Sunday, January 2, 2011


The origins of the New Zealand-based speed metal band Shihad date back to 1985, when guitarist Jon Toogood and drummer Tom Larkin formed their first group, Exit, while attending high school in the Wellington area. Various other aspiring musicians came and went, but by the middle of 1988, with the addition of guitarist Phil Knight and bassist Geoff Duncan and a change to the name Shihad, the group was ready to begin playing live.

(According to legend, while covering the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." during their debut performance, they blew out the club's P.A. system.) Duncan quickly exited, and after a few false starts bassist Hamish Laing was tapped as his permanent replacement; the group soon made their recorded debut with "Down Dance," the flipside to a split single with the Angels. Shihad's debut EP, Devolve, appeared in mid-1991, and to the surprise of many reached the New Zealand Top 20; Laing soon departed, and was replaced by bassist Karl Kippenberger. 1992 was a hiatus year, with Toogood and Larkin forming a side project, SML, with Head Like a Hole's Nigel Regan. When Shihad resurfaced with 1993's Churn, their sound had grown more industrial; influenced by the likes of Skinny Puppy and Einsturzende Neubauten, the group even began experimenting with samplers. The results were immediately positive -- not only did the LP reach the Top Ten, but the single "I Only Said" hit number three. The follow-up, 1995's Killjoy, was also hugely successful, and was followed in 1996 by the EP Deb's Night Out. Shihad's self-titled third LP followed in 1998. Nearly four years later, Shihad changed their name to Pacifier and headed to L.A. to make a fifth album.