From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GenresHeavy metal, doom metal, hard rock, progressive rock[1]
Years active1970–1973; 2016–present
Associated actsBlack Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne
MembersJohn Marcangelo
Frank Hall
Banjo Cunanan
Dean Newton
John Branch
Past membersBarry Dunnery
Dennis McCarten
Bill Branch

Necromandus are an English rock band from Egremont, Cumberland, England. They were formed in 1970 and were discovered by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath in 1972. After recording one album in 1973, they split up. The album was not released until 1999. In 2007 they were mentioned by Classic Rock magazine as a "lost pioneer" of heavy metal.[2] Author Ian Christe has cited the band as one of the earliest doom metal groups.[3]


In 1968, two West Cumbrian bands, Jug and Heaven, broke up. Members from both bands, Barry "Baz" Dunnery (lead guitar), Dennis McCarten (bass), Frank Hall (drums), and singer Bill Branch, formed a heavy progressive blues outfit they called Hot Spring Water. They were briefly renamed Taurus before settling on Necromandus after a radio show asked their audience for name suggestions. In 1972, after extensive gigging and a failure to release a record, they caught the ear of Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, who began managing the group.[4]

In early 1973, Necromandus, under Iommi's guidance, recorded the album Orexis of Death at London's Morgan Studio. Iommi also added some guitar to the title track. A deal was arranged with Vertigo and the band began opening for Sabbath as well as Tony Kaye's Badger. Dunnery left the band in 1973, and as a result the album was shelved by Vertigo.[5] Necromandus continued to receive praise and support, with Ozzy Osbourne initially wanting Necromandus's guitarist, bassist and drummer for his Blizzard of Ozz project.[6] Dennis McCarten, Barry Dunnery, and Frank Hall were in fact the Original Blizzard Of Ozz with Osbourne in 1977.

Dunnery and Hall founded the cover band Nerves, with Dunnery leaving to join the ELO offshoot Violinski in 1976.[7] Dunnery and Hall also played together in the new wave of British heavy metal band Hammerhead, although Dunnery's stint was brief.

The only surviving member of Necromandus is Frank Hall. Dennis McCarten (born 1950) died of a kidney illness in December 2004,[8] and Barry Dunnery (the elder brother of Francis Dunnery) died on 29 May 2008 from cancer, at the age of 56.[9] The date of Bill Branch's death is currently unknown (William J Branch was born 21 Mar 1950, died Jun 1995, see his entry at FamilySearch).[10]

In 2016 the band has been reformed with a new line-up to record a new album, that is based on some recordings the band made in 1975. It is scheduled to a 2017 release.[11]


Hailing the band as "the second Sabbath" but with a prog edge, Melody Maker called Necromandus "a sort of Black Sabbath play Yes' greatest hits".[citation needed]


Current members[edit]

  • John Branch – vocals (2016–present)
  • Frank Hall – drums (1970–1973, 2016–present)
  • Dean Newton – guitar (2016–present)
  • John Marcangelo – keyboards (2016–present)
  • Paul Spedding – bass (2017–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Bill Branch – vocals (1970–1973; died 1995)
  • Barry Dunnery – guitar (1970–1973; died 2008)
  • Dennis McCarten – bass (1970–1973; died 2004)


  • Quicksand Dream (1991, alternative version of Orexis of Death)
  • Orexis of Death (1999, recorded 1973)
  • Necrothology (best of, 2001)[12]
  • Live (2005)
  • Orexis of Death Plus... (reissue, 2005)
  • Orexis of Death / Live (reissue, 2010)
  • Necromandus (2017)


  1. ^ "NECROMANDUS discography (top albums), MP3, videos and reviews". Retrieved 29 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Sleazegrinder (March 2007). "The Lost Pioneers of Heavy Metal". Classic Rock.
  3. ^ Christe (2003), pg. 345, "Beginning with the overlooked Lucifer's Friend and Necromandus in the early 1970s, Doom crawled through the 1980s with Trouble, Witchfinder General, The Obsessed, Candlemass, Pentagram, and Saint Vitus, then into the 1990s with Cathedral, Sleep, and Burning Witch."
  4. ^ "Necromandus". Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Cumbrian Bands & Groups of The 60's". Retrieved 29 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "We should have been as big as Ozzy".
  7. ^ "Nerves". Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Doc Rock. "2004 July to December". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 29 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2008 January to June". Retrieved 29 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "News & Star | Features | People | We should have been as big as Ozzy". 25 March 2010. Archived from the original on 30 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Necromandus Music". Retrieved 29 May 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Eduardo Rivadavia. "Necromandus | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)


External links[edit]