Circle of Dead Children

Last updated
Circle of Dead Children
Origin Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Deathgrind, grindcore
Years active1998–present
Labels Willowtip Records
MembersJoe Horvath
Drew Haritan
Matt Francis

Circle of Dead Children is a deathgrind band formed on October 24, 1998, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [1]


After a self-titled demo in 1998, Circle of Dead Children signed on with Willowtip Records to release their first full-length album, Starving the Vultures , which comprised the demo tracks as well as several new ones. Since then, Circle of Dead Children has been signed to S.O.A. Records, Robodog Records (now called Robotic Empire), Necropolis Records, Deathvomit Records, Martyr Music Group, Earache Records, Displeased Records and Candlelight Records. They are currently signed with Willowtip once again, having passed on deals from larger labels on several occasions. Since its debut, the band has undergone numerous lineup changes; only one of the original members, Joe Horvath, still remaining.


Formation and early history

Circle of Dead Children formed after Joe Horvath and Jason Andrews previous band, .blackwel. had broken up. They joined with John Kubacka, David Good and Jon Miciolek who had been playing in various punk bands at the time. Following their tenth practice they recorded their first and only demo cassette, which was self-titled. The band focused on playing around the Pittsburgh area for its first couple years of existence. Each of the live concerts during the first couple of years had seen vocalist, Joe Horvath, commit to self-battery and bloodshed, adding to the shock value. [1]

Self-titled demo cassette

Following their tenth practice in 1998, Circle of Dead Children self-financed a self-titled demo cassette which was sold, and subsequently sold out, at their first two live shows. There were one-hundred copies made for distribution. The demo contained four tracks and had a total playing time of just 5:45. [2]

Starving The Vultures

Shortly after releasing a demo cassette, Circle of Dead Children signed a deal with Willowtip Records and developed their first album, Starving the Vultures. It contained the four tracks from their demo cassette in addition to ten more songs. They recorded this release with Todd Doehring at a makeshift studio inside of a now condemned (and now demolished) giant warehouse building, called Plus/Minus Studios, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Todd had little experience recording 'death-metal' at the time, having mostly recorded/produced jazz and avant-garde groups/bands, but he quickly realized that this was some incredible, powerful, and sincerely awesome songwriting and performance talent. Many interesting discussions between Joe Horvath and Todd Doehring resulted in a fantastic recording that will likely stand 'the test of time' as possibly the best metal (deathgrind) to emanate from Pittsburgh. The album was released in 1998, on compact disc through Willowtip Records. A limited edition vinyl LP version with a pressing of 500 was released through Italian record label, S.O.A. Records and has long since been sold out. The album received positive reviews, praising the band's unique approach of extreme metal. The fourteen tracks have a total playing time of 24:18.

Exotic Sense Decay [EP]

In 1999, Circle of Dead Children were originally approached to do a split 10" record with Ontario, Canada metal band, Maharahj. [1] Within two and half weeks, CODC had written and recorded 7 tracks for the proposed release. [1] It was recorded at Plus/Minus Studios, in Pittsburgh, PA, with Todd Doehring. The band recorded with all lights shut off and only a few tea candles lit and scattered through the warehouse. After several setbacks with the other band and proposed record label, Circle of Dead Children made the decision to release the songs as a CD-EP on Willowtip Records. They also released the songs on a limited-edition 7" picture disc record, on Robodog Records, with a pressing of 500. Each side of the picture disc featured unique artwork. Vocalist, Joe Horvath, painted the art that became the album cover for this release, after having difficulty finding suitable artwork that they could commission. He titled the piece, "The Cost of Impatience". [1] Following the release of 'Exotic Sense Decay', CODC parted ways with original bass player, David Good. This release featured seven tracks and a total playing time of 12:19.

The Genocide Machine

Following the success of 'Starving the Vultures' and 'Exotic Sense Decay', Circle of Dead Children was approached and offered record deals from several larger metal record labels. After turning down several of the larger contract offers, CODC made the decision to sign a contract with Necropolis Records newly formed subsidiary label, Deathvomit Records. They recruited friend and former bandmate of Joe Horvath and Jason Andrews, Alf Kooser to play bass guitar. The release was the band's last to be recording at the old warehouse with Plus/Minus Studios. It was recorded in the dead of winter while temperatures were in the single digits outside and not much higher inside the weathered, nearly condemned warehouse where Plus/Minus Studios was located. The album contained seventeen tracks, four of which were all electronic, industrial-influenced noise tracks, two of which featured Horvath's vocals. The closing track, "Ctrl * Alt * Delete", is a slow dirge track highlighted by an eerie spoken word explanation of what the band views as "the genocide machine". Artwork was done by Michael and Mark Riddick.

'The Genocide Machine' sold out of its 3,500 pressing in the first month of its release and received numerous praise and accolades, as well as ranking No. 9 in the College Music Journal hardrock charts at one point, the highest any Necropolis Records bands had garnered at that time. Circle of Dead Children embarked on a tour with California grindcore pioneers, Phobia, in support of 'The Genocide Machine'. Circle of Dead Children's relationship with Necropolis Records quickly soured after the label was unable to recoup the band for the recording costs. Circle of Dead Children terminated their contract with Necropolis Records / Deathvomit Records and ordered a cease and desist upon further pressings of 'the Genocide Machine'. Bootleg copies of 'The Genocide Machine' have been discovered throughout the world.

Willowtip Records released 'The Genocide Machine' on a limited-edition vinyl LP which was packaged in a silver static-bag. There was a pressing of 1000, with 250 hand-numbered copies available on transparent blue vinyl with different, but complementary artwork. This album has a total playing time of 28:44.

Following the release, CODC parted ways with guitarist Jon Kubacka, bassist Alf Kooser and original drummer, Jon Miciolek. [1]

Human Harvest

In 2003, Circle of Dead Children released 'Human Harvest' with only three members. This was their first and only release featuring no bass player. Drummer, Mike Rosswog, helped to provide CODC with a faster and more intense element of sound, which has since stayed in place. 'Human Harvest' was recorded at Austin Enterprise, in Massachusetts, with Steve Austin, founder of Today is the Day. Circle of Dead Children agreed to a one-off licensing deal for 'Human Harvest' with Martyr Music Group in the Americas, and Displeased Records for Europe and Asia. Displeased Records also released a limited-edition vinyl version of 'Human Harvest', featuring different but complementary artwork. The album received a great deal of positive reviews and press, often citing the new level of brutality and intensity found within the music and vocals. Artwork was done by Mark Riddick. The final track, "Alkaline", includes a bonus track at the 9:07 mark, which is actually part of a vocal segment from the song "Mother Pig", slowed down. This album features 19 tracks and has a total playing time of 32:01.

Following the release, CODC parted ways with drummer Mike Rosswog. [3]

Zero Comfort Margin

Released in 2005, 'Zero Comfort Margin' followed a hiatus of over one year in which CODC added former Sadis Euphoria drummer Mike Bartek, and former Sadis Euphoria guitarist, Drew Haritan, to the lineup. Drew played bass guitar. The band was invited by engineer/producer Steve Austin to his home to record what was initially intended to be demo tracks, prior to their new drummer having to undergo wrist surgery which would set the band back while he recovered. In a notorious recording session in which Steve Austin told Metal Maniacs Magazine that he barely recalled, the band recorded 15 songs. The decision was made to release the songs as an Ep, through Willowtip Records in the Americas and Earache Records for Europe and Asia. A limited-edition gatefold vinyl version was released by Arclight Communications with a pressing of 500. It featured complementary artwork and black and gold or white and gold splattered vinyl to honor the sporting colors associated with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 'Zero Comfort Margin' featured the only cover song that CODC has recorded to date, a cover of 'Playdumb' by local 1990's grindcore band, Hideous Mangleus. Artwork was completed again by Mark Riddick. This release features 15 tracks, four of which are electronic noise tracks, and has a total playing time of 20:19.

Following the release, CODC parted ways with drummer Mike Bartek.

Psalm of the Grand Destroyer

Prior to drummer Mike Bartek's departure in 2006, [4] Circle of Dead Children had written twelve new songs, but had never recorded them. The band again found themselves in an extended hiatus while they looked for a new drummer. Matt Francis, from Binghamton, New York, was brought into the band in 2007 and eventually moved to Pittsburgh to be closer in 2008. [5] In 2009, the band recorded the music for the twelve songs they had previously written plus three additional new songs at Mr. Smalls Studio, in Pittsburgh, PA. [6] Due to serious illness and other setbacks, Joe Horvath did not record his vocals for the album until several months later. [7] 'Psalm of the Grand Destroyer' was mastered and produced by Scott Hull [8] at Visceral Sound, based in Bethesda, Maryland, and released by Willowtip Records [9] in the Americas and Candlelight Records [10] for Europe and Asia in June 2010. Willowtip Records also released a limited-edition vinyl LP pressing of 500 copies, with 250 being on gold splattered wax and 250 on red wax. It featured alternate, but complementary, artwork done by Alex Eckman-Lawn. [11] This release features fifteen tracks and has a total playing time of 31:47.


The band generally play a varied style of extreme metal, combining grindcore, death metal and crust punk with black metal and doom overtones and atmospheres appearing in the writing at times. Song writing utilizes some traditional grindcore and deathgrind format in writing very short songs: six seconds, for instance, for the track "White Trash Headache". Other tracks develop into much longer pieces: 5 minutes and 45 seconds, for instance, for the track, "Germinate the Reaper Seed". Metal Maniacs Magazine, in 2005, published an article written by Wade Gosselin, where two "modern grind acts" were chosen who he believed had pushed the bar the highest in the modern grindcore scene. The article was titled "Suffocate Mediocrity / Expanding Grindcore" and featured "Circle of Dead Children" and "Antigama". [12]


Current members
Former members
Circle of Dead Children


Related Research Articles

<i>Scum</i> (Napalm Death album) 1987 studio album by Napalm Death

Scum is the debut studio album by English grindcore band Napalm Death. It was released on 1 July 1987 through Earache Records. It is widely considered a formative influence on the grindcore genre.

Willowtip Records record label

Willowtip Records is an independently owned and distributed heavy metal record label headquartered in Zelienople, Pennsylvania.

Fantômas (band) Band from the United States

Fantômas is an American metal supergroup, formed in 1998 in California. It features vocalist Mike Patton, drummer Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer), guitarist Buzz Osborne (Melvins) and bassist Trevor Dunn. The band is named after Fantômas, a supervillain featured in a series of crime novels popular in France before World War I and in film, most notably in the 60s French movie series.

<i>Dreamtime</i> (The Cult album) 1984 studio album by The Cult

Dreamtime is the debut album by The Cult. Released on 10 September 1984, it reached #21 in the UK and was later certified silver by the BPI after having sold 60,000 copies. The first single, "Spiritwalker", reached #1 on the UK Indie Chart. Dreamtime has subsequently been reissued in roughly 30 countries worldwide.

Siege (band) American hardcore punk band from Weymouth, Massachusetts formed in 1981

Siege is an American hardcore punk band from Weymouth, Massachusetts. Formed in 1981, they were active in the Boston hardcore scene from 1984 to 1985, and reunited briefly in 1991. Guitarist Kurt Habelt and drummer Rob Williams reformed the band in 2016.

Bolt Thrower English band

Bolt Thrower were an English death metal band from Coventry, England. They formed in 1986 and released their first album with Vinyl Solution in 1988. The band then shifted to a new record label, Earache Records, soon becoming one of the best selling bands on that label. Their last label was Metal Blade Records. The band had a succession of members, and had toured Europe, the United States, and Australia. Over the course of their 30-year career, Bolt Thrower released eight studio albums, three EPs, one live album, two compilation albums and two demos. On 14 September 2016 the band announced that they were breaking up, following the death of drummer Martin Kearns exactly a year earlier.

Discharge (band) British hardcore punk band

Discharge are an English hardcore punk band formed in 1977 in Stoke-on-Trent by Terence "Tezz" Roberts and Royston "Rainy" Wainwright. While the band has undergone several line-up changes throughout its history, the classic line-up from the early 1980s featured bassist Wainwright, drummer Gary Maloney, Anthony "Bones" Roberts playing guitar, and vocalist Kelvin "Cal" Morris.

Pig Destroyer American band

Pig Destroyer is an American grindcore band formed in 1997 in Alexandria, Virginia. The band was formed by vocalist J.R. Hayes, guitarist Scott Hull, and drummer John Evans. Throughout the band's earlier history, they were a three-piece group until sampler Blake Harrison joined in 2006, notably had no bassist until the inclusion of John Jarvis in 2013, and went through 2 past drummers with the role currently held by Adam Jarvis. Pig Destroyer is one of the most well-known grindcore bands in the genre due to Hayes's poetic lyrics, Hull's incorporation of thrash, punk, and doom influences in songwriting, and technical drum work.

Arsis band

Arsis is an American extreme metal band from Virginia Beach, Virginia, formed in 2000. The band is currently signed to Nuclear Blast.

<i>Scream Bloody Gore</i> 1987 studio album by Death

Scream Bloody Gore is the debut studio album by American death metal band Death, released on May 25, 1987, through Combat Records. It is considered by some to be "the first true death metal record". Chuck Schuldiner plays bass and guitar, wrote all the songs on the album and provided all the vocals. John Hand is noted on the cover as playing rhythm guitar, though this was incorrect and Hand was only in the band for a short period and was not on the recording. This is also the only Death album to feature drummer Chris Reifert, who had joined for the Mutilation demo, and the only one of the band's albums to not be recorded at Morrisound Recording.

Repulsion (band) American band

Repulsion is an American grindcore band from Flint, Michigan, founded in 1984.

<i>Reek of Putrefaction</i> 1988 studio album by Carcass

Reek of Putrefaction is the debut album by British extreme metal band Carcass. It was released by Earache Records in July 1988. It is the very first goregrind album, a musical genre with lyrical focus on grotesque medical and pathological images as opposed to the political themes found in most grindcore bands.

Impaled is a death metal band from Oakland, California. The band's name is a backronym, standing for "Immoral Medical Practitioners And Licentious Evil-Doers".

Sean McGrath is a musician and artist who lives in San Francisco, California. He is the founding member, guitarist, and vocalist of the death metal band Impaled, the vocalist of Engorged, and the guitarist and vocalist of Ghoul. He has also created artwork for a number of heavy metal and punk bands, most notably Municipal Waste and The Black Dahlia Murder.

Becoming the Archetype American Christian metal band

Becoming the Archetype is an American Christian metal band formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1999. They have released five albums on Solid State Records. Dichotomy, which was released in November 2008, sold around 2,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The CD debuted at No. 18 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the top 100 of the Billboard 200. The band is part of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.

Defeated Sanity is a German technical death metal band from Dachsbach, Bavaria, that was formed in 1994, originally as a side project of guitarist Wolfgang Teske and his son, drummer Lille Gruber. Gruber is the only original remaining member left in the band, following the departure of Teske in July 2008. The other members are Christian Kühn (guitar), and Jacob Schmidt. For almost a year the band was looking for a new vocalist, due to Jens Staschel leaving the band shortly before Teske; Staschel's replacement, A.J. Magana from Disgorge, was announced in June 2009.

<i>Disgorge Mexico</i> 2008 studio album by Fuck The Facts

Disgorge Mexico is the eighth album by Canadian grindcore band Fuck the Facts. It is their second album on Relapse Records from a three-album contract with the label. The instruments were recorded from the 6th to the 17th of August 2007 at Liverpool Court Studios in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The vocals were recorded in November 2007 at Fuck the Facts own home studio. The album was mixed and mastered at CB Audio in Winnipeg from December 2007 until March 2008.

Fuck the Facts Canadian grindcore band

Fuck the Facts is a Juno-nominated, Canadian grindcore band from Ottawa, Ontario, formed in 1998. They began in the late nineties as a solo recording project constructed by musician Topon Das. After many early recordings, including split tapes with groups from around the world, Fuck the Facts began developing a name in the underground with fans of grind. In 2001, the first full-length CD-R, Discoing the Dead, was recorded. The same year, Das would assemble a full band to continue with the project. The band has since coined the terms "bastardized grindcore" and "mullet-core" to describe their sound.

Ulcerate New Zealand-based extreme metal band

Ulcerate is a New Zealand-based extreme metal band formed by guitarist Michael Hoggard and drummer Jamie Saint Merat in 2000. The band have released six full-length studio albums to date. The band's sixth full-length album Stare Into Death And Be Still was released on 24 April 2020 on Debemur Morti Productions. The band have been featured in numerous articles as one of New Zealand's most prominent extreme metal acts, have toured widely across North America and Europe, and have been compared favourably to bands such as Neurosis and Gorguts. The band's sound has been described as "nauseating, disorienting and gleefully disharmonic", and is characterised by extremely technical death metal with extensive use of dissonance, time signature changes, and complex song structures.


Wormed is a Spanish technical death metal band. The group formed in 1998 in Madrid and are known for their sci-fi and space influenced imagery, lyrics and sound. The band has released three full-length albums to date.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "DreamHost".
  2. "Circle Of Dead Children - Circle Of Dead Children [Demo] - Metal Storm". Retrieved 2015-11-16.
  3. Administrator. "Sick Drummer Magazine".
  4. "CODC - Part Ways With Drummer - SMNnews Forums".
  5. "Circle of Dead Children Announce New Drummer". Retrieved 2015-11-16.
  6. "Mr. Smalls Recording and Mastering Studio". Retrieved 2015-11-16.
  7. "Circle of Dead Children – Vocalist Joe Horvath Offers Update From The Hospital". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  8. "Circle Of Dead Children album set for release".
  9. "Willowtip | Bands > Circle Of Dead Children". Retrieved 2015-11-16.
  10. "Candlelight Records UK". Archived from the original on 2012-02-15.
  11. "Illustration". Alex Eckman-Lawn. Retrieved 2015-11-16.
  12. "PureVolume™ | We're Listening To You". PureVolume. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-16.