|Meliah Rage is a band driven by extreme passion for an art form appreciated by many, but misunderstood by the masses. Driving melodic riffage, searing vocals, and hypnotic, tribal rhythms define the art of Metal, the art of Meliah Rage.
Boston-based Meliah Rage was founded in 1987 under the leadership of Anthony Nichols. Influenced by bands like Riot, Metallica, Steel Assassin, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Megadeth, Nichols forged a distinct sound of aggressive, heavy rhythm, searing melodies, and impeccable song structure.
Nichols recruited some of the best musicians in New England to form the original Meliah Rage, and the current lineup continues that tradition. Original members Nichols and Jim Koury, both on guitar, and drummer Stu Dowie have been joined by lead singer Paul Souza and bass player Darren Lourie.
Playing classic thrash medal with an ear for modern grooves is a Meliah Rage hallmark, and their most recent album, The Deep and Dreamless Sleep (Sept. 12, 2006) brings them back into the metal vanguard. Blazing riffs, tight rhythm, and increasingly melodic vocals punctuate this latest effort. The evil genius behind the bands sound and music, Nichols oversaw all aspects of the albums production. Kourys lead guitar riffs are among the best in the business, while Dowies heavy drumming and Louries speed-laden bass provide the heavy baseline for the band. Writing the lyrics, Souzas vocals help give Meliah Rage its new yet classic metal sound heavy verses with a tinge of melody in the choruses.
In the beginning:
Meliah Rage's original lineup featured Nichols and Koury sharing guitar duties, Mike Munro on vocals, Jesse Johnson on bass, and Dowie on the drums. Nichols also served as the primary songwriter. Their powerful shows garnered a local following and helped put the Boston metal scene on the map.
Although determined in his mission of metal, Nichols spent a brief tour with the seminal Boston hardcore band, Gang Green. The association with the band would eventually pay off however, as it led to Meliah Rage's official launch. "The manager for Gang Green took us in, Nichols recalls, and had two major labels look at us within a month. Epic signed us right away.
Epic Records signed Meliah Rage in 1988, and the group recorded their first album, entitled Kill to Survive. The debut melded the bands various influences, and was quite different from anything released at the time. Rather than relying on 2-dimensional, lightning riffing, the band used a more melodic, mid-tempo rhythm, injecting haunting lyrical material that revolved around the frailties of humanity hypocrisy, corruption, abuse.
Meliah Rage toured the US in 1989 with Metal Church, and a video for "Beginning of the End" aired on MTV worldwide. The tour of the United States included stops in over 50 cities, as well as over 40 venues overseas. The live EP Live Kill was recorded during this time in Detroit. In 1990, Meliah Rage recorded their second studio record for Epic, called Solitary Solitude, replete with a music video for "The Witching". After only a few years, the band had already played with metal heavyweights like Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Manowar, Morbid Angel, and Nuclear Assault.
Unfortunately, the musical tide was changing. Grunge replaced metal as the dominant form of rock, and in 1992 Meliah Rage was dropped from Epic. The band rearranged their rhythm section, hiring Keith Vogele on bass and future Godsmack frontman/vocalist Sully Erna for the drums. The new lineup recorded demos and searched for a record deal, but the musical climate was unkind to the metal scene. Meanwhile, Nichols also worked on a side project, titled Cactus Land, with Koury and vocalist Paul Souza. Despite not landing a contract, Nichols collaboration with Souza would prove to be beneficial for the future.
In 1995, Meliah Rage reunited with Nichols, Koury, and Munro, while drummer Dave Barcos and former Wargasm bassist Bob Mayo were recruited to record Death Valley Dream. Released on indie Backstreet Records, the album was well received, and laid the groundwork for a full re-emergence for Meliah Rage.
New lineup, new life:
After releasing Unfinished Business, a collection of B-Sides and reworked studio releases, Nichols set out to lead Meliah Rage into the new millennium. Jesse Johnson, an original member, was brought back on bass, while Barry Spillberg, of Wargasm fame, took over drumming duties. Munro declined an offer to rejoin the band, opting to spend more time with his family. Known for his imposing stature, searing performances, and dark lyrics, replacing Munro would be a daunting task. As luck would have it, Nichols knew the man for the job Paul Souza, his partner from Cactus Land. In 2003, the new lineup recorded Barely Human, an album that combined the elements of classic Meliah Rage with a lean, modern sound. Distributed by Screaming Ferret Wreckords, Barely Human was a huge critical success, landing on many top ten lists, and yielded a music video for the title track.
For their next project, Dowie was brought back into the drumming fold to record The Deep and Dreamless Sleep in 2005. In addition to Stuart returning, the band has added new bassist Darren Lourie to replace Jesse Johnson, who has retired from touring.
Nearly twenty years after their formation, Meliah Rage continues as the standard bearers for the thunderous tradition of metal and the harbingers of a new, dynamic sound. To herald the release of their latest opus "The Deep and Dreamless Sleep", the band started a tour last fall with a bang at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA at the annual Locobazooka Festival, which featured Alice in Chains, Powerman 5000 and a host of others. Radio appearances followed, and the Meliah machine hit the road in January of '07 with West Coast metal merchants Metal Church for a 21-date tour that would see both bands hit major markets from LA all the way to NYC. Dates included one-offs with Overkill and Belladonna, and the tour concluded with a sold-out show at B.B. Kings in New York City with all three of the aforementioned bands. The boys are looking forward to another run at this year's Locofest, which features none other than Heaven and Hell, Alice Cooper, Queensryche, Black Label Society and Shadow's Fall on Sunday, Sept. 9th.
Summer 2008 the band parts ways with Paul Souza and brings back original frontman Mike Munro. A new record is in the works and should be on store shelves in early 2009. Also Metal Church vocalist Ronny Monroe makes a guest apperance on the yet untitled record performing on the song "Last Rites".