Boston, Massachusetts was never fertile ground for the heavy metal genre, at least not until Steel Assassin arrived on the scene. The late 1970s witnessed a steady growth of hard rock musicians in the area south of Boston known as the South Shore. When the phenomenon known as the new wave of British heavy metal landed on our metal deficient shores, there was one group of hard rockers that welcomed the invasion with open arms. After being heavily influenced by the classics such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, UFO, Thin Lizzy, and Led Zeppelin, there came the thundering infusion of new metal from across the sea. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Angelwitch, Saxon, Raven, Accept, and the list goes on.
Founding guitarist/lyricist Kevin Curran: "I had formed a metal cover band called Assassin. We were the first band in the area to perform the European Metal, and we exposed a lot of people to it. Spending a great deal of time in a large rehearsal complex in Brockton (the Birmingham of Massachusetts) we all ended up eavesdropping on each others bands, and thats essentially how we all met. We were all in different bands and ultimately formed Steel Assassin." Curran had started Assassin with Guerric Marruzzi whom he met in art school, which made for a solid guitar-duo, augmented by Doug Fahey on drums, Steve Bunker on bass and Doni Escolas on vocals. Things changed quickly with Marruzzis departure as he was replaced with Mike Mooney. Soon thereafter, Fahey left, and was replaced with Greg Michalowski. The last, yet most impactful change came with Bunker's eventual departure, replaced with Phil Grasso.
Curran: "Phil had ventured to the Pacific Northwest for awhile, exploring some metal guitar-playing opportunities there. When he came back, Steve was still in the band, but Phil became the sixth member of the band, becoming a key contributor to the songwriting. As soon as Steve announced his departure, Phil stepped in and offered to play bass." Phil's writing solidified the stylistic backbone of Steel Assassin with songs like "Barrabas," "Crusader," "Executioner," and "Madame Defarge."
Steel Assassin's popularity expanded well outside the greater Boston area. With steady European airplay and a mountain of fan mail from all over Europe and beyond. Steel Assassin became featured on Metal Blade Record's Metal Massacre 6 and soon achieved underground metal cult-status playing shows with the likes of Metallica, Raven and Y&T. The twin flying-v assault of Curran and Mooney, the weapon-wielding front man Escolas, the freight-train thunder of Grasso and Michalowski, all became trademarks of the Steel Assassin style.
Curran: "We enjoyed recognition as Boston's premiere heavy metal act for awhile, but industry people became involved with the band, which we thought would lead us in the right direction. Some poor management decisions and misguided direction took us down a path that was inconsistent with our true calling. Once we strayed off course far enough, it was clear that we needed to move on. We all pursued other projects over the years, but most of us kept in touch. Phil kept busy with his Madd Hunter projects, and later we collaborated on my Hell's Felons project. Mike and I formed Vagabond Kings (Thin Lizzy tribute) with Bob Mayo and Barry Spillberg from Wargasm and Greg's been playing drums for a living all along. Finally, we decided that it was time to start writing the historically and mythologically inspired metal that we have real passion for, and thats how the new release war of the eight saints came about. We're now completely energized and ready for the next round."