Dungeon -

Dungeon Biography

Power Metal - Australia


Dungeon discography

Dungeon biography

Dungeon began its life in the Australian outback town of Broken Hill, in August 1989 and was formed by Lord Tim (guitar), Ian Debono (drums) and Eddie Trezise (bass). After trying out a few singers, Tim just 'fell' into the position of lead vocals, due to a lack of available singers. Soon, Jason Hansen (guitar) and Carolyn Boon (keyboards) were added and Eddie was replaced by Randall Hocking. This line up stayed together for six months.


During that time, the band played sold-out gigs, did newspaper and radio interviews and gained a loyal fan base. In July 1990, Randall and Jason left the band and were replaced by Dale 'Fletch' Fletcher (guitar) and Jamie Baldwin (bass). Over the next 6 months, more gigs were played, Ian left and was replaced briefly by Darryl Riess and then by a drum machine.


In February 1991, Fletch left the band, but not before introducing a new guitarist to Dungeon who played in Fletch's cousin's band. The guitarist's name was Dale Corney and he became a solid part of the band for almost 11 years. By March of 1991, all that was left of Dungeon was Tim, Dale and the drum machine. They played several gigs over the next year as a duo, with electronic backing and Carolyn from the last line up helping out with backing vocals. By Christmas time, Tim and Dale decided it was time to record a proper demo to get some record company interest.


January 1992, Tim and Dale travelled 1100 kilometers (around 700 miles) to Nu-Town Studio in Sydney. In just one week, they recorded, mixed and produced a staggering 19 songs! This amazed Greg Hopping at the studio who sent a selection of songs to a local music paper to get reviewed. The reviewer (Stuart Coupe), an admitted disliker of heavy metal, said things along the lines of 'Dungeon are a classy, textured and sophisticated hard rock band' ... 'Dungeon sound better than half the hard rock bands with record deals - simple as that.'


Praise like that prompted Tim to relocate to Sydney in April that year. Dale would join him early the next year. The search for a new rhythm section had begun again! Things didn't go very well, however! Over the next 3 years, they tried out MANY guitarists, bassists and drummers in the hope of putting together the perfect band: 3 guitars (like Leatherwolf), a scary bassist (like Iron Maiden) and a double-kick drummer from hell! (like Helloween).


THE NEXT STEPS...
No one worked out until they finally settled on George Smith (bass), Andrew Brody (drums, who Tim met through a ex-guitar student of his who played in Andrew's previous band 'Dr. Zeus') and Steve Mikulic (guitar, also a former guitar student of Tim's). This line up, with drumming help from Virgil Donati (drummer for the band Southern Sons and a very respected drummer world wide) and Jim Yannieh (a session drummer who answered one of Dungeon's many 'drummer wanted' advertisements) recorded the demo CD, 'Changing Moods.' Although Andrew stayed with the band for a few months, eventually he parted company and it was back to advertising yet again!


August 1995 - Tim receives a call from one of the drummers Dungeon auditioned way back in 1992, Wayne Harris. Wayne was playing in a band called 'Maximum Carnage' but was looking to do other projects on the side. This suited Dungeon just fine! Wayne auditioned again and this time got the job with no problem. Rehearsals began again. Internal band tension flared up (again!) and resulted in George being replaced by Justin 'Juz' Sayers, the bassist for 'Maximum Carnage.' As they were having just as many problems with line up changes, their band was side-lined for a while so they could concentrate on Dungeon. Just as Juz joined, more turmoil was going on inside the band. Steve Mikulic departed, leaving Dungeon as a stripped-back, streamlined metal machine.


In early 1996, Greg Hopping and ex-managing director of BMG Music Publishing Australia, Jim Shipstone formed the record label Nu-Town Records Australia. Nu-Town signed the band and distributed copies of Changing Moods throughout Europe, Japan and America in the attempt to license distribution and manufacturing deals with major record companies. The first company to bite was TDK-CORE Records in Japan. They liked Changing Moods and other demos from Dungeon so much that they insisted they release them just as they were in Japan. (The songs were remixed and Juz replaced the bass lines, though.) The album was called Demolition (the band's poor attempt at humour!)


While things were starting to look very positive, Wayne didn't seem to share everyone's enthusiasm. He wasn't rehearsing the songs and showed no interest in the band at all. It all came to a head when he refused to be associated with the Japanese album. This caused no end of problems for both Dungeon and Nu-Town Records. The solution: A good friend of Juz's, Tyrone McMaster stood in for Wayne, essentially becoming Dungeon's new drummer (although he had no drumming ability whatsoever!). Tyrone (who was known as 'Ty Blakely' on the album) appeared in all of the Japanese photos and press-releases.


Wayne was soon fired after that.


Just as Wayne was fired, things started to go very wrong in Japan. The album was doing very well indeed, selling over 5000 copies in just the first few weeks and there was interviews and reviews in Japanese Metal magazines such as 'BURRN!'. What was to be the second album was demoed, ready to be recorded and things were looking good.


Then all contact with TDK-CORE Records stopped.


Everyone later found out that there was a management re-shuffle and the company decided to radically change musical directions. As a result, in February 1997, contracts were terminated between Nu-Town Records and TDK-CORE Records. The album was only promoted for 5 weeks, but even in that short time, it sold over 5,500 copies.


Ordinarily, this would be a very demoralizing thing, but during the negotiations with Japan, the band was introduced to Steve 'Stevo' Moore, drummer from the high profile Sydney thrash band, 'Addictive'. 'Addictive' were on the verge of breaking up and Stevo was looking for a new band. Dungeon was that band... Now, with Stevo behind the kit, the band had renewed enthusiasm. The demo tapes of the 2nd album were distributed to many web zines, magazines and record labels in an attempt to get some exposure and a new record deal. The reviews were nothing short of incredible, consistently scoring close to top scores. The only thing preventing the band from recording the new album (which would be the 1st 'proper' release) was money.


THE RESURRECTION TIME IS NOW...
Finally, in mid 1998 after a LOT of saving, the money was finally there. Dungeon booked into Powerhouse Studios in Sydney to record their 1st real album, ' Resurrection '. At the same time, deals from all over the world, from high profile record labels were literally pouring in. At one stage, there were 10 labels to choose from! Contracts were narrowed down and the album was completed in August. The next 12 months were filled with outrageous live shows, gaining them a loyal Australian fan base and road-testing the material from ' Resurrection '.


In July 1999, Dungeon signed a world wide deal with Warhead Records and ' Resurrection ' was released in September after numerous unavoidable delays. One such delay was the departure of Juz, leaving to form his own project, King Oath (which also briefly featured Tim as a guest member). Enter Brendon 'Dakk' McDonald - the ex-guitar student of Tim's that introduced ex-drummer Andrew Brody to the band in 1994. By sheer coincidence after 3 years of no contact with each other, Tim and Dakk met online and started chatting about what they were up to. During the course of the conversation, Tim managed to convince Dakk to swap instruments and join the band! Dakk Jumped at the chance and immediately bought a pro-bass rig and learned all of the material.


Now, with a new line up, a new label and a new album, Dungeon was once again ready to take on the world! Further cementing their resolve to become the biggest power metal band in Australia, Dungeon appeared at many large festivals such as Australia's largest metal event, Metal For The Brain, which they appeared for the last four years, headlining the main stage in 2001, co-headlining the Screaming Symphony and Metal Warriors metalfests in Melbourne three times and co-headlining the Wintersun festival in Canberra. Dungeon has also supported Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen and Power Metal heavyweights, Edguy and Nevermore on their latest Australian tours.


MORE CHANGES...
Of course, if there was one thing the band had learned over the last 13 years was that nothing is ever set in stone. In March 2001, Warhead Records ceased trading and all stocks of ' Resurrection ' were solely distributed by MGM Distribution and by the band itself. Even without a label, the album continued to sell well while Dungeon completed writing the next album. Many of the songs had been road-tested thoroughly, some becoming new live favorites already.


The incredible sacrifices of years of hard work had taken its toll on every member, particularly Dale. At what was originally planned to be a routine band meeting in August 2001, he announced his intention to leave the band. The parting was on very good terms and he agreed to stay around until a suitable replacement was found. Word was put out amongst the underground metal community that Dungeon was looking for a new guitar player.


Enter Stuart Marshall. Stu had first seen Dungeon during their Yngwie Malmsteen support in 1999 and instantly became a fan. By a strange twist of fate, he got to talking to a member of Dark Order who told him about the position in Dungeon. Phone calls were exchanged, meetings were held and Stu passed the audition process with flying colors! So certain that he was the one, Dungeon announced at a Melbourne gig in September that it would be Dale's last show with the band. The pressure was on now to deliver since Metal For The Brain XI was only weeks away and Dungeon was headlining one of the main stages. Deliver they did - Stu played his first gig with Dungeon in front of 1500 people, after only being officially in the band for 5 weeks!


A RISE TO POWER ...
During this time, besides the chaos of a lineup change, the band was also recording the new album, ' A Rise To Power '. Lineup changes and label changes, money issues and constant touring had made the writing of this album extremely difficult and Dungeon had a lot to live up to after ' Resurrection ' - this album had to be by far superior. ' Resurrection ' suffered both time and budget restraints, both things that were going to play a big role in the new recording too. This time, however, a lot of careful planning made a big difference.


A few months before recording had begun, Tim began testing his new digital recording system to see if it was capable of delivering a world-class product. Besides his own studio, a suitable drum/vocal studio had to be found too. In the search for such a studio, Dungeon recorded set of test songs which turned out so well that they ended up creating a promo CDR called 'Maiden Our Spare Time'. This promo, which contained 6 of the live covers that Dungeon regularly played, was sent to various radio shows and magazines for reviews, all of which extremely positive. The demand for this recording to be properly released was overwhelming (although sadly impossible due to a severe lack of money!) confirming Tim's gear, the studio and the recording techniques the band planned to use was up to scratch.


Recording began mid-September 2001 at R&R studios for a week and then continued at Tim's SLS Studios for several weeks after. This was interrupted due to preparations for Metal For The Brain and was resumed in December back at R&R where the final vocal tracks were finally completed. The result was a slick, tight, mature album - a drastic leap forward from ' Resurrection ' and easily world-class. The search for a new label begun again...


One label that had been watching Dungeon's progress for some time was Melbourne's Metal Warriors label, who had recent success in europe with other bands on their roster and were looking to expand their stable of bands. Now free from any contractual obligations elsewhere, Dungeon was able to go into negotiations with other companies, including Metal Warriors. After carefully considering all of the options, a choice was made: Dungeon's representation for ' A Rise To Power ' would be Metal Warriors.


Contracts were signed onstage in front of 600 people in May 2002, mixing was completed and ' A Rise To Power ' was released on August 29 in Australia and New Zealand, a national tour had then begun!