Atomkraft (1979-1988, 2005-present): a NWOBHM band from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


he roots of Atomkraft date to mid-1978, when Tony "Demolition" Dolan (bass/vocals/guitars) and Paul Spillett (drums) got together to form a band initially using the name Moral Fibre and playing punk. Recruiting guitarists Ian Legg and Chris Taylor; later recruiting Ian Legg then left and was replaced by Sean Drew who also subsequently left. However, the band continued to operate as a trio.

Returning from a trip to Bremen, Germany, Taylor presented his bandmates with some button badges featuring the environmental slogan "Atomkraft, Nein Danke!" (Nuclear Power, No Thanks!). Liking the way the word "Atomkraft" sounded, the adopted it as the band name, believing it suits the new "metal" sound they pursued. In a cruel twist of faste, however, and in pursuit of that heavier, more "metal" sound, the band decided to replace Taylor to eventually settle on Steve White, whom Dolan knew from his art class at college. Another member of Dolan's art class, Mark Irvine (bass) soon after joined.

With Dolan on rhythm guitar and vocals and Spillett on drums, the new line-up started to play shows. Irvine's parents disapproved of his heavy metal image and lifestyle, persuading him to quit the band. Dolan switched back to bass, but the band stayed together. However, after a brief visit to Canada, where Spillett joined Dolan who was living with his sister, the pair were driven apart by conflict over a girl after returning to England. White soon left also, for personal reasons.

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After a set of demos dating back to 1981, Atomkraft would sign to 'Neat' in 1985 to follow in the footsteps of label mates Venom except for taking a more speed metal bent, indeed, becoming one of the first consistently UK band of the style. This signing occurred while Dolan was on a visit to 'Neat Records' and asked if anyone could recommend a new drummer, Dolan met Cronos of Venom who informed him that Ged Wolf (the brother of Venom's manager) was looking for a band having just left the heavy metal act Tysondog. Dolan and Wolf auditioned for a guitarist. Finally a then 16-year-old guitar player, Rob Mathew, joined and this became the new Atomkraft line-up. The band began working on the new material that Dolan had been writing, and went on to record the Pour the Metal In demo at 'Neat Records'' Studio, featuring three tracks, Pour the Metal In, Burn in Hell and Carousel. The demo was sent to various fanzines and received a good response. Dave Woods of 'Neat Records' heard the demo and offered them a deal.

So, featuring the membership of Tony "Demolition Man" Dolan (vocals/bass), Ged Wolf (drums) and Rob Mathew (guitars), Atomkraft would launch their debut, Future Warriors, in 1985. The album unfortunately failed to live up to the high standards of acts like Metallica and Slayer that were emerging out of America.

After lengthy touring and a couple more demos, Atomkraft prepared and recorded a new EP, with the tracks Your Mentor on the A-side and Demolition, Funeral Pyre and Mode III on the B-side. The EP did not get released in this form, as a rift developed in the band as a result of discussions over management. Dolan subsequently left the band. 'Neat' then released the track Your Mentor as part of the Powertrax promotional cassette, while the vocal tracks on the rest of the Your Mentor sessions were re-recorded by Ian Davison-Swift from Avenger. D.C. Rage (Real Name: Darren Cook from the band Avenger) was brought in as bassist and two new tracks were recorded, with the new four-piece, in the form of Queen Of Death and Protector (although Alan Hunter of Tysondog had originally contributed vocals to Protector). In October 1986, the re-titled Queen Of Death EP was released with the title track and Protector on the A-side, and Demolition, Funeral Pyre and Mode III on the B-side. A re-recording of the track Future Warriors, with Davison-Swift on vocals was also licensed for future inclusion in a compilation. With touring commitments lining up for the band, Dolan was subsequently invited to rejoin the band as rhythm guitarist, making Atomkraft a five piece outfit for their upcoming shows.

The new line-up recorded the mini-album Conductors of Noize (1987), and then promoted the record as part of support to Agent Steel and Nuclear Assault. The first date of the tour, at the Hammersmith Odeon featured an expanded line-up of Max Penalty, Atomkraft, Onslaught, Nuclear Assault and Agent Steel, and was promoted as The Longest Day. Atomkraft's performance was filmed for the Live Conductors video as well as being recorded for a live BBC radio broadcast. They also played Dynamo Festival alongside Testament, Destruction and Stryper with the show going out live on Dutch radio. Dolan then left to join Venom. Their albums were still not making the grade sales wise and the band split in 1988.

In 2004, 'Sanctuary Records' (who had previously acquired the 'Neat Records' back catalog) released an Atomkraft anthology. With renewed interest in the band, Dolan the act for live dates in 2005 and, after a couple of compilations, he would release, Cold Sweat (2011) along side Steve Mason (drums) and Payre Hulkoffgarden (guitars).

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Nation UK
Location Newcastle upon Tyne
Other Genres Speed Metal, Heavy Metal
Formations 2
Active Years 1979-1988, 2005-
Last Modified 2023-10-29
Diskery ID 969

Artists Linked to Atomkraft

Agent Steel Destruction Metallica
Nuclear Assault Onslaught Slayer
Stryper Testament Venom

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