Stuka Squadron

NEW ALBUM:

"ZEPPELIN"

"Zeppelin" is the second full-length album from "everyone's favorite garlic-dodging anti-heroes" (Metal Hammer, UK), the London-based vampire metal act, STUKA SQUADRON. The band is well known as one of the progenitors of the NWOTHM and has been working on this comeback album for nearly a decade after facing tribulations following the release of "Tales of the Ost" in 2011. This new record shifts the action forward (or perhaps back) from the World War II-themed debut, as our heroes pursue a most ancient Enemy of Mankind all the way back to 1916. It's a heavy metal tale of time travel, The Great War, airships and the Stuka pilots' showdown with the notorious Rasputin himself. It consists of 13 tracks of Maiden-esque and highly varied metallic mayhem. The songs are skillfully crafted with elegant melodies, clever wordplay, bang-your-head riffs and bang-your-fist choruses, and an absolute absence of cheese. STUKA SQUADRON have grown as songwriters since their debut, and the current line-up is poised to please old fans anew and convert newcomers in droves. So, check out the greatest metal band ever formed by undead pilots who flew in World War II... If you crave epic and inspiring metal along the lines of IRON MAIDEN, BLIND GUARDIAN, ICED EARTH, DEMONS & WIZARDS, HELL, SAXON, SAVATAGE, ASKA and SAVAGE CIRCUS, "Zeppelin" is for you!

RELEASE DATE:

December 2023

BIOGRAPHY:
The nucleus of STUKA SQUADRON formed when Lord Pyre (formerly of RAISING CAIN) invited Duke Fang (CENTURION'S GHOST) to record some tracks at the underground lair of Der Mastergoth in mid-late 2007. The first track was "We Drink Blood", which immediately received airplay on Totalrock radio in the UK. This was shortly followed by the remainder of the "We Drink Blood" EP, which was recorded in late 2007 and early 2008 while Pyre was on leave from Iraq. Two of the songs on the EP, "One-Eyed God King" and "Stuka Squadron" were partly written during rocket attacks on Pyre's bases in Baghdad.

The band's line-up was completed in mid 2008, with the addition of guitarists Gravedigger Cox and Zabulon, and drummer Alessandro Explosion. The theme was World War II, the look being inspired by a mix of Luftwaffe and other German-looking elements conveniently available in most metal fans' wardrobes. This is in line with the band's continuing philosophy of only accepting vampires who previously served as Stuka pilots in World War II. Then as now the band always has an appropriate show, featuring swords, smoke machines and at least one sacrifice of a band member per show (with appropriate blood). STUKA SQUADRON debuted live on 8th November 2008 at The Star in South Harrow with ASOMVEL, and was immediately met with acclaim from music journalists.

In April 2009, "We Drink Blood' featured on Metal Hammer's "New Wave of Trad Metal" cover mount CD, a selection of bands chosen by the famous music journalist Geoff Barton, as representative of the NWOTHM (which also included bands like WOLF, BULLET and ENFORCER). The song was heavily requested in underground metal clubs in the UK. Then in June 2009, "Stuka Squadron" featured on Classic Rock Magazine's "NWOTHM: The New Wave of Heavy Metal' cover mount CD. This included tracks from GRAND MAGUS, THE DEVIL'S BLOOD and POWERWOLF (the latter of whom of course mysteriously wrote a track called "We Drink Your Blood' shortly after the CD's release).

The band began to gig and tour relentlessly, racking up around 100 gigs between late 2008 and early 2010, while simultaneously working on what would become the "Tales of the Ost" album. In particular, they enjoyed residencies at The Unicorn in Camden and The Star in Harrow (both London) and enjoyed bringing the likes of THE LAMP OF THOTH, ASOMVEL and CONQUEST OF STEEL amongst many others to London. The most heavily attended show the band played was at the Camden Garage with EVILE in London in September 2009.

The heavy schedule began to lead to inevitable wastage of members. Zabulon succumbed to an alcohol-related gig incident (which inspired the track "Zabulon's Inferno", about which various conspiracy theories have appeared in the media since). He was replaced by Count Axis, who himself was replaced by Terrorsound (George Stergiou of ANGEL NATION, SANGUINEM, IDES OF MARCH etc.) in late 2009. Alessandro Explosion was replaced by Graf Hexenghast (Nick Tingle of DI PROFUNDIS), then essentially by a revolving drum stool.

The original version of "Tales of the Ost" was self-released by the band in June 2011. This led to an immediate slew of good reviews in national magazines and heavy radio airplay on rock stations. In addition, the band was approached by Larry Paterson (formerly in BLAZE BAYLEY, currently in ALCATRAZZ and others). Larry joined the band in late 2011, and reisuued the album on his label, Metalbox Recordings, while Anna Di Laurenzo of ADL Management (part of the same company) was appointed to manage the band.

By this point STUKA SQUADRON were playing regular gigs organised by the London music press including headlining a Halloween show for Terrorizer at the Dev in October and a show sponsored by Zero Tolerance Magazine at the Camden Underworld with HYSTERICA and NIGHTLORD in November 2011. "Tales of the Ost" received excellent reviews, including "Song of the Year" in Classic Rock magazine and was included in various "Top ten albums of the year" by a number of magazines and journalists. In March 2012, STUKA SQUADRON embarked on the March Across England Tour across England and Scotland with an appearance on the cover of Metal Hammer as it was in progress. In between, they began to work on what eventually became the "New Sound of War" album.

A second tour followed in May 2012, including an apocalyptic sell-out show at Scruffy Murphy's in Birmingham and a show at the Powermad Festival with EVIL SCARECROW and IMPERIAL VENGEANCE, and Metalgods Festival in Mansfield. In addition, the band then played a number of dates in Germany and Switzerland including a warm-up show for Headbangers Open Air.

At this point a number of issues arose. ADL Management had forced the removal of Terrorsound in May 2012. Other issues included Metalbox Recordings' insistence on using a substandard studio to record the successor album to "Tales of the Ost" although STUKA SQUADRON were cash rich from the previous album, perceived injustices in writing credits, and the sudden disappearance of the band's earnings. After three years of travelling from Den Haag, the Netherlands, to West London for rehearsals, Lord Pyre was perceptibly suffering burnout and was dismayed by the direction of the new album.

Lord Pyre was fired from STUKA SQUADRON in July 2012 and the band embarked on fresh tours of the UK. This included an appearance at Hammerfest V in March 2013 alongside CANDLEMASS, ENSLAVED and NAPALM DEATH. "New Sound of War" was released on 26th November 2012. However, the album was coolly received by the music press. In addition, the band was forced by legal action to release it under a new name, IRON KNIGHTS.

"New Sound of War" received poor reviews, and IRON KNIGHTS suffered from a number of issues. Other band members had already become disaffected with Larry Paterson's watering down of the image and constant touring demands. Audience sizes had diminished considerably from the band's heyday. Gravedigger Cox and Duke Fang therefore left the band following a European tour with VICIOUS RUMORS in mid-2014.

STUKA SQUADRON reformed with Terrorsound and Lord Pyre later that year. Between 2014 and 2018, the band continued to gig sporadically and record new material. However, recording sessions were slowed by continual re-recording of vocals which made completing a new album impossible. Nevertheless, they continued to play, including an appearance for BBC television and short tours of England playing "Tales of the Ost" in its entirety. Finally in 2018, Duke Fang returned to Australia, bringing that line-up to a close.

In 2019, Count Axis proposed a new STUKA SQUADRON album and started working on new material. Captain Strange (Dave Hartley of WINTER'S EDGE, EMERSIS, DENDERA and others) joined as a vocalist shortly afterwards. The new line-up completed what is the 13-track "Zeppelin" album over a period of three years. Early in 2023, Captain Strange and Lord Pyre commenced putting the touring band together. Other new members include Max Flieger (drums), Generalissimo Strix (guitar) and Klauss Von Orlok (guitar).

In July 2023, Lord Pyre contacted Metal on Metal Records, who upon hearing the new songs offered the band a deal, and the new alliance was soon forged. The final session on the album was completed on 4th October 2023. "Zeppelin" is set for release on 15th December of the same year. Brace yourselves for over an hour of blistering heavy metal in the form of a concept album based on events which allegedly occurred during the last two world wars, as recounted by our vampire warriors.


GENRE:
Heavy Metal

ORIGIN:
UK (London), 2007

CURRENT LINE-UP:
Captain Strange (vocals)
Generalissimo Strix (guitars)
Klauss von Orlok (guitars)
Lord Pyre (bass)
Max Flieger (drums)

LINKS:
Stuka Squadron website
Stuka Squadron @ Facebook






DISCOGRAPHY:
• "We Drink Blood" (2008)
EP, self-released
• "Tales of the Ost" (2011)
Full-length, self-released, Metalbox Recordings (reissue, 2012)
• "Zeppelin" (2023)
Full-length, Metal On Metal Records