High Roller Records, slipcase, 20 page booklet, Original studio reel transfer by Eroc. audio restoration and mastering by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in August 2019. Originally formed by guitarist Phil Odins in Rochdale in 1978, Dragonslayer started life as Heavy Thunder and featured Dave and Gary Walker (vocals and drums respectively) and bassist Steve Morgan. After just one gig, on 5 November 1978 at Ashfield Valley, Dave Walker was replaced by Tony Manwell and Heavy Thunder morphed from a Black Sabbath-adoring covers act into a band in its own right. Ex-Turbo guitarist Ian Blackburn joined Heavy Thunder for a short stint and, as by now the band had the song ‘The Slayer’ in their arsenal, was possibly behind the suggestion that they change their name to Slayer. Without Blackburn once more and now with Bob Carol on drums, Slayer recorded an eight-track demo in 1982, and followed this with a three-track EP at the end of the following year, recorded with another new drummer, Dave Philips. However, before the band had received the finished record from the pressing plant ‘Show No Mercy’, the debut album by the Californian thrashers of the same name, appeared in the shops. Forced into a name change, but not wishing to stray too far from their original title, Manwell, Odins, Morgan and Philips became Dragonslayer – as they are now most well-known – in January 1984. A final seven-track demo tape followed in 1985 (although is universally known as ‘The 1986 Demo’) but Dragonslayer found themselves swimming against the tide, and the band played their final gig – again, bizarrely, back at Ashfield Valley, where it all started – in the summer of 1987. ‘Dragon Drums’ features both demos in full and the three EP tracks, as well as a new interview with Phil Odins in which he sets out to correct inaccurate information from previous releases.
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