsamis-Destroyer

It all started in 1978 when I was playing with my band Russian Roulette at a record store parking lot gig in San Jose. Our lead singer’s girlfriend brought this guy, Bill Tsamis to check us out as she had met him at a book store and after talking about music, she thought he and I might be a good match.

I know nothing of this until after the gig. During the gig, I look over and there is this guy. About 6’1” skinny as can be. Has the white Capezios, skin tight jeans, a red and white stripe shirt with no sleeves, jet black long hair, sunglasses and smoking a cigarette. The guy looked like he played with the Scorpions. Really stood out. Obviously he was totally into it from the beginning.
We talk afterwards and we start jamming together. Truly magic from the first note. None of this go learn these songs etc…..but plug in and let’s jam. It was Bill and I for the longest time as we could not find other players. Remember this was San Jose in the late 70’s when disco was big.

I think I can safely say that the musical dynamic between us really developed as it was just the two of us playing and trying to fill up the space. I remember that it was very easy to lock into his grooves and actually play with the lead lines as well. Something that would continue for the duration and actually kind of define the Warlord sound.
We have a rehearsal spot of our own on Story Rd in San Jose. Not the nicest area, but we did not care. We jammed for hours and hours. Bill had a lot of the songs basically ready to go. I remember Lucifer’s Hammer, Child of the Damned and even Battle of the Living Dead, that was played super fast.

Bill was all about the music. Not in a bad way, but did not care about much else. Not hung up on material things or chasing girls, it was Warlord first and foremost.

People always questioned and made fun of the pseudonyms Bill used for the band members. This guy was so far ahead of the times that he actually had songs for each member that told a great story that combined together made a complete novel or movie. Bill’s ideas made Kiss and other bands look like grammar school kids trying to play with Maiden. Unbelievable ideas and story lines. So talented and creative. I honestly can’t remember him playing a bad note or writing an average song. Every composition was unique and special. I always marveled at how no two songs even sounded closely alike.

Fast forward to LA. We wind up in the top floor of this warehouse in North Hollywood. About 250 sq ft with a rehearsal area and we each took a corner and hung sheets to make a bedroom. This became known as Warlord manor as many of the Sunset Strip bands would stop by to watch. Malmsteen included. Hotter than hell and we had two small windows and no air. Cymbals were hot to the touch. We made a make shift shower and became close friends with the cockroaches that inhabited the building. But these were the greatest times. Cranking out Child of the Damned, Lucifer's Hammer and Mrs Victoria. Best times of my life. Bill would come up with a new idea and we would just jam it to death. Again, it was all about the music.

I will never forget the days at Warlord Manor. Nobody had any money and Bill would get a little bit every couple of weeks from his Dad. First thing he would do was go to the corner 7-11 and get his cigarettes and potato chips. Then with whatever he had left he would take out who ever was around to a dinner at Sittons Restaurant. Gives a bit of insight to the guy. This was pretty much common place with Bill.
Bill goes into Oz Records as there is this guy Brian Slagel who is putting out Metal Massacre records. I was not there, but the story goes that Bill puts in a cassette of a horrible demo of ‘Winds of Thor’ and before it even gets to the chorus Slagel has us on Metal Massacre 2 and 3.

When we did Deliver Us it was a $800 eight track record with two kicks and the bass guitar, which Bill played on one track. Bill and I were so damn happy that it was actually happening. There was so much creativity happening it was insane. Never forget watching and listening as Bill played the lead on Child. For a guy who is not known as a shredder he sure put a lot of those shredder guys to shame. Bill was the total package. Great writer, player, leads so appropriate for the song it was unbelievable. The guy just knew what to play and when.

These were great times and Bill never had anything but a smile on his face.
We are completely different people as far as personalities go. But basically being raised the same with the same values and work ethic we fit so well together and had so much respect for each other that it seemed unstoppable. I honestly do not ever remember an argument or heated discussion. It was just that good.

I will never forget the first two shows in Athens in 2013 and how we both had the same look on our face as the crowds were just unbelievable. The look was two fold. First, it was this is just great and can’t believe after all these years these people are so into it. The second part was the look of, what the hell took them so long as we had had the same feeling the audience had going back to the very beginning. Truly fantastic nights.

I could go on and on. Warlord and Bill Tsamis were without a doubt the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” band that we both thought would rule the world one day. Both of us never gave up or doubted it. But father time always wins and good health was not in the cards for Bill.

Not taking anything away from any of the great artists that I have had the honor and privilege to play with over the years, but I can say without thinking twice Bill was the most talented and dedicated guy I ever met. Obviously great musician, the world knows that, but just a great guy to hang with. Funny and very intelligent. One of the most humble people you would meet. Very matter of fact but never over the line and never handing out BS. Just straight up. Without Bill Tsamis and Warlord I have no idea of where I would be today.
This was the beginning and I owe him everything. Thank you for showing me the way.

Let me leave you with this. Picture a 17 year old kid, rainy day, at a bus stop going to high school. Dressed a bit different than everyone else and in his little note book writing Lucifer’s Hammer. Let that one sink in for a bit.
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Oxenkiller
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 7:36 pm 
 

Thank you for sharing that. Like I always said; a criminally underrated band who deserved to be much bigger than they ever got. I've been listening to them a lot the last couple days.

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 8:15 pm 
 

What he wrote about Tsamis being able to write such different and unique tunes seems to ring true - very distinct stuff with a lot of character. I mean this is what metal songwriting ought to be like. Fuck. Ashamed to have missed this stuff for so long and for this to be how I finally get into it.
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Terri23
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 8:58 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
What he wrote about Tsamis being able to write such different and unique tunes seems to ring true - very distinct stuff with a lot of character. I mean this is what metal songwriting ought to be like. Fuck. Ashamed to have missed this stuff for so long and for this to be how I finally get into it.


I am going to get stick for this, but this is my problem with a lot of metal today. There is still relatively unique stuff out there, the UK doom band Solstice is a great example, but for every band with a unique flavour there's twenty bands that sound like their influences.
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Dungeon_Vic
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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2021 5:05 am 
 

Why get stick for absolute truth?

Lack of character is the biggest problem in metal today, and it involves anything, from sound production and the same, sterile pro-tools-presets sound everyone has, to the generic, flat vocals ("extreme", "brutal", "shout" etc), which essentially means an entire instrument and one of the most important too ("vocals sell albums") is effectively ignored or at best limited to a rhythmic/attitude instrument, to the formulaic songwriting in any genre.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2021 9:43 am 
 

There's good stuff out there today too, but there are just too many new bands who got inspired by the old ones, sprouting up a lot more - so by the sheer numbers you're likely to get a lot more average stuff. And there was plenty of lame stuff back in the 80s too that we just don't remember now.
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DoomMetalAlchemist
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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2021 10:44 am 
 

When I first saw the news, my mouth just hung agape and I just stared at the screen for like 15 seconds. I couldn't believe it. 60 is so young. I really wanted that follow-up to The Holy Empire to happen.

I would consider him to be the most underrated metal musician of all time (not just as a guitarist, his keys on the Lordian Guard albums are something to behold).

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