Grim Reaper (band)

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Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper live 2010
Grim Reaper live 2010
Background information
OriginDroitwich Spa, England
GenresHeavy metal
Years active
  • 1979–1988
  • 2006–present
  • RCA
  • Ebony Records
Associated acts
MembersSteve Grimmett
Ian Nash
Paul White
Mart Trail
Past membersNick Bowcott
Dave Wanklin
Lee Harris
Kevin Neale
Adrian Jacques
Paul DeMercado
Pete Newdeck
Ritchie Walker
Chaz Grimaldi

Grim Reaper is a British heavy metal band from the new wave of British heavy metal era. The band was formed in 1979 in Droitwich, England, by guitarist Nick Bowcott.[1]


Early years (1979–1984)[edit]

The band formed in Worcestershire and initially featured Paul de Mercado on vocals. Their first album demo tape was called Bleed 'Em Dry and had an album's worth of material. After developing a following in the north west and Yorkshire they caught the attention of Heavy Metal records, who added a re-recorded version of The Reaper from the demo. A positive write up in the Kerrang! 'Armed and Dangerous' section preceded a breakup of the initial lineup, with only Nick Bowcott remaining. He recruited Dave Wanklin on bass, Lee Harris on Drums and most importantly, Steve Grimmett on vocals. This lineup won a 1982 Battle of the Bands competition featuring over 100 bands, winning studio time to demo new material. Grimmett was then the unofficial vocalist for Cheltenham's Chateaux, who were signed to Darryl Johnston's Ebony Records label, so he handed them the Grim Reaper demo tape and the band was signed. Their debut album was See You in Hell. The album was released in 1984 and was distributed worldwide through RCA Records.[2][3]

Commercial success (1985–1986)[edit]

Grim Reaper soon became readily identifiable with Bowcott's guitar work and lead vocalist Steve Grimmett's head voice vocals. Their successful world tour included a support show at Texxas Jam playing to over 20,000 people.[4][5] Their 1985 follow-up, Fear No Evil, showed improvement on the production front and also enjoyed moderate success in both the United States and Europe.[6]

Legal battles and later years (1987–1988)[edit]

Legal battles with Ebony Records delayed the release of the band's third album Rock You to Hell by almost two years. The album was released directly through RCA Records in 1987. However, by this time Grim Reaper's melodic heavy metal sound had fallen out of favor as much of the metal market moved toward heavier fare like thrash metal and speed metal. Even the major label distribution and popular video for the title track could not save the band. With the production of their fourth studio album (reportedly to be called Nothing Whatsoever to Do with Hell) about to start, another round of legal action from Ebony Records effectively dealt the death blow to Grim Reaper, subsequently disbanding in 1988.[7]

Side projects (1988–2006)[edit]

Grimmett went on to front Onslaught and Lionsheart, as well as perform on several tribute albums.[2][8] Bowcott became a freelance music writer, and later staff contributor, for publications like Circus and Guitar World. Bowcott also worked with Marshall Amplification's United States division. He also played in the band Barfly who recorded an album with Jack Ponti producing and Michael Wagener mixing for RCA records.[7]

Current (2006–present)[edit]

In 2006, Eddie Trunk announced on Metal Mania that the band has reformed. The "original" lineup of Grim Reaper (without Nick Bowcott) played the Keep It True VI festival in Lauda-Königshoffen on 8 April 2006. The band played the annual MetalBrew festival in London's Mill Hill on Saturday 18 July 2009. Later they were scheduled to play at the Play it Loud IV in Bologna, Italy, in September 2009. The festival was then cancelled when the promoter forfeited, but the band (urged on by a crowd of fans who had already bought tickets) managed to play the date along with a number of originally billed acts (as a single-day event instead of a weekend-spanning one).[9]

The band made a successful appearance at the British Steel festival in Bolognia Italy in November 2010 at the Estragon venue on a bill that included other classic bands of the NWoBHM era - Diamond Head, Girlschool, Demon and Angelwitch. They also played at the Academy Birmingham with the band Jameson Raid.

The current line-up continues to tour the UK and Europe. They did a short tour of Greece and Cyprus in November 2011 and released the Limited Edition "Live in Europe 2011". Festival appearances in 2012 included Sweden's "Muskelrock" and headlining Germany's Sword Brothers.

In spring 2013, Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper released a new studio album, their first since 1987. The band were headliners of that year's British Steel festival in London in June but had to pull out at the last minute.[10] and co-headliners of Belgium's Heavy Sound Festival in November with Tokyo Blade.[11] More European Festivals and a US tours followed in the coming years.

In April 2014, Grim Reaper played their first show in the US since 1987, joined by original guitarist Nick Bowcott, and featured several tracks from the forthcoming album, From Hell.[12]

On 17 January 2017 Grimmett was hospitalized following a show at Piedrahits & Pedro Moncayo in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Surgery followed, which was unsuccessful in defeating an infection in his right leg, so a portion of this leg was amputated on 18 January 2017.[13] The band continues to play, and played an emotional headlining set at Hard Rock Hell's NWOBHM Christmas gig in Sheffield in December that year.[14]

On 25 July 2019 it was announced that Grim Reaper will be releasing an album of all new material in October 2019. the album titled At The Gates is due on 11 October 2019 with a special album launch show to follow the next night, 12 October, at London's Boston Music Rooms. [15]