The San Francisco Bay Area has produced what is arguably the greatest lineage Heavy Metal in the 30-odd years of the peteras Rainbow, the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) and the first wave of Thrash Metal (Metallica and Exodus), Heathen was formed in late 1984 by Russian-born Lee Altus (guitars) and Carl Sacco (drums). Vocalist Sam Kress and guitarist Jim Sanguinetti joined the duo and this primordial version of Heathen played one gig in April 1985. Within the year, Kress and Sanguinetti (who moved on to Mordred)were replaced with Dave White of Blind Illusion and Doug Piercy of Anvil Chorus/Control; and Eric Wong (Specter) was enlisted as Heathen's first bass player. This revamped lineup of Heathen debuted at the Mabuhay Gardens in SanpeterHeadbangers' Ball.HEATHEN GENRES
Breaking The Silence went on to sell close to 100,000 copies worldwide. Carl Sacco was replaced by Darren Minter from Dissident Aggressor and a headlining tour across America followed. In late 1988 Dave White was briefly replaced with Exodus's Paul Baloff and Mike Jastremski left the band soon after to form Pigs. The following year White returned to the band and Heathen gigged with a rotating bass slot, including Vern McElroy and Manny Bravo.
In 1991 Heathen's sophomore record Victims Of Deception was issued on Roadracer Records. With four years between albums, the band had crafted some of the best material to come out of the Bay Area. The musical progress was evident in the complex double harmony sections backed with frantic solos and complex rhythms; Darren Minter's drumming was a fast-paced Thrash assault compared to his predecessor's more calculated style and Dave White's vocal performance was top notch: the trappings of an epic album. Marc Biedermann from Blind Illusion played bass on the record as a guest (because the position had not been filled) and Thaen Rasmussen from Anvil Chorus also did some lead work on Prisoners of Fate and Guitarmony, which he co-wrote with Doug Piercy.
In the summer of 1991 Heathen embarked on their first European tour, in support of Victims Of Deception, opening for Sepultura. The band had finally broken out of America and was well-received by the fans throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. Soon after returning home, Heathen was to begin rehearsing for their West Coast tour. Unfortunately, Randy Laire and his girlfriend Mya were involved in a fatal car accident. After grieving their deaths, Heathen began a search to fill the vacant bass spot. Ohio native Jason Viebrooks was recruited to replace Laire. Following this, Doug Piercy was replaced by Ira Black. The band started recording what was to be an EP including covers from the likes of Queen, Thin Lizzy, Sweet Savage, Tygers of Pan Tang and an original tune as a tribute to their departed bandmate and David's brother Jeffrey, who also passed away while the band was in Europe. Thaen Rasmussen was also
included in this project. Unfortunately, these recordings were not finished at the time.
During the years that followed Lee Altus sought an opportunity cutting a few records with German industrial monsters Die Krupps. Dave White briefly fronted Bay Area locals Inner Threshold; Ira Black more recently joined Vicious Rumours and Jason Viebrooks went on to Dave Lombardo's Grip Inc. Darren Minter played on one Die Krupps record and later on with Soul Motor and Sideswipe (who recently signed to Columbia Records). Heathen seemed a distant memory until, ironically, unfortunate circumstances heralded their return.
In the summer of 2001, Heathen regrouped with most of the 1992 line-up (with Mike "Yaz" Jastremski back) and took part in Chuck Billy's Thrash Of The Titans to raise funds for the Testament frontman's cancer treatment. The concert was a great success, drawing fans from all over the world. Soon after, Heathen was invited to play in Hamburg, Germany for the 2002 Wacken festival. Heathen received great reviews and has been re-energized. Ending the year of 2003, Heathen went back in to the studio with co-producer Rob Beaton to finish the unfinished material as well as adding their four-song Opiate of the Masses demo, which includes tracks from the Victims of Deception album. All of this material is to be released in the new year, 2004. Recovered is the title of this upcoming album release.
In 2005, Heathen released a demo on the internet. Heathen's 2 studio albums are available for download at http://www.heathenmetal.com/ and the demo is available on their forums; http://www.heathenmetal.com/phpbb2/. However, Heathen are still currently in negotiations for a record deal. Despite this, a DVD is being produced at this time, and a one song clip is available for download on the forums.
HEATHEN LYRICAL THEMES
Society, Politics, Religion
United States of America (Sonora, San Francisco (Bay Area), CA), formed in 1984
HEATHEN CURRENT RECORD LABEL
HEATHEN CURRENT LINE-UP
David White (aka David Godfrey) - Vocals (Blind Illusion, Inner Threshold, Laughing Dead) (1985-88, 89-92, 2001-)
Lee Altus - Guitar (Angel Witch, Exodus) (1984-92, 2001-)
Jon Torres - Bass (Angel Witch, Lääz Rockit, Ulysses Siren, Warning S.F., I4NI, The Lord Weird Slough Feg) (2002-)
HEATHEN PREVIOUS LINE-UP
Sam Kress (1985) (R.I.P Dec. 2006)
David Wayne (Metal Church, Reverend,Intrinsic) (1989) (R.I.P. 10.05.05)
Paul Baloff (April 5th 1960 - R.I.P February 2nd 2002, stroke) (Piranha, Exodus, Hirax, Spastic Children, Killparty) (1988)
Sven Sonderlund - Touring Guitars (Mercenary (US))
Terry Lauderdale - Guitar (Sabotage, Die Sieger) (2005-07)
Ira Black (Vicious Rumors, Bralalalala, Doom Society, Lizzy Borden, Chris Caffery, Pornucopia) (1991-92, 2001-2004)
Doug Piercy (Spastik Children, Parryzide, Angel Witch, Anvil Chorus, The Company, Control) (1985-91)
Thaen Rasmussen (Control, (Anvil Chorus) (1991-92)
Jim Sanguinetti (Mordred (US)) (1985)
Mike ''Yaz'' Jastremski (Griffin (US)) (1986-88, 2001-2004) (R.I.P. 23/05/2005, heart attack)
Jason Vie Brooks (Grip Inc., The Allknowing) (1991)
Manny Bravo (1989)
Vern McElroy (1989)
Marc Biedermann (Blind Illusion) (1989)
Eric Wong (1985-86) (Piranha, LAughing Dead, Ruffians)
Randy Laire (R.I.P.) (1991)
Carl Sacco (Metal Church, Murder (US)) (1984-88)
Darren Minter (Angel Witch, Brutal Groove) (1988-92, 2001-07)
Marc Biedermann - Bass (Blind Illusion) (1991)