Demolition Hammer is an American death/thrash metal act. Notorious for their extremely heavy yet fairly complex and technical compositions and the instantly recognizable styles of Steve Reynolds and Vinny Daze, they were only around for a short period of time, but they have become an adored act by newer generations of metal fans, who were clamoring for a reunion for years and finally got it in 2016.
Formed in the Bronx in 1986 by Steve Reynolds (vocals, bass) and James Reilly (guitar), the band did not do much of anything until 1988, when John Salerno joined on drums and they finally became a proper trio (Dennis Munoz, who later formed Solstice, was also briefly a member in 1987, but he never did anything with them either). They wasted no time in recording a demo, Skull Fracturing Nightmare, which was released that same year, though Salerno left by the end of the year. That wasn't a problem, however, as they found Derek Sykes (guitar) and Vincent "Daze" Civitano in 1989, which created the classic Demolition Hammer lineup. The Necrology demo was released that same year and managed to snag them a deal with Century Media Records. Tortured Existence quickly followed in 1990 along with various tours, and the band quickly gained a reputation as an up-and-comer to look out for. 1991 brought even more touring along with the prospect of a new album, and by March of 1992, Epidemic of Violence dropped to great critical acclaim. More tours followed, but by 1993, Reilly and Daze both left to form Deviate NY; Mike Usifer and Alex Marquez took their spots, but there was a bigger problem: they were already going out of style. Thrash as a commercially viable genre was dead, and while they had enough death metal in their sound to fit in with full-fledged death metal acts, they weren't close enough to it to be able to survive that way. The band was essentially done by 1994, though Reynolds, Sykes, and Marquez were recording material for what was intended to be a new project; their label insisted on releasing the material under the Demolition Hammer name, however, and so Time Bomb saw the light of day that same year. The band did nothing in support of it and moved on, and the only other bit of news that followed was Daze's death from globefish poisoning in 1996. Marquez kept busy with Solstice and various other projects, but Demolition Hammer was all but forgotten about.
Then the Internet-fueled rediscovery of various classic bands began to occur sometime in the early to mid 2000s, and one of those bands happened to be Demolition Hammer. While the few people who remembered them still spoke fondly of them, it was younger fans who helped bring their name back into focus. Perhaps in response to this, Century Media reissued all three albums as Necrology: A Complete Anthology in 2008. While Time Bomb was widely disliked, people were quite happy to be able to own the first two without having to shell out hundreds of dollars on eBay or dig through torrents. Calls for a reunion were beginning to be made, and while they fell on largely deaf ears for a while, an official Facebook page was created at some point later on that posted numerous classic live photos, fliers, and videos, and direct interaction with fans was also common. Rumors started kicking around that a reunion could actually be in the works; Solstice's appearance at Maryland Deathfest in 2015, which featured a cover of ".44 Caliber Brain Surgery" that was kicked off with an announcement that Reynolds and Sykes were present, seemed to substantiate this, and the biggest clue yet came on February 13, 2016, when the band's Facebook page posted a photo of a guitar, a bass, and several amps ready to go, which was taken as an admission that yes, a reunion really was happening. As of March 21, 2016, the new lineup has officially been announced; Reynolds, Reilly, and Sykes are all returning, along with newcomer Angel Cotte on drums.
- Skull Fracturing Nightmare (1988) - demo
- Necrology (1989) - demo
- Tortured Existence (1990)
- Epidemic of Violence (1992)
- Time Bomb (1994)
- Necrology: A Complete Anthology (2008) - compilation
This band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Bald of Awesome: Angel Cotte.
- Big Applesauce: From the Bronx.
- The Black Death: "Crippling Velocity"
- Contemptible Cover: Tortured Existence, featuring a VERY graphic representation of what happens to the visage of a Man on Fire.
- Cover Version: They covered "Postmortem" live in their early days.
- Death Metal: Has prominent elements of this even though they don't qualify as a full-fledged example, and they usually toured with death metal acts back when they were a touring band.
- Driven to Suicide: ".44 Caliber Brain Surgery"
- Gorn: "Skull Fracturing Nightmare"
- Groove Metal: Time Bomb
- Human Popsicle: "Gelid Remains"
- In Name Only: Time Bomb was supposed to be a new band, but it was instead released as a Demolition Hammer album because Century Media would not agree to anything else.
- Lead Bassist: Steve Reynolds is a Type B and a Type C.
- Lead Drummer: Vinny Daze's powerful, insistent, and precise drumming style formed an important stylistic trademark.
- Metal Scream: Steve Reynolds is a Type 1.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 9 for most of their career, occasionally entered into a 10. Their earliest material was a hard 8.
- Motor Mouth: Steve Reynolds' specialty.
- New Sound Album: Time Bomb was a Genre Shift to groove metal, though it was never intended to be a Demolition Hammer album to begin with.
- Ripped from the Headlines: "Infectious Hospital Waste" was written about the illegal dumping and subsequent massive garbage slicks of medical waste that formed on various New York and New Jersey beaches in the late 1980s.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Steve Reynolds' lyrics display a fairly florid vocabulary.
- Start My Own: Onetime member Dennis Munoz started Solstice (the US death/thrash act, not the UK doom metal act) in 1990, while Reilly and Daze started Deviate NY in 1993.
- Thrash Metal: Probably one of the heaviest acts in the genre.