Although they enjoyed a promising career start when their song "Lucifer's Hammer" was featured in the second volume of the legendary Metal Massacre compilations, Los Angeles' Warlord saw their scant, poorly produced releases get lost in the shuffle of more talented bands exploding out of their hometown like so much devilish popcorn. Little is known about the band's origins, so short was the lifespan of their original incarnation, but suffice to say they were formed in the City of Angels in 1980, around the same time as more famous luminaries like Armored Saint, Slayer, and Metallica were first getting their acts together. Further confusing things, the members of Warlord adopted stage names like Destroyer, Archangel, and Thunderchild, which were often applied to more than one musician.
But at least upon the release of their 1983 debut mini-album, one can confidently assert that Warlord consisted of vocalist Jack Rucker, guitarist/bassist Bill Tsamis, keyboardist Diane Arens, and founder and ex-Russian Roulette drummer Mark Zonder. Like contemporaries Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and the aforementioned Armored Saint, Warlord were heavily influenced by the European metal aesthetic, and especially the then-prevalent New Wave of British Heavy Metal, for their epic approach to songwriting. This mission/vision carried through to their extensively titled follow-up, 1984's And the Cannons of Destruction Have Begun, which, in reality, was supposed to be a "live" soundtrack accompanying a complete (if severely underfinanced) band concert.
But other than introducing new vocalist Rick Cunningham and full-time bass player Dave Watry, this undertaking did little to advance the group's cause -- although it did became quite the collector's item in decades to come. The persistent Warlord did manage to patch a full album's worth of studio material into 1986's Thy Kingdom Come LP, but decided to go their separate ways shortly thereafter, with the gifted Mark Zonder soon resurfacing in Fates Warning. The Best of Warlord collection was released in 1993, and almost a decade later, original members Zonder and Tsamis teamed up with Hammerfall vocalist Joacim Cans (by all accounts a very enthusiastic disciple) for a surprising comeback album entitled Rising Out of the Ashes. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia