At War was formed in 1983 by guitarist Shawn Helsel, drummer Dave Stone and vocalist Paul Arnold. Originally trying out vocalists the band quickly decided that the brutal form of metal they had envisioned could only be brought forth by Arnold’s growling vocals.
June of 1985 saw the release of At War’s first demo entitled “Eat Lead“. The two song demo consisted of the songs “Rapechase” and what has turned out to be At War’s anthem, “Eat Lead” and immediately received excellent reviews from fanzines and magazines; it was high on rotation on many college radio stations in the United States and had an even better reception Overseas. It was because of this demo that At War had been dubbed by Spin Magazine as “America’s answer to Motorhead“. This demo garnered At War much attention and an appearance on the now legendary compilation “Speed Metal Hell” issued by the relatively new label from California, New Renaissance Records for the song “Eat Lead.” This compilation is the Holy Grail among metal collectors all over the world.
This led to their first full length release “Ordered to Kill” in 1986. So well received was this album and subsequent tour that New Renaissance Records decided to put the second song from their “Eat Lead” demo, “Rapechase” on their next compilation, “Speed Metal Hell II”, now also a collector’s item. After more touring and on a roll, At War immediately booked studio time with the great Alex Perialas at Pyramid Sound Studio to produce their awesome 1987 release “Retaliatory Strike“. With Rob “Wacko” Hunter co-engineering this masterpiece, At War’s place in the world of metal was solidified. At War toured relentlessly through the eighties and early nineties when negotiations began to break down with New Renaissance Records and the music scene was in the midst of a huge change. Around 1994 At War recorded material for their follow up to “Retaliatory Strike“, but were never really happy with the recordings, so it was never released. At War played its last show around this time.
Dave, Paul and Shawn remained close friends and At War never officially called it quits. There were several attempts to revive the band during the late nineties and early 2000’s, but with families and businesses to run, it was just not the right time.
Fast forward to the year 2006. The amount of fan pressure had been and was so intense along with the resurgence of the thrash metal movement, At War felt the time was right to get moving again and take care of unfinished business. Determined to put the brute force of At War back in the faces of the legions of dedicated fans, they are back at it with the original lineup. In 2008 At War started working on their latest release “Infidel” and went back to their roots on the new material and included a few songs that were written during the “Retaliatory Strike” sessions. At War also fulfilled a career dream by finally getting over to Europe in 2008 when they played the “Thrash Assault II Festival” in Worzburg, Germany in February to a huge crowd of Germanys’ most avid metal fans. The crowd response was so intense, they were invited back to Hamburg, Germany and played at the “Headbangers Open Air Festival” in July. The weekend prior to heading back to Germany, At War made their first appearance in Mexico City, Mexico to play at the infamous “Circo Volador“. This marks a milestone for At War as they have always had a devoted following in Central and South America, and the fans finally got a chance to see At War live. Talks are in the works to bring At War to Brazil, Columbia and many other South American countries along with Japan and Europe.
In September of 2008 At war signed a new deal with Heavy Artillery Records for the release of their new CD “Infidel“. Released on August 18th 2009 to rave reviews, At War has concreted their return and relevance in the underground metal scene. “Infidel” was recorded in January of 2009 at Pyramid Sound Studio with famed Metal producer Alex Perialas (Testament, Overkill, Nuclear Assault, etc.). This pairing has proven to be a perfect partnership, with Heavy Artillery Records network, intense knowledge of the metal scene and their enthusiasm with At War.
At War is back with a vengeance, all due to their rabid fan base. Keep your eyes and ears out for At War!!!