Infernal Majesty (1986-1993, 1996-present): a Thrash Metal band from Toronto, Canada.
alling Toronto's Yonge Street district home (the actual commercial downtown of Canada) is Infernäl Mäjesty. You can find their name inscribed on the walls, billboards and letterboxes up and down the street to this day. It was in 1986 when a new thrash band would emerge from Toronto, Canada with the members: Rick Nemes (drums), "Psycopath" (bass), Kenny Hallman (guitar), Chris Bailey (vocals) and Steve Terror (guitar). The objective of the band was to create an album of complex Slayer influenced thrash metal. They were originally named Overlord, but within short order they realized that name was already taken and so Infernal Presence was tried and disliked in favor of Infernäl Mäjesty.
The process of their evolution would begin by the recording of a 24 track four-song demo at the Metal Works Studios (which is owned by members of the band Triumph) in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga. The demo didn't really go very far until it was reviewed by a magazine in Europe; they liked it so much the magazine sent a copy to the American label 'Roadrunner', in New York, with a strong recommendation. 'Roadrunner' agreed and quickly presented a record contract. In September 1987 their debut release, None Shall Defy, was issued. For heavy metal productions of the time it was a well-produced album and would become a cult classic, especially in their native Toronto area, with the tracks Overlord (code name for the Normandy Invasion; although any relation in the song is missed), Anthology Of Death (about Jack The Ripper) and Night Of The Living Dead (based on the movie of the same name). The biggest of them all, however, was None Shall Defy, the title track, an almost anthemic song that would become their first video; the audio went much further than the video ever did as few saw it.
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In 1988 Rick Nemes and "Psycopath" left to form Castle Of Pain and were subsequently replaced by Kevin Harrison (drums) and Bob Quelch (bass). Their debut was on a two song demo done at the Wellesley Street Studios in Toronto titled Nigressent Dissolution, which had two tracks: Into the Unknown and Hell; neither would see immediate release. A third 4 song demo was done called Creation of Chaos (featuring Brian Taylor (famous for his work with Sacrifice)), it was only available by mail order via 'Cargo Records'. This work would see another change in the band's line-up;Chris Bailey had left and the replacement Donald "Vinnie" Kuntz performed with them on the tape and on the tour that saw them on stage with Razor, Kreator, Coroner and Death Angel. Their cover version of Night Of The Living Dead, originally done by the Swedish band Dawn, would also see some mild exposure. In return, bands like Christ Denied, Ill Disposed and Goddess of Desire completed covers of Infernäl Mäjesty; it was a productive time for the members of 'Majesty.
Kuntz, for his part, however, would become a local celebrity in Toronto after he was arrested for biting the cheek of Marjorie Robeiro and sucking her blood on 1 September, 1994; she was a young lady he had just met at The Sanctuary, a bar frequented by the local extreme "gothic" clique in Toronto's infamous Queen Street West and Parkdale districts. According the local papers, while being processed at the police station he tried to escape by suddenly lashing out and pulling down a ceiling fan then running out a side door into the cold Toronto streets wearing nothing but underpants and a studded neck collar. That same night, it seems, he tried to go for the world's record of infamy when he even tried to bite off the ear of the officer who recaptured him.
The fiasco of Kuntz' arrest and subsequent trial became known locally as the "Vampire Trial". His defense was that he was intoxicated, but it didn't wash. The headline in the Toronto Sun newspaper on 17 February, 1995 (the day after the trial) said: "Law Bites Bloodsucker". He spent seven months in jail for the charges of Aggravated Assault, Mischief, Assaulting Police and Escaping from Custody. But Kuntz had previously been in "the clink" for other unrelated assault charges and that time had got him his 15 minutes of fame as a guest, via satellite, from his jail cell on the American talk-TV show Sally Jessie Raphael on the topic of "modern day vampires". After all was said and done, he would end off leaving jail and Infernäl Mäjesty to form his own band No Son Of Man. Several years later, in late 2001, Kuntz was apparently found dead of a heroin overdose in the toilet of a Vancouver radio station; he was to appear for a promotional interview of his band.
If their on-again, off-again love affair with Kuntz was their high point then the low was here; at this point, with no record deal and their singer out of action, the band broke up. In 1996 'Roadrunner' decided they were going to have nothing directly to do with Infernäl Mäjesty anymore: it had been some 9 years since their last album release and musically tastes had changed. But the retro-Thrash movement was afoot and many of the old 1980s bands were having a come back so the album was re-licensed by 'Roadrunner' to the small, unknown European record company, 'Displeased', who would re-release the None Shall Defy on CD with the Nigressent Dissolution demo tracks as a bonus. Chris Bailey would then rejoin. There was also talk of an Infernäl Mäjesty tribute album but it never panned out.
Infernäl Mäjesty were also featured with two tracks on the Kanada Compilation with Where Is Your God and Gone The Way Of All Flesh. The compilation record was issued from another obscure record company from Toronto, 'Lifestyle Records', but the compilation was less than a smash hit since its release in mid 1997; the tracks they featured were also limited in that they were shortened versions of the tracks to be featured on band's next album. They then went on a European tour with their newly recruited bass player Chay McMullen, and drummer Kevin Harrison to perform with Malevolent Creation, Vader and Vital Remains.
It was only a few short years later, with still no new music, the band had apparently become dissatisfied of the record deal they had with 'Displeased', and so after yet another tour and return to Canada they signed to the Canadian label 'Hypnotic' and finally released their second album, Unholier Than Thou, in 1998. Another European tour with Malevolent Creation followed. Another would quickly follow that fall, this time featuring Vader, Dark Funeral and Cannibal Corpse; in essence the band had bought themselves some more time after 11 years between record releases
Increasingly, however, fans, most particularly in Canada and their home town Toronto, were becoming more alienated with their inability or unwillingness to market themselves in their homeland. The problem was compounded by their style changes, now influenced more by Death than Thrash, as their latest album showed. The album followed along the same lines as their debut did but showed little advancement since those early days.
Within a year and a half of their Unholier Then Thou release, Chaos In Copenhagen (2000), their first live recording, would be launched. Unholier Than Thou, however, would be re-issued in 2001 with new cover artwork for the US market by 'Big Daddy Records', a release that also featured Night Of The Living Dead as a bonus live track.
In 2002 they got a slot on the all-Canadian compilation Into The Blizzard. 'Hypnotic' for their part would not continue to assist in their career path, so the more black metal influenced follow-up album One Who Points To Death (April 2004) was released via Canada's 'Galy Records' with new members Kris Deboer (bass) and Kiel Wilson (drums; soon replaced by Eric Dubreuil by the recording). The new album finally shedding them of their old Late '80s feel and adopting a more modern look and feel with success. In mid 2005 Bailey left to be replaced by Brian Langley. The following year the act would release the cleverly titled Demon God EP featuring a re-recorded version of S.O.S. featured on their first recording, and guest appearances by vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher (Cannibal Corpse) and guitarist Rob Barrett (Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation).
Bailey would return in 2011. With Bailey very much back, as well as Wilson, the compilation Nigrescent Years of Chaos (2016) and No God would arrive in 2017.
Footnote: Chris Bailey is related to 'Emperor Multimedia' and Diskery founder and author Derek McDonald.
Footnote: As a further note, the 'The Rehearsal Factory', a studio located on St. Nicholas St. (off of Wellesley & Yonge; across the street from an erotic leather shop), where Infernal Majesty used to practice no longer exists and was turned in to a condominium in 2004.
Footnote: Do not confuse this act with HIM (His Infernal Majesty).
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