oronto, Canada's Penetrator would perform a style of music not normally seen in those parts: power metal. Their line-up would debut with an impressive pedigree featuring: "Bulldog" Bess Ross, Maxel Black, Glen Drover, David T. Green, and Simon Vanderzand. Penetrator would arrive with their debut Unleash The Fury (2004) and a 6-week US tour in March 2005, then a European Tour that July under the band management of Toronto's 'Metal Queen'. Their self-titled release would follow in mid 2005 as a re-badged version of Unleash The Fury, now as self-titled, on Greece's 'Sonic Age Records'. The label would also release a promo EP of the same name featuring album tracks 1, 2 & 4 only. Their debut video, Adulteress, would follow that same year when "Ogie Dawg" (Real Name: Brian Murphy) took over from Vanderzand. Vanderzand would be back, however, for the recording of their 2006 independent opus Voo Doom. Redge Adolph would take the drum stool after the album recording. Green would also leave soon after.
As it would happen the band was out of commission for almost a year, at least to the public eye, when Green would return, as well as Vanderzand, at least for live shows. But live shows were slow in coming at this stage and when the Metal Church show in Toronto was cancelled for January of 2007 the band essentially imploded with Green, Vanderzand and Black leaving within short order of each other.
Maxel Black was already courting a new thrash metal styled band dubbed Krakatoa (named after the famous volcano) featuring also T.C. Smith (guitars), Frankie Caracci (guitars), Fernando Villalobos (drums) and eventually Darryl Cowgill (bass), a band who made their public debut at the Gladstone Hotel ballroom on January 20th, 2007. Penetrator was officially declared dead two weeks later.
The individual bios:
Left-handed "Bulldog" Bess Ross (ex-Anvil (on their Metal On Metal album as a song writer)/ex-Brawl/ex-Travelin' War; guitar) started with a 1972 Fender Telecasater he received at his Bar Mitzvah at age 12; he has since come to own 5. His first influence seeing Jimi Hendrix on The Ed Sullivan Show. Bess joined Crud, his first band in high school, and took guitar lessons from Jazz guitarist Lorne Lofsky, and violinist/music writer Ben Mink. But his life changed when he met Tony Iommi while Iommi was in Toronto recording for of Black Sabbath's Never Say Die album. The two became friends, Iommi even joining young Bess at his parent's home for dinner and used some of Bess' guitars in the recording. Having a common interest in guitars, Iommi invited Bess to Europe as his personal guitar tech. for the European leg of the Never Say Die tour. Bess has since proven to be a renowned showman, songwriter and producer in his own right.
Oshawa, Ontario born Maxel Black (Real Name: Matthew Brearton; ex-Maniacal/ex-Mastery; vocals/songwriter/lyricist) would be known for his powerful voice and live presence. After finishing high school and being featured in a local metal band in Windsor, Ontario, Maxel left for Toronto. Recording credits thereafter included working with several Toronto acts, including Mastery on their The Triad release after meeting Swiss guitarist Marcus Armellini in Toronto. He would also play with Maniacal on their Sinkhole To Hell, an album featuring layered harmonic guitar riffs by Glen Drover (of King Diamond/ex-Eidolon/ex-Megadeth). But after meeting Bess Ross at a local Dio concert the pair collaborated to become the founding members of Penetrator.
Playing professionally since 16, Simon Vanderzand (ex-Static Eden/ex-The Love Letter Refuge; drums/engineer/co-producer) recorded the Penetrator debut CD at his studio: The Sound Lounge. In 2005, however, he would be replaced by local drummer "Ogie Dawg" who had been inspired to take up drums at 6 after seeing Buddy Rich on the Johnny Carson show. But more recently, after coming off tour with Buddy Guy's Legends, he returned to his metal roots to join Penetrator.
bassist David T. Green grew up in Oakville, Ontario, but later found himself on Vancouver Island where he met up with a few musicians that convinced him to sell his BMX bike and buy a bass guitar. Dave's influences are derived from bass players like Geezer Butler, Billy Sheehan and Steve Harris (of Iron Maiden); his copy of The Number Of The Beast was all but worn out while he soaked up all of the bass. His thundering bass lines and "in your face" stage presence haven't gone unnoticed in the Penetrator lineup as co-writer of Penetrator's assault attack style of music.
Footnote: In 2005, Penetrator produced their first and only video: Adulteress. Although it is believed someone inside the production firm slipped it on-line, an earlier cut - non broadcast version, was pirated to YouTube - and is there to this day. Nobody has ever pursued the matter because it was the version the band and participants of the video liked better anyway. Diskery author and founder Derek McDonald (a.k.a. "Skel") is a good friend of Maxel Black and is featured on that 2005 video. Adulteress was filmed at the Gladstone Hotel in downtown Toronto. McDonald received credits for acting, site location, wardrobe (including his personal clothing used in the video), and assistance in editing. The only 'official' (final edit) version of the video was featured on McDonald's Polishing of Metal compilation in late 2006; his is 'official' since, as part of his participation, he received a limited right to release contract.
Footnote: Not to be confused with the French band of the same name.
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Maxel Black of Penetrator during the 'Adultress' video shoot.
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