|Origin||Birmingham, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Hardcore punk, Thrash metal/Doom metal|
|Years active||1984–1989, 2014-present|
|Labels||Children of the Revolution, Earache, Metal Blade, Music for Nations, Under One Flag|
|Associated acts||Alternative Attack, Benediction, Cadaverous Clan, Cathedral, Cerebral Fix, Destroy Babylon, English Dogs, Heresy, Indecent Assault, The More I See, Napalm Death Unseen Terror, The Varukers, Warwound.|
|Members||Lynda 'Tam' Simpson (vocals),Damian Thompson (Guitar),Frank Healy (Bass),Spike T Smith (Drums)|
Originally formed in 1984 by guitarist Damian Thompson and vocalist Lynda "Tam" Simpson Sacrilege is a female-fronted, originally Hardcore Punk, later Thrash Metal/Doom Metal band from the Midlands region of England. Despite having played relatively few gigs during their original existence, Sacrilege is recognized as an important band; both as an influence on later crust punk/thrash metal and doom metal bands and as an example of the blending of hardcore punk, radical politics, and thrash/death metal that occurred during the mid-1980s, making Sacrilege one of the prototypical 'crust'(that term not coined then) punk/metal bands of the time.
In July 2014, Sacrilege announced work on a brand new album, tentativley titled Emptiness Intoxication after a 25-year hiatus. The line up includes its founding members,Tam & Damian as well as Frank Healy (bass)and Spike T. Smith (drums); it is the same line up that recorded Turn Back Trilobite, the band's last official release in 1989.
Prior to the formation of Sacrilege, guitarist Damian Thompson and drummer Andrew Baker released a pair of D-beat punk demos under the moniker Warwound. In 1983, the duo joined The Varukers, Damian left the Varukers after less than a year in 1984 to form Sacrilege with Lynda'Tam'Simpson(Vocals), Liam Pickering(Drums), and Tony May(Bass). In 1984 and 1985, the band recorded demos and contributed tracks to the compilations We Won't Be Your Fucking Poor (Mortarhate, 1985) and Anglican Scrape Attic (a pre-Earache release from Digby Pearson). The band also played several gigs at this time alongside bands such as Chumbawamba, Antisect,D.I.R.T, Icons of filth, Concrete Sox, Indecent Assault, etc. supporting causes from the 1984 miners strike to squatters rights.
After replacing drummer Liam Pickering with Andrew Baker, Sacrilege recorded their first album, Behind the Realms of Madness, in July 1985, at Rich Bitch studio's in Birmingham. An uncompromising mix of Damian Thompson's down tuned riff laden guitar, Lynda 'Tam' Simpson's screaming(almost anguished) vocals along with powerhouse drumming and bass, drawing from early influences such as Discharge and Crass, through to the newly emerging Thrash/Death metal sound of Metallica, Venom, and Slayer. The lyrical content though, was far from typical for metal bands; subject matter such as global power corruption, inequality, world poverty, and the (then constant) threat of nuclear war was paramount, cleverly woven by Lynda(Tam)Simpson into Tolkien-esque and metaphorical storylines (something then unheard of in underground punk circles, these themes continued through all three of their early albums)). This was released in the U.K through the Bristol-based label Children of the Revolution (COR)records, a small independent label (run by Tim Bennett) specialising in underground crossover Punk/Metal acts. The album was moderately successful at the time, selling a respectable estimated 7000 copies (and bringing the group to the attention of a much larger audience/labels). Since then, this album has rightly become widely regarded as a game-changer within underground punk-metal circles and has gone on through various re-issues/bootlegs to sell many thousands more worldwide, influencing scores of bands (the highly successful Bolt Thrower cite the band as an enormous influence, whilst Napalm Death also recorded their first album at Rich Bitch, so impressed were they with Sacrilege's sound, they also more recently in 2012 recorded a cover version of the opening track 'Lifeline'). The album was also released at this time in the U.S.A through Pusmort records,run by Brian Schroeder a.k.a. Pushead. A U.S.A only limited edition pressing (of only 50 blue vinyl copies) is now a rare collectors item.
Their second release, Within the Prophecy, which saw the band heading further into thrash metal territory was recorded in January 1987, again at Rich Bitch Studios with Engineer Rob Bruce and producer Mike Ivory. It was released later that year through Under One Flag Records, a subsidiary of Music for Nations and in the U.S.A by Metal Blade records. The album was well received although the production was far from perfect, and some of the band's original punk following did not appreciate the group's more metal direction. Frustrated by a general lack of creative talent, Sacrilege underwent a significant line-up change at this juncture, replacing drummer Baker with Paul Brookes, bassist May with Paul Morrisey, and adding rhythm guitarist Frank Healy. After a further change, this time replacing Brookes with new drummer Spike T. Smith, the new line-up recorded the band's third album, Turn Back Trilobite, issued in April 1989. This record saw the band moving away from their punk/thrash metal roots into a more doom metal musical direction, with touches of folk, something virtually unheard of within the contemporaries of the time, with new members Frank and Spike rising naturally to the ambitious project. This period of the band saw them gigging alongside the likes of Candlemass, Girlschool & Sabbat. This album, although now rightly regarded as a classic of its day, was met with many puzzled expressions from fans and press alike, as the band strayed away from thrash into highly experimental pieces which were difficult for people to pigeon hole (mixing doom metal, folk, multi-layered harmony vocals, extended acoustic pieces, and even touches of jazz). This was the band's parting shot at that time.
Shortly after recording this album, the band quietly went their separate ways, Damian and Tam particularly at this time having grown disillusioned by the restrictions and expectations they felt were heaped upon the band (the pair, who were partners throughout this period, went off to live in a converted bus and have two daughters). No official statement was ever made regarding the ceasing of the band at this point. The band have since stated that they never officially split up, preferring to say that they took a 25-year rest. Whilst Bassist Frank Healy went on to eventually join Benediction(after stints in Cerebral Fix & Napalm Death), with whom he still plays, and Drummer Spike T Smith joined forces with artists such as Morrissey, The Damned (band), Steve Ignorant, Conflict (band), English Dogs and many others, guitarist Damian Thompson went on immerse himself into purer forms of 'folk' music, becoming an accomplished wooden flute player within traditional Irish music and taking several extended trips to study classical Indian music in India. Sacrilege are today cited by many people as being ahead of their time during the 1980s in terms of their sound, now recognised as a major influence on many later bands and also for being unafraid to use musical & idealistic experimentation within the confines of a certain musical genre, even to the detriment of greater commercial appeal. The band has thus maintained a strong underground following amongst its fans. Several unofficial and sometimes poor quality bootleg releases of the band's back catalogue and early demos have appeared during their long absence much to the disappointment of founder members Damian Thompson and Lynda'Tam'Simpson (who between them wrote the entirety of the group's musical and lyrical content) although in one sense these releases are a testament to the band's enduring appeal.
Cerebral Fix covered Sacrilege's 'The Closing Irony' on their 1990 album 'Tower of Spite', suitably using it as the final track and making a slight name alteration 'Closing Irony'.
Napalm Death covered the track 'Lifeline' on 2012's 'Respect your roots' compilation.
Sacrilege are as of now (July 2014) writing their first new album (provisionally titled 'Emptiness Intoxication') in 25 years, partly to commemorate 30 years since the band formed and 'Behind the Realms of Madness' was originally released.
Last known (and current) line-up
- Lynda "Tam" Simpson (vocals)
- Damian Thompson (guitar, also of Cadaverous Clan, The Varukers, Warwound)
- Frank Healey (bass, also of Benediction, Cerebral Fix, Napalm Death)
- Spike T. Smith (drums, also of Alternative Attack, The Damned (band), Destroy Babylon, Morrissey, Steve Ignorant, English Dogs, The More I See)
- Mitch Dickinson (guitar, also of Heresy, Unseen Terror,(Warhammer)
- Tony May (bass, also of The Varukers, Indecent Assault)
- Paul Morrisey (bass)
- Liam Pickering (drums)
- Andrew Baker (drums, Cathedral, Cerebral Fix)
- Paul Brookes (drums, also of Benediction)
- Demo I (1984)
- Demo II (1985)
- Behind the Realms of Madness LP (COR Records, 1985)
- Demo 1/86 (1986)
- Demo 8/86 (1986)
- Within the Prophecy LP (Under One Flag Records, 1987;Metal Blade (U.S.A)
- Turn Back Trilobite LP (Under One Flag Records, 1989; released in the US on Metal Blade)
- We Won't Be Your Fucking Poor LP x 2 (track: "Dig Your Own Grave"; Mortarhate Records, 1985)
- Anglican Scrape Attic split 7" with Hirax, Execute, Lip Cream and Concrete Sox (track: "Blood Run", pre-Earache, 1985)