Battleaxe (band)

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For other uses, see Battleaxe (disambiguation).
Origin Sunderland, England
Genres Heavy metal
Years active 1980–1988
Associated acts Dark Heart, Tokyo Rose, Pariah, Satan
Members Dave King
Brian Smith
Mick Percy
Paul Atkinson
Past members Steve Hardy
Ian Thompson
Ian McCormick
John Stormont
Jason Holt
Stewart Curtin
Colin Simpson

Battleaxe is a heavy metal band from Sunderland, England. As one of the notable bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, they started out with the name Warrior and morphed into Battleaxe sometime in early 1980. The band consisted of Dave King (vocals), Brian Smith (bass), Steve Hardy (guitar), and Ian Thompson (drums). After playing around the area and honing their chops, they entered the studio to make a demo called "Burn This Town". In doing so, they garnered the attention of Roadrunner Records and the result was their first album, Burn This Town.

Cover art[edit]

When the album was first released, the cover art was not what the band wanted and in fact, they were quite embarrassed with the cheesy painting of a guy on a motorcycle wielding a battle axe. The graphic looked amateurish and the band worried what it might do to their reputation. However, the music did the talking and the album sold well. The band began developing a reputation in the region as a solid heavy metal outfit.

Changing of "Ians"[edit]

Sometime after the recording of Burn This Town, maybe on tour, Ian Thompson either quit or was fired and another Ian, Ian McCormick, was brought in as their new drummer. This new dynamic added a different spark to the band and they continued building their reputation. Their efforts paid off when they entered the recording studio in Inverness, Scotland and did their second album, Power From The Universe for the Music For Nations label. This album showed a more refined and mature Battleaxe and contains the opening track "Chopper Attack."

Personnel changes[edit]

Success seemed to be on their doorstep as they tore up venues throughout England. On the eve of a major appearance at Hammersmith Odeon London in support of Saxon on their Crusader tour, some A&R guys from Atlantic Records were showing interest. After the show, they wanted the band to organise a showcase for them. It was then, for still unknown reasons to the band and fans, that Steve Hardy quit and they had to pull out of what could have been a major signing. It took almost two years before a new lineup was found that was somewhere near the quality and spirit to what they had. This was a severe blow to their career and put the band on hold until they could regain their ground. That happened when they toured the UK in support of Madam X, who had to pull out of the tour due to an illness, leaving Battleaxe to headline. They finished the tour at the Dominion theatre in London. The new lineup added Mick Percy and John Stormont. That lead and rhythm guitar combination put a new level and fuller sound to the band's performances live as well as in the studio. Soon after, they went into Neat Records studio to record the tracks Radio Thunder, Girl Crazee, and Killer woman. These tracks were added to their current EP release Nightmare Zone. John Stormont, one of the best lead guitarists around at the time, contributed a phenomenal lead break performance on the track Killer Woman. Sadly, John left the band for domestic reasons, and afterward, there was a rotating door of musicians until 1987 when they recruited Jason Holt on guitar and Stew Curtan on drums (after Ian McCormack hung up his sticks). During this period of instability, the band were lucky enough to have met drummer Paul Atkinson from Newcastle, filling in now and then, but not quite joining the band until a very later date (He is now a full-fledged member, recently recording the YouTube video to the band's fast and furious track Chopper Attack [from the PFTU album] see below). With this lineup, their sound had fattened, being made more powerful and adding much versatility that was not possible with one guitarist. The power and energy from this new lineup was sensational. Unfortunately again, as the way bands tend to do, this promising new lineup lasted only a short time before the lack of demand in the UK for good quality British rock died and a new wave of death metal and grunge appeared. This made it hard for Battleaxe to tour. Metallica, when first appearing on the metal scene, wanted to tour the UK and Europe with Battleaxe but because of strange politics within the band, changed their minds. However Battleaxe were added to a compilation album with Metallica, Manowar, and other big-named bands. This album is detailed on the band's web site. In 1995/6/7/8.The band hired another guitarist for a short while and did a spectacular gig at Klenal Hall Biker's Festival in (Northumberland. Plans were made to record a third album and they went into the studio to record the demos that were to become the recently released Nightmare Zone EP. The third album was originally going to be called Metal Edge, but they were not able to secure interest from a record label back then and the band began to lose interest. Touring and live gigs at the time were impossible due to the sheer lack of funding. The YouTube video recording was then done with just a four piece line up of Mick Percy Guitar, Paul Atkinson [Paul AT Kinson] from Skyclad on drums, and the two founding members, Brian Smith Bass, and Dave King Vocals (not the Fastaway vocalist Dave King which many people get mixed up with).

Latest Developments[edit]

The current Battleaxe line up (of over 20 years) is Dave King, Paul AT Kinson, Mick Percy and Brian Smith. Battleaxe are now in the latter stages of recording their new album 'The Legions Unite'...a brand new album that represents the above line up in 2011. The Legions Project has been a digital collaboration, being recorded in several locations including Sound Inc and FTRM Studios in Newcastle upon Tyne, and is due for release later in 2011.

Members For Burn This Town[edit]

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Steve Hardy - Guitar
  • Ian Thompson - Drums

Members For Power from the Universe[edit]

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Steve Hardy - Guitar
  • Ian McCormick - Drums

Post Universe Lineup 1[edit]

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Ian McCormick - Drums
  • John Stormont - Guitar
  • Mick Percy - Guitar

Post Universe Lineup 2[edit]

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Mick Percy - Guitar
  • Jason Holt - Guitar
  • Stewart Curtin - Drums

Nightmare Zone Lineup[edit]

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Mick Percy - Guitar
  • John Stormont - Guitar
  • Ian McCormack - Drums

Current Lineup[edit]

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Mick Percy - Guitar
  • Paul Atkinson - Drums [1]


  • "Burn This Town" - Single - Burn This Town/Battleaxe (1981)
  • Burn This Town - Album (Original Sleeve)(1983)
  • Burn This Town - Album (Redesigned Sleeve) (1984)
  • Power from the Universe - Album (1984)
  • Burn This Town - CD Reissue (2005)
  • Power from the Universe - CD Reissue (2005)
  • Nightmare Zone - EP CD (Recorded 1987) (2005)
  • "Heavy Metal Sanctuary" - Album (2014)

Discography compilations[edit]

  • Roxcalibur - Burn This Town & Battleaxe (1982)
  • Hell on Earth - Ready to Deliver (1983)
  • Metal Battle - Ready to Deliver (1983)
  • Welcome to the Metal Zone - Chopper Attack (1985)

External links[edit]