OCTOBER 31 is a U.S. band formed in the beginning of 1996 by King Fowley (also in Deceased). While Deceased were more Death Metal and Thrash oriented this project would have itīs roots in more traditional Heavy Metal. They released the "Voyage To Infinity" demo that featured 3 originals and a Warlord cover. That demo was very well received and is now currently out of print. Afterwards they started working on a second demo, then called "Lost City" but scrapped that because of interest from an Illinois label: Rest In Peace Records, who wanted a full length release. During the recording and writing of new material for the full length guitarist Kevin Lewis decided to leave the band, leaving Brian with all guitar duties. "The Fire Awaits You" was the bands first full length release after which Kevin returned for the next two albums and again left after "Meet Thy Maker". Guitarist Brian "Hellstorm" Williams also has a band called K-Octave. Ex-K-Octave vocalist Shawn Pelata sang for this band for a short time as well but never recorded anything with them.
October 31 - The Fire Awaits You (R.I.P. Records) 1997
1. "The Warlock"
Even though "The Fire Awaits" was October 31's first full length release, it was the last CD I had heard from them until long after getting "Meet Thy Maker". So, I basically knew what to expect. October 31st are uncompromising, no frill, heavy metal. That is exactly what "The Fire Awaits" delivers. The music is actually a bit darker than some of the follow-up albums. I'd actually describe the music as classic American heavy metal meets early 80's NWOBHM with a bi 'ol dose of Edgar Allen Poe. Musically the band isn't as thrashy as future albums, which isn't neccessarily a bad or good thing. It's just a matter of preference. For me, I like 'em both. I can appreciate the classic metal vibe of this album, while still loving the thrashier material to come. The production on this self financed album is a bit lacking, but certainly isn't unlistenable. I mean, October 31 is about as underground as heavy metal gets. As such, this is an underground gem.
This CD was just a bear to find, but thanks to my good friend Olaf for hooking me up. I know own both the vinyl and CD versions of this metal classic. Personally I think I like the sound on the vinyl better than the CD as it has a warmer sound. The CD is in serious need of some level boosting and remastering.
October 31 - Visions Of The End EP (Old Metal Records) 1999
I have to admit, the first time I popped this CD into my CD player, the first thing I did was skip over to the cover of Lizzy Borden's "Give 'Em the Axe" to see how King Fowley sounded singing those high pitched falsetto vocals of Lizzy. Sure enough, he pulled them off quite well and the song rocked! This entire EP is quite good actually. King's normal vocal style is more of a mid-tone, dare I say gothic tone. The music here, however, is far from gothic. "Visions of the End" is pure heavy metal. October 31 are not concerned with showing off their technical abilities or writing overly progressive, brutal metal. Rather they focus on recalling the glory days of heavy metal. When metalheads were united without all the subgenres. One listen to "The Chosen One" will recall the days of headbanging glory. I absolutely love this EP.
There is something infectious about this band. However, I had heard so many good things about these guys before hearing them that I was a bit disappointed upon first listening. The music is actually quite good, but the vocals were not what I was expecting. I also knew that Shawn Pelata had sang for this band at one time, and I love his other bands (Oracle/K-Octave/Trampled Underfoot), so I guess I was expecting something like his powerful classic metal style. Instead, drummer King Fowley attempts to sing, and King's definitely is not the 'classic' singer that Shawn is. He mostly sings in a midrange, clean style, but with not as much dynamics or range. However, as I said, there is something infectious about these guys because I could not stop listening. The more I listened the more I liked it and the more King's voice grew on me. Can't say that I would mind if they got a singer like Shawn in the band permanently, but as it stands, "Meet thy Maker" is a good heavy metal disc that recalls the glory days of heavy metal. "Power & the Glory" is a Saxon cover, and an excellent choice for a cover at that.
There is also a two-CD version of this album released by Metal Blade that includes some demo material from the band. Since I got this disc free, I can't complain, but I am now on the lookout for the two disc version. My disc is autographed by the entire band.
October 31 - Stagefright (Thrash Corner Records) 2003
Recorded in 2002 at the "Classic Metal Fest II" in Ohio, "Stagefright" is October 31 captured live and raw in front of a small, but rowdy club crowd. This is exactly the type of shows I enjoy. It's music for die-hards, not trend followers. It's real heavy metal music made by and for fans of heavy metal. The sound here is far from perfect, but isn't unlistenable. Unfortunately for whatever reason the bass guitar is nearly inaudible. However, King Fowley's raspy vox, the buzzsaw guitars and the pounding drums are firmly in place. No, October 31 didn't go back in an re-record and touch-up their performance. This is live and raw, the way you would have heard it had you been at the club on that hot July evening. It's about sweat, head-banging and fist-pumping. It is a testament of a band that loves heavy metal and loves tearing up a stage.The track listing on the CD is somewhat messed up and out of order. Tracks 7 & 8 are reversed on the insert; track 7 should be "Visions of the End" and track 8 should be "Voyage to Infinity". Also, for some strange reason, "Power & the Glory" starts at 6:18 of track 8 "Voyage to Infinity" and then in the middle of the track switches to track 9. "Power & the Glory" is a Saxon cover.
Upon listening to this CD the first time my jaw dropped open. Man have these guys improved over their past releases. No longer are October 31 playing 'classic metal' but rather I would describe most of the material on "No Survivors" as speed metal or even thrash. Certainly album opener "Powerhouse" is a thrasher with plenty of speed and aggression. Also, King's vocals sound great on this CD, from the gravely singing to the insane screams. The thing is, this intensity doesn't let up through the entire CD. Some songs like "Rivet Rats" and "Commit to Sin" slow the pace down a bit, but, but even these songs are every bit as heavy and driving. There are some melodic moments, such as the guitar solo in "Commit to Sin", but overall this CD will tear your face off. The title track is another fuel injected number with an old school thrash metal feel complete with gang vocal chorus. Another highlight on this disc is the outstanding cover of Overkill's "Wrecking Crew". I was also surprised by the lyrics on this CD, which at times are pretty thoughtful. "What Waits Beyond" is a song of searching and wondering about what follows the grave. Of course it wouldn't be an October 31 CD without songs like "Back Alley Murders" and "Rivet Rat." So, all in all, call me impressed. This CD will be getting plenty of spin time in my CD player. Long live thrash metal.
"Turn up the night and light up the stage, for the time has finally come. The smashing out of pounding metal, October 31..." And so opens the new CD from underground metal legends October 31 with a nasty snarl that is both a description of the music emitting from the speakers and a declaration of what this band is all about. "Bury the Hatchet" is the first new album from October 31 in nine years and their fourth full-length album overall. "Bury the Hatchet" is exactly what you would expect from October 31, manic heavy metal mayhem. Led by King Fowley's nasty, gnarly vocals, this album is packed full of speed, fury, blood and guts. The songs are built around the furious guitar fire of Brian “Hellstorm” Williams as well as the rhythm section of drummer Sean Wilhide and bassist Jim Hunter of epic power metal legends Twisted Tower Dire. As has always been the case, the sound falls somewhere between speed metal and traditional heavy metal. Unlike most of the crap that is being called "metal" in 2014, October 31 know how to keep the power, intensity and heaviness factor up without neglecting musical and lyrical hooks. If a song like "Under My Gun" doesn't grab you by the jugular and keep you coming back for more, then chances are you're spoon-fell-out-your-bowl and you need to get some heavy metal pumping through your veins immediately. Start by hitting the repeat button on "Bury the Hatchet". That should do the trick.
1. Cross My Way [Death Dealer] (3:25)
2. Forbidden Evil [War Cry] (4:28)
3. Torture Me [Omen] (3:15)
4. The Awakening [Titanic] (3:19)
5. Dead of the Night [Demon Flight] (2:32)
6. Heavy Metal Virgin [Aloha] (3:01)
7. The Alien [Sacred Blade] (3:22)
8. Metal Merchants [Hallows Eve] (4:13)
9. The Warrior [Final Warning] (3:32)
10. Armageddon [Tyrant] (5:10)
October 31 are one of those metal band's who are truly made up of heavy metal fans. You will not see bigger fans of metal than guys like guitarist Brian "Helstorm" Williams or vocalist King Fowley. It takes some real dedicated metal fanatics to put together an album like this. "Metal Massacre 31" see October 31 picking ten of their favorite tracks from the first seven "Metal Massacre" compilations from Metal Blade Records. Of course many other bands would probably chose some of the more obvious choices from those classic compilations. After all bands like Metallica, Slayer, Trouble, Fates Warning or Overkill got their start on those albums. Not even Voivod were covered, which is a shock knowing King's affinity for the band. However, October 31 went for mostly the more obscure choices. They stay fairly faithful to the original compositions but of course the band puts their own spin on the songs. If I didn't know better I would have thought that this was just another October 31 album packed full of new tracks. Of course the biggest difference in the sound is King's vocals. Fowley's raw, can't-sing-don't-care. attitude-injected vocal style gives the band all the charisma they could ever need. No, he's not a great singer, but it's heavy metal, not American Idol we are talking about here. What he does works, and that is all that matters. In the words of Ted Nugent, "it's all about the fucking attitude." Indeed.
On my first listen I couldn't help but notice that some of the tracks stood out to me immediately because I was more familiar with those songs than some of the others. Probably the most notable track is "Metal Merchants" which many metal fans hold in high esteem as on of those calling card of metal, not unlike "Denim & Leather" or "Metal on Metal". As well, Demon Flight's "Dead of the Night" had always been one of my favorite tracks off of the first Metal Massacre. The opening track by Canada's Death Dealer (later known as Deaf Dealer) is also a classic song from that series. Without getting into a track by track breakdown, "Metal Massacre" 31 is a solid listen from front to back. Picking the more obscure favorites was a wise choice as most people will not be intimately familiar with the original songs giving October 31 more leeway in how they approached them.
The "Metal Massacre" series is a personal favorite of mine. I can't even count the hours I spent listening to those compilations back to the 80's right up to the present. That is not to mention all the bands I discovered thanks to those Metal Blade albums. Having October 31 pay tribute to them is simply a great idea. Killer job guys.