Tennessee's Intruder has a very rich history, from their early days as Avatar and Transgresser to the Live To Die release on 'Azra/Iron Works' through the entire 'Metal Blade' era up until now.
The group began as a four-piece cover band that simply played in the basement. They went through name changes, member changes and record label changes, just like most young bands. It wasn't until they signed with 'Metal Blade' and released A Higher Form Of Killing in 1989 that Intruder became a viable force on the suddenly overcrowded Thrash scene. The album featured the thrash classic, Killing Winds, which the label included on its comp ilation, Metallic Overdrive. Drummer John Pieroni took on double duties and sang on the funny cover of (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone, by The Monkees. The stylings of this album was somewhat different then their self-produced little-known debut of Live To Die that was recorded as a quartet in the Speed Metal vein. The 'Metal Blade' years saw Intruder add a rhythm guitarist and make the jump to the popular Thrash Metal style of the day. Their 3-year tenure with 'Metal Blade' was productive for the band as they put out a release for each calendar year. There were two classic Thrash albums that acted as bookends for the very hard to find EP , Escape From Pain. While all the 'Metal Blade' releases are aesthetically pleasing and impressive musically, the record label pretty much let the band fall by the wayside. The label obviously put some money into the band as the amazing Fastner and Larson album covers and lengthy librettos replete with lyrics and thank you lists will attest, but there was very little done in the way of promotion. Nonetheless, Intruder was able to tour for each release in the US, Canada and Mexico and shared stages with the likes of Helstar, Fates Warning, Morbid Angel and D.R.I.
Each Intruder album has its own personality. Psycho Savant, their last al bum is widely regarded as their best effort. Their only 'Metal Blade' release to feature all original songs had leanings more toward Progressive Thrash Metal. Psycho Savant, not only contained some technically proficient playing and excellent songwriting, but also some great lyrics. Drummer/founder/lyricist, John Pieroni, is an avid reader and based a lot of his lyrics on deep books he had been reading at the time. Like many Thrash bands of that era, horror movie influences and non-metal cover tunes also crept their way onto their albums. In fact, Escape From Pain, actually opens up with a remake of Chicago's 25 Or 6 To 4. According the the ba nd, this EP was essentially put out as an excuse to tour. It featured only one brand new song - the title track - an epic number that clocks in at just under 9 minutes. The rest of the offering included three cuts from the Live To Die debut that most fans were not familiar with. One of those tracks, Cold-Blooded Killer, was actually re-recorded at the time as a quintet to give it somewhat of a thrash treatment. The EP was the only one of their 'Metal Blade' releases not to be issued on all three formats of CD, cassette and vinyl. For some reason, Escape From Pain, however, was not released on a record. The act has since broken up but reunites from time to time. Th ey headlined the Classic Metal Fest in Ohio in 2002 and had a headlining spot at the Headbangers Open Air in Germany. They just returned from playing the Keep It True festival in Germany.
The band's membership featured: John Pieroni (Drums), Arthur Vinett (lead guitar), James Hamilton (vocals), Greg Messick (guitar).
Footnote: 'Lost & Found Records' has recently reissued A Higher Form Of Killing! A new 'Best Of...' CD will be released in the spring of 2006. Featuring re-recorded versions of fan-voted-for songs, the release will also include a brand new track and some live tracks as well.