Gama Bomb

Last updated
Gama Bomb
Origin Newry, Northern Ireland & Republic of Ireland
Genres Thrash metal
Years active2002–present
Labels Earache Records, AFM Records
Website Official site
MembersPhilly Byrne
Joe McGuigan
Paul Caffrey
John Roche
Domo Dixon
Past membersLuke Graham

Gama Bomb is a thrash metal band based in Northern Ireland. Their 2009 album Tales from the Grave in Space was one of the first albums ever released as a completely free download while signed to a record label.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom lying in the north-east of the island of Ireland, created 1921

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in several areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments".

<i>Tales from the Grave in Space</i> 2009 studio album by Gama Bomb

Tales from the Grave in Space is the third studio album by Irish thrash metal band Gama Bomb, and one of the first albums ever to be released as a free download by a signed band. In a partnership between the band and record label Earache Records, the album was available for free download from 5 November 2009, hosted by RapidShare. The album was physically released on January 25 in the UK and Europe and the US on March 8.



Beginnings: 2002–2005

School friends Joe McGuigan (bass guitar) and Philly Byrne (vocals) formed Gama Bomb with the guitarist Luke Graham in Newry in 2002 and soon built up a small but loyal following which they consolidated with a rigorous touring schedule and frequent forays into self-released recording. The band first gained attention with their demo "The Survival Option" in the same year. In 2003, they toured and released "The Fatal Mission" single. During this period Byrne often appeared on stage in fancy dress as a chef, priest, pirate or scientist in an increasingly colourful stage show which frequently included a thrash metal version of the theme tune from the 1980s TV show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles . Gama Bomb's first tour dates outside Ireland were in 2004, supporting the punk band The Dangerfields on a tour of Scotland.

Newry city in Northern Ireland

Newry is a city in Northern Ireland, divided by the Clanrye river in counties Armagh and Down, 34 miles (55 km) from Belfast and 67 miles (108 km) from Dublin. It had a population of 26,967 in 2011.

Single (music) Type of music release usually containing one or two tracks

In the music industry, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.

<i>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles</i> (1987 TV series) US animated television series produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, running from 1987 to 1996

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an American animated television series produced by the studio Murakami-Wolf-Swenson and the French company IDDH. The pilot was shown during the week of December 28, 1987 in syndication as a five-part miniseries and the show began its official run on October 1, 1988. Since then the show and franchise has become a worldwide phenomenon. The series featured the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters, created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The property was changed considerably from the darker-toned comic, to make it more suitable for children and the family.

Survival of the Fastest: 2005–2007

Gama Bomb released their full-length album, Survival of the Fastest , through the European music label Witches Brew in early 2006. The album, which had originally been independently released in a limited edition format in late 2005, included many of the bands then live staples of which many, aside from those present on previous EP releases, had never been commercially available. At this point, the band's line-up changed with the original guitarist Kevy Canavan leaving and the addition of drummer Paul Caffrey. In late 2005, Domo Dixon filled the vacant guitar spot. The 2006 version of the album features the bonus tracks "M.A.D." and "The Survival Option" from their 2004 "Fatal Mission" single. In April 2006, as the album was released, Gama Bomb embarked on their first UK tour. The "Insane Quest for Flesh" tour had support from Mutant and Deceptor and is seen as a landmark event[ citation needed ] in the rise of the resurgent UK thrash scene.

<i>Survival of the Fastest</i> 2006 studio album by Gama Bomb

Survival of the Fastest is the first album by the thrash metal band Gama Bomb. The album was released on the European music label Witches Brew in 2006, after an initial 2005 self-release.

Witches Brew is an underground European record label which mainly sells music via online distribution.

Zombi Brew split 7" EP

After live dates in summer 200[ clarification needed ], as well as coverage in music magazines like the NME and Terrorizer, Gama Bomb self-recorded a demo of their new album Citizen Brain to show to interested labels. Seeking a larger label to help them tour Europe, the demo did the rounds with most of the major metal labels. Around this point Earache Records began to take a serious interest in the band. In May 2007, Gama Bomb joined the Hungarian thrash band Black Sister on a split 7" EP released by Problem? Records. The Gama Bomb side had new tracks "Zombi Brew" (from the Citizen Brain demo) and "Frightmare On Hell St.", together with a cover of the punk band The Dangerfields' song, "Maniac". The EP was released exclusively on 7" vinyl and limited to 200 copies.

<i>NME</i> British weekly music journalism magazine

New Musical Express (NME) is a British music journalism website and former magazine that has been published since 1952. It was the first British paper to include a singles chart, in the edition of 14 November 1952. In the 1970s it became the best-selling British music newspaper. During the period 1972 to 1976, it was particularly associated with gonzo journalism, then became closely associated with punk rock through the writings of Julie Burchill, Paul Morley and Tony Parsons. It started as a music newspaper, and gradually moved toward a magazine format during the 1980s and 1990s, changing from newsprint in 1998.

The Dangerfields

The Dangerfields were a punk rock/heavy metal band based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, formed in 2000. Fronted by drummer and lead vocalist Andrew Griswold, the band went through many line-up changes. They released one album and four EPs, and played more than 800 live gigs, including playing their 666th gig on 06/06/06.

Earache and Citizen Brain: 2008–2009

In September 2007, Gama Bomb announced that they had signed a recording contract with Earache Records. The band contributes the song "Zombi Brew" to the Thrashing Like A Maniac compilation released by Earache Records, alongside other new thrash artists such as Evile, Municipal Waste, Mutant (London), Short Sharp Shock and Send More Paramedics.

Earache Records is an independent record label, music publisher and management company founded by Digby Pearson, based in Nottingham, England with offices in London and New York. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing early grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994. The label roster has since diversified into more mainstream guitar music, working with bands such as Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke and The White Buffalo. The company also hosted the 'Earache Express' stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and will be hosting 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.

Evile British band

Evile are an English thrash metal band from Huddersfield, formed in 1999. The band's debut album, Enter the Grave, was produced by Flemming Rasmussen at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark and was released worldwide in 2007 by Earache Records to critical acclaim by fans and critics alike. The band's first reviews included a hail by Kerrang! as "Carrying the genre's whole 'revival' on their shoulders." Their second album, Infected Nations, was released on 21 September 2009. It was produced by Russ Russell, with artwork from Michael Whelan. Evile's third studio album Five Serpent's Teeth was released in 2011, also on Earache Records. A fourth album, entitled Skull, was released in the late spring of 2013 on Earache. Evile are currently working on a new album.

Municipal Waste (band) American metal band

Municipal Waste is a crossover thrash band from Richmond, Virginia, formed in 2001. To date, the band has released six studio albums, three EPs and four splits. They have gone through several line-up changes, leaving vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist Ryan Waste as the only constant members. In addition to Foresta and Waste, their current lineup includes Nick "Nikropolis" Poulos on guitar, Philip "Landphil" Hall on bass and Dave Witte on drums.

In April 2008, Earache confirmed the release for early June of Gama Bomb's first album for the label, Citizen Brain . [1] The album was released in July 2008 to overwhelmingly positive reviews.[ citation needed ] The band toured Europe extensively to support the album.

<i>Citizen Brain</i> 2008 studio album by Gama Bomb

Citizen Brain is the second album by the thrash metal band Gama Bomb. It was released on June 9, 2008, in Europe and June 24, 2008, in the United States and rest of the world by Earache Records. A Bonus DVD featuring tour and studio footage was included in early pressings of the album.

Since the release of Citizen Brain, the band has been vocal in its support of music downloading, and led a campaign to 'Stamp Out Inferior Metal' on their 2008 Thrashing Like A Maniac Tour, asking fans to bring along CDs they regret buying and to destroy them at shows.

In summer 2009, the band played mainstage bookings at the European metal festivals Hellfest in France and Tuska Open Air in Finland alongside Mötley Crüe, WASP, Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies.[ citation needed ]

In January 2009, they were voted best newcomer in a Terrorizer magazine readers' poll, and toured Europe with Exodus and Overkill in early 2009 as part of the Killfest tour.[ citation needed ]

Tales from the Grave in Space and departure from Earache : 2009–2011

Gama Bomb announced via their MySpace blog in August 2009 that they were returning to the studio to record their third album Tales from the Grave in Space for a November 2009 release. [2] The album was produced by Scott Atkins, who had produced the band's Citizen Brain album.

On September 8, the band announced that Tales from the Grave in Space would be released online completely free on November 5 via Rapidshare, [3] making them the first metal band to release an album for free while signed to a record label. Issue 200 of the UK version of Metal Hammer, sold in branches of Tesco, came with a copy of the CD as a free cover mount.

A physical version of the album was later released. The bass guitarist Joe McGuigan has said that despite it already being given away for free, Tales from the Grave in Space had actually outsold Citizen Brain physically. [4]

In March 2010, Gama Bomb was nominated in the Best Underground Band category of the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, losing to the black metal band Immortal on the night. They supported Sepultura on their July UK tour.

The band embarked on its first US tour, in support of Overkill, Forbidden and DRI, from October to December 2010, and played a series of shows in Europe beforehand with the original lead guitarist Canavan back in the line-up, filling in for Domo Dixon.

In February 2011, Gama Bomb announced they would undertake a final UK tour to 'say goodbye' to Tales from the Grave in Space before writing a new album in the summer. [5] The band also revealed on Facebook that a possible new track would be titled "The Cannibals Are In The Streets (Therefore) All Flesh Must Be Eaten".

The band played at two shows in Mexico in May, toured the UK in support of Onslaught in September, undertook a European tour in October and played their first-ever South American shows in December, supporting Dark Funeral on a tour of Brazil.

The Terror Tapes and AFM records: 2012 – present

In March 2012, the band revealed via Facebook that vocalist Byrne had undergone surgery for vocal fold nodules, sustained over the last year's touring, and was recovering from the procedure. During this period the band played a show in Enschede, Netherlands, with McGuigan taking on vocals in Byrne's place.

On April 3, 2012, the band announced that founding member Graham was leaving after 10 years on rhythm guitar. The amicable split allowed John Roche of Slave Zero (band) to join Gama Bomb as the band's new guitarist, having toured with the band as a live musician in 2011. [6]

In July 2012, the band celebrated its tenth anniversary with two shows in Belfast and Dublin, reuniting on stage with the former guitarists Canavan and Graham for greatest hits sets.

On January 28, 2013, the band announced that its fourth album, The Terror Tapes , was to be released on AFM Records on April 19 in Europe and April 22 in the UK and Ireland, followed by a US release on May 7. [7] The album was produced by the band's long-term producer, Scott Atkins, in Dublin and Suffolk.

The band announced the album would be preceded by a single, the band's first, called "'Terrorscope", which would be released as a free download on March 26, followed by an exclusive 7" vinyl maxi-single. [8]

Byrne said of the single's free release: "It was really important to us to give people some music for nothing. It's how we get our music and we want people to know we're cool with them doing that, as long as they support us. Support comes from a lot of different places, not just the front pocket." The video for Terrorscope was released on March 20. [9]

On March 4, The Terror Tapes artwork was revealed. It was created by the veteran horror movie poster artist Graham Humphreys, whose work includes posters for A Nightmare on Elm Street and Evil Dead . [8]

The band undertook the 'Speed of Sound' European tour with Artillery and Brazilian band Torture Squad in May to support the album, before playing a series of summer festivals. [10]

Musical style and lyrical themes

Stylistically rooted in 1980s thrash metal the band has stated that its influences include acts such as Nuclear Assault, Kreator, Agent Steel, Sodom, old Slayer and early Megadeth. Allmusic labelled their music as punk metal (crossover thrash).

Gama Bomb's lyrics often refer to the horror, action and science fiction movies, cartoons and computer games of the 1980s, as well as paying tribute to many classic heavy metal themes. They also write topical songs on social issues like racism and global warming. The band is known for injecting its own sense of humour into its lyrics, with bizarre song concepts which lampoon classic thrash metal topics. Recurrent themes to be found in Gama Bomb songs are cannibalism, war, zombies, human sacrifice, ghosts and murder.


Past Members


Gama Bomb


Studio albums

Singles and EPs

Compilation contributions

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  1. "Gama Bomb Album Release". earache Records. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  2. "Gama Bomb Third Album Announcement". Gama Bomb. 11 August 2009. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  3. "Gama Bomb releasing new album for free". Metal Underground.
  4. "Interview: Gama Bomb (Part #1)". Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  6. "Gama Bomb Signs With Afm Records -". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  7. 1 2 "Gama Bomb: New Album Cover Artwork, Track Listing Revealed -". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  8. "Gama Bomb: 'Terrorscope' Video Released -". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  9. "GAMA BOMB, ARTILLERY And TORTURE SQUAD To Hit Europe On Speed Of Sound Tour In May". Retrieved 14 March 2016.